Secret scrolls of the ways from the 17th century complain that modern
(back then) students lacked moral fibre and training has to be softened
accordingly.Both Sokaku Takeda and Morihei Ueshiba were referred to as
the "last true Samurai" suggesting that amongst their contemporaries
they were exceptional men.
If the heart is lost from the "Way" and the
master no longer a "true" master then how are the Ways to be
transmitted "from heart to heart" as they were in the past.
The future of Budo looks quite dim, but at least we in Aikido are fortunate
to have the example of O'Sensei, probably the greatest budo master of
this century.However, how many aikido organisations can claim to be true
to his teachings?
In my humble opinion it is perhaps the modern lifestyle
that has caused the demise of true "Budo". It is universally
acknowledged among the ancient Ryu (schools of the arts) that there is
more to the martial arts than mastery of technique. There is a development
of the inner person and of subtle energies which need guidance and cannot
be presumed to materialise of their own accord.Even the ancient Samurai
whose lives depended on their technical mastery of the sword recognised
the need for training the spirit and the mind, and many adopted Zen training
to enable them to face potential death with calmness.It is the Samurai
and their exemplary way of life known as "Bushido" that I would
propose as a suitable model for the practice of modern Budo.
Trevor Legget in his book ,"Zen and the ways" provides this
apt description of a true way......
"....for those who would like to
experience some inspiration, to be able to enter into harmony with the
universe (Aiki), not simply on great occasions but at ordinary times,it
is for those that the ways were developed. They are fragmentary manifestations
of Zen which depend only minimally on circumstances, to practice them
means to be able to experience a breath from beyond, to have freedom for
a time from the drabness of life, and to become able to recognise.....the
cosmic life and give it play.
The Ways have techniques, but it is not their purpose to imitate the action
of cosmic life by technical means, like a pupil faithfully copying the
style of his teacher without any inspiration of his own.The purpose of
techniques is to master one field thoroughly so that the instruments of
perception perceive very accurately.It is then that the cosmic life becomes