Building Castles on the Sand

James Sutton


    Throughout my years of training, I have heard the phrase “practice the basics” resonate time and time again within the walls of The Jinenkan Gi-Yu Dayton Dojo. As time goes on, I have come to understand that this very simple phrase provides students of Kobudo with the subtle building blocks, upon which, a dynamic and powerful warrior is created.

   It is true that, in the infancy of each our training, we are all clumsy and awkward as we feverishly train to “unlearn” our body’s bad habits that years of repetitive poor movement have ingrained within us. We have, in a matter of speaking, made unnatural movement natural for ourselves. Rigid posture and the popular reliance on strength has done a disservice to each of us, creating a situation where we could possibly become injured rather than damage our opponent during the very act of attempting to protect ourselves and our loved ones. It is only, over time and with great dedication to training that we adopt this “new way of moving ”which Kobudo teaches us and begin to recognize all of those conditioned “bad habits” we misinterpreted as effective. It is through repetitive study and training in the basics that those “habits” will be torn down and replaced with a conditioned natural movement that is both stable and precise.

   It is all too often a new student to the Art is curious when they will learn to throw somebody or cut with the sword effectively and be less excited and inquisitive about the hours of training spent practicing basic footwork. Some time later, usually after being hit, the knowledge that effective Bikenjutsu is built upon basic unarmed footwork is realized. It is only after you‘ve become efficient with basic unarmed movement can you truly appreciate the effectiveness and beauty of bikenjutsu, bojutsu, or hanbojutsu for that matter. Trying to understand the intricacies of bikenjutsu without a working, conditioned knowledge of the basics would be in contradiction to what Unsui Sensei has said “Don’t build castles on sand. If you do, your movement will lack stability, precision, intention and power and will thus get you hurt. It’s not “alive!” and therefore is false, unrealistic training. I am ever thankful that in The Jinenkan Gi-Yu Dayton Dojo, an emphasis on the basics of movement is paramount and a true interest is taken in the growth of each student, by all our senior students and first and foremost by Sensei Sukh Sandhu. So, keep training and let Courage and Justice light your path!!!!!!



                                                                                  GI YU DOJO

                                                                                  James Sutton- Nidan