Message from the Head Instructor
In his bi-lingual text, Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu: One Point Lesson, Assistant Headmaster Tsumaki Kazuo (Genwa) Sensei states that one of the characteristics that has long distinguished the art of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu is: “An intense concentration on even the smallest of details.”
As the Instructors and Deshi of the United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Organization prepare for their formal testing (Shinsa) during the upcoming visit this July by Assistant Headmaster Tsumaki Kazuo (Genwa) Sensei, their next 5 ½ months will be spent honing and polishing their technique so that they will be as ready as possible for their examinations. During these months of preparation, the most critical element for them will be to focus intently on “even the smallest of details” with regard to individual Kata and their techniques and not allow themselves to just ‘go through the motions’ of repeating Kata over and over and over, thinking that this is what is necessary to be properly prepared for their testing.
As Westerners, our usual tendency is to look for the ‘easy path’…the one that requires the least effort to reach our desired goal. However, in the traditional Japanese cultural arts, one is encouraged to pay strict attention to even the most simple of tasks; for example, learning how to properly grasp and fold the cloth used to clean the implements used in the Tea Ceremony, or how to place a particular flower in just the right position in its container in the art of Ikebana.
The art of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu is no exception to this fact, for to perform Kata correctly, “an intense concentration on even the smallest of details” is of the utmost importance so that the performance of the given Kata will have the proper elements of elegance and nobility in evidence. From the correct placement of the hands on the thighs when sitting in Seiza, to the exact timing involved during the initial sword draw (Nukitsuke), to the closing moments when the sword is finally returned to its scabbard (Noto), strict attention to even the most simple of actions should never be neglected.
Granted, it takes much time and effort and patience to practice in this fashion, but the result is most certainly well worth it. We must learn to accept the fact that this is how it must be done and always persevere to do our best, even when we hit a ‘plateau’ and seem to be spinning our wheels and getting nowhere. When a new inductee accepts the mantle of being a formal Deshi of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu, this is one of the responsibilities that comes along with it. To work to the highest standard and, as Tsumaki Sensei says, to “protect the teachings of your Instructor well by training correctly.”