“Standing at an awkward threshold” would not be an inaccurate description of a majority of 16 year old American students. One is not standing at the crossroads of life; one is standing on the other side of a canyon wondering how to get to the crossroad. One is unsure of how to leap the gorge, and wondering if the other side looks at all appealing.
The average adolescent enjoys those experiences of confusion and fear that we are all too familiar with in our daily lives. I stand at a similar point in my beginnings as a Deshi of Tamiya Ryu. Everyone begins at the same level of experience in any art, none. In this respect I am on par with several of my fellow Deshi who also have recently been accepted into the art. In the Way of Living, however, I am inexperienced. Besides my human flaws, I am lacking in insight. My daily fears consist of homework and tests, not bills and careers. While one is preparation for the other, my life is still solidified and protected from harm by my family. This can be a severe annoyance in keeping ones mental attitude focused and controlled. To think that your anxieties, when compared to others, seem insignificant is disheartening. I have been unsure as to how to move past this frustrating self-inflicted hindrance until recently.
I read an article by David Lowry, Anger is Luxury. The title explains the entire premise of the work, and it brought me to a realization, I have used my youth as a luxury. Over criticizing oneself can be just as effective a coping device as over-inflating one’s ego. Lowering one’s self esteem however, can make one believe they are being humble. This is not at all the case, as the humble don’t focus solely on their own deficiencies, but are more concerned with the success of others and the harmony of the universe around them. They do see themselves as a critical failure, for they do not believe they are any more critical a part to the whole than anyone else in the first place.
Adolescence, as it is describe in modern times, is an effective explanation for avoiding responsibility. I must remember that I was accepted as a Deshi, just as my peers were, and the responsibility that comes with that does not allow excuses for inexperience, fear, apathy, or personal shortcomings. Instead Tamiya Ryu provides a focal point, a path to centering those anxieties and making them manageable. It is important to remember that whatever flaw we have as human beings are not excuses for our behavior, even if they are part of the cause of it. Understanding the full potential of the self sometimes requires one to rise above what we interpret as the traits of the self. The Sword of Tamiya Ryu grants one an edge that helps cut away the unneeded, restraining parts of the self that hinder one in life. It does the same for all its students, even those that worry about basic algebra.
Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Clarkston Branch