Essence of Martial Arts

Tuesday 28 February 2017
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The Japanese garden reflects the soul The Japanese garden reflects the soul Google

When asked this question by Sensei Lindsey Hart. I pondered it for quite a while, breaking it down in my mind piece by piece until of all things a Japanese garden came to mind, which perturbed me a little at first but upon analysis, it came to my mind that the Japanese garden reflects the soul; and looking at that garden we see all the vital essences of the Warrior.

  • Chikara: Strength. As the rocks in the garden denote mountains, the mountains denote the spine. Often cited as the source of character and internal fortitude.
  • Hakari: Balance. With out which we are lost.Iki: Breath. As the garden is alive and breathing.  The breath is life to the warrior.
  • Shizen No: Natural. If an element in the garden is not in keeping with the design it shatters the total structure, with fighting.  Keep attack and defense to its essentials. Adjust as necessary so that natural flow ensues.
  • Shibumi: Simplicity. As the gardener adds elements, so the warrior, continually adding (Knowledge);  but both also continually stripping away the extraneous.
  • Zen: The struggle for Satori, (Enlightenment). The state of mind for which we all strive. Which encompasses the concept of Munen Muso. To me the true essence of Budo, No design, No thought. Intrinsically the result of training and conditioning ourselves to respond to, or pre-empt an attack. That is to fight detached, with no fear of pain or death, or of outcome.


  • Shu: Tradition.
  • Ha: To Break, in this instance also to seek enrichment in understanding.
  • Ri: The practice and the practitioner as one. 

Bill Lewis. Sensei
San Dan
13th December 2002



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