I've been a shidoshi for well over 20 years, (1993 passed godan test) I'd like to say a couple things about people's rank that i have observed & written about... Rank in this style is not comparatively based. It’s easy to look at someone else and say, “what rank is so & so, how long, etc?” Rank isn’t something that is just worn. More important than what is on your gi, is what is in your heart? I know of high-ranking people in this art that have obvious physical limitations. Soke certainly cannot compare them to others. He views them as individuals looking at what abilities and characteristics they began with compared to what level they are at now.
When I promote a student, it is based on many things, for example like their heart, dedication, and ability. I weigh it all out. Promotions are holistic. It’s not just whether or not you can simply repeat the taught techniques. Therefore as the sensei, I look at the total person, all the time, not just within the confines of the dojo walls. I’ll know of an individual’s heart and dedication, accomplishments, and perseverance that transcends just what happens at training time. Yes, attendance at training is still very important, but I understand that this still isn’t the full dimension of a student’s development. Never-the-less, if I stop seeing someone on a regular basis in the dojo, this will slow their ranking. If they are unseen for months, their next progress will be months later. I advise that all students stay connected, not missing what is being taught or explored.
Remove some weight from yourself, don’t evaluate yourself against your peers, just train and have fun along the way! Remember it is more fruitful to judge yourself than others.
Shidoshi Spangler, 1/25/2005
Hatsumi Soke once stated, “So subtle is the jutsu that it soon disappears when one asks for it and reappears when one is resigned to its nonexistence.”(Essence page 67) In a world that totes the slogan “seeing is believing” one will become discouraged with the need to always have the burden, of what some call, “proof”. With this in mind, just train!! No, not blindly, but with a happiness of training. Don’t force techniques to work. One will become narrow minded if he attempts to enforce his own parameters or limitations on what should or should not occur with techniques while training in this 3rd dimension. Let go of the need to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN and just let it happen. Reread the first sentence of this Warrior Words. Let it sink in. In the words of soke, “ok,..PLAY!”
Rick Shidoshi 5 /26/03
If one is feeling "off center" or has a negative attitude your taijutsu will reflect this. Taijutsu is the way you move your body. Soke Hatsumi talks of how everyone has taijutsu. For example, a shopkeeper, as he sweeps the floor, has taijutsu. The ninja should move in the correct manner of ninpo taijutsu. Taijutsu is also a reflection of one’s heart. Sanshin, as in sanshin no kata, refers to the "triple heart" (or in American terms mind, body, and spirit). If one has a clear heart, or a good heart, he can move freely, without the bondage and constraints of incorrect motives, mindsets or paradigms. On the other hand, if one has a clouded heart, this only produces a cold rain devoid of freedom, clarity, and happiness.
Train with a pure heart, unclouded and true. Otherwise your very movements will tell on you. A wrong attitude affects, or infects your taijutsu. Kyojutsu tenkan ho can also help in this dimension. Be what you need to be at that moment…..
Enjoy life, and realize that life is only 10 percent of what happens and 90 percent of how we respond to it….HAVE A GOOD HEART!! Good taijutsu without a good heart is purely one-dimensional in this multi dimensional world.
Shidoshi Spangler, 8/28/00