Self Training

In Soke's Book: Ninpo: Wisdom For Life, he talks about the importance of not neglecting one's training in Budo. As a student of the Bujinkan, reading this, I feel like Soke is talking directly to me. All students in the Bujinkan should reflect on what Soke is telling us here. Thinking about Soke's message, I would like to share my thoughts and insights on self training in Budo Taijutsu.

It is important to realize that there is training both inside and outside of the dojo, and that there are many different training lessons to be learned. The dojo is where you go to learn the lessons of Budo Taijutsu and then take them outside and live them. Do not make the mistake of thinking that once class is over, training and the lessons that you have learned are over. Training does not end once you leave the dojo - in many ways it is just starting as you must now work through the lessons just taught. You will progress in learning this art based on your dedication to training. Just training at the dojo two or three times a week is not enough to gain the full benefits that Budo Taijutsu has to offer. This is where training on your own comes in.

The best insight into self training that I can give is to train according to your life situation. If you have the time to train a lot, then do so. If you only have a little time to train on your own due to responsibilities, then do your best to use the time to train. At some points in our life we have more free time then at others. Do not worry about how much time you do or do not have to devote to self training. Just make the best of the time you have. Sometimes training on your own is very productive- other times no matter how much you train nothing seems to work right. (Remember, persevering through frustration and hardship in self training is a form of training in itself!) The important issue is to keep on training no matter what the situation.

Your training must be like breathing - something you are always doing, and without it you can not live. Strive to make your training like breathing.

The next question is what to practice? Self training should build on the lessons taught in class, and help build your skill so when you return to class you are ready to learn the next lesson the teacher has for you. Practice Kihon Happo, Ukemi, and Taisabaki as these are the foundations of all the lessons in Budo Taijutsu. A student can never be too strong in the basics.

Finally, always have a serious dedication to your training, as the lessons and techniques of Budo Taijutsu have the ultimate aim of preserving your life. It is a great gift to be studying this art and should never be taken lightly.

(by Fred Feddeck)