Iaido Journal Oct 2008
One on One with
copyright © 2008 Douglas Tong, all
(Ohtsubo branch of Owari Line, Yagyu
Part Three: Teaching and Learning
following article is the third and final part of an interview with
Kajitsuka Yasushi Sensei, headmaster of the Ohtsubo branch of the
Owari Line of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. In this part of the interview, Mr.
Tong takes the opportunity to discuss with Kajitsuka Sensei what he
considers to be essential in teaching students and the optimal
attitude that students should have when training in budo.
As a teacher, what do you try to teach your students, apart from just
try to teach my students three rules to live their life by:
- Love what you do. This is the most important.
- Do it from the heart. We say “kokoro”. In other words, do it with
all your heart and soul.
the three main rules.
- Continue it. Keep doing it. Don’t stop.
these three, I also recommend to my students two more:
- Don’t be afraid.
- Take things on. By this, I mean, try new things. (The
Japanese word, “Challenge”.)
As a teacher, what do you believe is most important for students to
remember when studying kenjutsu (or budo)?
Ah, an interesting question. I would like my students to remember
that everyone is the same. There is no student. There is no teacher.
There is no student, there is no teacher??
Yes. Everyone is the same. There is no student. There is no teacher.
Of course, there is still teacher status but that is all.
I am not sure I understand.
Here is an analogy. Budo is like climbing a mountain. Everyone is
climbing up the same mountain. I am just farther up the mountain than
you. I have seen the path that you will take. So, I can point out
some of the pitfalls that I have already encountered on my journey up
you must realize that I am still myself going up this mountain.
But, I am
not a guide telling you where you should go. We are all mountain
climbers in the same group. But there are, naturally, some of us with
more experience than the rest of the group…
this point, the American interpreter gives his interpretation of what
sensei has just told us: “Sensei is saying that he is not
teaching us. He is passing on
what he has learned and experienced in his years of training.”)
That is a great analogy. Thank you sensei for your time and
generosity in allowing me to talk to you about many things in budo.
It has been a great session.
Not at all. It is my pleasure.
I had the wonderful good fortune to have studied under Mutou Sensei,
a very kind and warm man. He welcomed me kindly and taught me
honestly. Mutou sensei was a great teacher: patient, understanding,
Now I have had the good fortune to have met and studied under another
great teacher, Kajitsuka Sensei. His frank and open attitude made me
feel accepted and his teaching style was very much like Mutou
Sensei’s before him: patient, understanding, and encouraging. I
must confess that I was very impressed when studying and talking with
him in Japan. He is full of knowledge and wisdom but most impressive
was his enthusiastic spirit: enthusiasm for his art, enthusiasm for
teaching, enthusiasm for life.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things.” He is truly
Douglas Tong began his studies of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu with the late
Mutou sensei (Kajitsuka sensei’s teacher) in Zushi in 1992. Mr.
Tong can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org