MUSASHI DID NOT KILL KOJIRO-PART 2 It can be instructive to select such a famous historic figure as Miyamoto Musashi and study both the facts and the folklore surrounding this swordsman. Doing this particular to Musashi is nothing new but I think we’ve found some new general information that brings a bit of clarity to the questions if not the answers…
Donn’s official bio in part reads as follows: “…regular officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a research historian, author, and lecturer on Asian martial disciplines, in which he holds a large number of expert ranks and teaching licenses.” Donn also continued to try and create publications that had a broad public appeal for folks interested in budo from both an academic and practitioner’s vantage point. Donn resurrected Sir Richard Burton’s classification for the study of Hopology, the impact of martial arts on culture and truly dedicated his life to this pursuit. Today, his efforts still have a profound bearing on many of the folks that he intersected with.
Donn lived all over Asia and hobnobbed with some of the greatest martial artists of his day earning their respect and often gaining access to the intricacies of their own martial systems.
After being defeated while using a bo (long staff), Muso retired to a cave on Mt. Homan to meditate upon his defeat and how to better his art. Upon reducing the size of a bo to that of a jo and developing waza (techniques) that controlled seigetsu (solar plexus) it is said that another duel between Musashi and Muso occurred in the castle town of Himeji, where the jo broke the famous two sword block known as "Jujidome".
The cave used and kept today as a shrine for Muso was used by many wandering warriors practicing shyugyo (austerity rites). They would live in seclusion to train and meditation and forge their spirits.
Musashi was eventually hired and worked at Kumamoto castle as a kenjutsu (sword) instructor into his old age. For those of us that do Jodo, the Kuroda Han is not too far away geographically. It will be interesting to see if any verification of a meeting or a duel between Musashi and Muso Gonnosuke can be substantiated.
Musashi grew up in the period between Senkoku Jidai (Warring states period) and Edo Jidai (Tokugawa Shogunate). With the battle of Sekigahara, the role of the gun became firmly entrenched as did the formation of large group tactics to amass firepower. The far reaching consequences would be the eventual replacement of the warrior class with a conscript army trained with rifles.
THE COUP BY YUI SYOSETSU OF 1651Yui Syosetsu’s name appears on a makimono (scroll) for the Isshin Ryu Kusarigamajutsu (sickle & chain art) incorporated into the Shindo Muso Ryu (SMRJ) as the 5th Menkyo (master license) holder.
However, it is his successor Isshin Tano for whom the art is named. The Tokugawa purged Yui Syoetsu'sname from history. Indeed his tragic story follows along the same lines as the story of the 47 Ronin - Akoroshi.
Shi (meaning teacher) Jyo (meaning to receive)
Excerpts from: March 5th, 1992 lecture by the writer Shiba Ryotaro at Columbia University, Donald Keene Japan Cultural Study Center.
Buddhist Concepts for Budo Training -part 2 - Would You Cut Off Your Arm To Study With Your Teacher?
There are many versions of his better known treatises and books in English, quasi biographies, television specials, and books of fiction about him that he has the image of being Japan’s ultimate swordsman. Like the proverbial sign pronouncing that “George Washington slept here,” it seems that everywhere that Musashi travelled lays claim to some direct transmission of seminal sword knowledge.
This two- column two-inch article was written by an ex-Prime Minister of Japan named Hosokawa Morihiro. This is a famous clan name and indeed Hosokawa Morihiro is the 18th successor of the Hosokawa Han (fiefdom) It is home to the castle town of Kumamoto where 7 centuries of archives are housed intact in spite of fires, wars and changes in the social order.
For those studying Jodo in Tokyo when Shimizu Sensei died a Diaspora type of event took place. In-fighting and petty politics between Shimizu's senior students created factions. Westerners had to make painful choices as to which dojo and teacher they would associate with.
Two of us, my sempai (senior in Jodo) Bruce Brown and I chose Kaminoda Sensei and his colleague Osato Sensei. We continued to train at the Zoshyukan, a rented space across the way from where Shimizu Sensei had lived. The dojo space had a very nice feeling to it, even for a contemporary structure.
The original Rembukan Dojo existed in a delightful suburb of Tokyo and backed up to a green-way. The walk to the dojo from the bus was always a respite from the hard concrete walls that is the big city of Tokyo.
It was an austere place that generated a wonderful feeling for those of us who got the opportunity to train there. The Rembukan was a portal in which Westerners gained access to Japan's authentic kobudo (older martial practice).
Today with ease of travel, softened cultural barriers and even the internet it is probably hard to imagine that permission was granted to train in Japan only after an interview process and after someone vouched for your character. Shimizu Sensei worked closely with Donn Draeger, the senior ranking Westerner responsible for approving non-Japanese students interested in studying Shindo Muso Ryu. Draeger Sensei also helped open other dojo doors for many of us to expand our budo training experiences. I don't believe that anyone would've taken for granted the privilege of training at the Rembukan. The Dojo itself would last only about a decade.