South America – Chile, May 2017
Seishinkan is a school of traditional Martial Arts of Okinawa Japan, which in 2017 celebrates 30 years after having officially opened its doors in 1987. Today, with a strong pedagogical orientation and a multidisciplinary approach, Seishinkan tackles the practice of Karate-dō, Kobudō and related arts as central axes to guide the daily work of our dojos and representatives in different parts of the world, providing a powerful added value to the process of regular training of our students.
Molded under the hand of the west and rooted in Okinawa, Seishinkan has been a school chosen voluntarily throughout history by many people as an alternative of growth; a practice that goes beyond the physical perspective and technical aspect that aims to satisfy the most profound needs that at first, we have difficulty defining and visualising, besides granting in many cases, the bases to develop later the own path in other oriental arts.
Today, ad portas to end the 3rd decade of operation of our school, we went to review a bit of history, the philosophy that holds and at the same time has been shaping what is now recognised as a school with solid foundations in Budō.
SESSHIN: how did all Begin
Back in the years, our school was recognized under the name of SESSHIN 接心. Instructors camps, made at that time less frequently, focused mainly on the development of topics that would promote the understanding of the correct way to practice martial arts, which all students shared in a rather unconscious state.
Strictly speaking, Sesshin refers to a type of meditation carried out in certain Buddhist monasteries. Especially prolonged, it is done once a month from April to August and from October to February. Commonly practised by some Buddhism schools, it provides, according to experts, a powerful tool for the observation of the inner personality.
The literal translation of the kanjis of Sesshin would be “recollection of the spirit“, “touching the spirit “,” touch the essence“
A detailed description is made by Smed (2001): “Meditation begins at three in the morning in summer and at four in winter continuing until late at night with intervals to eat, perform exercises and relax. In the monasteries, during the period of meditation they pronounce themselves speeches daily and before that, the environment is available for the practice to be performed…”
In the book “Zen and Martial Arts: Presentations”, the same author mentions the Sesshin carried out in his dojo as “long instances in which calm and silence reigned in all the immobile postures of Zazen and then give rise to the Kumite. Regardless of the notions of victory or defeat, the great lesson of these sessions was that it did not matter if the kumite was placed inside or outside, in any case, it will always be against ourselves, therefore, it will always lead us to the spirit of the path”.
In the context of our school, it represents the first signs of a particular way of living and feeling the martial art, which has been finding its development and evolution until today.
From it, originate the idea of our camps / seminars; an activity that grants a unique seal and characterises our organisation, where long training sessions are carried out and also meditation sessions until late at night in search of the development of the denominated, by those then, “Sesshin Warrior“.
In the beginning, a Sesshin Warrior must be strong in mind and body, always prepared for the unpredictable; be balanced in their way of life and governed by the following moral code:
- It must be in harmony with the Law of Pure Potentiality.
- Shall understand, accept and live harmoniously with the law of Karma.
- You must learn the law of detachment.
- You must cultivate a strict code of self-discipline.
- Must understand, seek and live the law of Dharma.
- You should cultivate patience, respect and moderation wisely.
- You must practice the “Give” law.
Origin and evolution of a Philosophy.
Our school established in 1992 the link officially with the OIKKA (Okinawa Isshinryū Karate & Kobudō Association), an organisation founded by grand master Angi Uezu. Throughout the years and with several trips to Okinawa, Osvaldo Rodriguez sensei continues to develop the foundations that sustain the philosophy of the Sesshin school, until in 2006 and as part of a new tour to Okinawa, a trivial conversation with Uezu Sensei takes unexpected rivulets: thanks to his guidance and advice, the name that identifies our school is finally revealed.
That which varies substantially is found in the literal meaning of the ideograms that express Seishin, specifically in the kanji “SHIN”. The kanji originally selected, according to Uezu Sensei, did not correspond to what was wanted to express in reality nor did it represent the spirit of our school. For this reason, the kanji Shin of “Heart” is modified, by that of “Spirit“.
“SEISHIN IS A LIFE STYLE REFLECTED IN THE MOVEMENT OF OUR SCHOOL THROUGH ISSHINRYŪ, KENDŌ, KOBUDŌ AND AIKIJUJŪTSU. THE KANJIS REFLECT THE WAY OF SEEING AND TEACHING THE MARTIAL ARTS USING THEM AS TOOLS TO EDUCATE AND INSTRUCT THE INNER WARRIOR. IT IS RELATED TO HARMONY, SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT AND IS STRONGLY LINKED TO THE SUPERIOR LAWS THAT GOVERN THE UNIVERSE”
TOWARDS SEISHIN’S UNDERSTANDING
At this point, it is important to understand what the true meaning of contemporary Oriental Martial Arts has been, and specifically those that relate to our regular practice. It is public knowledge that martial arts emerged strongly linked to the development of the old war conflicts in Japan, at a time when man faced face to face with the truth of living or dying.
Towards 1868 and with the beginning of the Meiji restoration 明治維新, Martial Arts ceased to relate directly to the war and became considered “psychophysical education systems, based on the regular practice of self defence techniques with or without weapons, oriented to sublimate the natural aggressiveness of the human being “(Gomez, 200., p.1), giving a turn towards the inner growth of man and socially useful purposes.
The Budō 武道 was born, a modern term normally used to indicate the practice of martial arts as a way of life that embraces the three dimensions of the human being (Body – Mind – Spirit). Added to this, is the fact that there was an important group of karate masters who believed and rescued the high formative and educational value that some combat methods had and decided to turn these practices towards the internal development of their students.
Budō is the soul of Seishin, and being this a set of Japanese Martial Arts whose practitioners are governed by a set of ethical rules referring to their application in a similar way to what the code of Bushidō 武士道 represents for the ancient samurai, it will not be strange find values and transversal principles in each of them.
WHERE TO BEGIN: “THE DŌ”
Having understood the true goal of the practice of Martial Arts, you can begin to develop a path that must be travelled to meet the highest essence of each practitioner and thus lead to the discovery of themselves.
Understanding Budō 武道 as a path of personal refinement that should impact the student in its three dimensions, have established different stages that must be experimented with the goal of making progressive and methodological the transit of each one through the art he is practicing.
- 1st stage: Etiquette and Good manners; necessary to have an appropriate vocabulary and environment to the context of a traditional Dōjo.
- 2nd stage: Physical development; as a consequence of a regular and systematic training, the basic and complex physical and psychomotor qualities are stimulated, giving the student a dominance and increasing discipline of his own corporality.
- 3rd stage: Technical Domain; obtained through the systematic practice of the Kihōn, Katas, Self Defense and Kūmite inherent to each Ryūha. Strongly develops mental strategies for the control of variables such as anxiety and fear, stimulating self-confidence and self-efficacy of the student. It corresponds to one of the fundamental pillars for the next stage, given which stimulates the mind-body union in every action.
- 4th stage: Mind and Spirit; where it is necessary to adapt the behaviour to a strict ethical and moral code that, together with the understanding and application of the principle Ichi Go Ichi E at all times, certain mental faculties will awaken that will help the development of an unbreakable union between body, mind and spirit.
SEISHINKAN BUDŌ SCHOOL, THE INSTITUTION:
Mission & Vision; a look towards the future
In the field of leadership, the importance of building a mission and institutional vision is widely recognized and until today, deeply studied.
Since the Institutional Vision is the one that fundamentally projects a mental image of the possible and desirable future, it must have the capacity to incorporate the dreams of those who conform it and to build an ideal to orient itself. It is intrinsically related to the values and principles of the organization that gives it its own stamp, an identity.
The Mission, on the other hand, constitutes the “reason to be” of an institution, corresponds to a broad purpose, that makes sense towards all the actions to be developed, determining “who serves” the organisation and what “needs satisfy”, making it distinguishable from similar ones (Lavin & Cols., 1997).
Seishinkan Budō School recognizes in both, important tools to improve the understanding process of which are the general, specific and transversal objectives of our organization, facilitating the transmission of values and tasks of the same.
“Behind respect, discipline, perseverance, etc., often, without realizing it, there is
a much deeper meaning than we think when we practice a Martial Art. Many people ask if there is something more behind the technique, or only and exclusively the whole thing is reduced to a mere physical exercise “
Magaly Inzunza Sensei.Sesshin Institute, 1989
“Internal recollection, meditation and true knowledge within oneself are very
difficult to achieve in today’s world … “
“… It is important to ask what I am looking for, where do I want to go? and then develop a strong will and great confidence in your Sensei, to achieve a single triumph: the triumph of the Spirit”.
Osvaldo Rodriguez Sensei. Isshinryu Sesshin, 1991
“Now, as we go deeper into the Physiology of Exercise, we will also do it
in the knowledge of ourselves and more specifically of what happens to us while we have the privilege of being in the Dojo”
Enrique Bardiza. Physiology of Exercise, Vol 1. Sesshin Institute, 1989
The above quotes correspond to various excerpts of what for years has been one of the most unique features of our organization. The elaboration of writings, memoirs and volumes about different topics has been a trend that has evolved since 1987 to this days. From this, the following can be extracted:
- Research Orientation. The cultivation of the mind through study, readings, development of a career of higher education or related studies, build a powerful link that will lead to obtaining one more step towards obtaining a “powerful personal philosophy”.
- Unique Institutional Seal. That gives a powerful added value that allows generating objectives for the integral education of the Seishinkan Student. Stimulates the ability to transfer various knowledge, making them permeable to the practice of Karate-Dō.
- Recovery of Educational value, revaluing what karate Masters envisioned decades ago.
“… the same happens in the Martial Arts, where a serious and competent organization gives credibility and confidence to the practitioner’s belt”.
Magaly Inzunza Sensei. “Martial Arts”. Sesshin Institute. 1987
“… the foregoing results in the need and relevance of effective leadership in increasingly complex organizations”.
Diego Rodriguez Sensei. “Need and relevance of a sustainable Leadership in org. of Martial Arts”.
Isshin Ryū Seishin. 2013
And on the other hand, the previous quotes, extracted from the most recent research and reports, show the growing concern that has arisen regarding the institutional value that Seishinkan has been gaining with greater intensity.
In summary, all the above corresponds to the process that has been taking place during the last three decades of operation of our organization that today continues in a constant process of evolution, marking milestones in various areas related to the daily work of the same, and making necessary establish and clearly define our identity to all members of the community.
Therefore, supported by the literature of the specialised area and based on the years of development of Seishinkan Budō School, the author presents an approach to the Institutional Mission and Vision of our organisation.
Seishinkan Budō School aims to become a recognised and distinguished martial arts organisation at national and international level, for the high standards in human, technical and professional quality of all its members. Due to its unique way of contributing to the integral development of human beings through the systematic practice of karate and related arts, its objective is to rescue, revalue and validate the deep educational and formative roots that make Karate and Kobudō of Okinawa unique and that has been transmitted through generation in generation up to our hands.
In addition to preserving the roots of Okinawa’s traditional arts, the central commitment of Seishinkan Budō School is to contribute to the integral development of the human being using the Oriental Martial Arts as the main tool due to its high philosophical and formative content, rescued decades ago by the Okinawan masters and preserved until today by thousands of dedicated practitioners around the world.
- Maintain the legacy of all masters who represent the purest essence of Okinawan karate and kobudo, related martial arts and specifically the Isshin Ryu founded by Master Shinkishi “Tatsuo” Shimabuku.
- Promote the codes and principles of Master Shimabuku.
- Rescue the high value and philosophical content of the Okinawan Martial Arts and apply them to the formal and non-formal education system.
- Use the Karate-Dō & Kobudō as a valid way of integral education of the movement, delivering a new alternative and field of study for the physical activity and motor skills sciences.
- Provide space and support to any organization and/or school that promotes the values and principles of Okinawan Karate-Dō and related Martial Arts.
- Establish networks and alliances with different organizations of Oriental Martial Arts, national and international and contribute in this way to the enrichment of the practitioners of our organization.
- Nurture constantly our students of different knowledge concerning the practice of Isshin Ryū Karate dō, oriented towards the maximum theoretical and technical development of all Seishinkan students.
- Provide opportunities for professional development, through the training of instructors capable of successfully performing the teaching of karate and kobudo as a physical activity.
- Provide to parents and guardians who trust in our children’s project, an alternative to support the school education process of their children through the regular and systematic practice of Karate & Kobudō.
- Provide support to formal and non-formal education organizations that decide to incorporate the practice of martial arts into their educational curriculum as a way to contribute to the integral education of their students.
- Stimulate and generate in our students the ability to transfer the Dojo’s learning to everyday life.
- Deliver practical tools for personal development
- Nurture your students of solid philosophical foundations that contribute to the search of a personal path of grow.
TEXTS EXTRACTED FROM THE MEMORY “RIOKY BUDŌ – THE WAY OF THE INNER STRENGTH ” & “NEED AND RELEVANCE OF A SUSTAINED LEADERSHIP IN MARTIAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS”
Research developed by Diego Rodriguez Inzunza , on the occasion of his examination for 4th dan, YON DAN, in 2014. Organization Seishinkan, Chile