Time to practice the teachings
of kendo: Katsujin-ken

I recently finished a conversation with a friend of mine in Japan, she shared that her dojo re-opened again. They have started training. We had a meaningful conversation that I wanted to bring on here to expand my thoughts on the current situation. 

Coronavirus and Kendo

In one of my recent podcasts I shared my thoughts, so I'm not going to share the details here again but I will bring up my views. I personally think we shouldn't be doing anything if it's not essential.

If we move, the virus moves, and it moves with us. Even if you are not sick you might carry the virus, that is the scary part. 

We don't want to get sick and we don't want to make others sick, that's the bottom line. 

The important thing is we stay safe until we have protection; which is a vaccine. 

We must think about it, we are not equipped. It's like you are going against a tank without any weapons. You might not die but you will get hurt badly. This is the important aspect.

If you are not going to die or get sick you have to know that others are not going to be fine. There is no guarantee, again, that's the scary part. So until we are equipped with the vaccine and we know how to cure it, we have to be careful. We have to know this enemy. If we know more about this enemy, we will win. Is it not important to increase our possibility of winning against this virus?

Now, I will talk about other concepts.

Katsujinken and Sastsuninto

Have you ever heard of Katsujinken? And Satsuninto? 

These are concepts from Yagyu Shinkage Ryu. Katsjunken is the sword that gives life. Sasuninto, read as kanji, is the sword that gives death. 

We need to choose the sword that gives life to people.

If we do kendo right now, we increase the possibility of giving the virus, that might lead our friends to death. Quite a scary thought.

At the moment, in Indiana (where I live), there was around 400 new cases of infected people as of June 10th, 2020. 

It's not looking good. It went down to 200 or so earlier, I thought that's good but it went back up again. 

It went up and down and it seems this is how we have to settle.

We are fighting right now, and we have to be patient. 

Patience in Kendo

I believe I have learned patience well in kendo. 

In Kendo, you have to be patient, don't strike, it might not be the right time to strike. This is what I have learned well.

First, we learn how to strike, then #2 is learning when to strike. When to strike is timing and controlling your opponent so we have more opportunities to strike,

Now when we strike, we defeat first and then we strike. The striking part is proof that I defeated you first, then I am going to provide the fact that I can strike you. It shows the opponent I defeated you and then I strike. That is what I learned from kendo.

If I use this with this Corona situation, I don't think its time to strike yet.

I know that the virus will pretty much strike back, sooner or later, maybe not to me, but to my students, who I really care about. 

Is it wise to strike? to take action now? 

The wisest thing is to let the medical professionals find out more about the virus now, wait till they come up with a vaccine and a cure and know how to deal with it.

Doing our Part as Individuals

Us, normal people and part of this society, we have to do our own part with small actions. This includes the following:

  • Cover our mouth & nose
  • Wash ours hands

To simplify it, “don't give it and don't take it”.

This is very important for the individual. 

The biggest fear I have is not knowing I carry it and give it to someone else. You might ask, what about family?

Family is family. If I think about it, people have their families too, can I do that to their family members? My family will support me when I have it, I will support my family when they have it. That's the basic social group, the smallest society, the family.

We have more families outside of this circle. And even if we care about them, if they get it, we cannot take care of them. Their family will take of them, so I don't want to be the reason to cause so much trouble to someone.

Personally, it's more of the death I am worried about.

If they get sick I cannot visit them at the hospital, the worst case scenario is they might lose their life.

If it's through kendo, where is katsujinken, the sword that gives life? We are using satsuninto, the sword that gives death to life.

I don't know if this is too extreme. But the way I see it, it's time to be patient. I don't think it's the time to strike.

What does it mean?

Mukae-Tsuki or Mukae-ZukiMukae-Tsuki (Mukae-Zuki): It's Not the Time To Strike

This means, if you strike now you will get stabbed, which means death. 

In kendo, when people tell you it is not the time, it means “don't die”. Don't waste your life like that. I think that that's what kendo teaches us, I don't know if you look at kendo like that or not, but that's the kendo I learned. 

I am sharing what I learned from my sensei.

People have the right to do anything, but I urge you to make sure and be careful.

Different countries have different factors.

Right now, Japan isn't as bad as this state alone. This state has about twice as many infected people as all of Japan. There is no way we can practice right now. Maybe later on. 

But let's see what happens guys, I know you want to do kendo, but I request being patient. 

In the situation we are in now, even if you delay to strike, you won't lose your life right now. Let's think about it, I want you to consider this.

Let's decide to use Katsujinken, the sword that gives life not Satsuninto.  

Please let me know if you have any other questions. 

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