Following the trail  

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Last night I made contact with my iaido friend and mentor here in Japan. We had a very pleasant evening discussing the state of iaido, both here and in the UK and catching up on all the latest news. He mentioned that he had already talked to his teacher about me joining the dojo, and the teacher has said I would be very welcome. I am thrilled by this. It has been an ambition of mine to train in Japan for nearly as long as I’ve been involved with martial arts, which is quite a long time now. Hopefully this dream will come true soon, although I’m sure I will have plenty of moments when I wished it hadn’t – the training here is considerably harder than in the UK. But you know what they say, no pain – no gain.

On the train home, I got to thinking about the traditions of my school, and the value that such a long heritage imparts to the style. In particular, how fortunate I have been to have struck lucky in the lottery of martial arts instruction; my path leading from humble beginnings in Sidcup all the way to Tokyo and who knows where else.

Embarking upon a course of instruction in any martial art is like arriving by boat in a wide river delta. From the perspective of the visitor, all the little streams and channels look pretty much alike. It’s only once you have ventured down them that you discover whether they are quiet backwaters, silted-up tributaries or whether they broaden and deepen, joining with other streams, allowing you to navigate further into the fertile hinterlands of knowledge and wisdom that lie beyond.

I have indeed been fortunate to have chosen just such a path. I just hope my frail little ship has the stamina and constitution to survive the rigours of the journey that awaits.

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