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-Do, Kobudo 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 visualizing, besides granting in many cases, the bases to develop later the own path in other oriental arts.
Today, ad portas to end the third 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 recognized as a school with solid foundations in Budo.
THE ORIGIN OF A SCHOOL:
SESSHIN, HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN
In the beginning, our school was recognized under the name of SESSHIN (接心). Instructor´s Seminars, held less frequently in those years, focused mainly on the development of topics for the correct understanding of this way of practising the martial art and that all students until then, shared in a rather semi-conscious state.
Strictly speaking, Sesshin corresponds 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 various schools of Buddhism, it provides, according to experts, a powerful tool for the observation of one’s own 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 seminars; an activity that grants a unique seal and characterizes our organization, 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.
SEISHIN: ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF A PHILOSOPHY
Our school is officially integrated in 1992 to the organization OIKKA (Okinawa Isshinryu Karate & Kobudo Association), founded by Grand Master Angi Uezu in 1990. After several trips to Okinawa, Osvaldo Rodriguez Sensei continues to develop the foundations that support the philosophy of the school Sesshin, until in the year 2006, as part of a new visit and thanks to the guidance and advice of Angi Uezu Sensei, the name that completely identifies the essence of our school is finally defined.
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 ISSHINRYU, KENDO, KOBUDO AND AIKIJUJUTSU. THE KANJIS REFLECT THE WAY OF SEEING AND TEACHING THE MARTIAL ARTS USING THEM AS TOOLS TO EDUCATE AND INSTRUCT THE INTERNAL 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 wars in Japan, in times when the man faced face to face with the true truth of living or dying.
Towards the year 1868 and with the beginning of the Meiji restoration (明治維新), the Martial Arts ceased to relate directly to the war and became considered “psychophysical education systems, based on the regular practice of self-defense 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 Budo (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 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.
The Budo 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 Bushido represents for the ancient samurai, it will not be strange find values and transversal principles in each of them.
WHERE TO BEGIN: “DO”
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 Budo as a path of personal perfection that should impact the student in its three dimensions, has been developed with the aim of making progressive and methodological the transit of each student, different stages that this must experience for the best understanding of art that is practising:
- 1st stage: Etiquette and Good manners; necessary to have an environment and vocabulary appropriate to the context of a traditional Dojo.
- 2nd stage: Physical development; as a consequence of a regular and systematic training, the basic and complex physical and psychomotor qualities are stimulated
that give the student an increasingly greater mastery of his own corporality together with a strong discipline of his own body.
- 3rd stage: Technical Domain; obtained through the systematic practice of the Kihon, Katas, Self Defense and Kumite inherent to each Ryu. 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 behavior to a strict ethical and moral code that, together with the understanding and application of the principle Ichi go Ichi e at all times, it will be achieved awaken certain mental faculties that will help the development of a union unbreakable between body, mind and spirit.
SEISHINKAN, THE INSTITUTION:
MISSION AND VISION, A LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE
In the field of leadership is known the importance of building a mission and vision of the institution. Vision being the one that fundamentally projects a mental image of a possible and desirable future of the institution, it must have the capacity to incorporate the dreams of those who compose it and to construct an ideal towards which 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 organization and what “needs satisfy” , making it distinguishable from similar ones (Lavin & Cols., 1997).
Seishinkan recognizes in both, important tools to improve the comprehension process of which are our fundamental, specific and transversal general 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 the present. 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 formation of the student of Seishinkan. Stimulates the ability to transfer various knowledge, making them permeable to the practice of Karate-Do.
- 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 Ryu 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 about the institutional value that Seishinkan has been gaining with greater force.
In summary, all the above corresponds to the process that has taken place during the last three decades of existence of our organization and that today continues in a constant process of growth, marking milestones in various areas related to the daily work of the same, making necessary the clarity of our identity, known, clearly defined and shared by all its members.
For this reason, supported by the specialized literature of the area and based on the years of development of our schools, an approach is made to the mission and vision of our organization, according to Diego Rodriguez Sensei.
Seishinkan aims to become a recognised and distinguished martial arts organization, nationally and internationally, 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 Kobudo 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 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 Okinawa karate and kobudo, related martial arts and specifically the Isshin Ryu founded by Master Shinkishi “Tatsuo” Shimabukuro.
- Promote the codes and principles of Master Shimabukuro.
- 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-Do & Kobudo as a valid way of integral education of the movement, delivering a new alternative and field of study for the sciences of physical activity.
- Provide space and support to any organization and/or school that promotes the values and principles of Okinawan Karate-Do 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 Karate-Do Isshin Ryu, 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 & Kobudo.
- 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 BUDO – THE WAY OF THE INNER STRENGHT “. Research developed by Diego Sensei, on the occasion of his examination for 4th dan, YON DAN, in 2014. Organization Seishinkan, Chile