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The May edition of Sword and Spirit has been posted. In this issue, Itten Dojo chief instructor Robert Wolfe presents a photo-essay detailing a “Renzoku-waza Drill,” a “continuous-techniques” exercise. As we move forward with the process of revamping our practice of aikijutsu, a major focus is structuring kihon (fundamentals) and introductory material to provide new students with skills and techniques that can be applied in practical, personal defense very early in their training. This drill is a step in that direction. Download the newsletter by joining the Sword and Spirit group on Facebook, or directly from our website, at https://www.ittendojo.org/.../download/swordandspirit/pdf/55 . All back issues of Sword and Spirit are available at https://www.ittendojo.org/articles/swordandspirit .
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  Lessons from the Gorin no Sho (the Book of Five Rings )   A glance at the rack of new bestsellers in any book store will reveal a rash of “self-help” books, all of which profess to offer the reader a practical guide to everyday life. These books advocate every conceivable behavioral pattern, but they share the common factor of having been written, for the most part, by persons who have no more than an academic claim to any special way of life. In contrast, consider the following: 400 years ago, a guide to kenjutsu, strategy, and life was written by an old hermit who lived his last years in a cave. He based his observations on experiences gained over a lifetime spent surviving one of the most violent eras of human history, the years leading to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. Musashi’s Gorin no Sho is unique, in that it treats fighting, strategy, and life as one, condensing the underlying principles that are common to each.   Read more at https://www.ittendo
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  KAKEMONO OF THE MONTH — MAY 2022 Or probably more like a-month-and-a-half. Maybe two months. Almost certainly longer. This antique scroll, an original work by an artist we’ve not yet identified, was presented to the dojo very recently by Jevin Orcutt, in commemoration of what he called “the rebirth of the dojo.” Now, you might assume he’s referring to training picking up again after the pandemic-related events of the past two years. But that’s not it. Although virtually nothing about the dojo is the same as it was at the end of 2019, it’s for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the pandemic. For us, the past two years have been more like a gestation period from which we emerged with new arts, new affiliations, new instructors, new friends, new members, and a greatly enhanced sense of purpose. Later this year the dojo will enter its fourth decade of existence, focused on providing the central Pennsylvania area access to the finest training available in classical Japanese mart
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The April edition of Sword and Spirit has been posted. In “JMAC Pilgrimage,” Itten Dojo chief instructor Robert Wolfe reports on a trip earlier this month, when six members of our iaido-kai made the trek to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for another in-person session of training with Nicklaus Suino Sensei and our sempai at the Japanese Martial Arts Center. As is always the case, the instruction we received was illuminating, with lots of tweaks, corrections, and new insights provided. What was different this time was inclusion of an intense, combined judo / Nihon Jujutsu practice focused on building into Suino Sensei’s “real time” applications for self-defense, a paradigm we’re exploring for utilization in our reengineered aikijutsu-kai. Download the newsletter by joining the Sword and Spirit group on Facebook, or directly from our website, at https://ittendojo.org/downloads/Itten-eNews-2022-04.pdf . All back issues of Sword and Spirit are available at https://ittendojo.org/sword-and-spirit.htm .
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KAKEMONO OF THE MONTH — APRIL 2022 The hanging scroll for April, again from calligrapher extraordinaire Paul Myers, is another portrait of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism — this time, standing on a reed. According to legend, following an unsuccessful audience with the Chinese Liang-dynasty Emperor Wu, Bodhidharma is said to have crossed the Yangzi River without a boat, standing on a single reed to continue his journey to promote Zen. #ittendojo #aikijutsu #kenjutsu #iaido #shodo
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  The March edition of Sword and Spirit has been posted. In “The Frog in a Well,” Itten Dojo chief instructor Robert Wolfe reflects on the Japanese proverb and a favorite saying of his old karate sensei, two philosophical insights that continue to guide Itten Dojo in its quest for excellence. Download the newsletter by joining the Sword and Spirit group on Facebook, or directly from our website, at https://ittendojo.org/downloads/Itten-eNews-2022-03.pdf . All back issues of Sword and Spirit are available at https://ittendojo.org/sword-and-spirit.htm . #ittendojo #aikijutsu #kenjutsu #iaido
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  Is there a teenager in your life, 14 years or older, that might benefit from greater focus, self-discipline, and courtesy? If so, consider budo, the traditional martial “Ways” of Japan. For hundreds of years, these arts have instilled virtues and enhanced personal capabilities across a range including but far exceeding self-defense. As one of our teachers put it: “The very thing which makes traditional martial arts practice valuable, the thing which helps make people stronger and improves character, is its difficulty. It is through overcoming the difficulty (or, more accurately, adapting oneself to the requirements of the art), that one learns about one’s strengths and weaknesses, and builds on the strengths while transforming the weaknesses into strengths or gives up because of pain or fear; and thus does the practitioner define himself or herself.” — Nicklaus Suino, in his book Practice Drills for Japanese Swordsmanship Now in our 30th year, Itten Dojo is recognized nationally