Sunday, 4 May 2008
First I would like to expose some “slight” differences of
the various meanings of the word Uchi Deshi, which
today is used with such lightness, that almost touches
Uchi Deshi " internal student " and truthful "apprentice"
in the traditional sense of the word, of professional
instructor, this Uchi Deshi with the formal and traditional
training, died really with O´Senseis of the past.
The truthful Uchi Deshi had an extremely hard training of
normally 35 hours weekly minimum, not only phisical but
mental and psychological, he had to be the first to begin
and the last to finish, the last one to eat, he had to clean the
Dojo dailly, the floor, the dressrooms, to dust everything,
clean the garden, sweep the the Dojo´s entrance and the
street side walk in front of the house, had to serve the
Sensei and the Senpai, he could not speak unless he was
asked a question, in travel he had to carry the luggage, check
the WC before the Sensei enter, had to check the hotel room
before the Sensei install himself, he had to prevent people
from crossing the Sensei´s way, he had to aply massage
when the Sensei had back pains, shoulders pains, etc... he
had equally to coordinate the courses, to assist the Sensei
and help the participants, he was however, Sensei´s
companion and confident. This was the training of the
Uchi Deshi, that besides being a "internal student", he
was more of an " internal disciple "...
One says that : " once an Uchi Deshi ... always an
Uchi Deshi " because few reached the level of Sensei and
the endurance of this training would be carved forever in
the personality and character of the "internal student".
Today, the tradition of the Uchi Deshi continues, but it is
now a lot more Soto Deshi (external student) with some
tasks in the Dojo, in terms of bureaucracy, attend visitors,
to coordinate courses, send letters, to organize meetings,
finally help in the extra tasks, he does not live in the Dojo
and normally he doesn´t have the tasks of cleaning and
maintenance of the Dojo, this is the today´s standard of
the Uchi Deshi in Japan and in the World, for last there
is the " title " of Uchi Deshi with the respective Diploma...
awarded by some Masters of several Martial Arts...
after a week-end´s Keiko or at the end of a Gashuku ...
So it is necessary, not to confuse the several meanings,
levels of difficulty, the depth and seriousness of the
traditional teachings based on effort, self-denial and total
delivery of the Deshi, Sensei and Dojo, what gives content
to the traditional function of the Uchi Deshi of the past.
I thank, Nambu Sensei for the opportunity, he gave me
in Paris (1967~1970), to be his Uchi Deshi and for all the
teachings he provided me, in the simple way, with
no " exoticism " or " maestro " like conduct.
I thank even more, my Master and friend, Hayabuchi
O'Sensei, (deseased 1998) for the rare opportunity, in
(1971~1973), of accepting me as his Uchi Deshi, in
a period when a Westerner, wasn´t even accepted as
a student in the Iaido Dojos, outside Tokyo, so, as an
" internal student " it was totally unthinkable and for
many, it was simply " unacceptable "...
Monday, 14 April 2008
The hierarchy in a Tradicional Dojo is not based only upon the
graduation of the practicioners, the most important factor is the
seniority and the dedication to the Dojo, there are elements at
In Japan the Masters that followed this way and that
reached recognition, they were considered, by the Japanese
Friday, 11 April 2008
...2007 BudoSai Bisham London
When in May of 2007 my friend, of long standing
(1970), Terry Wingrove, sent me an e-mail to
wonder, if I would have availability to participate
in the commemoration, of the English Karate
50th Aniversary´s BudoSai , in Bisham
London, with an initiation to the Iaido, I was
far from imagining, what I was going to find and
live in Bisham.
To start, the organization in terms of time-tables,
accomodation, transportation, support to the
participants, athletic facilities, everything was
of a fantastic quality... secondly the ambience,
between the Masters of the several Arts was
absolutely incredible, impressions were
exchanged, questions were answered, coments,
exchange of information ... I had never seen an
event of Budo, in which there was Karate, Jujutsu,
Aikido, Taichi, Kobudo from Okinawa , Iaido, several
styles of Kung-Fu ... where the Masters were
sitting down, exchanging impressions and
historical knowledge, without any cloud of
politics or the certain ... "arrogance" of these
events.The Algarve´s weather that I took with me ,
which lasted only the days of the BudoSai, helped
even more the traditional ambience, the possibility
of training in the nature, near the Thames or
under the frondose trees, of which my favorite is
an 600 years old oak , absolutely colossal and
whose energy emanation, was inviting to the pure
practice of Budo. Each one attended the course´s
practice, that interested the most or the course that
had wakened the greatest curiosity, the ambience
between several nationalities, was the best, they all
were interested to know, of where others were from,
and others were exchanging impressions on the
several Arts , Masters, methods of teaching and
personal visions of the Arts, very constructive...
The meals and chats took place in an ancient
Hunting Pavillion that belonged to the British Royal
Family, very refined, which was almost excessive...
to serve Budokas, which normaly are acustomed
to the " Pure Hard Work and Very Little Confort".
Besides being an excellent host, Master Terry
Wingrove, is a man who always made part of the
great World-wide Organizations and it has the
objective, that the BudoSai, happens annually,
in this place and with this ambience, of " NO
POLITICS " and that more and more people join,
Masters and practicioners, not only to extend
knowledge, but also to share the passion for Budo
within a Real Budo´s environment, which should be,
the goal of all Budokas.It would be impossible for
me to describe the beautyful ambience of the
dinner of farewell and that was, the true moment
of the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of
the English Karate . The enormous quantity
of Masters and of ancient athletes, some of my
old adversaries of Championships of the past ...
I recommend a visit to the site: CiberBudo, where
you will find detailed articles on all the events and
This year´s BudoSai, will be even better, in
terms of Masters and in terms of number of
participants. I think that, BudoSai will
become a great European event .
I hope to see you all, in Bisham in September for the
For more infomation please contact: CiberBudo
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Bushido, which is used with much lightness and easiness,
2 = Reformed Bushido = Tokugawa (Shogun)
1603 - XVII.
One treats the Bushido as the result (name that was gaven much
Confucionists, Nationalists, Chinese or diverted from the
Giri=Duty, Correction, Rectitude. Budo Shoshin
Shu = Elementary Readings on Bushido. Daidoji Yuzan
characteristics of those persons from Kyoto and Osaka.
That we all, would prefer life over death, it is an undeniable
The Seppuku was effectuated :
1 = To release oneself from a mistake or fault ;
2 = When the Lord died, to show him loyalty ;
3 = To show one´s displeasure on any decision or
In 1882 a complement to the Edict of the Seppuku, will prohibit
totally the practice of this ritual. The last two famous suicides
Two great rival families, distinguished at this time, the Taira
Yoritomo Minamoto, reorganizes Japan and reinforces
" Kyuba No Michi ". The capital. is Heian Kyo, and the Zen is
Muromachi Era = (1336-1574) period of anarchy due to the
The Ancient Bushido, was already, not corresponding to the
The unity of the family is still very strong. The diffusion
of Buddhism and Confucionism, is the deep sense of the Shinto
June ................. 21~22........... Gdansk....................Poland
June ..................28~29............ Hull... Yorkshire... ..England
a superb package deal to include direct flights, 3 centre (Kyoto.
Bullet train tickets, training with top masters and tickets to the
World Karate Championships in the Budokan,Tokyo
Monday, 24 March 2008
These rudimentary notes, were accumulated along my
stay in Japan of 70/73, with the intention of serving, some
day, to be part of the material, to be published, some time
around the year ..........? They reflect a lots of conversations
maintained, in a quite serious environment and with sincerely
interested people, in the deep study of Budo, with some
Masters of several Arts but specialy with Don Draeger, perhaps
one of most serious Ocidental Budoka , which, during 25 years
settled down in Singapur, where he established the magazine
" Martial Arts International ", of which I was a correspondent.
The world of sensations, that these notes hardly emerge, was
brought to me by the familiarity, with Mtr. Hayabuchi Iai-Do
9th Dan , National Monument of Japan for his knoledge in the
Arts of Kembu, Sho Do and Kabuki,( died in 1998) and whose
memory and spirit will accompany me for the rest of my days.
These notes are like the route drawn in a small map of the
Oceans, so they have a tiny dimension, when compared
with the real dimension of the World of the Budo ... "
Sensei Alex DaCosta
" There are two mountains .... where there is light and wisdom,
the mountain of Nature ...... and the mountain of the Gods,
between them stretches out ... the gloomy valley of men...
When once, one of them .......... looks at the top,
he feels a sign...................... an inextinguishable nostalgia,
he, who knows that............. does not know anything...
for those, who do not know ... that, they know nothing...
and for those, who know .......... that they, know everything .... "
The Great Masters taught that man does not live, in the past,
not in the future, but he lives in this moment ...(here and now)
BUDO = Way of the warrior ( includes all M.A.), it associates
closely the spirit and the body in a transformation or total
change. It is not possible to practice Budo for amusement or
pastime. We cannot approche BUDO lightly, it is a serious
decision. As soon as our feet touch the Dojo´s surface,
we are committed forever.
The Westerners need to understand and to analize, with a
critical spirit and to draw conclusions. Qualities that become
rapidly an enormous impechement, if we maintain this
attitude. An agitated and very occupied person cannot
understand or listen to the "silence". We can not learn if we
imagine that a discipline is, " by itself ", the finality of
all the things. If we oppose the body to the spirit, the
technique to the spiritual , if we believe that we will be able
to keep for us, everything that was been given to us :
" a received idea, will become a wall before the horizon " .
Every teaching presupposes stages (levels), but it is not
" to reach a goal ". The objective is to reach that moment
where the change operates, where the movement
produces movement, where man becomes his own Master.
Therefore the traditional teaching, puts the importance on
"practice", avoiding the verbal explanations, for reasons
that are obvious ... (words are obstacles).
What does it mean, the search, of the efficiency, at all cost ?
Such discussions, that oppose the “white” to the “black”, forget
that the body is a debate in itself, that we will not be able to talk
about real efficiency without the total power of the body and the
spirit. once we carry out this power, even a little bit, the man
notices, by himself, what is the sense of the "Way" and of the
"Search". Any discussion becomes a superhaste.The modern
myths of Supermen, the Invincible ones, they are a
dangerous invitation, stretching the arch of the energy to the
point in which the rope breaks, moment in which the man
"implodes" totally. Even if such Men become, commercial idols,
which are imposed to the wonder of the public, they will remain
on being disarticulated, animated by unreal energies and
powers, that because of not having been really assimilated, it
will turn, fataly against themselves...The "energy" is ... what we
do with it. It can become a fountain of life or a fountain of
death, of creation or of destruction. It does not exist a
particular wisdom in Budo, but Budo does not escape, to the
Universal Wisdom, which finality is not, nor the retraction
neither to dissection of the "Being", but realy, the plenitude and
harmony. To "Be", it is in this sense, to know, and to know, it
is to add energy to the energy, life to the life, love to the love.
This is the " Universal Way ". Those who really look for
" the way ", realize that, what is true teaching :is the "hard"
practice (witch is, the apprenticeship of the essential techniques),
it must allie with the "gentle" practice, like the movement must
be the expression of "breathing". If the practice is unilateral,
there will be, blockage and sooner or later the " road accident ",
(the diviation from the right direction ), will hapen...
Budo expresses life, it is therefore why, many Masters adapt
the received teachings and create new personal synthesis.
Such synthesis leed, frequently, to "perfecting", to "clarify" and
to "simplify" the fundamental "nucleus" and not gather new
techniques, to other techniques. If many Masters practice
different disciplines, (Iaido,Judo, Karate, Bo, Kyudo, etc.), it is
because, they are fascinated to find in the different Budo, the
same basic principles. The great tree of tradition, has a trunk
and inalterable roots, but the branches, they express, at the
same time Life and the "Become". The emanation of all realities
(the famous ”here and now”) it joins, with respect and deep
reverence the Universal Laws. When the feeling of the sacred,
is born, it is nothing rare at all or mystical, it is an everyday
life´s fact, a glance that includes the individual inside a "Whole".
Such feeling is born of the participation of the complet “whole
being", in this Universal fact, with which it links, it feels in deep
harmony. This harmony, is not another thing than, life itself.
The life integrates itself in the "become", what expresses the
law of the rotation and also the vibration of the continous and
discontinuous. The dialectic reasoning, the mechanic, the
quantitative thing ... everything that is the emanation of the
Western modern culture, breaks the natural "become" of the
things, it breaks the expontanious order. Conceptual and
abstract systems, have substituted this order.The rule, the
implicit "play" of life, have no longer place any more, the gentle
hierarchy stays away, (and by this fact), counter-nature is
produced and only conflicts result. It is significant to see how
the idea of "play", meaning, apprenticeship of the things on
their own, which exists in Budo. The custom, (that all Great
Masters, from Musashi to Ueshiba, practiced), of walking from
school to school, facing adversaries, to measure their efficiency,
this custom only has a time. What happens, when the Master
feels that he is the strongest ? He leaves the struggle, the
competitions and searches to know more. The meditation,
(abstinence), and the retirement, very often, during several
years, they substitute the fighting. And sometimes the
"enlightnement" is produced : that means the perception, at the
peak of the volunteer effort, of a non-will, even bigger and more
efficient, but this time, it does not look to cut the enemy, since
there is already, no adversary,"the other, became the Oneself "
The reality is not but a efect of mirrors, reflecting exactly what
we put infront of them. The " Enlightnement of the Masters " is
the expression, this time, of a vision of totality. Fundamental
experience, putting out all the oppositions, the interpenetration
of all the things, the indiscribeble movement of " becoming ",
the institution of one atemporal space-time, imperceptible
sliding of energies that are at the same time : light, vibrations
and sounds, all that, translating a strength so powerful and
sudden , that only the word Love in it´s most absolute sense,
can answer . The Orientals, very little inclined, to talk about
even simpler things, guard deep secrets of such experiences,
and precisely in Japan, there is a whole secret power of Budo,
and numerous Masters, who have taken refuge in the
Mountain, continue their lonely retirement.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
The spirit of the Martial Arts is not different, from the spirit
The times changed, but the fundamental principles, the deep
difficulty, in conceiving, how the idea of the Sword, that
this Way. Only the practice and the total endeavor of oneself,
The spirit and the body are two apparently distinct entities,
How to set the Ki? How to learn how to feel it, how to
and of the body conjugate.This knowledge alone, permits the
The "Nuki" should redress itself of a most supreme, deep ,
sword, "Nuki" is learned without Verb. If you want to live in
in the Belly (tanden). This pure soul that exists in the Tanden,
abandonment of themseves , can permit to enter the Sacred
exists between the adversary and the "I", while the Iai-jutsu is
"to see and not see the adversary, look at him, as you look at
meditation and the silence to obtain the calm of the "clear
healthy examples of the state of that one, that being a
The Kiai in battle can be definite as a force of union between
Finally the Sword represents the vector unique of those