I use expression:”I never met a good person, who had easy life!”
I practice and learn Bujinkan Ninpo Budo Taijutsu/Ninjutsu 33 years and Warrior/Martial Arts now 43 years.

So, Soke always give me something to research, to think, to feel, to live. I am proud that Soke push me in my life in many ways. With his words, with his deed, with his advice, with his teaching, with his training.
When I was heavily wounded in War, he never showed me a pity, He just said,”Now, you must practice harder. And I done, much, much harder.
When, he ask Dai Shihans to show techniques a fight against 2 or 3 person, He said: “Dean, against 5 person!” Even I was that time much lower rank.
He never give me easy way and easy time. But after I understand that, this is because he want to show me and teach me high level and push me over my limits. All those things helped me in my life and especially helped me in the Croatian Homeland War. Helped me to understand Warrior arts better.

Last time in Japan, from my teacher Hatsumi Soke I get an Makimono with the Tiger. My teacher words to me was: “Tiger come from fog to safety and search for Dragon!”

The Dragon and Tiger symbolize the balance of power. The Dragon represents yang and the Tiger symbolizes yin.
The Tiger symbolize physical world. The Tiger represent physical strength, eager to fight and demonstrate skills. The tiger represent power, strength, aggression, action and fights.

The Dragon signifies the mental and spiritual world. The Dragon represent an enlightenment in Warrior long life journey. The Dragon is physically strong, however relies mostly on intellectual combat. The strength of the Dragon comes from within. The Dragon is not eager to fight, instead he contains the knowledge within and only unleashes it went forced to as a last resort.

Soke Hatsumi knows my story of combat, War combat, hard practice, my Military and Police work. So, after long time of combat, now is time to search my Dragon, as he named me ShinRyu, (Heart of Dragon) long time ago.

So, Soke Hatsumi always gave me hard Shigoki.

In Warrior Arts is always very important Shigoki Keiko (Keiko = practice, research). Shigoki means learning through hard, difficult, vigorous, danger, real combat training, with a dose of pain and danger, to understand better and develop our capability in combat. To understand meaning of word Shigoki and the essence of the point we can separate on three ideograms: Shi = death, Go = wisdom – enlightenment, Ki = spirit – mind.

That’s mean that from hard and dangerous practice, you can understand reality and get wisdom, cultivate your spirit and mind.

I remember our Bujinkan training in ’80s and ’90s. It was really painful, with lots of bruisers, blood, cuts,…But only in that way you can understand reality. But people from those time understand art more deeply and respect practice, learning and art itself. Only strongest “survived” and get right knowledge. But this kind of practice and understanding, helped me a lot in War and my SWAT work.

Hard training also separate real students from fake students, strong minded students from weak students, people who really wish to learn and people who just play for a while…Soke was hard to us and then was really painful, but we was happy because we understand a lot.

Today many things changed. Soke gave Shihans to teach, and training depends from person to person and from knowledge, understanding, and experience of the teacher. Today Soke teach more principles then techniques, but all students should go through Shigoki training, to understand this Warrior art.
Today people become more soft, lazy, easy, full of excuses, full of themselves, without putting themselves in Shigoki.

Many people look for comfort and easy training, but reality and the essence of Warrior Arts is painful, danger, life threatening. Especially today.
So, if people do not put themselves in Shigoki, do not take responsibility for themselves, they will get hurt in reality. Or die. (Of course who had never in those situation, they could not understand!) So, if you do not understand reality of Warrior arts, you waste your time, because it is not useful.

Do your Shigoki Keiko, to understand Warrior arts. Because how you practice you fight, how you fight you practice. Remember that Warrior arts was made for protection, defense and survival. Fight for life is not nice and it is brutal as fight for life is. People who made those Warrior arts through history made it for their survival. This was life living.
Understand the essence of the Warrior arts.

So, to back on my first sentence: “I have never met a good practitioner, a good teacher, a good master, a good Warrior, who had easy practice, easy learning, easy training, easy fighting…!!!”

 

Dean Shinryu

 

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