Iwata sensei's essays 6.
To make good progress with Dougi
29th May 2000
When we start learning iai, we all hope to make good progress. Some people practice very hard, and some don’t Everyone Wants to be better than the others. But some people envy the others progress.
This is the worst. Although they envy the others, they don’t think how to practice to make progress.
They practice just the basic gihou, faithfully and blindly. Many people practice only the basic, and don’t try to practice more than the basic.
This is just like learning at elementary schools and don’t try go on to the next of education.
First you have to learn the basic, and that should be the traditional basic. Then you have to proceed to the next stage. You have to change yourself.
You must think, research, and practice hard.
You must think how to grip tsukate, how to swing swords, how to move. You also have to think how to use koshi and hara, and how to use your eye power.
You have to make efforts by yourself to change yourself, and try to improve. You have to listen to the advice of your teachers and your seniors. You can imitate their excellent gihou, and you can ask them about your gihou. You can change yourself little by little, and you have to find out if the change you are making is correct. Then you can make progress.
According to yours progress, you have to change yourself.
When you learn kendo, you face an opponent all the time. So according to your progress, you realize you should change yourself.
But when you do iai, you don’t face on opponent.
You practice as you like without thinking, studying, and devoting yourself for years.
You have to think how to do enbu to be praised by spectators.
I want you to devise, research, and make efforts.
You have to change yourself to do excellent gihou.