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Erick Mead
11-18-2005, 09:35 AM
I am intrigued with exploring personal training experiences of Fudoshin -- immovable heart, and Suigetsu -- moon on water. These concepts seem very much related to me, although they are different in perspective.

The image of Fudo (Myo-O) holds both a sword -- to cut off fixations of desire, and a rope -- to bind flights of desire. You neither fix on an immediate problem, nor chase things out of reach.

The image of Suigetsu is a reflection of moon in water; no matter how you advance or retreat, it neither recedes nor advances -- perfection in maai: you strike, it dissipates -- and reappears as though never struck.

What personal experiences in training have you had in learning or applying techniques that demonstrated these, or helped you to grasp them ?

I'll chime in with my own if the discussion is of interest.

Cordially,
Erick Mead
:triangle: :square: :circle:

dj_swim
11-18-2005, 10:19 AM
Erick:

I don't have any experience with this, but I'd be very interested in exploring it. Do you have any resources (web, book, etc...) that I could check out? Anyone else have any? Thanks!

-Doug

Erick Mead
11-21-2005, 08:09 AM
Erick:
I don't have any experience with this, but I'd be very interested in exploring it. Do you have any resources (web, book, etc...) that I could check out? Anyone else have any? Thanks!
-Doug
The most classically applauded writer on fudoshin is Takuan. He wrote two works, extensive letters really, the T'ai-a Ki "Spirit of the T'ai-a" (a mythical sword that cuts anything) and the longer Fudochi Shinmyo Roku. " Divine Record of Immovable Wisdom." The last was written to Yagyu Munenori, head of the Shinkage sword koryu.
A translation of these two (although the chapter headlinks are not all properly titled) may be found here:
http://www.cjp.fi/liikan/liikan-jitsu/classic-extracts/unfetterred-mind/takuan1.html

There is also a fascinating ethics treatise by Takuan on the same site: "Clear Sound of Jewels"

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Chuck.Gordon
11-21-2005, 09:45 AM
I learned that he held the rope to bind enemies of enlightenment and the sword to cut through the illusionary world, thus revealing ultimate reality.

Also have read somewhere that the rope was to haul the enlightened out of hell and the sword to keep the damned from crawling up, but that maight not be as reliable as some other sources.

Personally, I wouldn't place too much stock in the mystical side of all the Fudo Myo-o/fudoshin thing, as even the japanese see it more as parable than as supernatural reality.

Also, I find the persistent overlay of Buddhist thought on a Shinto-based art a little, um, odd, but hey, whatever floats your boddhisatva ... :)

dj_swim
11-21-2005, 10:05 AM
even the japanese see it more as parable than as supernatural reality.

Oh totally, as do I, but when I hear of something that I've never even heard of before, it peaks my curiosity...

Personally, I'm not much of a "supernatural reality" type of person so much as a "learning by parable" person, so we're probably on the same page.

Thanks for the info!

-Doug

Chuck.Gordon
11-21-2005, 11:12 AM
Actually, I've run into the idea of fudoshin more in karate circles than in aikido, but as I understand it, the principle is fairly simple (and like most simple principles, is dreadfully hard to cultivate).

It touches on zanshin and mushin, and is basically (IMHO) the same idea as a boulder in a stream. The stone stands fast, unperturbed by the water flowing past. Basically, it's grace under fire.

How do you train for fudoshin? And again, IMHO, unless you can train the principle, it's worthless to talk about it to any extent. Shugyo, austere, rigorous training. Taking a hit and continuing with what you're doing, stepped up intensity, dealing with resistance (and slicing through wihtout 'muscling through'), learning to focus despite pain, distraction, etc.

Honestly, the best way to learn fudoshin is to get on the wrong end of a jo ro sword and learn to deal with it. This is one of the great and enduring values of GOOD weapons training. You learn so much faster at swordpoint.

YMMV.

Erick Mead
11-22-2005, 12:12 AM
How do you train for fudoshin? And again, IMHO, unless you can train the principle, it's worthless to talk about it to any extent. Shugyo, austere, rigorous training. Taking a hit and continuing with what you're doing, stepped up intensity, dealing with resistance (and slicing through wihtout 'muscling through'), learning to focus despite pain, distraction, etc.

Roger up on all that. But simple fortitude and focus is not, repeat, NOT, what I take away from Takuan or training in fudoshin, and the reason why I counterpoised fudoshin with suigetsu.
Fudoshin seems to me to be the heart of kaeshiwaza. Reversals present themselves without looking for them and you kind of flow into them, no planning, just a sense that THAT is the way to go/fall/turn, etc. Oddly enough, I find that most opportunities for kaeshiwaza occur when the opponent loses suigetsu, and either closes in or opens up out of rhythm. A shihonage too soon (or late) extended out leads to koshinage kaeshiwaza; a shihonage too soon or too late closed in can lead to a yoko-ukemi drop and an inside sacrifice throw.
Focus, in the sense of imperturbability, which seems to be what you are suggesting, is almost antithetical to this aspect of fudoshin, which is clearly described with equal emphasis in the Fudochi Shinmyo Roku.

As to Buddhist imagery, Ryobu Shinto has conflated the mythic imagery of the two systems since the 7th century, and the modern (late nineteenth century) differentiation was an artifact of the nationalist program to magnify the Imperial cult. As to the use of the imagery, what ever aids in understanding ...

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Thalib
04-17-2006, 03:56 AM
This is very interesting, there are a few sensei out there that could give a depiction of fudoushin and suigetsu during training. Although some would say that it is not Aikido.

I have felt different effects, but the most feeling I had is losing energy and control. I am not talking about when a technique is executed, but before, during, and after. He just envelopes you that you just lose energy, you're already out of breath even during your first attack.

As for doing it myself, I haven't got to that level of understanding yet. I'm still on the level of manipulating the energy that is given to me. So in a way, some effort (non-physical) is still needed. But, then this still falls into technique.

When you are in fudoushin you have become the calm water that is reflecting the moon, therefore the attacker is only attacking himself.

thomasgroendal
02-15-2012, 04:44 PM
I would say that Fudoshin is the principle and Suigetsu is a metaphor used to explain it.
Fudoshin is literally unmoving or unmovable mind. Unfortunately we are often inclined to interpret this as a sort of stubbornness or mental stiffness.

In its most childish form this "hardheaded" interpretation would remind me of someone repeating "I know you are but what am I" over and over to win a schoolyard name calling contest.
In more complementary terms the stubbornness often associated with unmovable mind might be someone dealing with changing circumstances and obstacles by putting on the blinders and charging straight through or simply punching a board until their knuckles are mush by "zenning out the pain". While determination is admirable and important, I don't think it is Fudoshin.

The image of Suigetsu is evocative as a description of Fudoshin. The moon on the water is unmoving, but it is not stiff. No matter how many times you splash the water it comes back. The moon on the water is itself only an image of a greater object (Mushin) which cannot be touched directly. It is also a widely adopted zen allusion—permanent but impermanent, undeniable but unattainable—and Suigetsu appears in poetry, theater, etc.

The founding words of SMR Jodo translate as "Grab the Jo and know the Suigetsu". In this case it's a call to spiritual arms.

As for training, two points come immediately to mind.

Focus on the action of the moon's image on the water when it is perturbed. It inexorably reforms on the surface. Engage in randomized practices and learn to adapt quickly rather than trying to never lose your concentration. Randori and ukemi are good opportunities. (The part where you maintain your integrity, not the part when you go passive and fly through the air.)
Meditate. Pick points of direct contrast and maintain enough of them that you can't think anymore. By doing so you can empty your mind so the chatterbox in your head can't get a word in edgewise.
Zazen has these and more: finger tips touching but not touching, tongue touching but not touching against the back of the teeth, teeth touching but not touching, eyes closed but not closed, etc.
Most martial arts practices are filled with these contrasts. (Use your hands, but not your arms, focus on what's behind you while fighting the guy in front of you, etc.)