True Swordsmanship-Furuya Sensei repost

originally published on October 25, 2002

What people have the biggest misunderstanding of in this world, I think, is the misconception in regards to: “receiving is not taking,” and “giving is not losing.” I think if we can clear up these two simple issues in our lives and in this world, this existence will become a slightly better place to live in. I truly believe this and think about this every day of my life. Indeed, I think this is what Aikido is trying to tell us.

Today, is sword class in our Dojo so I hope everyone will really try hard to catch the fundamentals. I think students may misunderstand that sword is simply swinging a wooden stick around but it is much, much more than that. If you have the opportunity to closely examine a real samurai sword, you will find that it is truly a magnificently constructed, highly precision work of art of great skill and tradition. I think you will immediately appreciate that this is not a crude or simple weapon to master. Swordsmanship is far different from what you see in the movies. So many students misunderstand that what you see in the samurai chambara movies and actual swordsmanship exist to two completely different worlds. Please do not be mislead by what you see in the movies or you will be greatly disappointed in real training. Finally, swordsmanship is becoming a “performance” art nowadays and this is completely wrong and not true swordsmanship at all. “Posing” and twirling swords like batons is not swordsmanship either. This is only “dance” with swords and this again is something competely different.

In over forty years in the martial arts, I have only encountered a few who I thought really taught true swordsmanship. I can count the numbers on one hand. These teachers did not have many students either so I understand that swordsmanship will never be popular if you try to stick ot its true path. Many years ago, my teacher said to only teach a few and it is not necessary to teach many people the sword. I thought that he meant that I should keep its techniques confidential and not reveal them. But now I understand much better, I now think he meant that it is much too difficult and most people will only misunderstand and criticize what you are doing. If you want to learn sword, you really have to committ yourself to the sword, there is no other way. . . . .