Recently, many of my more advanced students have been out for one reason or another. Health, career, family, pets, vacation are all valid reasons to miss training. We need to go out into the world to come back refreshed and attack our training with new vigor. I think this is the reason for so many of Furuya Sensei’s words connected to beginner’s mind. We can all remember the infatuation we had at the beginning of something almost to the point of obsession. This fades quickly as the day-to-day reality begins to sink in and we begin to see things we don’t like. The key is to try to maintain an openness for discovery. I have only been training in Iaido for eighteen years, so I discover something new nearly every time I train or teach.
Because the students who are further down the path are away, I am able to focus on our beginners more closely and work on the fundamentals. Already I see them developing their bases for cutting and developing extension, and discovering their centers and working on maintaining their stability. It is a gift to be able to watch them discover and it made me wish all my students were there so they could revisit their beginner’s mind. I will just have to be patient and wait for them to be back in the dojo. O’negai shimasu.