The essence of Japanese Budo
a point of contact with Dance
by Akira Hino
(Translation copyright by Marico Ando)
If you call trees, forests, seas, mountains, and all the life exists there "nature",
human beings, also exist there, belong to nature.
If humans are part of nature, they have to move not against it; they have to be with the flow of great nature beyond human intelligence, such as "When the wind blows,the leaves are swaying in it."
Having thoughts correspondent to these, human have to live as part of nature.
The one who gained an insight into the essence of nature,
is a master of Japansese budo.
What could be the function and the movement as nature?
Master Itou Ittousai (1550-1632, uncertain) expressed directly in his famous words, "Even while you are sleeping, you won't scratch your foot having an ichy head.
It clearly describes your natural function, and we must use this human action."
It means we could take advantage of "unconscious action"
which works accurately on uncomfortable feelings.
This is a same thought as "Mu(emptiness)" and " Mushin (a mind without thought)" in Buddhism, which admonish people shaken by an ego, consciousness, a habit, or a stereotype.
However, Masters of trational Japanese Bujutsu(martial arts) did not comprehend "Mu" or " Mushin " religiously, but practiced in every battle at risk of their life.
Well, it's more approproate to say that they found out these thoughts by fighting at the risk of their life.
Battle is confronting life itself right in front.
That sharpens body and sensibility well, and produces concrete physical movement.
All that calls Budo.
It means, danger of life makes you realize the fact of "body as nature", and consequently, it leads to have a natural function as a creature.
These thoughts are the essence of Budo.
Budo embraces uncountable lessons, such as physical movement, philosophy and so on.
So, What kind of "body" is ideal for Budo?
That is a body, which could move by reacting to other's change, and to other's movement.
Moreover, not a movement determined in advance, you must be able to act naturally against others who desperately come at you with survival instincts.
To express that in a present way, it would be "a body which immediately reacts to every movement".
This connects to Contact Improvisation in Dance.
Contact improvisation is not to react to other's various ways of contacts with your habitual, arbitrary moves, but to move, involuntarily, accroding to other's physical direction or force adjustment.
Even in a choreographed movement, a body has to move instinctively with a relationship to other; in other words, a body has to naturally move along with other, like a natural phenomena "when the wind blows, the leaves are swaying in it".
Even if you INTEND to move according to other's movement, Do you actually DO so?
Don't you just move by yourself?
If you want to search for Contact Improvisation, you have to always verify this point strictly.
In Budo, your life would be jeopardized if you make it obscure.
Only with having severity, you could apply the method and the sensibility that Budo initiate you into, to refine a skill of Contact Improvisation.