When I was young, I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser for Parkinson’s disease. The key note speaker and guest of honor was the legendary, Muhammad Ali. At that time public speaking was difficult for him, but I will never forget it. It was a defining moment in my life. Ali spoke about his career as a professional boxer. What stuck with me, even after all these years was this.
Ali explained that over his career he faced many fighters. He said that some of these fighters were even better than he was. Something that grabbed me coming from arguably the greatest boxer of the 20th century. He said that he faced fighters who were stronger, faster and even more technically proficient. Great fighters that possessed more skill than he did.
But then he explained, the one thing those fighters would not have or be able to overcome, was his will. When Ali stepped into the ring he would not be beaten. He would not stop, he would not give up, he would not relent. And he would not allow his opponents to overcome his will. Ali said that many of his fights were won not by his boxing skill or technique, but by his will and determination alone. He would never yield.
In Bushin Ryu we strive to cultivate and harness the power of indomitable will. Which does not mean immovability or insensibility. It does not mean stubbornness. In means a true strength of will. In Japanese, the samurai used to call this philosophy, Shinnen. In Japanese that word can be translated simply as, belief. But to the samurai, it was much more. It was an unwavering, unyielding conviction that not even death would sway the warrior from his commitment.
Let me say again that this concept is not rooted in stubbornness or insensitivity. It is a sensitive awareness that allows us to follow through on our convictions. It is victory over the fighting mind and living life intentionally. Honoring our words and acting with sincerity instead of ego. We are all fellow strugglers. Shinnen is the power to turn those struggles into victory.
About the Author Stephen Ewing, Hanshi: Hanshi Stephen Ewing is a professional martial artist and former Army Ranger with over 30 years of experience training and teaching. Hanshi Ewing has extensively studied Japanese martial arts with a focus on Tenshin Koryu Ninjutsu as well as Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai and Kenjutsu (Japanese Sword) before finding his true passion in Bushin Ryu Aiki Bujutsu. Besides being Kaiso’s right hand man in the Kyokai (martial arts organization) he is the Chief Instructor of the Godai Shinshu Dojo. He brings both an analytical perspective to the study of martial arts (he was a math major at the University of Arizona), as well as a deep perspective on connection and feel. You might possibly spot him somewhere in northern Arizona (if he doesn’t see you first!). You can read more of Hanshi Ewing’s articles at: http://mesamartialarts.comShare