May 29, 2010

Recommended reading

There's been a bit of a flurry recently in published information on the 'Ethical Warrior.' Thought it would make for some good reading over the long weekend.

Jack Hoban just published this article in the "Marine Corps Gazette," called Developing the Ethical Marine Warrior. It's a great read, and comprehensive, providing terrific overview of the concept.

This next one was written by Manuel de Joya, an Aikidoka and local Chicago writer, who participated in Jack's recent Chicago seminar. Manuel writes on martial arts for the online "Chicago Examiner." I trained with Manuel during the seminar - he's a great guy, a talented martial artist, and a good writer to boot. He also took some great photos, a slideshow of which can be viewed at the end of the article. Check it out.

Have a safe, enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. And take a moment to remember our fallen soldiers, as well as those still serving.  

May 23, 2010

The Ethical Warrior

I know what he wants, but I have to be sure. I mean, he’s got a spear. Not too many folks ask me to attack them with a sword when they have a spear, you know? It’s not something you take lightly.

So, I pause. Granted the spear is wooden, but sharp at one end, and I’m in no mood to wind up with seven and a half feet of wooden spear in my mouth. I like my mouth just the way it is – spearless. In fact I say, the less spear, the better.

So, I pause. I make sure. Maybe I make sure again. Then I attack. But I don’t finish the attack because a spear sails under my sword, under my arms, and past my right ear.

Somebody says, “Oh, my god …” It isn’t me, but I share the sentiment.

That was just a moment of mine with Jack Hoban, who taught a terrific seminar yesterday. Thanks, Jack!

We were fortunate enough to be joined by folks from Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, and across Illinois. My great thanks to these Buyu for their support – I wish we could train together more often; not only are they great Budoka, they’re great people, quietly committed, and serving their communities.

Check out the photostream:

Jack did not disappoint or mince words. He wrapped his message inside his Taijutsu and it is clear: train together and ‘keep going’ – but it’s not as easy as we think. It takes perseverance, patience, and not a little bit of courage.

Training can be scary. In fact, facing a spear may have been less daunting than answering some of Jack’s questions; hard questions that illuminate more than just their answers.

What is the essence of Ninjutsu? Of Taijutsu? Of martial arts? What is the purpose of training? Why are we better people because we train? Are our martial techniques and tactics reflective of our personal morals? If not, why not? Are we even certain as to what our personal morals are – what is the magnetic north of our moral compass? What are warrior values? How do they impact our tactics and techniques and make for better Taijutsu?

What if there were a single human value, a value so powerful, realization of it could stop disrespect, stop violence, stop killing, stop war? And what if we could learn to recognize it? Learn to activate it in others? Everywhere with everyone we met? Could we make the world a better place? Yeah, I know, my brain hurt all afternoon.

Jack Hoban is on to something, he calls it the ‘Ethical Warrior.’ He’s taught more than 500 seminars around the world over the last 30 years and isn’t slowing down – this year he’s off to Italy, Germany (again), and Argentina, to name a few. Not to mention he’s been teaching what he knows to the Marines Corps for years, and they’re paying close attention.

Think I will too.