Sitting At The Feet Of A Master

Sitting At The Feet Of A Master

I feel I need to document this as it’s rapidly deteriorating knowledge.

Our world turns on ‘easy access’, ‘easy to learn’, ‘learn quickly’, ‘learn in your own home’ and ‘get results fast’ and there are many businesses and franchises around to fill these needs, it’s not a bad thing, just the way that our culture has indoctrinated us and most people want to fill their ‘needs’ in this way’, often through books videos, online learning and/or from instructors that only have the basic knowledge themselves.

Beyond that there is a rapidly disappearing way of going deeper.

Respect is earned both ways between student and experienced teacher by the actions of both over a substantial period of time. This engenders both trust and loyalty. When these are earned the student is able to remove all obstacles to learning and absorb themselves into the teacher’s methods of training and study and learning can then go beyond structured thought.

This is called ‘direct transmission’ and can be gained by visual, auditory and through kinesics. Often it’s just the ‘feel’ of a movement when copying, hearing beyond the words, picking up on the character, hearing the sound of a movement, understanding a principle and micro adjustments that drop the body alignment into place. Through touch many different energies can be felt and understood. If the energies of teacher and student are not in harmony, none of this can take place.

This relationship is special and exists not only in the martial arts but any environment that requires advanced learning. It can only be developed over time, it requires both people to be present and committed and is fundamentally life changing.

I have been lucky in taking long term private lessons with my teachers in Karate, Iaido and Tai Chi, and in also studying meditation have had a mind that could accept these teachings. Most of my ‘indoor students’ have been with me for between 25 and 40 years.

Nothing wrong with modern methods of basic learning but I think it’s important to understand that to go deep you need to commit to much, much more on a personal level, but the rewards really are life changing.

One thought on “Sitting At The Feet Of A Master

  1. Your first sentence about “rapidly deteriorating knowledge” is something I think about all the time. Every time one of my mentors passes, I am instantly aware of the knowledge that just left us. I am always left with profound regret that I did not apply myself more or take more time to visit them or even ask more questions while they were here. We lose a friend but the world loses so much more.


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