In Japan last week, I was once again thrust very quickly into the regiment and discipline of a very traditional martial arts dojo. Though I have trained for many years in Japan, I soon remembered that there can be no error especially as Sensei reminds all that enter the school, that I am his first non Japanese student. The throws of Daito Ryu are severe. The person being thrown must also carefully feel the direction of the technique to be able to land correctly. Being thrown with these moves requires full commitment from both sides, hesitation leads to injury. If the person that is throwing slips or loses focus, the consequences can be fatal.
Each time I go back to Japan to train in Daito Ryu, my old friend fear meets me as soon as I get off the aircraft. Knowing what is coming up, it’s no wonder that I just want to turn around and go straight home. But my body keeps moving in the direction of the dojo and my mind just follows along, constantly rotating thoughts on why this can’t be good for me. Before I know it, I am in my uniform and bowing on, no turning back now.
My first session and I was hoping to ease into it gently, no big throws just yet please, yet when my training partner asks me; “Andy what would you like to do first?” I hear myself saying “Lets practise the Black Belt throws please.” So I am on the edge of the cliff and I am about to jump off, fear is there it’s eating away at me with negative self talk and self doubt…it’s not too late, I can still make an excuse. My partner throws me and does not hold back, several times I land badly but still get up and move in for more, each time I strike my mind hesitates just for an instant, then I release fully into the moment and into the move.
Fear is normal and has protected me in many situations. But fear can crush you. It can take you quickly in the opposite direction to where you set out to be. The mind can often make situations far worse than they really are. We can become frightened by the fear. Freedom is feeling the fear, accepting that it is normal then moving forward into it. All whom have achieved or excelled into the unknown in any endeavour have accepted fear, where not crushed by it, and have moved through it.
Northstar Ju Jitsu is also taught by senior Black Belts at their own studios'.
These are independently run from the Headquarters .Andy Dickinson Sensei is the head of and founder of Northstar Ju Jitsu and oversees the teaching of his program.
All Black Belts are graded by Andy Dickinson Sensei.