Jan Lau Vendelbo, 52 years 2.kyu Yakami Shinsei-ryu, 1.kyu Kodosoku-kai Gensei-ryu Karate-do, January 2012 trained since 2003
Are you clarified, in a life threatening situation, to shoot another human being?
Yes, I am, but this we will come back to later in this article.
On 27 February 2012 the first course in Project Old Modern Warrior, POMW! A was held. First course of a series of several in the instruction and training in the use of modern weapons. Present were around 30 specially invited Shindenkan students with at least 6-8 years up to 38 years of training, all were excited and hopeful for today’s course.
Exactly this modern weapons training is controversial and there has been a lot of talk about the merits of this course series. For what do we need modern weapons, pistols and revolvers for when we train a 1000 year old martial art? Is it not just some kind of man thing , a kind of shooting games, and therefore more for fun and pleasure, but which also cost a lot of money?
If there has been talk about just that, I think the talk and the idea thereof was quickly proved wrong.
For Kimu Sensei took us through a three hour exciting seminar which has just highlighted the merits of the POMW project – the use of modern weapons in our multi-track martial sports system. It has always been there, whether we like it or not.
The course was divided into two halves. The first part was a detailed story and explanation of the use of weapons in Japan’s history, the relationship with our karate and the multi-tracked martial sports system. Ryugi – why, how and where.
The second part of the course was about the firearm’s history. This part was relatively easy to relate to and was straightforward in our conception of evolution from smooth-bore weapons leaves with black powder and bullets, to the modern semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons with bullets. Although there has been an incredible development in firearms and their clout, then the gun that we must learn to use an relatively short-range combat arms with normal accuracy of a few meters to approx. 50 meters. Only highly skilled can hit consistently with pistol over 100 meters, for targets longer than this distance rifles is used, sniper rifles, or equivalent. There was in this context also talked about the close combat that requires a higher level of competence versus battle in long distance which required a lower level of competence. But whatever, we know that firearms are dangerous – of course it dependent on who is holding the weapon.
The first part of the course was more complex, and according to me, harder to relate to. It became very clear that Kimu Sensei had put many hours of work and preparation in today’s presentation and instruction. Minouchi Sensei (SST’s mentor) was quoted several times and he had already many years ago adopted modern firearms in our modern karate system and teaching. Weapons can kill whether it’s a knife, sword or a pistol, and therefore we must also deal with modern weapons of our time.
Kimu Sensei told us that there are approx. 1-1.5 million weapons in Denmark, where up to half of them are illegal and illegitimate. It is not only our soldiers in Afghanistan to deal with firearms, because with the large number of weapons we have in this country, we sooner or later may have to face a person with a gun. We were challenged, because how would we react in a given situation, if we stood in front of the ultimate threat? Would we hesitate – and if we did – wouldn’t we be dead?
Basically, the question was of our competence. Are we clarified? Do we have the right attitude and self-knowledge? And is the gun not just a metaphor, for being ultimate clarified and then able to kill?
Is it a matter of omote- the outside? Or Ura – the inside?
Minouchi Sensei was also controversial in his time. He challenged the established karate community and went new ways – also here with the use of modern weapons as we discussed today. I have not heard of other ancient martial arts systems that have modern weapons training, so are Kimu Sensei and Shindenkan going in to new roads?
I was clarified before I came to the course and I just as clarified after the course. If the lives of me or my loved one was threatened and was in extreme danger, then I could kill. For me it would be easier with a gun (if you just have this by your hand), with the knife it would be much harder and even hardest with the bare hands. Beyond that there is the distance between these weapons, and then there is the speed in how fast you can kill. But in the ultimate situation, I am fully clarified and would fight to the death if it came to that – with or without weapons – and whether if there is physical contact with an opponent or not – and thus take a life if it came to that.
On the course we did work with with the unclarified situation, and while others explained during and after the course “that they were better and more clarified and had a better understanding”, I must unfortunately admit that I have not yet seen the “light” for this clarification and internal self-knowledge (the bridge) during the course. Is that because I already was / is clarified as above ultimate situation?
According to Kimu Sensei and Koryo Bujutsu and Budo, there is consistency in Densho degrees and our (human) development. When we reach the Joden-Menkyo level then the bridge from martial sports over to the martial arts is reached and, consequently, a higher clarity and self-knowledge attained.
I wondered after this course on where I really was and how far I had come in Shindenkan and how I get on with it.
The course has not moved me in terms of being able or dare / wanted to use a firearm in the ultimate situation – for that I am already to do, but it have given me some questions in the process of how to proceed.
From omote – to Ura? How, how?
But perhaps this was what Kimu Sensei wanted from us? …