My name is Mathis Elmgaard Isaksen – I am 21 years old – I have trained since I was 14, I am graduated 3rd kyu Yakami Shinsei Ryu, 1st kyu Kodosoku-kai Gensei-ryu Karate-do, in the summer of 2011.
You may progressively feel now, that you have become quite accustomed to Shindenkans courses. This I can say after having been in the system in a period of 7-years. Maybe some of the black belts laugh and say that I only have seen the top of the iceberg, but let it be like that. I do not say, that I in any way can predict what will happen to these courses in the future. I would actually say that one is actually a little bit surprised every time. And that’s just great!
For the POMW course this was particularly evident. For myself (and many others that I know of) was one of the first thoughts, “now they are going mad !” And I questioned whether it was really necessary to begin working with firearms. I mean, was it not enough already, with the skills that comes from the original system?
Most of all it was perhaps this, the first of three parts of POMW A, did tried to answer. What is the relationship between Shindenkan and modern firearms,? After the course, it occurs to me that name POMW – Project Old Modern Warrior probably not is entirely coincidental. For I would say, that if you believe that the POMW course, is exclusively with firearms, then you are totally wrong and may on the other hand be absolutely right. If POMW merely is a course in the use of firearms, so it perhaps should be called Shindenkan Teppojutsu. (Where the word ‘Teppo’ or ‘ho’, is the term for a firearm in Japanese). This is not the case, and the name POMW tells us that the course is about more than that. Namely the bridge between the old warrior, as we know it and are dealing with in Shindenkan, and the modern warrior who uses the latest technology on today’s battlefields.
And it’s really not surprising as it might sound. For in war and martial arts, the essentially has always been the practitioner’s level of self-awareness and inner clarification. Are you clear about why you might have to pull the trigger to save your or anyone else’s life? Are you clear about the consequences and your own reactions? It is such kind of questions that will need to be answered in POMW A. Not because it is new to us. We have already trained to use many kinds of deadly weapons. But when it is a gun, it’s getting so easy to kill with it that we suddenly cannot run from the reality. During the course, Kimu Sensei assessed that 70% of us would be killed very soon, on a battlefield, because through a very simple test we showed that we were not clarified enough.
So to answer previous questions. Yes, we probably could make it with the original competencies. If the goal is simply to create competent and clarified people, we probably could do it without lifting a single weapon. But that’s not what’s important! Firearms are weapons like any other weapon, and for us is therefore a tool, a real and concrete tool, which makes it easier for us to deal with reality and the things we are unclear about.
Moreover Yakami Shinsei-ryu is a timeless system. A multi-track martial sports system, that’s relate to the real world. And therefore POMW is a manifesto on this timelessness. The system that we train, though it is 1000 years old, is still just as relevant and effective in the modern world. The interesting thing about POMW is, that before the course was made, there were no shooting competencies in Shindenkan, at high level. This is no secret. But the old warrior’s spirit and with the ancient and timeless skills, there have been created a process that can make our own quality standards. This is my belief, after the first part of the POMW A course and it will hopefully also be my belief for the next 2 parts :).
We are often greeted from other people, that they think that Shindenkan is a weird karate system. And yes it is too! Often I am not sure, if I even want to call it a karate system anymore. For what we practice is not what defines us. It is the way we train it! The way we benefit from the ancient skills and use them to look inside ourselves and become strong and clarified people in the modern world. With the POMW project this is just getting clearer. And with these words I say thank you!