Philosophy of Nami Ryu

In Nami ryu we are seeking to continue the knowledge that has been passed on for generations. I believe that to have true value the training most adhere to the functional demands of the environment which bred them. The core of our training is the sword. All of the principles and techniques are originate in the art of the sword and then manifest in the other disciplines. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost we try train for the highest level of potential force. That is those situations which demand the most from us and are the most dangerous to us. Purely empty hand training, which are large or total part of many modern arts, had little place in an age where everyone was armed. The reality of any environment where a person’s life is at stake is they will use whatever means necessary to preserve it. Using weapons is far more effective than not using them. This is as true today as it was for all of our ancestors. To be effective in a weapons based environment all techniques must adhere to the requirements of that environment. The operating system and techniques in Nami ryu adhere to the proper use of the sword. The principles and techniques in the jujutsu and aiki jujutsu curriculum are done exactly as you would use the sword. While this is no longer true of most arts with their modern influences it is absolute for us. This practice keeps the art pure and connected to its origins. In my opinion it also makes what we do the most effective that it can be.

When I am talking about operating system I mean how human physiology and psychology can access and interface with the laws of physical reality on both a Newtonian and Quantum physics understanding of that reality. All beings are bound by these laws. Our understanding of and conformity with these laws enables us to transcend normal human function. We are able to use those forces that have been given to us by the Creator, to transcend our fears. When studying an art of the depth and breadth of Nami ryu we learn that this world and this Universe are not about us. We are no big deal, the sooner we get over trying to control events through our fears, we begin to free ourselves of those fear based constraints. This allows access to forces and energies both physical and psychic that are a free gift for the taking. It is not possible to advance on this path of study without evolving who you are as a person. When you give up the ego mind based fears what you get is far more than you give up. It is universe law that you have to give to get however the rewards of giving far outweigh anything that we can give.

The normal training sequence for classes, once students have learned the Kihon Waza, is iaijutsu. This practice is done with a live sword and teaches balance, control, function, as well as respect for the sword itself. Using a live blade is demanding and the inherent danger focuses the mind and accelerates the progress of the student. The student can practice Iai jutsu on their own, this is not as easy to do with the other arts. This quiet time of practice builds the understanding and sensitivity that is necessary to advance on the path of the Way.

Kenjutsu brings into play working with another person. It allows the student to begin to understand and manipulate the three physical variables, distance, timing, and relationship. As the student progresses on this path he begins to exchange ken for kan. That is that his physical sight changes to perception. To quote Miyamoto Musashi “Perception is strong, sight is weak.” Perception allows us to become aware of those things that we cannot see. At higher levels you will begin to see into your opponents mind and he will not be able to deceive you with his actions. This development of haragei is an indication that the true art is being learned. This perception enhances the students ability to understand the hyoshi, rhythm timing, that Miyamoto Musashi talks about in “Go Rin no Sho”. We also adhere to his admonition that speed is not a part of the true way of strategy. Speed implies that something appears fast or slow because it is not in timing.

Aiki jujutsu is an ura or inner manifestation of kenjutsu, which is omote or outer. At its higher levels in is not possible to see why techniques work. When one adheres to the movements and principles taught by the kenjutsu the aiki jujutsu is greatly facilitated. Those arts which no longer do functional kenjutsu lose the connection to the past and their art diminishes. Aiki jujutsu is done in the last part of the training session because it is an evolution of kenjtusu and having done the kenjutsu training facilitates the understanding of the aiki jujutsu.

Tameshigiri, the practice of cutting with the sword, is an integral part of training in Nami ryu. Tameshigiri is done to confirm that the kenjutsu techniques will actually work when the sword is used to cut. The target cannot lie and the feedback for the student’s techniques is immediate. Tameshigiri however must be done from a kenjutsu standpoint. It is not difficult to cuts mats or bamboo with the sword. The sword after all is designed to cut. However kenjutsu cuts must adhere to the tactical requirements of the techniques of the ryuha. Preparatory movements before cutting mean that your opponent will have the opportunity to see your technique and counter it. It is also necessary for the cuts to be made from inside the body juntai ho, not using the arms. This will be made clear as the student is taught and practices what he has learned.

There are other arts taught as a part of the Nami ryu curriculum however they are in general only taught after the student has achieved at least Chuden level or higher. Nami ryu is a principle based art. Principles are not arbitrary, they are Universe Law, and once understood can be applied in many different ways and circumstances. These principles will generally be taught by verbal dissemination. Many years ago Don Angier, as a gift, gave the principles of Yanagi ryu to an instructor who had befriended him. This was not however a man of honor and he published the principles and claimed many of them as his own. This verbal transmission has worked for centuries, the true student will learn them as you teach.

Remember this key fact, what doesn’t work doesn’t matter. We must constantly remove those things that do not contribute to combat function. This is how the true arts evolved in the first place, functional trial and error over centuries.