Perfection of Character:
In the document that has been become known as, ‘The Esoteric Principles of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu,’ Professor Okazaki states that one of the main goals of practicing Danzan Ryu is perfection of character. However, when one considers the possible meaning of this statement, one is left with several questions. The first question that comes to my mind is what is perfection, character or otherwise? Secondly, what does it mean to perfect one’s character? Is this a statement that is meant to indicate that one’s character will gradually be converted into some of sort of acceptable set of behaviors, likes, and dislikes, or is it meant to be an individual endeavor leading toward one’s understanding of one’s self? Perhaps, Professor Okazaki was alluding to the fact that one cannot fully understand one’s self, or understand in totality any body of knowledge? I cannot say what his intentions were in including this statement in the document that he presented to students upon receiving a certain rank, or level of understanding regarding Danzan Ryu. Perhaps, he provided this document to his ‘graduates’ to remind them to remain humble. If the latter is true, then I would suggest that many high ranking Jujitsu practitioners return to this portion of the document for closer examination.
It has been said of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu that it is capable of adapting to a variety of fighting styles, or rather personal martial preferences. In other words, one can focus on certain groupings of techniques, master these groupings, and be able to defend one’s self within this group of techniques. I believe this is not only true, but part of Master Okazaki’s intention in creating such a varied martial system. However, what does this have to do with the subject of this post? Plenty! If the system is flexible enough to accommodate any student’s martial preferences then it is also comfortable in accommodating various personalities, or character types. Therefore, it can be said that Danzan Ryu Jujitsu will in fact lead to the truth of your character, and will do this if we have strength to endure. My personality, and my character are not the same as anyone else’s, and the same can be said of every other person. A good example of this principle can be found in the movie, “The Seven Samurai.” In short, a group of Samurai are hired to protect a village, but what is interesting about the group is the differences between each of them, yet all were master swordsmen. The other important point this movie makes is that none of these men believed themselves to be complete; they continued to practice their art, each knowing that there is always room for improvement.
This I believe is one of the major issues with many martial artists in America, and perhaps other areas as well. People tend to believe they have arrived, and they choose to stop training. That is not to say that they have stopped teaching others, or going to regional, or national functions, but that they have stopped looking into the mirror of truth, and have settled for what they are, or worse, believe they are complete. This, however, is very serious mistake that leads to arrogance, and frankly it diminishes their ability as martial artist. Perfection of character may or may not be attainable while on this earth, but I have yet to meet even one person who has perfected him or herself. Conversely, I have met hundreds of people who believe they have done so, but this is really only an excuse for not wanting to try to perfect their character.
Danzan Ryu Jujitsu is a living system, and it meets anyone where they are and it is able and willing to take a person as deep as they wish to go. Professor Okazaki assembled a traditional martial system, and traditional martial systems are as complete as the human can create. If you choose to become a student of this martial system, then please choose to become a lifelong student, and do not fall into the trap that so many others have fallen into, which is believing that the system is completely understood, and there is no need for improvement regarding the system, or the self. Professor Okazaki also includes a powerful statement, ironically near the end of this document: “Only by cultivating a receptive state of mind, without preconceived ideas or thoughts, can one master the secret art of reacting spontaneously and naturally without hesitation and without purposeless resistance.”
Without going too much longer, we must realize that this document was provided to those who had already attained a level of skill in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, and that the above quote was meant for these people. Preconceived ideas also include self-perceptions. If we tell ourselves that we are complete and need no more understanding, then we will not have room for greater understanding of the deeper principles of the system, and we will have killed that which is alive within us- Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. We are all students regardless of our length of time of study of this system.