Keep Going

I’m back from a 2-week visit to Japan, where 6 days of that were training. I’ve been a student of the Bujinkan for the past 8-10 years, although while training in Japan I felt like I’d only started.

After one difficult session, I asked a fellow student for advice on the train home. He confided that he had also found the training difficult. This was someone who had trained for 20 years so his reply surprised me.

“That’s the beauty of this art,” he shared. “There’s no end to how much you can still learn. But that’s also why people stop training — they can’t take that feeling of becoming a beginner again and again.”

It’s this ability that characterizes the Bujinkan’s oft-repeated mantra: ‘keep going’. The Japanese character for nin, or ‘perseverance’, has the heart under a knife: 忍 No matter how many wounds you take, persevere.

After another class, a senior instructor said it was okay if we didn’t get everything he had taught that day.

“The most important point is to keep going.”

People create all their barriers for themselves. It’s really such a foolish thing to do. We create our own obstacles and lose our own way in the search for truth. So it represents no barrier for me now. All that it’s necessary to do when one faces a barrier is just keep walking, paying it no attention. Just keep going, keep walking, and the obstacles disappear! In my case, when I appear to be in trouble and I think I won’t make it, I just keep walking. And so it continues, even today.

Masaaki Hatsumi, The Grandmaster’s Book of Ninja Training

5 replies on “Keep Going”

  1. Hi Alvin! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, always enjoyed your articles and insights.

    However I’m writing to you on a seperate note: You’ve piqued my interest regarding Bujinkan, and I was wondering if you could share information on where I could learn this martial art in Singapore? What’s the dojo history and routine like, and how much does taking up lessons cost?

    Cheers and best regards


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