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2015 New Year's Greeting!
Happy New Year!

As we move into the new year, it is my pleasure to share my heart-felt thoughts about Tenshin-Ken (天真剣).

This has a lot to do with philosophy of life and my search for the changes that I believe we all hope to see in our world. But as usual, let me take a technical approach first!

Tenshin-Ken, Practice and Your True Self

As you know, in Shintaido we have a large group of kumite forms that fall under the category of Kirioroshi Kumite.

Within this group of movements, Tenshin-Ken = Daijodan Kirioroshi. We take turns cutting through our partner’s core. That physical movement cuts away tension, opens up blocked places, and frees our inner self (“Jiga”). In this process, together as partners, we can reach “Muga.” Unification beyond conflict: 1+1=1

A famous Japanese poet wrote a haiku:

shizukasaya iwa ni shimi-iru semi no koe

“The silence fills everything, even the rock. And then the voice of a cicada …”

When most Japanese people read this haiku, they think of a beautiful summer day in the country.

But when Philippe Beauvois, one of my students in France, studied this poem, he came away with a completely different understanding:

The silence = complete silence, a world in which noisy thoughts and unnecessary things have been completely cut away

The rock = the ego that is wrapped up in the self

Semi no koe = a message from nature, Tenshin, ends up penetrating your true self

So to put it all together,

“The silence quiets noisy thoughts. Unnecessary things slip away, and my ego is finally quiet. Hear that? The universe is speaking.”

Escaping Our Privilege

In Rakutenkai there were two Okada brothers. Everyone knows Mitsuru Okada, who was a founding member of Rakutenkai and is now a master instructor. But a lot of people have never heard of his younger brother, Gan Okada, who was also one of the core members. Before I left Japan to be a Shintaido emissary around the world, I managed the Shintaido headquarters in Tokyo in the 1970’s. We had a little office in Shinjuku, and Gan Okada helped me a lot with the human relations side of running that office. Like his brother Mitsuru, Gan drove a taxi for a living, and when he got off work he would come in to the office, when most people would want to eat or relax or sleep. He didn’t have a lot of business skills such as accounting or administration, but he was wonderful with people.

Gan had a really big heart, and he was concerned about things that most other people didn’t think about. He was concerned about women who were being used by the underworld in prostitution, and he would show documentaries in the Shintaido meeting space about the difficult lives of single mothers who had children. He was so passionate that the Japanese secret police started keeping an eye on him.

We were all young, and most of us were just crazy about martial arts. We loved to move our bodies, and we loved the feeling that we got from the keiko, but we hadn’t really integrated our martial arts practice into our hearts. But Gan already knew, at a deep level, why he practiced Shintaido.

Gan loved a song by the Japanese singer and songwriter Nobuyasu Okabayashi:

Here is what we dream!

We dream of no more sorrow,

We dream of joy not yet seen

We must not be trapped in sorrow

Let’s turn toward the unseen joy, and fly in that direction!

Okabayashi worked with disadvantaged people, almost like what some would call a slum doctor. But after a while, he became famous, and wealthy people would attend his concerts. Okabayashi then turned the song upside-down and invited the audience to not be trapped in their wealth and privilege, but to get out and go into the world of disadvantaged people.

Gan Okada had that same feeling. In Rakutenkai, he always encouraged us to get out of our privileged position and share our lives with people who were having a hard time. Of course none of us had any money, but we were healthy and excited about our practice. And most people wanted to stay around Aoki-sensei and practice with him, rather than going out to help the world. So Gan was often frustrated.

After I left for the U.S., Gan went back to his small hometown in Aichi Prefecture. The biggest city is Nagoya, but Gan was out in a very rural area. He supported himself as a taxi driver, and started a private daycare center to take care of mentally and physically disabled young people.

That was 35 years ago. He has been helping people ever since, and now is the director of one of the most successful nursing homes in Aichi Prefecture. He truly embodied his dream of helping disadvantaged and forgotten people; he made it happen in his life.

My Current Understanding of Tenshin-Ken

Simply speaking, the spirit of Tenshin-Ken can be expressed in the Italian phrase” Bella Ciao!” Bella Ciao is an expression of a deep passion for life.

The Hasta Siempre music video by Nathalie Cardone captures my passion about empowering people around us. In the video a young mother with a nursing baby in her arms and a rifle on her back is walking through the streets of a small South American village and out into the fields. She walks past poor people who are hopeless, some of them slaving in the fields, and they put down their tools and come with her.

Nowadays I’m very passionate about original spirit of Bushido – the heart of the martial arts – that is at the center of my life work. While Budo is the technique of the martial arts that many of you have studied, Bushido is much deeper.

In developing Shintaido, Aoki-sensei stripped away all the attractiveness and packaging of the martial arts, as well as its connection to Bushido. He chose to remove the connections to Bushido due to the environment in Japan at the time — the Japanese military wanted to use Budo to strengthen its culture.

So Aoki-sensei practiced and taught a pure form and movement (detached from its context).

Shintaido’s philosophy revolves around opening, stripping away and discovering anew. So now, having practiced the form Aoki-sensei gave us, we’re left with the question, “How do we strip away the surface of our own practice (i.e. deconstruct it) in order to find our own form and true essence?”

For me, Bushido means standing at the edge of life and death on behalf of others. We need the courage to stand up for those less fortunate – to inspire people to stand up for themselves. That involves two steps – 1) Finding one’s true essence and gaining strength and inspiration and 2) Taking action to make that possible for others.

In Shintaido, Tenshin-Ken became kirioroshi kumite and we’ve gained great insight by practicing it. We’ve work hard to give up our ego and go beyond the self. But that can also become a kind of self-centered enlightenment without the second step. If we get stuck at the first step, we miss the courageous message of the video and the opportunity to be truly free and unified. When we stand up and say “No!” to an unfair situation, like the suffering of the poor people in the video, we’re no longer defined by our ideas of personal risk and loss. Our own courage emerges, and with it our true self, which is much bigger than our ego-self.

The original message of Tenshin-ken is the ability of someone who is really weak or in an unfair situation, to connect to Ten (Universal Truth) and express themselves and change his/her life. My hope is to re-infuse this original message of Tenshin-ken into Bushido.

In order to realize this, we have to step out of our comfortable and privileged lives, and reach out to those less privileged than we are (Step Two). The question is, “How can we create space for others to gain their voice and stand up for themselves?

Gan Okada was very clear about why he was studying with Aoki-Sensei: to develop a sense of social justice. He took in the values and practices of Shintaido and translated it into social justice action. We each need to find a way of translating our learning into something that creates a positive change in the world, drawing on what we’ve learned in Shintaido.

I hope we can rediscover the original heart of Bushido this time.
Looking forward to going with you into 2015, into this new world of courage and hope.

Haruyoshi Fugaku Ito
January 1, 2015


Many thanks go to Lee Seaman and Tomi Nagai-Rothe who helped me express my message in English, and to Partick Bouchaude who helped in French!
This Ito writing….

Time flies very fast! Already more than a week has gone since we were together in Reims, France. Hope you had a chance to receiver yourself from the post Gasshuku “Blues” !

Please allow me to share “What I Really Wanted to Say at the Closing Ceremony" with you this time! (Thank you, Nagako Cooper, Tomi Nagai-Rothe, Lee Seaman, who helped me translate my message in English, and Patrick Bouchaud, who did in French!)


I was very humbled to receive so many words of gratitude and praise at the Forum closing ceremony. However, I realized that event organizers should have received the words of gratitude – all those who smoothly did their assigned roles behind the scenes, the ESC staff who created the new Forum-style gasshuku, and the group that gathered in Coye La Foret and started to dream 10 years ago!

Praise and gratitude should also go to Minagawa sensei, who led the last plenary keiko and assisted me throughout the Forum and in the instructors’ workshop.

There’s a saying by Saicho who founded the Tendai sect of Buddhism:

What are a nation's treasures?

True riches are one's faith in Buddha (道心 /Doushin)

and those who call it so (who have Doushin)

from times long ago it’s been said

that true riches are not material things

but that which shines light into a dark corner (一隅を照らす/Ichigu-wo-terasu)"

In the Shintaido movement, our treasures are the instructors and their assistants who hold Shintaido classes in their communities, spending their free time after a day's work, teaching Shintaido to make "your body bright" and "your heart strong!” This poem by Kenji Miyazawa, a poet and children’s literature author, from the beginning of Showa period (1920's) expresses the way I see the role of those instructors and assistants in Shintaido.

Ame nimo Makezu — Not bowed by the rain

Not bowed by the rain

Not bent by the wind

Not crushed by the snow or summer's heat

With a strong body

Not bound by desire

Never losing temper

Always quietly smiling

Every day four bowls of brown rice

Miso and some vegetables to eat

In everything

Count yourself last and put others before you

Watching listening understanding

And never forgetting

In the shade of pine woods near the fields

in a little thatched hut

If there is a sick child to the east

Going and nursing her

If there is a tired mother to the west

Going and shouldering her sheaf of rice

If there is someone near death to the south

Going and saying there's no need to be afraid

If there is a quarrel or a lawsuit to the north

Going and telling them to let go of this waste of time

When there's drought, shedding tears of sympathy

Worrying with the farmers when the summer is too cool

Called a nobody by everyone

Without being praised

Without being blamed

Such a person

I want to become."

Fugaku Ito


Thank you, Marc Plantec!
Confirming the True Self/Core Self - Workshop 2014
Dear Taimyo practitioners around the world,

Greetings from France!

I will fly back to San Francisco on July 27, and will lead a series of 5 Tuesday meditation classes at the San Francisco Day Street Dojo during July and August.

This summer, I would like to focus my teaching on the 10-position meditation and on Kenkain Hoko (Flower Walking), to help us find our True Self / Core Self.

Those of you who have been practicing with me for the last few years will be familiar with Bamboo, which we have studied together in the past. I recently came up with a series of exercises that I believe will really help you confirm your Bamboo experience.

If Wakame Taiso helps us to approach to an egoless state, then these Bamboo-confirming exercises help us to build our True Self / Core Self.

Does this sound interesting to you? Then please join us at the Day Street Dojo on the following dates, or transcend the limitations of space and time by viewing the YouTube video(s) from the class:

July 29, August 5, August 12, August 19, & August 26

Looking forward!

H. F. Ito
Greeting-evening session in 2014 winter
Dear Friends,



When Japanese people speak about a person who has passed away, they say “Ii hito ga saki ni yuku!” (“The good ones go first!”)
Last year we lost 2 good friends who used to be very active in the Shintaido movement in the US & Europe:

• Christophe Bernard who actively practiced with us on the west coast of the US passed away in August.
(for more information about him, please check the SOA newsletter from last Fall at: http://www.shintaido.org/docs/bin/BD33_Sep2013.pdf)

• Caroline Raievsky, who was the coordinator of the European Shintaido College in the 2000s, passed away last month.
(Those who were at the Shintaido International in Italy in the summer of 2004 will remember her well; she was at the registration desk when you checked in.)

I am in France now. On Wednesday I fly back to SF, and I’ll stay in the Bay area for 3 weeks.
While I am there, I’ll lead 3 classes* of Taimyo meditation at the Day Street Dojo in SF.
At every class, I would like to start with the Tenshingoso Ritual, wishing Bon Voyage for Christophe & Caroline.

Please come to practice with me there, or join me by going beyond time & space!


* a Winter series of 3 Tuesday evening class on January 21, 28 & February 4
Song-Rou, Xu-Kong, Yuan-Man 2013.7
鬆・柔、虚・空、円・満 Song-Rou, Xu-Kong, Yuan-Man

These 6 characters effectively describe the development of mind and body in the practice of Tai Chi Chuan.

As we progress in keiko, a number of mind-body characteristics start to develop: 鬆 "Song" meaning relaxation, 柔 "Rou" (the character for flexibility, meaning soft resilience), 虚・空 "Xu-Kong" (the characters for deficiency and emptiness, meaning that within ourselves we respond naturally to stimulus from outside), 円・満 "Yuan-MAN" (the characters for round and full, meaning that we are naturally filled up with universal KI energy).

鬆 "Song" means relax, or loosening.

柔 "Rou" means “soft and flexible” We also have three additional Chinese characters that express similar feelings: 軟 (“Ruan”, meaning soft and fluid), 軽 (“Zhi,” meaning soft and lightweight), and 静 (“Jin,” meaning soft and quiet).

So never stop thinking about “Song-Rou” whenever you do standing meditation, kata or push- hands.

松・柔 "Song-Rou" becomes a growing part of your awareness, your inner self will be more and more filled with deficiency and emptiness.

True natural movement begins from true internal deficiency and emptiness; then your body will respond easily and gently to outside stimulus.

A relaxed body makes instantaneous judgements from the skin sensors and other input, and responds naturally and appropriately.

There are many famous Chinese medical texts that contain information related to Tai Chi, making it very difficult to distinguish any essential difference between martial arts and medicine. Meditation returns the inner Tanden to its ideal state, filled with the same life-force as a newborn baby. This is the same as the ideal state in martial arts. In other words, the spiritually of Chinese martial arts is the power to live as a natural human being.

From an article written by Professor Tomoji Miyamoto, Chuo University:
“The World of Ma Chang Xun, Fourth-Generation Master of Traditional Wu-style Tai Chi” Chinese Martial Arts for the Body, Mind, and Spirit –
DAIGA: Traveling the Universe
By H.F. Ito

I was thinking recently about how much I enjoy practicing with all of you around the world. I learn so much from each one of you! This year I’ve cut back a bit on plane trips, but three things have helped me travel freely all over the universe:

(1) One-handed seated Tenshingoso (in a folding chair)

(2) Hoshizora (starry night sky) Taiso

(3) A life poem written by my mom not long before she had a major stroke a few years ago

Many of you are familiar with the four basic principles of Jiga (自我,personal self) Muga (無我,nothingness self), Shinga (真我,true self), and Daiga (大我,great or universal self). I’ve been learning a lot lately about Daiga from one-handed seated Tenshingoso, from Hoshizora Taiso, and from my mom.

I do one-handed seated Tenshingoso very slowly, with the other hand held ready and awake at my side. I make sure to move slowly and mindfully, and alternate sides. The chair takes care of gravity, so movement is almost effortless. As my arm and body sweep around, every cell aligns with its neighbors. This takes time, so it’s important not to rush. I remember what I’ve learned in Tai Chi – to go slowly, move fully, and relax. When I do it right, I can feel the ki energy moving through my whole body. I’m connected to the ground below, to the sky above, and to the people around me. I feel focused, renewed, and at home.

For Hoshizora Taiso, I go out into the night and reach up into the sky, toward the stars. It feels like each star is pulling me upwards, out of my personal self and into the bigger universe. Sometimes it’s hard to come back, but of course I do, because I have some things that I need to do yet, that are not finished. Afterwards I always feel more relaxed, at peace, and connected.

With regard to my mom’s poem, in Japan we have a tradition of writing “jisei no ku.” One translation is “end of life poem,” but I think “life summary” is more accurate. I believe my mom had an insight into “Daiga.” Many of you know that she had a very serious stroke several years ago. Her body is still here, in a hospital in Japan, but I think her universal self is already traveling.

The poem that my mom wrote goes like this:


After I am dead
The road ahead, a pathway
Walk the universe!
Hints for Meditation-2012
Hints for Meditation

• 自我  無我  真我  大我
 Jiga  Muga  Shinga  Daiga
 Self   No-self  True self  Greater self

• 天/大宇宙 = unfathomable
Ten / Dai-uchu
Heaven / Greater Universe

• Dark Energy & Dark Matter:

It turns out that roughly 70% of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 25%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the Universe.


• Pascal’s remark:

Le silence ιternel de ces espaces infinis m'effraie.

San Francisco workshop message-2012.7
Dear Friends:

It was my great honor and pleasure to be invited as a Goreisha at the Shintaido International event held at California State University in Sonoma, California Tuesday, July 3 through Friday, July 6.

All of my appreciation goes to those who made this event happen!

Now the time has come for our 6 Monday Meditation classes in San Francisco – part of the Life Exercise Program.

I would like to start our first class on Monday evening, July 30, with the Shintaido "ritual" that I led at the 4th practice of the Shintaido International. Using Tenshingoso 'O' & 'Um,' I will invite everyone to connect with both nature and the wisdom of humankind.

Thank you for your participation in the Life Exercise program and for helping me develop variations of Tenshingoso on folding chairs. I believe this will help us expand our imaginations to experience Unification of Self & Ten/Universe – allowing us to go beyond time/space/energy!


A Summer Series of 6 Monday Life Exercise Classes
at the Day Street Dojo
in 2012
Please mark the following dates on your calendar, and join us for class!
July 30
August 6
August 13
August 20
August 27
September 3

A Healing Cycle
Choshin - Chosoku - Choshin
(body conditioning) - (breathing) - (connection to others)
Release tension from your shoulders, and your breathing quiets
As your breath becomes quiet, your mind calms
As your mind and body become calm, your breathing deepens
As your breath deepens, your consideration of others improves
As your Ki energy reaches others, the people around you become more
relaxed in your presence
Happy Holidays! 2011.12
Hope everyone is well and enjoying your Shintaido in your daily life!!

The year of the 10th international gathering of Shntaido is coming....

I am very much excited by the theme chosen for this event, which reminded me of the old teaching of Japanese Samurai Lord who was the military advisor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi*.

It is my pleasure to introduce this teaching to you and let you taste, chew, and digest an old philosophy of Japanese Worrier!

The Seven Teachings of Water by Kanbei Kuroda**

- It is water that moves others by moving itself ...
- It is water that constantly moves, seeking a path ...
- It is water that, when blocked, finally breaks through with 100 times the force ...
- It is water that cleans itself, washes away the dirt from others, and can encompass both clean and dirty ...
- It is water that runs down to the sea, turns to steam, turns to cloud, turns to rain, turns to snow, turns to fog, freezes into a mirror of ice crystals, and never loses its own character ...
- It is water that cools the summer heat, refreshes thirst, heals dryness, and sustains all living things ...
- It is water that always tries to go lower, shapes itself to any container, creates terrible chaos when it is angry, and permits nothing



My special appreciation should go to Lee Seaman & Tomi Nagai-Rothe who helped me this translation!

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyotomi_Hideyoshi
** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuroda_Yoshitaka
Reflections on a Taimyo Class by David Palmer-2011.8
Reflections on a Taimyo Class with Master Ito
By David Palmer
August 9, 2011

Once again I was very inspired by Ito’s class last night. Besides the new material (the new embodiment of bamboo and the breathing exercises), I wanted to share some thoughts that came to me in the opening discussion of Taimyo.

My observation has been that there are typically two times in most people's lives when the Gauguin questions (Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?) naturally arise. If, at one or the other of these moments, the internal structures are put in place to address these questions, then the individual shifts to a higher stage of consciousness that results in a more compassionate worldview towards not only themselves, but also the whole world. The point is not to answer the questions, but rather to create a framework that keeps the questions alive.

The first opportunity occurs sometime during adolescence or young adulthood, when the emotional and economic umbilical cords are broken with the parents. This "rebellious" period is when a person first differentiates himself or herself from that of the parents and family (and perhaps from the surrounding culture and institutions) and begins to find their own way in the world. The obvious question arises, "If I am no longer simply the parrot of my parents (or my religion or my culture), then who am I?"

If the separation does not occur at this point and the "big questions" are not confronted, then these tend to arise a second time in the form of a "midlife crisis."

This occurs approximately halfway through a person's adult life when the reality of the limited lifespan looms large and the "what have I really accomplished in my life" question arises. Often, these people look back and realize that much of what surrounds them, their careers, relationships and possessions, is a result of meeting external expectations rather than finding their internal path. Because they never struggled with the big questions of meaning, they feel their lives are now meaningless.

If this moment is embraced then their lives often shift dramatically. If not, well there is always Prozac.

In our discussion of the origins of the Taimyo practice out of the 9/11 tragedy, it occurred to me the whole world is at one of those existential crisis of meaning moments. While the government's response in 2001--let's everyone go shopping--was wholly inadequate to the psychological need of the moment, Ito’s response in creating Taimyo was timely and deeply appropriate.

Ito’s class is a structured opportunity to expand our consciousness into the soul of every cell of our bodies so that we can experience and embrace all of the pain and all of the potential that surrounds us without shattering. By allowing us to safely experience the sensation of our "panic" or "rock" modes, we are able to face the fears that underlie these stances and that disconnect us from the fullness of the moment. By contrasting Wakame and Bamboo modes, we can discern when each of these healthier alternative stances is the appropriate response.

In class we are able to truly embody and embrace both the pathological and the healthy options so that we can make truly conscious choices in our lives.

Thanks once again to Ito for his lifelong commitment to exploring structures that support our personal growth and cultural evolution
New! Ito's message 2011.7
D'oω venons-nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Oω allons-nous ?

Two events early in the 21st Century have changed the way we view the world.

(1) The 9-11 attack showed that there is no safe place in the world, and government can't protect us. After the attack, Osama bin Laden continued his activities for over 10 years. The US spent billions of dollars to stop him, and inadvertently created more terrorists along the way.

(2) The great earthquake/tsunami showed that there is no safe place from natural disasters, and technology can't protect us. Even Japan, which has the best anti-earthquake and anti-tsunami infrastructure in the world, was devastated. Many people in Japan are now opposed to nuclear energy.

Three environmental effects are also becoming clearer:

(1) Human activities are increasing climate change.
(2) Old sources of energy are getting expensive or shutting down, and new sources of energy are not as convenient or cheap as we are accustomed to.
(3) Fresh water is increasingly in short supply.

These events are having a profound effect on the way that people think about themselves and the world. For a long time, we assumed that our lives would continue to get better and better. And we defined "better and better" as "having more material goods and services.

We are now at a turning point. Do we try to keep going the same way, or do we choose a different path? What does modern civilization mean to us? How will we design our lives for the next 10 years? What action now will be best, not only for us but for "the children of the children of our children"?

The August workshop will use body wisdom to approach these issues, exploring Gauguin's questions of D'oω venons nous? Que sommes-nous? Oω allons-nous? (literally, Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?)

Things to think about in preparation:
• How do we sustain keiko (our practice) in a post-peak energy world (living light) ?
• How do we respond to an aging society (death without fear) ?
• How do we nurture the next generation (new perspectives on a good life) ?

p.s. Thank you, Lee S. & Tomi N-R. for being my editors!
Message from Dr. Emoto Masaru
Dear Friends,
Here is a simple way to join in one mind for a healing. Perhaps better than watching the news, making a difference. A simple idea that can make a profound difference.

Hope you can join in. Please pass along to others who can send their healing energy. Thank you.
Blessings, Naomi

A letter from Dr Masaru Emoto... ( He is the Japanese scientist who has researched how water responds to consciousness)

To All People Around the World,

Please send your prayers of love and gratitude to water at the nuclear
plants in Fukushima, Japan!

Day and Time:
March 31st, 2011 (Thursday)
12:00 noon in each time zone

Please say the following phrase:
"The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant,
we are sorry to make you suffer.
Please forgive us. We thank you, and we love you."
By the massive earthquakes of Magnitude 9 and surreal massive tsunamis, more than 10,000 people are still missing.even now. It has been 16 days already since the disaster happened. What makes it worse is that water at the reactors of Fukushima Nuclear Plants started to leak, and it's contaminating the ocean, air and water molecule of surrounding areas.

Human wisdom has not been able to do much to solve the problem, but we are only trying to cool down the anger of radioactive materials in the reactors by discharging water to them.

Is there really nothing else to do?

I think there is. During over twenty year research of hado measuring and water crystal photographic technology, I have been witnessing that water can turn positive when it receives pure vibration of human prayer no matter how far away it is.

Energy formula of Albert Einstein, E=MC2 really means that Energy = number of people and the square of people's consciousness.

Now is the time to understand the true meaning. Let us all join the prayer ceremony as fellow citizens of the planet earth. I would like to ask all people, not just in Japan, but all around the world to please help us to find a way out the crisis of this planet!!

The prayer procedure is as follows.

Please say the following phrase:
"The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant,
we are sorry to make you suffer.
Please forgive us. We thank you, and we love you."

Please say it aloud or in your mind. Repeat it three times as you put your
hands together in a prayer position. Please offer your sincere prayer.

Thank you very much from my heart.

With love and gratitude,
Masaru Emoto
Messenger of Water

Taimyo at the Day Street in SF
Dear Members of the Taimyo Network around the world:
Greetings from SF CA!
I will be leading a series of Taimyo classes at the Day Street Dojo in SF starting this Monday!
Would you like to join me/us in meditation beyond time & space?

Monday, January 24
Monday, January 31
Monday, February 7
Monday, February 14
7 -8:30pm
426 Day Street

The following is a message of encouragement that I received from A-sensei 10 years ago...
Really started appreciating it recently!
It is my pleasure to share it with you this time.....

Shintaido works in our lives at so many different levels.
At first the Keiko opens our minds and hearts, and lets us experience a kind of freedom that we have never known before.
Then, if we go completely through that process, we begin to see the Keiko as a way to direct and shape our lives.
But if we keep going until our Keiko expresses the great flow of life-force from the beginning of time, then our lives will go beyond our expectations and our Keiko will be made complete.

From a new year’s message Ito received from Hiroyuki Aoki, on January 1, 2000


Le Shintaido opθre dans nos vies ΰ tant de diffιrents niveaux.
Au dιbut le Keiko ouvre nos esprits et nos coeurs, et nous permet d’expιrimenter une sorte de libertι que nous n’avions jamais connue avant.
Puis, si nous traversons complθtement ce processus, nous commenηons ΰ percevoir le Keiko comme un moyen de diriger et faηonner nos vies.
Mais si nous continuons jusqu’ΰ ce que notre Keiko exprime l’immense flux de force vitale depuis l’origine du temps, alors nos vies iront au-delΰ de nos attentes et notre Keiko sera achevι.

D’un message de Nouvel An reηu par Ito de la part d’Hiroyuki Aoki, le 1er Janvier 2000
From workshop in Washington D.C.
Comment from the workshop held in Washington D.C. on Dec 2009
Martial arts for piece
What is peace, to you?
Dear Friends & Taimyo Practitioners:

Greeting from Maslives, France!

911 has come again.....

What is your plan for praying "World Peace" today?

I would like to share the responses to my question I received from some of you this time!

Hope it will help you deepen your meditation!


What is peace, to you?

Just wanted to share another Kansha (gratitude) experience with you. We just got back from a week camping near Yosemite where I had the chance to climb Half Dome. What an experience! it is truly a grueling, spectacular hike. I started at 7AM and finished by 5PM — an all day 18 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 4800 feet. Probably the toughest hike I have ever done. When you get to the base of Half Dome, you finish by climbing 400 feet of cable. It really takes full body/mind focus and determination to make it to the top. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a beautiful and amazing hike (and to have made it to the top!). This was my 50th birthday present to myself and I am grateful to be genki (vital) enough to undertake such challenges.

I experienced many wonderful things on this hike, but the most meaningful was observing people relate to one another. Because we were all facing an extreme situation – a very difficult hike coupled with a challenging, scary climb – we recognized we were "all in the same boat." When humans realize this it tends to bring out the best in the human character, i.e. cooperation, mutual concern, kindness, helpfulness, encouragement, inspiration, etc. This is what I found all along the trail – people genuinely helpful, caring and encouraging to one another – especially during the really difficult parts. It reminded me of what happens after natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, where people recognize they are "all in the same boat" and need to row together to survive. This ties in perfectly with Peace. In my opinion, for Peace to be possible, we must experience the interconnection of being "all in the same boat." Without interconnectedness, we fall prey to division and separateness, and then we can justify war, and evil in general.

My wish for all of us is that we regularly touch the experience of all being in this together, "all in the same boat." This is the foundation for Love and Peace.

Brian Johnson
Massage Practiyioner
San Francisco, California USA


This a question that often goes straight into war. . . ! Especially if I try to give MY POINT OF VIEW . . . . For me, this is not my first wish. My first wish is to be inhabited by love. And LOVE, when it arrives, makes it possible for peace to come with others . . . and in me . . . .

Francoise Leclercq,
Retired Teacher/Meditant
Eragny s/ Oise, Paris, France


I am currently putting together the next edition of Taimyo, the British Shintaido newsletter, in which I asked Masashi Minagawa a similar question:

BSN: What do you think the connection is between Shintaido and world peace?

“Peace is very important to many Shintaido practitioners. In 2000 I went to Northern Ireland for a ‘Way of Peace’ conference with the Dalai Lama; I did a small demonstration there. A Christian priest asked the Dalai Lama what we could do to promote peace, and his response inspired me . . . He said he personally believed that if we keep the light inside us first and then give it to the person next to us to brighten them, our community will become bigger and brighter. That is the way to make peace. The important point is nonviolence . . . So I showed Tenshingoso and thought ‘I must keep the light of Tenshingoso and Shintaido in my heart and not let it go out.’ Whenever, wherever you are, you can always do a performance of Shintaido and share something. Even with a far-away conflict, our small community can make a contribution to world peace. I am trying to find partners with whom I can do this and I think that also connects with making world peace. I don’t try to do anything big, just small things: that’s a Buddhist idea too. I read this a long time ago, but only recently have I really come to understand it.”
– Masashi Minagawa

As you may know, I am a Quaker, and Quakers talk a lot about peace. The founder of the Quakers, George Fox, once said “Some people say ‘Paul said this’ and ‘Jesus said that,’ but I ask you: What canst THOU say?” In Shintaido terms that translates as, “Some people like to quote what Aoki Sensei wrote, or what Minagawa Sensei said in an interview, but I am far more interested in what you think yourself.” So I had better answer this question for myself too!

To me, the first condition of peace is absence of violence — not absence of conflict. We can never achieve that nor would we want to. But conflict can result in violence – i.e. destructive behaviour of any sort – unless it is resolved in a way such that all parties have the opportunity for growth. So peace is making, and taking, the opportunity for growth (Tsuki kumite – karate partner engagement).

But that’s abstract and theoretical. Peace can obviously be described in terms of sensations: sights, sounds, actions and feelings, and that’s what you have asked us to do. The media fills us with a lot of clichιs: children laughing, sunsets over mountaintops, people from different backgrounds hugging, incense in churches and temples. For me, it’s about being with people I used to be wary of – people who feel different, dangerous – then discovering they are human like me, finding how much we share, listening with humility and respect, and being heard, too. It’s about encounter, surprise, a sudden expansion of my world combined with the awesome sense that I might have helped expand their world too. So my answer is – peace is about feeling surprise, excitement, hope.

Peter Furtado
Oxford, England, UK


To me, peace equals harmony. Whether one speaks of or experiences world peace, inner peace or peace of mind, one is talking about harmony: a social agreement, amicability, cooperation, consensus, good will, sympathy, tranquility, unity, understanding, oneness, togetherness, balance, accord, fitness, and in musical terms, consonance, concert, melodiousness, etc. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the right mixture of apposing elements, collaborating to create a better resulting element: harmony. peace. When we manage to achieve it, the results can be a mixture of contentment, sadness and fulfillment.

As a Libra, harmony is the balance I strive for constantly, if not successfully.

Mario Uribe
Santa Rosa, California, USA


Inner Peace means something that can give power to me for controlling anger, envy or a wicked heart. If individuals could have such power, it would lead to World Peace.

Akira Watari,
Weekend Shintaido Practitioner
Fuchu, Tokyon, Japan


Peace is very much related to freedom. There is no possibility for peace without freedom. So, what is freedom? I have lyrics from a song in my mind:
“The only true freedom is freedom from our heart’s desires . . . .”
The moments in my life I felt in peace were the moments I wanted nothing.
Nothing to say, nothing to think about, nothing to do. Quietness.

Kirsten Reinders
Shop Manager/Mother
Cologne, Germany


Peace for me is to look to the world without an emotional prism, even when there are troubles around us. The emotional prism comes with ego and fear. Without it, the world is bigger and we have a better relationship with ourselves and others. It’s like having no fight with the present.

Julio Dain
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil


For me, peace isn't quiet and it isn't calm. It's very active. Its smell changes constantly, ranging from smells I recognize and love, to others I don't really care to smell. I guess it's fair to say that peace for me isn't especially peaceful as some people might define the word.

I'm most at peace when I'm doing something I love and believe in. Those are the times I feel like I'm closest to getting it right. The times when I feel I'm fully appreciating my time here. Sometimes peace can be quiet and meditative, but the peace I cherish most is active. It's the peace I find when I'm working on something important to me or when I travel to new places. It's the peace that comes from learning and having fun while learning that rings my bell.

I never really thought about it in these terms before, but maybe this is what world peace looks and smells like too.

Lee Phillips
Software Enginieer
Richmond, California, USA


For me, Peace is a vast ocean totally being lulled (凪の大海), probably in the midnight with a full moon at the top of the sky, without any perturbations. But if there are any perturbations, they are merged in the big stillness of the ocean.

Shin-Ichi Matsuyama
Practitioner in Accupancture & Moxibustion
Oosaka, Japan


Peace for me . . . .
A calm, quiet, aware connection to Source, which brings me into the oneness of the All - being one with Source. When I am able to carry this peace in/with me I am able share it - send it out to All. For me the look, sound, feel, smell and taste of Peace is that of the beauty of nature.

Joanne Watson
Home Maker/Caregiver
San Francisco, California, USA


I saw a 1964 film clip on TV of Duke Ellington playing "Mood Indigo" and I heard Peace all around me; the trio of clarinet, trombone, saxophone breathed mellow wind notes that were whole, round, complete. The musicians' effort came by way of their practice, expertise, effort and their love. There were long exhalations of smoothly flowing air and close harmonies that went to their very edge. As I watched them play, it seemed each of them was truly present to each part of the sound. The sound is exquisite and the pleasure complete. So the sound is one of balance and completeness and moving beyond to another song, another place or another time. The effort is one of individual effort and discipline and love performing in concert with others who have similar backgrounds and focus.

At the Ocean Beach workshop, when you were demonstrating a move with Shin Aoki, you cautioned, "Don't get involved." We laughed because it seemed as though we weren't to get involved with Shin. But the larger instruction, it seemed to me, is to not get involved in my partner's response, and continue my movement in concert with my partner's movement. Now, I'm thinking of it again, having read Tom Brown, Jr. and his report of Grandfather's lesson: Vary your vision. Now, I think these two instructions are about peaceful action on my part: focus, deliberate attention and full commitment to the personal task and, AT THE SAME TIME, awareness of all that surrounds the two of you in this moment. In other words, stay alert in both worlds -- the personal and the outer.

Up to now, I guess I have assumed Peace is a static equilibrium, comfortable for everyone. Right now, I'm wondering if Peace is moving, always moving with energy and full presence and all the resources I've gained so far with others, who are also sending our their 'whole selves' through their action.

Barbara Barnard
Pacific Shintaido
San Francisco, California, USA


My mum is asking me to translate the following quote from Oscar Wilde:

"Il ne faut jamais rencontrer les gens que l'on dιteste parce qu'on finit par les aimer"
– Oscar Wilde
Et alors tout commence . . . .

"We should never meet the people we hate, lest we end up loving them"
She then adds:
And then everything begins...

Patrick Bouchaud
Shintaido Instructor
Zurich, Switzerland


a state of constantly changing/transformative equilibrium, where no information or energy is lost

Henry Kaiser
Scientific Diver
Oakland, California USA

I think that a dynamic, or living, peace is well defined by the traditional Buddhist precepts, or guidelines, for living:

1. Do not kill, but cherish all life.
2. Do not steal, but respect the things of others.
3. Do not cause harm with one's sexual actions, but help to preserve harmony in all relationships.
4. Do not lie, but tell the truth.
5. Do not intoxicate body and mind, but be clear in one's thought and actions.

Mushim Ikeda-Nash
Buddhist Meditation Teacher of Retreat for People of Color and Social Justice Activists
Oakland, California, USA

July 2009, San Fransisco Workshop
Hello from San Francisco!

I returned to the Bay Area on July 20, and will be doing workshops and giving private lessons here until early September.

This includes a six-week program in Taimyo meditation that I will be leading every Monday night at the Day Street Dojo in San Francisco. Please join us if you can!

For reference, I recommend the following book:
Instinct for Freedom, by Alan Clements, New World Library
(You might be interested to know that the title of this book in Japanese is "Dharma Life".)

Hope to practice with you this coming Monday night – July 27!

-Fugaku Ito

P.S. Please forward this note to anyone else who may be interested in attending.
Reading Instinct for Freedom
Dear Taimyo Practitioners and Friends:

We are coming to the end of our 6-week Taimyo Meditation series at the Day Street Dojo in San Francisco – doing weekly practices together and daily practices on our own, as well as reading Instinct for Freedom by Alan Clements. I am grateful that so many of you were able to participate in this workshop series, either in person or from a distance. Did you notice some changes in yourself or the people around you?

Below is an e-mail I received from Shin-ichi Matsuyama in Osaka, Japan. I would like to share it with all of you as an example of how I'd hoped everyone would use the practice and reading to expand their awareness.


Dear Ito-Sensei,

I've just finished reading Instinct for Freedom (in Japanese, "The Dharma Life."). Thank you for introducing me to such an important book – it really reminded me of your "White Magic" approach to Shintaido. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"My relationship is me."
Page 199 (paperback version)

"When I am in doubt, I ask myself if I am avoiding relationship or engaging it."
Page 200 (paperback version)

"We must be both relaxed and attentive, able to rest and play at the same time!"
Page 190 (paperback version)

Clearly, we must learn to live with cosmic ambiguity while struggling to grasp greater truths. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin informs us of both the struggle and its resolution: "When every certainty is shaken and utterance fails, when every principle seems doubtful, then there is one ultimate belief that can guide our inner life: the belief in an absolute direction of growth to which our duty and our happiness demands we should confirm." Page 188 (paperback version)

Reading this book, I realized that Buddha himself lived in the middle of worldly affairs. His country had given him a princely inheritance of wealth and privilege and he founded a path of meditation to develop inner peace. He had the blessing of life with which to bring that message to others. The book, however, also reminds me that The Buddha – had he chosen that path – could have led his country in a peaceful way, yet it ended up participating in the slaughter of the weak and powerless by neighbor countries. He must have seen how terrible that was. What message has the Buddha left for us about situations like that? (We don't know his opinions on this matter.)

I also remembered a diary that I read some time ago by Shurei Sasai (Bhadant-G Arya Nagarjuna Shurei Sasai, a Japanese-born Buddhist monk who has lived in India since 1966 and is now an Indian citizen). Sasai's meditation training took him to fearsome places – to fight against the darkness of his own selfishness and karma and to work heart and soul for a principled world order. Sasai and Alan are very different types of people, but they hold these values in common.

I looked on YouTube and found Alan Clements' lectures. In seeking out his work I found threads to Ken Wilber, Ram Dass and Thich Nhat Hanh. I like Alan's YouTube pieces even more than his writing! YouTube is pretty amazing.

By the way, I saw the Shintaido video produced at The Massachusetts Shintaido Farm. It's really great.


This sums up the reflections I wanted to share with you.

– Shin-Ichi Matsuyama Osaka, Japan August 7, 2009
2009-New Year Greeting!
Dear Taimyo Practitioners:

Happy New Year to you!

At the end of the last year, I had a chance to read "The Vision" written by Tom Brown, Jr......
I would like to share a part of this book with you and ask you to think about it when you practice Taimyo next time!!

Looking forward to our next encounter!!!

-Fugaku Ito


from: Chapter III Trail p-65~66
The Vision, by Tom Brown, Jr. ISBN: 0-425-10703-5

Not many days after the deer hunt I was sitting quietly in the bushes watching some men in a pickup truck dumping garbage along one of the larger sand trails. Tears filled my eyes, and I found I hated them to the core, wishing that I were bigger so I could beat them senseless. Grandfather’s silent approach went unnoticed until he sat down beside me and gazed toward the two men and the truck. Without looking at me he said, “Thinking and emotions take pathways too and can become ruts just as deadly as physical ruts.” Just as silently as he had come, he slipped away, leaving me with my thoughts, my anger, and my mental ruts. As I watched the men unloading the truck, I thought for a long time, desperately trying to work throught the anger and find a different way of seeing and understanding things.

The anger was so entrenched that it was hard to let it go, but slowly the anger faded. I was no longer angry to these men but rather pitied them for their ignorance. So many times I heard Grandfather say, “There is always some other answer rather than anger,” and for the first time I knew what he meant. The pity led to an action that I had never thought I would make. I walked silently up to the truck and begged the men to stop throwing their garbage in one of my favorite areas. Money was hard to come by in those days, but I had a quarter and I offered it to them for gas to drive to the dump, which was free, and asked if they would want me to unload the truck for them there. They were so surprised by my offer and intensity that they stood as if shocked. I guess that they were not only shocked by my silent appearance but also by they pleading of a small boy.

They began to apologize profusely and sincerely as they packed up the truck. They promised to take the load the few extra miles to the dump. I helped them pack the truck and explained to them that there had been a lot of the same type of dumping farther up the sand road. Without hesitation they asked me where and I let them to a pile of rubble larger than the one they had intended to leave. As I left them, I glanced back and watched them loading the other pile of garbage on their truck, collecting even the scraps of paper that had blown into the trees.

Grandfather had been watching me all the time, and as I got back to my sitting area, he sat beside me. “Anger would not have solved this problem,” said. “Pity and teaching were the only answers. These men would have learned nothing if you had approached them with anger in your heart. Instead you thought of a different way and found the answers. Now your thinking and emotions of sorrow are transformed into growth, all because you strayed from the trail and thought and felt in a new way.” I carry the lesssons of the men in the truck to this day. I now know, because of what happened so many years ago, that ignorance is one of the primary causes of the destruction of the earth. Re-education and getting man’s feet back in the soil are some of the answers to the saving of the earth.
Ito' recent thought
E-mail from Ito to Shigeru Watanabe, 2008-04-02

Here are some ideas I have been thinking about recently:
Tai Chi contains wisdom passed down through 5000 years of Chinese culture.
Tai Chi itself has a history going back at least 400 years.
Shintaido is the fruit of 400 years of Japanese fighting techniques and martial arts.
I was VERY fortunate to be able to play a central role in the very early development of Shintaido. [Full text]
Nanjing conference-Ito's message
Messages from Ito before and after the conference

-Taimyo insight
For a long time, in doing Part I of Taimyo, I have held the image of myself as a commander.....Click here

-Nanjing report
In May of 2002, I began studying Wu style Tai Chi under the direction of.... Click here
"Cry" from Belinda
The following is a "Cry" of Belinda French who is a Taimyo member in Bristol, England.

I have woken early in this morning crying for those people from near Mosul in Iraq who have just experienced a massive bombing...
Click here to continue.
Taimyo for our Ocean
Dear Taimyo Practitioners:
The time has come for August meditation!
I would like to propose that we focus our attention on the "Ocean" !!
The following is a site I would like you to visit, then reflect upon how we need to change our behavior.

Click here
(If you are not able to open this page, google- Our oceans are turning into plastic. It should be the first article that pops up.)

This coming weekend, I will be in Whidbey Island (near Seattle), WA to lead a Taimyo meditation workshop with Paula Kerby, Lee Seaman, and Nicole Beauvois.
Please join me in person or via email correspondence by practicing wherever you are!
Taimyo on Omaha Beach April 7-9, 2007
To see the interview to Ito Sensei and Dick Olton by Elli Nagai-Rothe.
click here

Click below to see Messages from Omaha Beach!
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Click here too see event information
International conference-Remembering Nanjing
On the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Tragedy
November 22 - 25, 2007
This conference is for people from China, Japan, and other parts of the world, who have had different war experience and education in war. Its purpose is to open their hearts and listen deeply to one another.

Report by K. Tanahashi
Click here

Comments on this event:
from Peter
from Roshi Joan
from Heinz-Jόrgen Metzger - Looking back to Nanjing

Detail of the event is here.

2007 Greetings
Greetings from Japan!
Akemashite Omedeto~! Happy New Year!! Bonne Annιe!!!

The following is a poem I came across recently. It is really encouraging because it very much describes what I have been studying through Taimyo Kata:
Full text of the greeting
About Taimyo Network
The Taimyo Network for World Peace uses the meditation form Taimyo Kata as a form of prayer. Taimyo means "Great Mystery" and kata means "form." Taimyo is a distillation of the creative experience of Shintaido founder Hiroyuki Aoki. We use the kata to practice and pray together, and to express our caring for the Earth and for one another... Full text
Taimyo by Nicole!

Ito and Lee, praying world peace in Washington D.C.

On 7th Dec, 2009. See half-staff
World Shintaido
About H.F.Ito