Hanshi McCall's--- Musashi Sword Event

The Event went well and everyone did an awesome job!!

This was the First Group to receive the Musashi Sword to show there commitment to the Martial Arts

This is a Trophy of what they have accomplishment in AFKC.

Only 3 of 19 Black Belts have received the sword so far:

Only 2 of 8 Jr. Black Belts have received this award:

Honorable Musashi Sword Winners

L to R...Hanshi McCall, Helanen Ahigian, Carter Muir, Andrew Ahigian, Cody Reeves,

      Dylan Steinmetz, Taylor Grant, McKenna Flanary,  Adleigh Flanary, Sarah Teague, Sensei Matt McCall, Shihan Joe McClellan

 

Memo to Students and Parents

7/26/2013

We will have a Musashi Sword Award Ceremonial  on August 29th at THE DOJO. Those who have a sword and have learn the 8 Samurai  Kata's and have completed their requirements...will get their sword. This will be from 6:30PM to 8:00PM....

 

This will be a great event, it has been a year since we started the Musashi Sword Program. The New program will start 8/29/13 for those who have not earned their sword. Those who graduate are the Samurai's of the future. Special Thanks to all the parents who have supported this program. We will be awarding Jr. Black Belt Certificates and Awards to our Black belt Team.

 

            

Thank You,

MUCH RESPECT!

 Hanshi McCall

 

 

              How Sen No Rikyu Used the Japanese Tea Ceremony for Samurai Training

 
How Sen No Rikyu Used the Japanese Tea Ceremony for Samurai Training

I’ve sat in the tiny space of Tai’an, the tea hut in Kyoto, Japan, that was among the last places Sen no Rikyu performed the Japanese tea ceremony. His descendants, more than 400 years later, continue to carry on the art. Sitting alone in that shadowy two-mat space where he once sat, I felt the weight of history. It was as enormous as the universe.

Before Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), Japanese tea ceremonies were an exercise in opulence, conducted in fancy halls with gilded bowls, a chance to show off one’s wealthy and chic style. Sen no Rikyu fundamentally changed the art. He prepared tea and shared it with a few guests, sometimes just one on one, in simple, rustic huts, with plain implements: rough ceramic bowls, bamboo scoops and whisks. Under his guidance, the Japanese tea ceremony became devoted to the quiet, the subtle, the unpretentious. Instead of a grand party, it became a way to understand how quickly life passes and how host and guest can communicate beyond words and learn fundamental truths about each other. Under Sen no Rikyu, the ceremony became chado, the way of tea.

Chado flourished during Japan’s centuries-long civil war, the age of the samurai. You may have read that the warrior class embraced it because it offered a moment of peace and contemplation amid the chaos of battle. That’s mostly nonsense. The samurai studied chado because it was a concentrated form of the interactions, on and off the battlefield, that gave them critical insight into life. It wasn’t an escape from their everyday lives; it was, and remains, a direct confrontation with life.

All this may seem odd, comparing the serenity of the tea ceremony with the chaos and violence of the battlefield. Sen no Rikyu, however, spent his entire career around samurai. He understood their world. Some of his students, like Nobunaga Oda and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, were ruthless and coldblooded strategists. Rikyu knew, as did his warrior followers, that budo, the martial ways, were no different from the way of tea in that at their heart, they were ways of learning to deal with others and of facing the inevitability of death.

Ichi go, ichi e is a core value of chado and budo. “One encounter; one chance.” If you make a mistake on the battlefield, you must move on. You live or die with it. There aren’t any do-overs. If you make a mistake in the intricacies of chado, the same is true. It’s impossible to do a perfect tea ceremony. Things will always go wrong. It isn’t in the perfection of the movements that we find the worth of chado; it’s in how well we can integrate our mistakes in such a way that the process continues. Combat, of course, is no different.

“Prepare for rain” was one of Sen no Rikyu’s rules. The unexpected is always expected. Rain—along with countless other elements—can change the way our guests arrive for tea. Unexpected developments must also be considered in a fight. The lessons samurai learned in dealing with them in the tea hut were reflected in their adventures on the battlefield. Doing chado, they weren’t indulging in quiet contemplation, escaping from the rigors of martial strategy; they were polishing strategy.

“Boil water and make tea,” Sen no Rikyu replied when asked the secret of chado. Sounds simple, but watch the elaborate motions and rituals of even the most informal of Japanese tea ceremonies (there are more than 400 “kata,” called temae, in chado) and you’ll find it hard to believe. It looks a lot more complex. In truth, chado, like budo, is an eliminative process. Chado forms are about getting rid of unnecessary movements. Just like beginners in a karate dojo who fidget and waste energy with poor body mechanics, beginning tea students lack the ability to focus, to simplify, to do what’s necessary to get the job done and nothing more. In budo or chado, it’s the expert who can reduce the complex to the artfully simple.

Sen no Rikyu’s relationship with his most famous student, the warlord Hideyoshi, was particularly challenging. Hideyoshi was flamboyant and volatile. He regarded Sen no Rikyu as his teacher, probably the only one he ever had. At the same time, he was jealous of Sen no Rikyu and resented the master’s expertise and calm, implacable demeanor. In a fit of anger, Hideyoshi claimed to have been insulted by Sen no Rikyu and ordered him to commit suicide in 1591.

You may still be skeptical that chado has anything to do with the way of the warrior. Maybe you’re right. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note how Sen no Rikyu died. He held a final tea ceremony and wrote a farewell poem. Then he requested a dagger. It was brought in on a tray. Calmly, without hesitation, Rikyu stabbed his own abdomen, then cut it open and sliced out a section of his intestines. He placed it on the tray and told a witness to take it to Hideyoshi, his student.

“Tell him,” Sen no Rikyu said, “that’s how a samurai dies.”

 

 
From the medieval epics of Akira Kurosawa to the space operas of George Lucas, the samurai have long inspired us with stories of their legendary swords and superhuman skills. Nowadays, when we think of samurai, we imagine invincible warriors like Miyamoto Musashi nimbly wielding super-sharp swords, slicing through ninjas and catching blades with their bare hands.

But how much of that is actually true? To test these myths, we asked Samurai Swordsmanship authors Masayuki Shimabukuro and Carl E. Long to answer the most common questions we receive about Japanese swords.

Enjoy part one of our ongoing series on samurai myths, and check back frequently to see which legends we’ve confirmed or debunked.

Samurai Myth No. 1: A good samurai sword will slice through a silk scarf that’s dropped on the blade.
Samurai Fact: The katana and other Japanese swords are designed to slice objects as the blade is pulled across the target. If an object is simply dropped on the blade, it’s very unlikely that any slicing action will occur. That’s why so many exhibitions that involve walking on swords are possible. As long as there’s no sliding action, the blade rarely cuts. If a scarf is allowed to slide across the edge, the material could be cut. This myth has been carried over from a story about a Damascus blade owned by Saladin.

Samurai Myth No. 2: A katana can chop a regular sword in half.
Samurai Fact: Any steel sword can break if it’s struck at the wrong angle. Chopping one in half, however, is highly unlikely.

Samurai Myth No. 3: In battle, Japanese swordsmen would use the edge of the blade to block their enemy’s attacks.
Samurai Fact: The edge of the blade was often used to block an opponent’s attack. However, most swordsmen would fend off an attack by launching a pre-emptive strike or receiving the attack on the side of the blade. This was preferable to blocking with the ha, or cutting edge.

Samurai Myth No. 4: It’s possible to stop a downward sword strike by trapping the blade between your palms.
Samurai Fact: This is highly implausible and definitely not recommended.

Samurai Myth No. 5: Thinking that it’s better to lose an arm than lose his life, a samurai was taught to block a downward slash with his forearm held overhead at a 45-degree angle.
Samurai Fact: A katana or tachi is quite capable of slicing through an arm in a single stroke. At that time in history, losing an arm usually meant death.

Samurai Myth No. 6: In ancient Japan, samurai often fought against ninja.
Samurai Fact: This is more myth and legend than fact.

Samurai Myth No. 7: A samurai wasn’t allowed to place his sword back into its scabbard without first drawing blood.
Samurai Fact: Not true.

Samurai Myth No. 8: The steel in some swords is composed of thousands of folded layers.
Samurai Fact: Each time the sword smith folds the steel, the layers are multiplied. It’s not uncommon to have as many as 32,000 layers.

Samurai Myth No. 9: The bo hi (often translated as “blood groove”) is designed to channel blood out of the opponent’s body.
Samurai Fact: This is a common misconception. The bo hi is designed to lighten the blade while maintaining a large degree of structural integrity. It was sometimes used to hide flaws in a defective blade.

Samurai Myth No. 10: Thousands of samurai swords were thrown into the ocean when Japan surrendered to the United States at the end of World War II.
Samurai Fact: Many blades were destroyed by Allied forces at the end of the war. Some of them may have been cast into the sea from aboard ships, as were many other weapons.