Minoru Mochizuki Sensei - by Norman Dimock
Minoru Mochizuki Sensei
On our shomen hangs a portrait of Minoru Mochizuki O-Sensei, to remind us to practice and live by his example and principles, including mutual welfare and prosperity, flexibility overcoming stiffness, respect for others, self inquiry and constant evolution.
Many of us have fond memories of the founder of Yoseikan Budo. Some recall his visit to Ottawa in 1989 during his North American Nihon Jujutsu tour: teaching a clinic at the CEGEP de l'Outaouais, demonstrating for a huge crowd at the Ottawa Congress Centre, and sharing dinner with teachers and students. He was glad to show beginners basic techniques; he was happy to take ukemi from a small child on stage; he was gracious and unassuming always.
These words of his are well known - "I have retained three things from my work with Ueshiba Sensei: living free, not imposing anything on others, and knowing how to give." To me the third of those means giving of ourselves as we have received of others. The first means doing so joyfully - not out of obligation. The second means not demanding recompense. Mind the "knowing how" - take care to give in such a way that the gift is valued and so will be used well, passed on, paid forward, given as it was received.
Effectiveness requires evolution. A fine thing it is to preserve a tradition and know our roots, yet a living art responds to the world around. Humanity is unique on earth. Unlike other creatures, we change ourselves at will. "Please think during practice". Question ourselves. Why are we practicing? What is the purpose? Is there a purpose? Need there be a purpose? Each question leads to another.
We are in quest of our selves, of our true natures that we leave behind and forget as we grow from playful dependent children into serious responsible adults. Is this all there is? How would Mochizuki Minoru O-Sensei respond to that overarching question? Would he punch me on the nose and say "There's your answer"? "Please think during practice" - is that some sort of koan? Most of us think far too much during practice. Think what? What was he saying?? Think Why we are practicing (?). Not How. When we know why, we can learn how.
"Knowing how to give"
"Whether in life or in the study of the martial arts, everything is a question of balance. When we learn a technique, we receive, when we teach it, we give. When we give, we therefore don't lose anything, because in return, if our gift is sincere in our spirit, we always learn a truth."
-- Norman Dimock