July 31, 2012

Hojo seminar at Daiyuzenji: August 24-26

We are pleased to announce our 3rd Hojo Intensive Seminar with Gerald Yamamoto Sensei, at Daiyuzenji in Chicago. Online registration is now open here.

The Hojo Kata are four sword forms created in the middle of the Muromachi period (1333-1573) as part of the Jikishinkage school of Japanese swordmanship. However, these forms-named Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter-are not practiced by us as a martial art but rather as a core internal training method. Practiced slowly and with great intensity using the dynamic A-Un method of breathing, the Hojo forms are powerful tools for imparting principles of posture, center and energy.

As described within the Jikishinkage school, the deepest purpose of Hojo is to remove all bad habits and addictions acquired since birth and to restore the original pure and bright permanent body. A Buddhist way of saying this would be that Hojo practice cuts through a student's jikke ("habit energy"), or karmic obstructions.  It was Omori Sogen Roshi who gave us these forms and integrated them into our overall practice.

Gerald Yamamoto Sensei is one of very few students in the west who studied Hojo directly under Omori Roshi. His teaching style is truly informative and inspiring. We're very grateful to have him teach at Daiyuzenji and urge you to take advantage of the opportunity! Beginners are welcome to the Saturday and Sunday sessions.

Seminar Schedule:
- Friday, August 24th 6PM till 9PM, Advanced Hojo (invitation only)
- Saturday, August 25th 9AM till 5 PM, General instruction, all welcome
- Sunday, August 26th 9AM till Noon, General instruction, all welcome

Donation: $150 for RZC Members (if you have a financial concern, please contact us to discuss a different arrangement)

July 25, 2012

Falling for Korinji

Shinjinkai, the Japanese Martial Arts Society in Chicago, completed their annual fundraiser this past weekend benefiting Korinji:  the Fall-a-thon.  Similar to other "-thons", participants obtain pledges to perform a challenging feat.  In this case the participants are all students of the Japanese martial art Aikido...and their challenge is to be thrown with an Aikido technique as many times as they can in 15 minutes.  The end result is several hours of inspiring effort and graceful Aikido demonstration.

There are still a few "fallers" who could not be present on the official day and will thus shortly perform a make-up session.  So we don't have the final results yet.  But as of now, the 2012 Fall-a-thon has raised approximately $7,000 for Korinji!

Korinji's land and construction have been funded by many people and organizations: a  wonderful web of connections and intention that have brought our dream closer to fruition.  All told, however, the annual Fall-a-thons have raised about half of our funds to date.  Many of the participants are not Zen students, but as martial artists they understand what shugyo - intensive practice to forge oneself and gain insight into one's true self - truly means.  And their involvement in our project is fitting since one of our late teachers who envisioned Korinji's establishment, Toyoda Sensei, was not only a Zen master but also a master teacher (shihan) of Aikido. 

Thank you again to the organizers and participants of the 7th annual Fall-a-thon!