Way Of The Warrior
Proactive Vs. Reactive
Last night’s discussion in our beginners’ class was on what we call at The Budo Shingikan Dojo the “Qualities of Yudansha”. We make a distinction in a world of “Black Belts” and “Black Belt Schools” to separate the idea that a black belt is merely something that holds our pants up from the more important idea of what a black belt to us in Bushin Ryu. A black belt represents that of being inducted into the Yudansha ranks or the Yudansha-kai (organization of black belts) or further conducting yourself as a warrior. Being a Yudansha is a reflection of who you are as a warrior and human being, not what color your belt is for the sake of bragging rights. Our unique Bushin Ryu curriculum encompasses the techniques within Samurai and Ninja Bujutsu but also and more importantly has a component of cerebral learning or that of academics within our martial system. We feel this is one component that enables our students to be well rounded martial artists. In the feudal era, the warrior caste of Japan studied more than just the arts of weaponry. They also studied the Chinese Military Classics to give them an understanding of battlefield strategy or Heiho, and all other aspects of Bu Jutsu (Skills of War). We take our pursuit within the study of Bushin Ryu Aiki Bujutsu seriously and follow in the footsteps of these warriors in the pursuit of growing and learning each and every day.
The “Quality of Yudansha” lesson that we focused on recently was posed by the question, “What is Yudansha?” This allows one to first pre-frame the context with which they understand who a student with a Black Belt really is. Once this is established then the next question I posed was what is the difference between “Pro-Active” people and “Re-Active” people? I was amazed at how many different answers I received. It was truly enlightening for me as well as the student base. I heard great examples ranging from what these two concepts meant for a person’s career, to daily health and diet; of course we heard answers that reflected the students individual goals in martial arts training, and so on.
This is the point with which we must look at ourselves as warriors and martial artists. We must ask ourselves, do I want to be a proactive person in my life and live my life with a purpose driving everything I do? Or do I want to be a reactive person and live as if I have no control over my life and simply exist day to day. Of course we see the benefits of being proactive in our lives outweigh the alternative. As martial artists we must also understand that to appropriately defend ourselves we must be proactive as action always beats reaction (physically speaking). So then, how can we choose to be reactive in aspects of our daily lives and then expect to rise to the occasion in a physical altercation/conflict? Instead, we must be that proactive person in all aspects of our lives so that we become warriors in our everyday lives. Seize the day and make it yours. We only die once but we have the chance to create a new life each and every day we are here in this world. Why would we not take advantage of this?
Most people fall into 1 of these 2 categories, they are either proactive or reactive. As warriors, we wish to forge ourselves into the proactive mold if we are not already innately that type of person. Proactive people take responsibility for their lives and make things happen. Reactive people blame others for their situation and act as if they have no control over what is going on. The plain truth is that you can choose which way to be. If you wish to make it as a martial artist and more importantly to the ranks of Yudansha or that of black belt, you must choose to be proactive.
The first step to becoming more proactive is to take responsibility for where you are and then make a conscious effort to decide how you want to respond to uncomfortable or difficult situations. This goes hand-in-hand with setting goals and having a plan of action to make your life meaningful and purposeful. When confronted by challenging situations, proactive people respond with different body language, verbal language, and actions. Analyze how you communicate and how you respond and allow yourself to be truthful and see what category you fall into. The words that you use are a great way of seeing what your own thought processes are. Use this to take an in-depth look at yourself and define where you sit, and how you can best change for the better more proactive you. The warrior is always looking at his/her own mindset and correcting it. The best training you can ever get is via self-diagnostics like this and is the way of the warrior.
Dedeuc D’Antonoli Sensei
Founder of the World Bushin Ryu Federation
Founder and Chief Instructor of The Budo Shingikan School of Japanese Martial Arts