"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour


"Providing a first step on a path to self-reflection." - C. E. James

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.


Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

Kenpo Gokui

The lines of the ken-po goku-i are set from an atomistic aspect simply because it is the manner in which the brain learns. Its nature is completely holistic and like the I Ching must be in a form that promotes learning and understanding so a person can see, hear and grasp the nature of a holistic system. The gokui is a method to teach us how to be holistic. Its terseness is the best that can be done to convey its holistic meaning.


A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.

A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.


Master Zeng said, "Am I preaching what I have not practiced myself?"

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Kengaku [見学]

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

The characters/ideograms mean, “Inspection; study by observation; field trip.” The first character means, “see; hopes; chances; idea; opinion; look at; visible,” the second character means, “study; learning; science.”

‘kengaku’ literally meaning to ‘look () and learn ()’ or perhaps better translated as ‘study through observation’.
Other meanings according to the characters used:

[建学] foundation of a school
[研学] Study
[兼学] Concurrently studying the teachings of two or more different schools or sects. 

In a martial discipline we study fundamental principles even in a philosophical sense such as the sub-principle of yin-yang. Yin is the softer side while yang is a harder side so that one trains, practices and studies both physically and mentally. In simpler terms one actually studies and learns from “Doing,” while on the more yin side one actually studies and learns from “Observation.” When you begin you will be provided a, “Dojo Kun,” and one of the precepts is about seeing all things in all directions. 

Kengaku from the ken-po goku-i is about seeing all things in all ways to include our studies of others while practicing and training martial arts. It is especially and critically important for the new student who first comes to observe then joins but then continues that observation “Seeing” so they continue to learn and grow, to improve.

One of the more cultural aspects of martial arts in Asia is the acceptance and understanding that in all dojo one is, “Expected,” to come to practice and observe even when unable to actually participate on the dojo floor. The concept in the Asian culture of, “Shi-kata,” is based upon such observations so that harmony may be maintained by avoiding such disturbances that can come from questioning things. 

Kengaku is about the observation of your dojo-mates be they senpai or kohai or sensei so that one may improve from understanding those perceptions and perspectives displayed through a physical manifestation in things like basics, kata, drills and even kumite. 

Kengaku is considered one of those mental disciplines that provides the practitioner a discipline uniqueness toward learning that involves or encompasses one sitting in a meditative state of mind alert and aware of what is transpiring during training even when not actually participating, an observer. This provides the practitioner with a study that is challenging and used to enhance and supplement hands-on tactile and visual study and practice. 

It is not about perfection but about improvement and this presents the practitioner the opportunity to also participate not just physically but through such observations of others while they practice. This is just one meaning from the goku-i when, “seeing all directions, etc.”

When I tell folks about Kengaku I instill in them that this concept is at the heart of practice, training and most important of all the actual applications. It is an attitude and mind-set/state toward constant improvement through observation: observation of self through media and mirrors; observation of others both senior and junior; observation of the actions and deeds as modeled in the dojo; observation of individual interpretations; observation of the application of the fundamental principles that are the foundation of all martial disciplines, etc.

Kengaku is another more esoteric terminology meant to convey a sense or essence toward study, practice and application of martial disciplines regardless of symbolism, system or style designations or even personal interpretations for to master a martial art is to make it your own from a diligent, disciplined and philosophical means. 

Bibliography (Click the link)


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