Sakamoto-Sensei: On Instruction

The following document, translated by Mario McKenna, was written by Sakamoto-Sensei to North American Ryusei instructors before he conducted his clinics last October.

Sakamoto-Sensei at the 2000 clinic in Toronto

Within Ryusei Karatedo system, kata, and techniques we can see the expression of ‘keii’ (literally ‘form and intention).

Regarding keii, when performing [kata] three years ago I said: “There are thousands of variations in karate technique and the expression of kata has infinite variety, because it depends on the individual. This is what I try to feel when I do kata. I mean that kata has a consciousness like a living organism. I truly feel kata has a long history in space and time that has continued its journey. “Kata has form but is also formless.” No one can ask perfection from kata, and no one needs to ask, I think.”

Now I will state two reasons why keii should be included [in your training].

First, I looked hard at the lesson of the fist: “continuous training in budo brings a calmness and makes a person one with nature.” Then I clearly understood that “animals are in harmony with the providence of heaven.”

My intuition told me that it is fundamentally important to clearly understand the techniques and essence of keii in order to comprehend Chito-Ryu more deeply and to understand classical kata. Classical kata require a keen sensitivity to understand them.

In budo, there is a proverb “Shu, Ha, Ri” [which describes a student’s progress through a martial art]. I understand that level of my technique is‘Ha.’ I break [down my technique] and experiment with. Through this trial and error I believe that I will move from a basic level to an high level and achieve ‘Ri.’ [This means ‘freedom’ or ‘divergence’ and indicates the point where a martial artist has mastered the technique and has found complete freedom within the form.]

Sakamoto-Sensei at the 2003 clinic

Currently I am practicing Sanchin kata with all my will, with the idea of merging with nature.

In all my searches, I continue to be a student of karate. From now on I hope to have the opportunity to have a wide exchange of ideas with everyone.

Thank you very much.

—Ken Sakamoto
Ryusei Karate-Do