Cutting bamboo (Take kiri no gyo)

The first bamboo sprouts of the year are emerging from the ground at Ki no Sato.

If you come to our seminar this year, you will be able to enjoy bamboo shoot cooking at Ki no Sato. Sometimes, the young emerging bamboo shoots can even raise a large stone. The life force of bamboo surprises me so much.

Also, this is the season for the Bamboo cutting seminar at Ki no Sato. Originally, Tenpu Nakamura sensei did bamboo cutting. This is one of the three tests which Tempu sensei gave to Tohei sensei. Tohei sensei was able to pass this test on the first try. After that, Tohei sensei passed this on for everyone to experience.

In bamboo cutting, two people support the ends of a five or six foot length of bamboo. Each end of the bamboo is inserted into a very thin piece of paper, which in turn is held by the sharp blade of a knife. Then, another person cuts the bamboo with a wooden sword. If you try to cut the bamboo with your strength, the thin paper supporting the bamboo will tear on the blade of the knife immediately, the moment the wooden sword touches the bamboo. Also, there will be no damage to the bamboo. However, if you relax completely and use your mind clearly, you can cut the bamboo without tearing the thin paper. This is up to your mind whether you can cut the bamboo or not.

You can learn the following points from bamboo cutting:

– You can learn to use your mind clearly (positively).
– You can relax when you are at an important occasion.
– You can learn correct posture and correct relaxation.
– You will improve your ability to see things deeply.

The most important point is that even if you are young or old, man or woman, experienced or non-experienced, anybody can do this. Students from 9 years old to 84 years old have cut bamboo in the past. On the other hand, if students have experienced cutting the bamboo in the past and not used their mind clearly, then the students would not have been able to cut the bamboo.

I have demonstrated bamboo cutting over thirty times. I have never failed to cut the bamboo. However, one day I was practicing cutting bamboo. On this day, I could not cut the bamboo. (I was so shocked!) This is because I thought, "This is practice" and I did not use my mind clearly. I then realized that it is more important to cut bamboo with Ki, even if only once, than to cut bamboo one hundred times without Ki. This was a great realization for me. I have not lost my Ki since then.

Koichi Tohei sensei said, "Even if you can cut bamboo in this way, this does not mean you are a great human being." The purpose of cutting bamboo is not just to cut bamboo. The purpose is to know the importance of using our mind positively and to master correct relaxation. Then you will be able to apply these principles to your daily life.

You will be able to realize many things through bamboo cutting.