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Disparity in teachings of Soken Sensei

by Steve Watson

We have all heard claims of this and of that. Claims of "I know Matsumura Seito, and they don't", or "Soken Sensei taught me this so he couldn't have taught them that".

Those who were fortunate enough to train under Soken Sensei, and those who are seeking out the teachings of the Matsumura tradition (not having had the opportunity to train with Soken Sensei), will or should realise that when Soken Sensei taught, he taught according to the individual's body structure, proportions and personality. Matsumura Seito is not a one size fits all routine, that should be robotically mimmicked.

Given this observation, my thoughts revert back to comments that Nishihira Sensei stated to be in Feb ('97). "When Bushi Matsumura died, so did his style, when Nabe-tanmei died, with him went his style. And when Soken Sensei died, so too did his style."

To try to seek out the "True System, of Soken Sensei" is to lose the substance by grasping at shadows.

Soken Sensei taught different drills, he taught kata differently, and most certainly taught kata as appropriate to each of his deshi (student). There were different students at different levels, with differing connections to Soken Sensei, some were students of students, others spent only a little time, while others trained substantially with Soken Sensei. Ane none have the same personality, or body structures.

Each of us is different in many ways, ranging from the physical to the mental. Some will feel more suited to a particular technique than the next, while some techniques are virtually a physical impossibility to others. Some will remember one technique over another. What we should be looking for is a system that is not compromised by centemporary modifications, commercialism, or egotistical structures, it should consist of genuine teachings, effectiveness and obsolute efficiency at the core. It should not be a ridgid system, but a system that is governed by theories and principles that are adaptable to each individual that practices them. If there are apparent conflicts and inconsistencies in the teachings of Soken Sensei, they are possibly a result of the differences present in each of those who trained with Soken Sensei and when they trained with him and for how long.