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SwordofNoAbidingMind

TheSwordofNoAbidingMind
MujuushinKenjutsuandSamuraiChamploo

PartIII:theMujuushininSamuraiChamplooMariya,Kariya,Takeda
**SPOILERSFORTHEENTIREPLOT,ESPECIALLYEPISODES2426,TO
FOLLOW**
Thereisanancientmaximthatsaysasamurai'sswordishissoul,andnosamuraiorronininthehistoryofanimehas
takenthismoredeeplytoheartthanJindoes.Hisswordishisidentity,hisreassurance,theonlythinghehasleftofhis
oldlifeandstature,anextensionandreflectionofhimself."Thoseswordsaremylife,"hesaystoIsaacin#6,andhe
meansboth"thetotalofmyexperiences"and"thethingthatkeepsmealive".Whateverschoolofkenjutsuhehadbeen
trainedin,hewouldsurelyhaveuphelditwithallthehonoranddignityheiscapableofandthat'sbeenshowntobe
considerable.SowhytheMujuu?Whywasthisstrange,obscuredisciplinechosenasthefoundationofJin'sheartand
innermostnature?Andhowisthatchoicereflectedintheseries?
ThefirstthingweweretoldaboutitwasatypicallycontradictorystatementbyseriesorganizerandheadwriterShinji
Obara,intheSept.2004Newtype:"JinusesarealstylecalledMujushinkenjutsu,butthewayhemovesiscompletely
differentfromtheactualmujushinkenjutsu."(...uh,thankssomuchforclearingthatup,Obarasan)Aswe'vealready
seen,thisonthesurfaceisanaccuratestatement:tothecasualeye,Jinseemstowatchandreacttohisopponentlikea
fightertrainedinanyordinaryschool.Theonlycluetohisspecializedexperienceishisunbelievableskillinpredicting
anadversary'snextmovesheisalwaysthereaheadofthemand,indeed,incorrectlyguessingvirtuallyanythingabout
anyonefromtheslightestclue.
Astimepassesintheseries,wegetmoreinformationandmorecluesforspeculationontheintricateconnection
betweenJin'snature,hishistory,andthesubtleartofwhichhebecomesthelastmaster.Weknow,forexample,thatit's
onlybychance,nothisownchoice,thathecametostudytheMujuu:hewasenrolledinMariyaEnshiro'sdojoafter
beingorphanedatayoungage.(It'sareasonablesuppositionthatMariyasanunmarriedandchildlessisadistant
relative,andadoptedthechildJinashissonatthesametimeheacceptedhimasastudent.Thisisborneoutwhenwe
laterlearnthatheintendedtomakeJinhisheirandpassthedojo,andtheMujuushin,ontohimandwhenwesee
Mariyasan,inepisode25,wearingamontsukibearingthesameTakedaclandiamondthatJinwears.)It'saninteresting
kindnessoffate,asthetranquillityoftheMujushinstylegivestheyoungorphanabalanceforhissuppressedangerand
ferocity,assuringhimwithitsZenbasedphilosophythatcalmofspiritandpurityofskillarefarmoreimportantthan
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fightingtowin.JustasJin,thoughbecomeronin,upholdstheprinciplesofbushidoasseriouslyasifhehadneverbeen
castoutfromitscommunity,sohefindsawaytoremainmindfulofthehighprinciplesoftheMujuueventhoughforced
tofightdailyforhissurvivalandthatofthoseheswearstoprotect.
OneregretstosaythatfindingoutMariyaEnshirouwasarealpersonhasnotgivenusmuchmoreinformationonhim
thanwecouldalreadyhaveguessed.Hewas,aswe'vesaid,thethird,andlastknown,headmasteroftheMujuu,thepupil
andheirofOdagiriIchiun.It'squitepossiblehemetMasterSekiuninperson,andevenifnotwouldhavebeendeeply
versedinhisteachings,havingbeentrainedbyhisdirectsuccessor.Agooddealofwhatweknowtodayabout
MujuushinKenjutsuweowetohim,sincehispupilKawamuracompiledhiswritingsandnotesintotheZenshuvolume
thatalongwithMasterIchiun'swritingsbecametheschool'slegacy.
MergingrealhistorywithChamploo'splotline,wecantheorizethatSekiunsenseiwouldhavebeenheadmasterfromhis
creationoftheMujuuinc.1640untilhisdeathin1662,Ichiunfrom1662tosometimeinthe1670s,andMariya
Enshiroufromthenuntilapproximately1675,whenhemethisdeathontheswordofhisstarpupilandwouldhavebeen
fourthheadmaster,TakedaJin.Thesedateswouldbenefitfromadjustment,sincewedogettheimpressionthatMariya
wasthemasterofJin'sdojoforJin'sentirelife,whichwouldarguethathecameintopossessionoftheMujuucloserto
1660than1670.PerhapsIchiundoesn'texistintheChamploouniverse,andtherankofMujuuhachidansenseipassed
directlytoMariyafromSekiunhimself.(Alternately,perhapsSekiunsenseipassedtheschoolontohisdiscipleearlier
there'sroomtospeculate.)
Whateveristhecase,wearesurethattheteachingsMariyasanacquiredwerestillintheirpureformwhenhelearned
them,onlytwogenerationsfromtheirsource,andthisisseeninthehighlyrarefiedtrainingJinhasreceivedincludingas
itdoestheultimateMujuushintechnique,thesimultaneousstrike.
ThistechniquewasthecoreofMasterSekiun'senlightenedunderstandingoftheuseofthesword.[Muchmoreabout
thisinPartsIandIIofthisessay.]Italtersthe"brute"attitudeof"aiuchi"inwhichtheattacker,thoughhedies,preserves
hishonorbykillinghisadversaryaswelltooneof"ainuke",inwhichit'spossibleforbothfighterstosurvive.Thepoint
isnottokill,buttoforceadrawbetweenadversaries,inwhichexactinguseofpuretechniqueletstheswordsmanrise
abovethemereanimalneedtokillanddefeat,andtriumphonahigherlevel.ThisisexactlywhatSekiunintendedthe
Mujuutoconvey,andexactlywhatMariyasantellsJintodoandhedoesinhismomentofgreatestcrisis.
Sekiunwould,Ithink,beproud.
ItmayindeedbetheMujuu'sverynaturethatmakesitanidealtargetfortheShogunateplotthatunwindsintheseries'
finalepisodes,thecourseofeventsthatruinedJin'slife,madehimafugitive,andsethimontheroadtovengeanceand
finalunderstanding.KariyaKagetoki,agiftedbutpoisonedswordsman(Ihaveafeelinghe'soneofSekiun'sfinalthirteen
butnotoneoftheultimatefourhehastremendousskill,butadeeplyflawedsensibility),approachesMariyaEnshirou
withanofferfromtheShogunate:totakeovertheMujushinandturnitintoatraininggroundforassassins.Kariyaisnot
onlyaswordsmanofawesomespeedandprecision,hehasapparentlymasteredanextremeformofhassunnonobegane,
andcanusehisswordtoextendafieldofwillpoweredforcefarbeyondhisownreach.Theassassinshehasalready
presumablyhadahandintraining,suchasSara,showsimilarabilities.HebelievestheMujuu,withitsmindcentered
philosophy,itsdetachment,itspurityoftechnique,wouldbeanidealbreedinggroundformoreassassinsofsuch
otherworldlyskill.
[Note:It'smyspeculationandonlymyspeculationthatthisplanoftheShogunateoriginatedwiththeiracceptanceof
therenegadesamuraiturnedShaolinswordsman,Shouryuu,formerlyUkon.Intheepisodethattellshisstory,"Lethal
Lunacy"(#10),welearnthatwhenShouryuureturnedfromChina,filledwithhisnewtrainingandburningwithdesireto
reformwhathesawasaweakenedanddegenerateJapaneseswordtradition,hewentfromdojotodojoandwasspurnedat
everypoint.Eventuallyhesoughtapositionwiththegovernment,andthendroppedoutofhumansight.It'smyhunch
thatShouryuufoundthatposition,andtaughthisnewtechniquesjustasinreallifeOgasawara[PartI]returnedtoJapan
withthehassunnonobeganehe'dlearnedinChina,andrebuiltShinkageryaroundittoJapanesetrainedshogunate
fighterswithdeadlysuccess.Thus,Ithink,wehavealineconnectingShouryuuandhiskibasedstrikeSara,whose
blindnessisnolimittoherskill,andwhosekamayaricutsobjectswithouttouchingthemandKariyaKagetoki,whoI
suspectmergedahighlevelMujuushineducationwiththesefierceChinesetechniquestobecomethemostfeared
swordsmanofChamploo'stime.Goroujuusaysofhimthathebelievesnolivingmancouldkillhim,andhehasgoneinto
retirement,quietlygardening,becausenoonecanofferhimenoughchallengetobeworthfightingheemergesonly
whenhehearsthatthegiftedSarajudgingbyagedifferences,Isuspect,hisownpupilhasbeenkilledbyherintended
target
Kariyaretiredwhenhefailedtoseizetheprizehedesiredthemostkeenly,theMujuu.Buthehadmissed,Ithink,the
mostbasicpoint,andhiseffortwasdoomedtofailureevenhadhisplansucceeded,becausehisacquiredtraininghad
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corruptedhisunderstandingofMujushinkenjutsu.TheessenceoftheMujuuistowithdrawfromallearthlyreasonsto
usethesword,touseitforitselfanditsdisciplinealone.Itcouldnomoreproducedeliberateassassinsthanitcould
werewolves.ItisamarkofMasterMariya'sdesperation,hisbeliefthathewilllosehisdojounlesshemakesthisdevil's
bargain,thatheevenconsidersbowingtothisperversionoftheart.AndJintheMujuu'sheirapparentdoesnot
considerit,notforamoment.HeisadamantthattheMujuumustnot"walkthepathofdarkness,"andhissternrefusal
markshimforterribleretribution.TheMujuuandJinherestandtogether,representingthelaststandofbushido,honor,
pureandstainlessfightingart,againstthefuturethatmusttakethemalldown.
Andmoredeeplytothepoint:AsweseeintheteachingsofJoshu,thesyllable"mu"canmean"tonothave".Asshownin
theillustrationabove,itcanberenderedas"innocence,"intheliteralsenseofsomethinginitsoriginalstateofpurity,
havingneverbeenchangedortaintedbyexperienceaswe'veseenindiscussionsofMugen'sname,itcanalsobe
rendered"without"and"none"and"never."Itistheessenceofsilence,itisisaboutwhatisnotdone,notpossessed,not
touched.Itmeansclear,empty,uncorruptedalso,relatingtonothing,eyesclosed,movinginisolatedstillnessa
disciplineinwhichyoufightbywithdrawingnotonlyfromyouropponentbutyourselfaswell.TheMujuuisnotjust
Jin'sprinciple:itisJinhimself,ineverywaythatweseehim:inhisorphanchildhood,hisisolation,hisloneliness,the
terriblelosseshehassuffered,theicecoldpurityofhisstrike.Itcouldnotbemoreperfect.Haditneverbeen,theywould
havehadtoinventitforhim.
Intheend,IthinkthefinaldisciplesoftheMujuushinkenjutsumaybeneitherTeradanorShiraibutourfriendsat
ManglobeandSimoigusaChamploos,whoataremoveofsome350yearshavebroughtSekiun'sinsightstolifeinanew
formhecouldneverhaveimagined.Whoknows:itspurestyle,ahavenandinspirationtostudentsoftheswordcenturies
ago,maybeevenmorevaluabletoday.
Otherfootnotes:
Inbetweenthesetwoschoolsofthesword,thereisinterestingevidencethatMujuushinkenjutsualsoinfluencedaschool
ofjujutsu,orclassicalunarmedcombat.Konowritesthat:"theMujushinkenjutsuandKitoryujujutsuseemtosharea
doka,or'songoftheway'[apoemwrittentoconveyapointofmartialartsphilosophy]thatisnotfoundinanyother
tradition.IntheMujushinkenjutsutradition,thisdokawrittenbyfounderGoroemonHarigayaSekiunisoneoftwoin
theJisokuIkyohoZenshuwrittentransmissionsofKawamuraYakobei,apupilofthethirdMujushinkenjutsuheadmaster
EnshiroMariya.Itgoes:
"Autumnwindinthemountainneartown,thatfiercelyswaysandshakestheleavesoftheoak,breathesbutweakly
againstthepampasgrasses."
Thispoem,notaparticularlywellwrittenone,isfoundwithonlyminorvariationsinthetransmissionsofKitoryuas
theyappearintheRibizuihitsuwritings:
"Autumnwind,deepinthemountains,fiercelyswaysandshakestheleavesoftheoak,whilebarelymovingthepampas
grasses."
Whileitisnotuncommoninthebudoworldforsimilarversestoappearinthetransmissionsofseveraldifferenttraditions
withonlyminorvariations,asfarasIknowthisparticularpoemonlyappearsintheZenshuofMujushinkenjutsuandthe
RibizuihitsuofKitoryu.Ofcourse,thisaloneisnotsufficientevidencetoconcludethatKitoryuwasinfluencedby
Mujushinkenjutsu,butwemaystillsupposethatOkunojoYoshida,whohadswitchedtoKitoryuattheprivateorderof
LordToshiyasu,sensedinKitoryusomeofthesameesoteric,mindorientedflavorofTenshinHeiho.Such
sophisticationisprobablytobeexpectedinanunarmedcombatsystemandsuchstunningtechniquesandthedreamlike,
or"nomind",stateundoubtedlynecessarytoperformthemverywell,mayhavecontainedelementsoraspectsthatcould
beregardedasshimpobujutsu."
ToruShirai,soundingalotlikeJin:
"Ibegantrainingonmyown,intendingtorealizethatelusivestateofemptinessIsought,butIwasunabletoattainmy
goal.Mastertoldmethatwhilerentannohoisconductedthroughastateofemptiness,bujutsuisapathoftacticsand
maneuvers,andthatevensaintswouldnotrefrainfromusingsuchmethodswhenconfrontinganevildoer.Weattemptto
deceivetheenemyorlurehimtostrikesothatwemaytraphim,butwhentheenemyisstrongwereactinstinctivelyand
anystateofemptinesswehaveachievedvanishes.Bythenitisalreadytoolatetocalmthemindandtechnique
inevitablydegeneratesintosomethingvulgarandcrude.WhenIconfrontedtrulyaggressiveopponents,thevicious
mindedkenjutsuofmyyouthwouldboiltothesurfaceandIwouldbeovercomebyavenomousimpulsetostrikemy
opponentdown.Perceivingthisterribleferocity,myopponentwouldbecomealarmedandlosetheurgetofaceme.I
wouldwithdrawfromtheencounteraloneandponderwhyIseemedtobeunabletoshedthemistakenattitudethatgave
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risetosuchvicioustechnique.Iamashamedtosayit,butIfearthatthewordsofSekishi[referenceunknown]fitmeall
toowell:"Whenthetimecomesforyoutostrikeyouwillforgetwhatyouhavelearned."
Shirai:"ThekenjutsuthatIamattemptingtoimpartrepresentstheshortestpathtoattainingthemostpureformof
tenshin,andthesimple(shoden)andthedeep(gokui)arethesameandasone.Accordingly,studentswhoareableto
studyandknowthiswillhavetheirkifilltheUniverseandtheirspiritextendacrossallagesandtimestheywillbecome
onewiththespiritoftheDivine,andthatwhichisOtherwillbecomeonewiththem.Then,whentheselfacts,itisnotthe
selfactingbuttheUniverse,spontaneousandrealizingnaturallawinandofitself."
IowemyprofoundestgratitudetoYoshinoriKonooftheAikidoJournal,withoutwhose
tirelessandextensiveresearchtherewouldbenohistoricalbackgroundtothisarticleatall.(
TheChamplooRomanAlbumconfirmsKonosensei'sresearchasoneofthemostimportant
influencesontheseries,especiallyhisbookKennoseishinshi:Mujushinkenjutsunokeifu
toshiso.)
FamousSwordsmenofJapan:MuneariGoroemonTerada
AikidoJournal#103(1995)
FamousBudokaofJapan:Mujushinkenjutsu&Kitoryu
AikidoJournal#111(1997)
FamousBudokaofJapan:SekiunHarigaya,FounderofMujushinKenjutsu
AikidoJournal#114(1998)
andhisfivepartseriesonthecareerofToruShirai.
...gobacktoPartsI&II:TheHistoricalMujushin.
..gobacktoSwordofNoAbidingMind.

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