Take a walk with us, A welcome note to a new student. This text has been in the making for a while, I guess since I first met Sensei Stephen Nicholls over a decade ago. More than ten years later, it feels like I just stepped on that mat yesterday. Itâ€™s not just that time is flying (it is, you know that already, or youâ€™re young and lucky enough not to realise it yet and should enjoy it as much as possible), what I want to convey here is the sense that the further you go or will go in studying Danzan Ryu, the longer the road will become. And looking back at your starting point, you will realise that compared to what youâ€™ve done so far, the distance left to cover is immense.
Should you stop then, if youâ€™re embarking on an endless journey? Well, it all depends what the aim of your travel is. If youâ€™re in for a fast straight line to Self Defence, and hope to master the Arts in 2 or 3 classes, you may be disappointed.
What is more likely to happen is that you will understand, through the tuition you will receive and the example set by the elder students in the class, that you need to stick around, attend regularly and commit yourself if you want to succeed. Donâ€™t forget your goal, or the reasons that led you to come to the School in the first place, nobodyâ€™s here to change you. And before you know it, you will have started becoming a Jujitsuka.
But also, very quickly, more than the final destination, you will start relishing the journey.
Why ? Simply because youâ€™re going to push yourself in ways you never expected, therefore discover things about yourself you didnâ€™t know and most importantly you will not be travelling alone. What you are about to learn has been passed on through generations, from ancient Japan to the western world, via a line of exceptional teachers, Henry S. Okazaki, the founder of the Art, Professor Kufferath, who taught and helped Sensei Nicholls in leading the expansion of Danzan Ryu in Europe., an many others who help the style flourish.
Lineage is important. It will tell you, as you start this journey with us were we, and you now, come from. It will also help you understand why the road weâ€™re travelling is not a straight line. It curves gently through History, receiving sociological and cultural influences, from other Fighting Styles, welcoming other methods that strengthen our course by challenging our bearings, pushing those in charge of transmitting their knowledge to question themselves in order to provide the most legitimate answers.
The people walking with you today are ready to share their experience, including their mistakes, so that you, like us, come to class with a smile on your face, happy to walk another step further. You will receive from these people, and figure out that the best answer is usually to give, whether it is just your respect, sometimes your energy or enthusiasm, or even to just to give in, as learning to yield is already a giant step forward.
Trust the people youâ€™re training with, they are all learning from a brilliant teacher, whose skills are only matched by his generosity. Enjoy yourself, we all want to keep on walking with you for a very long time. Welcome.
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