As many of you know, the founder of our national organization (Birankai) was T.K. Chiba Shihan (1940-2015.) In addition to all of his work on the mat training students and teachers, he was also a prolific writer on the subject of our practice. We would like to share one of these short essays with you; a book is being compiled of all of his writings, and once it becomes available we will keep a copy at the dojo.
The following article is about the importance of training with partners of diverse ability levels; essentially the openness to allow training with anyone to be mutually beneficial (even when the benefit may not be immediately obvious!) The fact that we train with others is often simultaneously the most rewarding and most challenging thing we do.
As George Lyons Shihan relayed to us at a recent seminar, when we approach our practice seriously, over time we can progress from hard to soft; rough to smooth; stiff to supple. This process is outlined generally in the concept of Go ( 剛; hard, stone) Ju (柔; pliable, plants) Ryu (流; flowing, water). We will have more on this later. But the tension that is created from mixing our training with those at the various stages of this process is where real growth can take place.