Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tough Love

Three days before his death Diagu wrote a short poem praising himself as "unique in his generation." At the end of the poem he put the words "three days before." Did he regret having boasted and wish to write a different poem? The following day he requested that his attendant bring him writing paper, and as the latter was about to hand it to his master, Daigu hit him. A day later Daigu died.

- Japanese Death Poems, edited by Yoel Hoffman. Tuttle 1986, pp 93-94.

Every time the Sensei threw him, Yoshi got back up. "Why don't you stay down, Yoshi?" the Sensei asked. As he stood up to be thrown again, Yoshi was enlightened!

Nicklaus Suino teaches iaido and other martial arts at seminars throughout North America. Information about his seminars can be found at He teacher iaido, judo, and jujutsu at the Japanese Martial Arts Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan.


Priori2ude said...

Wow, Daigu...that's the toughest of tough love!

Chad said...

Sensei, I remember Friday night training at the East Lansing dojo. I would often stand outside wondering whether anyone besides you and Steve were going to come to training. I would stand there and wonder if I could take the pain of being thrown by two wonderful Judo men over and over again. I wasn't very good so I was the person who had to pull myself off the mat. I remember one time in mid July the heat was horrible, and you, Steve and I conducted randori for the entire class period. Toward the end of the evening, I was hurt and exhausted and Steve continued to throw me. I remember trying to get off the mat and you said to me, "if you get thrown down seven times then stand up eight." At the time I thought it was only a judo lesson. I have been thrown down over and over again in my personal life, my professional life and in my athletic life. I realize that this lesson is not just a judo lesson but one of the most important life lessons. I needed the reminder. Thank you. Forever your faithful student.