Do Spirits still reside in the Old Butokuden?
Copyright © by Shlomo David

When I was asked to give my deepest self-impression of my experience in the Second World Butoku Sai held in Kyoto, I stopped all thoughts, I emptied myself.

Click on picture to veiw enlarged… I was again standing in the center of the Butokuden demonstrating my skill in the arts I represent. I had never been so calm, relaxed and with complete self-fulfillment. I had demonstrated quite many times, before martial arts students, in public and even in international events. I had always felt nervousness, weakness on my knees and shallow breathing; most of the time I overcame it with more or less success. But this time my legs were light but strong and steady, my breathing was natural and calm. All my muscles were soft and relaxed but still I felt enormous strength and confidence. I felt the big crowd not encircling me, but on the contrary, all my being extended itself wrapping and filling all the space of the Butokuden Hall. My partner was there, but I was like a cloud in the sky. I was being watched not only by you, martial artists and masters of the arts, Japanese and foreigners, I was watched by hundreds of old and ancient Japanese martial artists, none of whom are with us now, but I felt them as sometimes a small child feels his parent's eyes watching him demonstrate or compete with others, silently encouraging and strengthening him behind. So did I feel these spirits, not judging, not criticizing, but watching silently, with sympathy, giving me the feeling of a strong army backing me. Even though I am not Japanese, I didn't feel a stranger but a successor member of the same family in the Butokuden, continuing their heritage and glory of the past.

I hope, I know I didn't disappoint them.

Shlomo David