Because of my close relationship with Iijima Sensei, who lives in Ibaraki Prefecture, I build up a good connection with Miyamoto Sensei, Kendo 8th Dan Hanshi, who was president of the Ibaraki Kendo Renmei and a close friend of Iijima Sensei.
One day, Iijima Sensei arrived at Schiphol Airport, carrying a huge frame under his arm, wrapped in paper. “What is that, Sensei?” I asked. “This is a present for you from Miyamoto Sensei, it’s a copy of the famous Gei Ni Asobu frame in Mito”.
This frame still hangs in the Kodokan building in Mito, Ibaraki.
The Kodokan was a famous Samurai School, where Samurai were taught all the Arts and Sciences which were deemed good education in the later Edo period. Besides the Martial Arts, it also included Classical Texts, Calligraphy etc.
Ni Asobu: to enjoy, to live by
Gei stands for all the arts that Samurai were schooled in, but for us it stands for Budo. In order to continue study of Budo for a long time, you must keep enjoying it. Because it is no longer a killing art, and it is meant to enrich your mental and physical health, you will stop training Budo if you lose the enjoyment of training. Already at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), the Samurai of Mito discovered that basic principle, and this resulted in this wonderful concept.
Since I received this present from Miyamoto Sensei, I decided to make it my motto in Budo.