Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Practice. 1 to 10. 10 to 1

Practicing Chabako with Matsumoto Sensei (seated)
Semantics aside, there is a fundamental a difference between the study of chado and those who call it a practice. After about the first five years of my practice as a student of Matsumoto Sensei, people asked me if I am still taking classes. The answer was yes then and after 28 years, the answer is still the same.

Did Segovia practice? Did he learn something each time he picked up the guitar?

In my experience with chado, as well as with the guitar, piano, getting out of bed in the morning, going to bed at night it's different every time.

It almost doesn't matter if there is yet another temae (procedure) to learn. From the onset, we learn "ichi go. ichi e." this one experience. this one time.

Matsumoto Sensei reminds us often of one of the maxims of Sen no Rikyu (our tea ancestor from the 16th century):

"Practice constitutes learning from one, becoming cognizant of ten, then returning from ten to one, the beginning."