Interview with Masami Shioda
– We’re sitting here with Shioda Masami who’s the instructor at the (school name) And he will be telling us a little about his practice and also his teaching here in New York. So my first question actually, sensei, is to tell us a bit about your background in Budo.
I started Budo after I graduated from my university in japan. It was kind of late when I started. Anyway, I didn’t have much chance to have a background or experience although I wanted to. I had experience in Kendo, Kodachi or Shindo and some Iado. But those stuff never satisfy me much; 100%. I was looking for something different, authentic things. But I didn’t know shinkage-ryu such an old style swordmanship was still alive at the time. But accidentally I found it was still there, then I joined one of (grandmaster) school but that I would say, that is not authentic style, and I was not so happy with it. Then I met (Tadashige) who is grandmaster of this school. Then I visited him in Tokyo and he welcomed me. And suddenly I decided to be his disciple. Then this (Shingake ryo?) he was () was founded in the event of (Tadashige) debut visit to NYC in 2002 so it’s been only 10 years.
– Can you tell us a little more about Shinkage-ryu as a style?
Shinkage-ryu is based on armor technique in the battlefield then the difference it does not depend on speed or power, more like (), jiujutsu ), but we have many joint techniques and the purpose is not cutting, the purpose is more restraining the enemy or openings by using () techniques. Kendo, always depends very intense speed and power but you need, you don’t have any circular move like Iado but ours always contacting somebody’s wrist but still if it’s () or kendo. That’s it. That’s end. But ours, after contacting somebody’s joint but still circular, your own body; like left or right side, then restrain or control your body.
– So, we were talking a little bit earlier, kind of, a warm up about your students and the kind of students that you have. Can you sort of recap that for me a little bit? What kind of students do you get coming into your dojo and what are the characteristics that you think would make a good student?
Well, I want them to be both dedicated and serious and our founder (—) always kept saying we need two person tengu sho (?) then after, all techniques afterwards supposed to be conveyed only two serious, two men but here, more or less we have very young people so still some people look for gymnasium style exercise or stress killer or something, hobby. I guess these days I don’t expect too much I try to judge this guy or this person, serious person or I always looking for it so maybe I have 30 students now but I would say after 5-6 years, maybe 1% remain in that way, that’s enough I think.
– So, at the moment your dojo has about 30 people, are there branch dojos in the United States?
– So you’re the only representative here?
Right. I made it, but some people made the wrong () so I closed it. But I can’t think of this responsibility because beyond my sight anyway, that’s why.
– Yeah, I would think so. What is the goal; we also talked about this earlier, the goal for teaching () here in New York.
Yes, as I said before, I am head instructor in this school but still, I still study what is the real () techniques so I want to find out, discover, the two people who may be, up to another 10 years I can find two or three if possible, that’s my goal. I can share the same spirit, the same philosophy with those people.
– So in terms of spirit or philosophy what does that constitute as part of the practice?
Well it’s very hard to get spirit and philosophy through the practice. Maybe I have to give some once in a while I have to give a lecture by using a white board or something. But shikage–ryu is I think the first swordsmanship contains zen, buddism idea then we can’t finish or eat every single each technique, we never get fatal. After I can control you I’m not gonna give any fatal stabbing or something. So we say each Shigake-Ryu techniques we have Katsuni Ken Hatsuni To. Hatsuni to means using power and speed. Just, I attack much faster than you then I kill you. But Hatsuni to means I let you use your own technique then I take your life. Let them use your technique that you study after years then I take; we always make up, we have to create a scenario on the battlefield, that’s why. That’s Shinkage-ryu. Then another one, Kentai kyobi means attacking and defensing the same. This idea created I think (misendo kami?) is the first person who created this idea. This could be used for anytime as well.
– Do you think that, you mentioned a little earlier that there was an intended branch dojo idea but that idea did not work out. Do you see in the future at any point that shinkageryu will spread to other states.
If I could cultivate good students then these students will become to other cities or states. They could be independent or in a branch for shinkageryu. That’s possible, but until then at this moment I have no idea. That’s my goal. I think at this moment it’s impossible.