Teacher Teaches by Doing

Here’s a brief follow-up to my admonition to remember to include greenery on your martial arts dojo kamidana spirit shelf.

A few friends wrote and chided me for not personally teaching them what they needed on that shelf. “How are we supposed to know? We didn’t live all those years in Japan like you did,” seemed to be a reasonable indignant response.

(Awkward pause for effect)  Uh… Well, try looking around.

You’ve been to my dojo.

You have seen photos of my school on the internet.

You have read the books that describe how to set up your dojo (Enlightened Self-Protection).

See it. Do it.

I am never not teaching.


11 comments to “Teacher Teaches by Doing”

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  1. Thank you for the reminer An-Shu, what we show students in lessons is only part of the story. In Germany last year you asked us how we could spread the message of To-Shin Do. One way is to be a living example of the positivity of the art. As you say, never not teaching.
    Thanks again, you have encouraged me to redouble my efforts outside the dojo.

  2. Truly, we can learn as much (or more at times) from unspoken lessons as those spoken. It pays to be mindful of each ‘Golden Moment’ for the lessons it has for us. To be a true warrior is to be Always Awake (Mindful Living).

    Let’s enjoy our journey by walking it truly Living within each moment, while keeping sight of (as An-Shu would say: The Scheme of Totality).

    Stationed Overseas

  3. Dear Stephen K Hayes I am not a meber i am not yet in a situatioon wher i can aford to be,But i been looking to you for guidence i’ve just finished reading “The First Steps On The Path Of Light”and my firend lent me a book called “Bhagavad-Gita”and i was just interested in your opinion on it.I could not find any other way to get your atention so i hope you email me soon and would realy like if i had your email adress i would like to tell you more of my story and hear your opinions. Sincerly Ira J Dyas

  4. you know i use fake greenery
    but i got these real cool grapes and vines which is what i use as my green theme(grape vines are consider by some the trees of life so to speak) that light up as the grapes actually have little bulbs in them i have them wound in a huge vase on the corner of my shelf and when i meditate i turn them on with my candles and incense(of course they look like tinted littled xmas bulbs but way cool a hard find at a yard sale)
    ….its a tad over board yes but it looks cool and serves my purpose…i actually took some time and put my shelf together the “right” way but in my own style …hmm..kinda like my taijutsu…now if i could only get someone to bless my rope for me…..!!!!!!

  5. Andrew K Jones says: -#1

    Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head once again. Students are always saying “but how am I supposed to know this, you’ve never shown it me or told me to do it!” And the truth is, they just never bothered to notice the more subtle lessons and detail they were being shown by example.

    You don’t just learn from being spoonfed, you learn from looking closely at your teacher’s example. Watch how he conducts himself, watch how he does things in certain ways and then ask “why?”

    Too many people say “Oh I’m this guy’s student” without actually realising that they’re only studying a fragment of what is being taught. Look at the whole picture, every single detail and you’ll maybe realise just how many lessons you’ve been missing. Assuming you have a great teacher of course 🙂

  6. Shannada Manitta says: -#1


  7. Robert Armstrong says: -#1

    I guess its a case of judgement…. the second we believe something ‘is’ or ‘isnt’, or someone ‘does’ or ‘doesn’t’ we shut ourselves off to experiencing more (or less) than there is to experience…. As always I do enjoy your skill in translating a lesson into words.

  8. I was told this about you, Anshu, and did my best to take it to heart. I feel I have seen and heard this demonstrated many times over the years I have had the good fortune to meet and train with you. Gambatte kudasai!

  9. nobeltmcdojo says: -#1

    I just have a quick question. If you are “never not teaching” when do you have time to learn anything new? Or have you mastered everything there is to master?

    • Though posed as a snarky childish cheap shot from someone not confident enough to use his/her real name, your quick question is actually a valid consideration.

      As a martial arts practitioner approaching 50 years of training, I am constantly learning new things, and those new things replace or at least reform what I already know. To those who call me Teacher, that is my number 1 lesson – never stop learning. My incessant learning is my never not teaching.

      – An-shu Stephen Kinryu-Jien Hayes

  10. Odell White says: -#1

    Very well stated Sensei. My personal belief is that when you stop learning you stop growing. How can you teach effectively if you are no longer learning:-) Ninpo Ikkan.

    Odell White

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