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Over the past few decades, it seems that there has arisen a strong emphasis on the competitive elements of martial arts. In some ways this is good, as it does not allow room for excessive philosophies that cannot be matched by physical performance. Practicality has always served as an important element in the foundation of even the most esoteric forms of martial combat. However, some initiates of traditional styles have often felt that the modern world of martial arts is placing too much importance on competition, and that the actual fighting is not the sole purpose of training, but to condition one’s mind and spirit.
The true sage knows that martial arts are an expression of alchemy and one of the oldest spiritual forms to date. There are many legends and accounts in ancient mythologies around the world that all share a common story of how the arts and sciences of war were taught to early man by otherworldly beings. Nor is it any coincidence that we find intercourse with a Martian deity in planetary initiations. The art of war is a divine science practiced by divine beings.
One martial form that places strong emphasis on practicality and spiritual cultivation is Rinkiohen-Do. According to the Green Lion Martial Arts Academy’s website, “Rinkiohen-Do (臨 機応変道) loosely means the “Way of Adaptability”. The full definition of the word Rinkiohen is: Rinki-Ohen – “adapting to circumstances, do something on a play-by-ear basis, extemporaneously, impromptu, flexibility, adapting to circumstances as they arise”.
One of thing that I find interesting about Rinkiohen-Do is its purity in style and execution. I am reminded, at least in its presentation, of Aikido based on the system’s cleanliness and the flow of movement. Rinkiohen-Do is a real martial arts, not something based on sensationalizing legendary figures such as the ninja, but is designed to give the student an accurate knowledge in body mechanics, internal alchemy, while providing a practical means of self-defense.
Rinkiohen-Do has as its foundation a form of internal alchemy, specific to the martial art itself that is essential in helping the student achieve increased awareness and balance of mind. Lessons in energy cultivation are an extremely important aspect of this style.
Sensei Kerwin Rodriguez is the Chief Instructor at the Green Lion Martial Arts Academy. While Sensei Rodriguez and myself may not always agree about history and philosophy, maybe due to our shared Taino heritage, among other things, I have complete admiration for his work ethic and life-long dedication for the advancement and preservation of certain budo knowledge.
Not only is Sensei Rodriguez a highly experienced martial artist, he is also no-nonsense teacher. A lot of people may not be aware of this, but before the development of Ame-no-Ukihashi, it was once proposed that Ninzuwu initiates should earn a black belt in Rinkiohen-Do, due to the style’s esoteric knowledge and teacher’s total honest approach. This still may apply in the future in conjunction with our forms.
One thing that you have to love about Sensei Rodriguez is his practical approach to martial arts as someone who has a wealth of alchemical knowledge and how he balances all of these factors together in Rinkiohen-Do. Personally, I must say that due to the dexterity of Sensei Rodriguez’s character, I find that the Rinkiohen-Do Home Study Course is one of the few forms of martial arts home study that I would recommend. It’s not about the fluff. It is practical and an honest approach to achieve the Rinkiohen-Do Gnosis, regardless of the student’s location.
I am no expert on Rinkiohen-Do. However, I can say with complete confidence that this martial arts style, along with its instructors are an authentic cast of seasoned practitioners in an altruistic journey of the warrior’s gnosis.