The Way of the Warrior Healer.
By: Professor Don Cross, M.Ed.
When I got my Black Belt in 1964 my Sensei asked me what I thought my seven years of training had all been about. I replied that I’d learned lots of Jujitsu, Judo, Karate, and weapons use, had a great time doing it, and that I’d grown up a lot. My Sensei smiled and said that the joke was on me if I thought that’s all I’d gotten. What he told me then changed my life forever. He said: “The whole purpose for your study of Jujitsu has been to make you a healer.” That phrase, with its seeming contradiction, has been like a Zen koan for me over the intervening years.
Fighting and healing are obviously opposites, aren’t they? Both disciplines have ancient histories as art forms in the Far East, and Oriental philosophy has no problem in resolving apparent contradictions. For instance, I have been taught that violent encounters are the result of relationships out of balance and need healing. But, if fighting becomes necessary to stop violence and reconcile differences, then it is essential to cause the least possible harm. To hold this philosophy one must surely be a warrior who is committed to the belief that the only true end to any conflict must always be peace.
In Jujitsu our primary objective is to find peaceful solutions to differences with others without the necessity of resorting to physical confrontation. However, if combat becomes necessary, the techniques employed in Jujitsu give the practitioner many effective, yet non- violent options to stop the conflict from escalating. In Jujitsu we employ numerous techniques of escape which involve the use of leverage and timing. If escape is not possible, we employ the use of joint immobilization arts to stop the aggressor from pursuing a destructive path. We may also throw an attacker to redirect and neutralize his force, or choke a violent adversary unconscious to stop him from causing further harm to others or himself.
Professor Henry Okazaki, Master of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, often taught his students that there was only one way the martial arts should be used, and that was for the benefit of others. Okazaki told his students that if a man were to break into his house and try to injure his family, he might have to break the man’s arm to stop him. But that he should always remember he must also be the first to render that man first aid and help him any way he could afterwards. It takes real strength of character to let go of your anger over what someone has apparently done to you, and then to forgive and offer your help. We don’t need any more angry, aggressive people in this world. Compassion and humility are the two most important virtues we need to practice in our lives to make this world a better place for us all.
My teachers have stressed that martial artists need to take responsibility for their actions through knowledge of how to reverse the effects of their techniques with resuscitation arts and therapeutic massage. Not only is sensitivity, forgiveness and compassion the way of a master, but also the self-control, concentration, confidence, and ability to project life force (Ki) developed in martial arts training are the same attributes utilized by the best healers.
In Jujitsu we have a concept called “Kappo/Sappo.” Kappo are healing techniques which often involve stimulation of specific acupuncture points. Whereas Sappo involves striking those same points to cause injury. The intention with which the acu-point is addressed is the crucial factor. In fact, as legend has it, acupuncture was first explored by a Chinese general. He was intrigued after being struck in the leg by an arrow during a battle. Not only did it not hurt, but a long standing health condition quickly cleared up.
On the surface, the advanced study of martial arts can appear to be the pursuit of easier, faster, more efficient methods of maiming and killing. However, the discovery of the power to injure others using martial arts techniques is necessarily coupled with the discovery of one’s own vulnerability to injury. It is common, then, for the martial artist to gain compassion as his martial skills increase, and the desire to use his acquired skills and knowledge to heal.
The truly advanced student of Jujitsu, the Warrior-Healer, must always be conscious of the ultimate goal of the training: of healing bodies, minds, emotions, relationships, and of creating peace in our world. Far from the passive, introspective activities that most people associate with the term “pacifist,” the process of being and becoming a healer and peacemaker requires determined, persistent, committed training. The will to achieve, the willingness to work, the conditioning of the mind, body, and spirit–all the qualities that accompany martial arts success–are also part of the journey to becoming a healer, a journey that begins again every day with the realization that there is no end to learning, and no limit to human potential.