Communication Through the Heart

by Pedro Fleitas

That day we had participated in the training that Hatsumi Sensei led at Someya Dojo. When it finished, my friends Arnaud Cousergue (France), Paco Roldan (Spain) and myself got ready to take the train.

The main aspects of our conversation during this trip, and even in our previous meetings, was how we could communicate in a deeper way with Master Hatsumi and avoid the language boundary.

At that moment Arnaud was proposing something interesting and I was trying to look for parallel ways, and vice versa. In this way we were looking for the ideal way to communicate and have deeper and more meaningful conversation with Soke.

We were inside the train, which was empty, and were alone in the wagon, discussing solutions to this problem. Suddenly the train stopped in a medium station and a Japanese who was drunk came into the wagon. He almost couldn't stand up, and, as fate would have it, he seated himself in front of us. At first we ignored him, but suddenly, this Japanese man, with a wish to establish a conversation with us, asked us in Japanese, "Where do you come from?" "From France," answered Arnaud; from Spain I answered, also pointing to Paco who was seated on my right. "I am Sato," he told us afterwards. At the same time we repeated our names using what little knowledge we had of the language of the country of the rising sun. We asked him if he spoke English. "A little," he replied in harmony with the train, his drunken movements barely controllable. Suddenly there was silence, and I remember that I looked into his eyes and I felt something strong; there was something in him ...

Suddenly he made signs that he wanted to write something for us. Arnaud offered him a note-book he had in his hands at the moment and a pen. The Japanese man, making an ability puddle, took the notebook with one hand and the pen with the other hand. Barely able to keep from falling over, he wrote something on the note-book, and gave the note-book back to us. Imagine our surprise when we read in perfect English:

"It does not matter the language. Spirit, mind and heart are the most important things."

At that moment Arnaud and I looked at each other without knowing what to say, and we both looked at the Japanese man, who, having arrived at his destination, parted with the traditional Japanese reverence.

I can still "see" how he drunkenly got off the train, nearly unable to stand up, and how, after the wagon door closed and the train started moving, the Japanese man, stopped completely in front of the door, and gave us one last reverence.

Of course this is something we will never forget, my companions and I. Especially if we think that it was the answer to our question. "How do we carry a deep conversation with our teacher?" We had just received the answer:

"It does not matter the language. Spirit, mind and heart are the most important things."

This piece is excerpted from the book "Artes Marciales Bujinkan Dojo" (Martial Arts of the Bujinkan Dojo) by Pedro Fleitas.