It is amazing what Budo can do if it is taught deeply and trained the same way. My wife Geraldine and I did learn Aikido with Esther-Sensei and Bruno-Sensei at the Tenshin-Ryu in Kempen, Germany (Reynosa-Sensei at Ventura, USA has a deep influence onto our Aikido. He is our sensei now and we are extremely happy about his caring).
Like the both (Esther-Sensei and Bruno-Sensei) said when we trained with them (free quotation): “At the beginning of training Aikido you will start catching falling teacups”. Once you train much longer this kind of awareness will be growing stronger. You will notice problems, will be able to read a face behind the facade and learn a lot more things. Those will be different for everybody and everyone will have to find this out for her-/himself.
Aikido is definately a great thing to do. But one of the premises is to find the right people/teachers/senseis. Masayuki Shimabukuro is one of the important people at Budo and he explains about “awareness” in four steps: “Nikugen -> Tengen -> Egen -> Shingen”. With reading his explenations about these four expressions, one realizes how philosophical Budo can be.
The first level – “Nikugen” (what the author describes as “naked eye”) – is a two-dimensional seeing. You see something but you do not realize neither form nor background. This might be compared to the state a baby sees things like.
The secons level – “Tengen” – is what the author describes as a “neutral perspective”. In simple words he means that seeing lots of trees, you realize that there is a forest (“see the forest for the trees”).
The third level of awareness – “Egen” (Interpretive Sight) – is what you can notice with a lot of grown ups. With this step it becomes possible to subconcious foresee a possible accident by observing two cars approaching a blind intersection. Still – Masayuki Shimabukuro finds – “Egen” with people is very limited to physical things and happenings whilst the true “Egen” could in fact be used to “see” a lot more. For example one could realize what clashing will happen when two completely different characters meet.
The fourth step is very interesting – “Shingen/H?gen” (Compassionate Eye). Compassion in the German language is often mistankingly understood as “pity”. Compassion is completely different, maybe compared to a parent – children relationship of both meanings. The fourth level – that will possibly never be met by most people – means objectiveness and compassion. The true Samurai will understand things objetively and he has got the ability to foresee, what results will come out of the doing. The Samurai sees things “with understanding and compassion for ALL those affected, so that his action will be not what is best for him, but what will be the best for scociety as a whole.” (quotation Masayuki Shimabukuro).
It is very interesting to read, what the fourth level is. Fact is that it will possibly take a very long time to get even near to this level of awareness, because the ego and the personal understanding and prejudice play against that. Also the personal circumstances will influence the objectiveness, although being at the fourth level, you will certainly take care of those.
To cut things short, at that fourth level you will not see the abilities of people in a dependence on looks and superficiality. You will look behind the facade into their hearts and see the true personality. The views of Masayuki Shimabukuro are very interesting and he takes great care in etikette and philosophy. In our eyes he is a very important person in budo and humanity.