The dōjō is a place where our mistakes should be pointed out so that we can constantly improve and deal with them. Alone, the Kagami (mirror) at the Kamidana symbolizes this attitude, which is essential for the training as Budōka.

Nevertheless, there are people who come to the dōjō and cannot stand constructive criticism. This often concerns advanced students, but also all those who believe they have practiced certain techniques often enough and do not need further feedback. Here the will for constant improvement or change is lost. The question I usually ask myself then is why they come to training at all if the will to improve/change is not there?

During my Budō, my favorite moments were when I received direct feedback from my teachers. It was in those moments that I was given a little direction on where to start to improve my Taijutsu. I immediately recorded such feedback in my notes and then trained at home so that I didn’t have to be pointed to the same aspect a second time. Solo training is important, but without someone to point out your own mistakes, you run the risk of training the wrong things and building up an illusion that you are flawless.

Therefore, I would recommend every budōka to pay more attention to such moments and to be grateful for these direct teachings (Kuden). Also it is not a matter of course to have a teacher nearby, everyone should be aware of that.

To end with a little quote from an esteemed teacher: “Flowers start wilting after they bloom. So be a flower that keeps growing and not blooming. Blooming is the beginning of the end.”