Kendo’s Healing Message for May

For many years Kendo has advocated Buddhist ‘Zazen’ meditation as an excellent means for achieving peace, gaining wisdom, and finding inspiration. It was a gift to the young Peter Thornley from his sensei, Kenshiro Abbe, it completely transformed his life for the better, and, of course, it led to the emergence of Kendo Nagasaki.

But Abbe also imparted something more, an additional technique to be used with meditation, and – unsurprisingly – he communicated it as a Zen koan! That technique was Kyu Shin Do, which adds the ability to gain perspective on all aspects of life; where pure meditation is a ‘pure’ approach to peace and enlightenment, seeking the peace of Zen in the context of Kyu Shin Do is an ‘applied’ approach to being the best you can be, the highest Buddhist aspiration, and it rapidly yields positive results.

If you use Kyu Shin Do as you meditate, you will almost unconsciously take successive steps towards self-improvement. In his youth, Peter Thornley was wild, unfocussed, and not remotely pro-social, but as Kyu Shin Do began to take effect, he visualised the glorious spectacle of Kendo Nagasaki and his primary message: “The world is hugely challenging – if you wish to learn and grow and gain strength from meeting each challenge, you need to be as focussed, disciplined, and determined as Kendo Nagasaki. Then your life will shine, and you will inspire others.”

As they say, the rest is history, but what is not as widely known is that out of the wrestling ring, Peter Thornley quietly became a healer, setting-up a word-of-mouth clinic in his own home, using ‘Katsu’ or ‘Judo Healing’ to ease people’s physical pains and instructing them in meditation so they could gain peace, strength, and confidence to improve their own lives and the lives of all around them. Kyu Shin Do had liberated this vision within Peter on how to apply his physical prowess and strength of character, passing-on the flame of enlightenment and empowerment, as-it-were, like a flame from candle to candle, person to person. Kyu Shin Do manifesting itself is a powerful way to ‘pay it forward’, to really be a force for good in the world, without even thinking about it, and the ‘Kendo’s Day Care’ facility continues Peter’s own work in this vein to this day, giving adults with learning disabilities the chance to experience the peace, healing, and positivity of the Nagasaki Retreat.

Healing is not just something to receive, but is very much within everyone’s power to give. Kendo counsels that in these intensely difficult times, meditation is hugely helpful in escaping the worry which can obscure the wise course of action, and so intuitive guidance on how to cope will certainly come from practising it. But if a Kyu Shin Do context is applied to the problems of the whole of society right now, you broaden your vision to include being inspired on how to become a lightning-rod for positivity and empowerment, perceiving the ways in which you can help, support, and inspire all those around you – your extended family, which is actually the whole of society. Through Kendo, Peter has always done this – so can you.

It was once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. Kyu Shin Do meditation is the best of all such worlds – it’s a gateway to best managing your immediate situation, as well as acknowledging your strength and skill and seeking how to apply it, in order to be the best you can be, for the highest benefit of your own life, of your family, and by extension, of the whole of society around you. Take this flame from Kendo, burn it brightly, and pass it on!

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