Thursday, September 22, 2011

Musashi Inu!

Since Sensei Nick has been back in the country we have been working on Aikijutsu and Shotokan Karate. It has been wonderful to have my Sensei here to answer all my martial arts questions. We have been working specifically on refining the techniques in and learning the applications (or Bunkai) of the Heian Nidan kata. We have been working loosly and across the board with Aikijutsu techniques and kata, as well as sword play, among other things. Life is awesome.

However, Sensei Nick will have to leave the country again in another few weeks. Since I am watching the house and helping with the school while Sensei Nick is out of the country, we decided it might be a good idea to have a dog around. Both for protection and companionship. 

Yesterday, we adopted a 9 and 1/2 week old Great Dane puppy. I named him Musashi. After Miyamoto Musashi. 

--> Wikipedia says this about Miyamoto Musashi:  a Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪書 Go Rin No Sho?), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today. Miyamoto Musashi is widely considered as a Kensei, and one of the greatest warriors of all time.

So that gives you some idea.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to post about getting a dog is because I am excited for the learning experience this is going to provide. The main reason I am here with Sensei Nick to learn Martial Arts, to learn Practical Self Defense (As I do not believe these two are always necessarily the same thing) and to learn to teach both of those things.

I am really looking forward to working with Musashi and teaching him. I also expect him to teach me as much as I teach him. I know there will be times when he really tests me, but I consider this a lesson/exercise in being patient, being calm, being assertive and in control at all times, and working with people (or in this case an animal) that has a very different learning style and/or needs than my own. I want to use Musashi to better help me observe and pick up on behavior patterns. Dogs cannot tell you what they need. (Sure they can whine and scratch at the door or their food bowl, but they are not capable of communicating to us if they are ill, hungry, thirsty, have to go out, etc. if we do not pay attention to them.) Sometimes, I think students have trouble with this as well. Whether because they are shy or simply don't have the right words or knowledge to articulate themselves, sometimes we (students) just don't know how to communicate what we want or need to our instructors. Sometimes we don't even know what we need. But by learning to watch and observe behavior, movement, etc. I think it will help get me in the habit of looking for those kinds of things by the time I am ready to start teaching.

In addition, dogs need structure and schedule. Musashi will have to be walked between an hour to an hour and a half EVERY DAY. This will be great exercise for me, and also give me time to think. I think it will help regulate my schedule a bit, and overall be good for my health. 

Now, please don't get me wrong. I am incredibly excited to have Musashi and I already love him very much. I am determined to take EXCEPTIONAL care of him. We did not get Musashi to be used as a tool or turned into a learning experiment. But I believe every situation in life presents an opportunity to be learned from and getting a puppy is no different.

We should always be seeking ways to deepen our understanding of the world around us and to grow and better ourselves as people. No matter what the situation or circumstance, we should always strive to treat each other with honesty, sincerity and kindness. This I believe with all my heart. 

Have a great week all. 

~ Samurai Girl Sahara

This is a picture of Musashi on the day we got him. He was 10 weeks old. D'awwww!
A picture Musashi as of April 2013. He is 21 months old. Just over a year and a half.


  1. Dog - spell it backwards as we get an idea of what the world has as its greatest companion and allie, cool, enjoy, give the big dog a hug for all of us.

    Have you ever seen the show, The Dog Whisperer? The first season is the best and coolest. The host is Cesar Millan .... really cool stuff.

  2. I have not seen the Dog Whisperer, I don't really watch T.V., plus I don't have cable and he's not on Netflix that I am aware of. However, I do know who Cesar Millan is and I am working my way through the second of his books as far as dogs are concerned. I am really excited to have a well behaved, balanced dog. :D I am waiting till I can afford Hulu Plus so I can watch some of his episodes that way.

  3. Regarding the two legged, historical Musashi:

  4. Dogs are great - something I never in a million years thought I'd say as I never really even wanted a dog. But my dog, K (a shortened form of the word "dog" in Korean) is now two; we got him when he was only three months old. He's a great dog - Lab/German Shepherd mix with a playful soul - whom I've leaned a lot from. Loyal to a fault (he once "saved" me from a neighbor's Rottie who'd broken his lead as we walked through the neighborhood), I hug him daily still, even though he is about 90 lbs, broad-shouldered and hard to get my arms around.

    Relationships with our dogs are not always fun (I must tell you about the time K stole a bag of Hershey's kisses my honey had left for me and ate every stinking piece - including the foil; chocolate is poisonous to dogs and it was me who had the unfortunate task of forcing him to ingest peroxide via baby syringe so he would throw it all up - at midnight on a Saturday when all the vets are closed) but extremely special. Enjoy Musashi and teach him all you can while he is a puppy (makes things a little easier when he's an adult, I found). Oh - and hide all your shoes :-)