Isshinryu means everything to me, then again everything I have studied means everything to me too. Now at the time of my life I am forced to think about everything more becomes clearer in my mind.
When I think of Isshinryu I see it as a combination of Body, Mind and Spirit. Of course the same might be said about any art. But it means most to me as Isshinryu.
We all begin here, We build our art capabilities into our body. Years of work doing so at our beginning. We never get past it, for after we build our skills we continue to refine them, and then train to maintain those abilities we developed. The one constant is Age affects us all in time, Each of us differently, but changes occur none the less.
Some of those changes are our individual reaction to disease, some are affected by our previous life styles. Some due to other factors, but everyone is affected in their own way.
I believe the kobudo kata of Isshinryu serve as a force enhancer after decades of study to fight against the onset of age effects. Not stopping them but using the skills developed over time to build skills to suprement the other skills, and delaying age’s onslaught.
Face it, there is infinitesimal likelihood those weapons will ever be used as originally designed. But serving as long term study force enhancers is another ability.
A more subtle part of your studies. Without the correct development of the body you do not have something to work with. But there is so much more involved.
At first the Mind takes whatever is shared by your instructor and uses it. All start there.
Then there are different paths, different paradigms, of what Isshinryu is. Time gives more chance to accumulate experiences on how your knowledge of Isshinryu can be used.
There is not one answer. Even seemingly divergent answers can yield success. But the knowledge must be developed.
Moving from your instructor, to accepting your own responsibility to grow your art to greater levels of understanding.
The last part of the triumvirate of Isshinryu is the Spirit.
This cannot be taught. Your instructor(s) can only create an environment for you to grow it yourself. Over time your belief in your body and your knowledge about Isshinryu must grow stronger. The Spirit or Belief in Yourself is the key to make the other pieces work.
Without self belief, no matter what time you have put into your body development, no matter how deep your knowledge of what you can do, the other pieces are not enough.
You need your Spirit to drive your art. To make it truly yours.
And when the Body, the Mind and the Spirit work together, you have really achieved what your art can do.