By Jikishin Kobudo, Nov 14 2013 12:00PM
Here is one of the earliest photographs of the temple of Confuscius (or Kongzi) in Chu Fuo, China. The straight path symbolises the discipline of those following the legendary philosopher. In martial arts we also follow a path, this is the "Do" or "Way" of martial arts.
Some martial artists follow their own path, some choose to follow a Sensei/teacher or one who has gone before. Which is right?
It is up to the individual martial artist to decide, do they follow or do they wander? Sometimes, if you wander, you may discover new realms, on the other hand your own path may take you in circles. Sometimes by following one who has gone before, you can be guided in a clear direction, other times your Sensei may be going in circles themselves.
Each martial artist must choose their own path depending on their confidence, wisdom and experience. As Lao Tzu said "No-one should follow a path they do not trust".
In "Do" we cannot separate the physical and spiritual journey. As such, two things can be certain: It shows poor spirit, to pretend to follow a Sensei, when you wish to follow your own path. Similarly it is without virtue to think of yourself as a Sensei, when the path you tread has led you nowhere that anyone would choose to follow.
A beginner knows little of "the way" and it is for this reason, a kind Sensei will help students to follow the path that is right for them.