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Shoshin 初心 – beginner’s mind

Shoshin 初心 in Japanese means “Beginner’s mind”. Having a beginner’s mind means to practice each day as if it was the first time one steps into the Dojo. With the enthusiasm of the beginning, with the desire to discover new things, taking in everything you experience.

The purpose of the practice is to always keep pure the mind like that of an amateur.

This beginner’s mind is very hard to keep.

Shoshin involves an open and clear mind.

The mind of the beginner is presented with many possibilities.

Shoshin is the mind or attitude required to follow a teaching.

This contains honesty, modesty, humility, patience, sacrifice and self-control.

Shoshin is not affected by the will, prejudice or discrimination.

It’s like a piece of silk before being inked by a brush.

It is also an important condition of the first state or phase, in which a beginner learn to perceive the basics in a precise way, item by item, line by line, with an unwavering faith in what is taught.

However, Shoshin is not just the mental state required for the beginner, but must be present throughout all stages of the training. The manifestation of Shoshin therefore varies depending on the state in which one is; whether a student beginner, intermediate or advanced. What’s more important is that in the end, one becomes a single body inside and out, eventually developing the mind of the no-mind.

This is the culmination of the budo training.

The determination to stay in the beginner’s mind is a key factor for the performance of the study. This determination is very vulnerable to being destroyed by ego, position and rank or lost by the pride and presumptions.

The loss of Shoshin means stopping the growth and this can happen even when one has not been recognised. It is also a sign, and the result of human arrogance.

A modest mind is one that recognises the depth of the way, do you know the fear, do you know the existence of something beyond your own reality, while continuing the path of internal development. In many respects, the self-denial works as a midwife that stimulates the birth of a real wealth of the heart.

Shoshin-or-Wasurezu: “don’t forget the spirit and humility of a beginner”.

This is a great translation, I hope you enjoyed it – Shihan Piero

Pairwork Special Session 練習

A chance to focus on Yakusoku Kumite (Pair work), Goshin Jitsu (Self defence) and Tanken Sabaki (Knife defences) in a special 2 hour session run by Renshi Tim Emerson.


Sunday 15th May 2016
9am to 11am


Hurstpierpoint Village Centre Trinity Road

Who can attend:

Juniors (8+) and Adults

Cost £2

Personal development – Our core philosophy

Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karate-Do Renmei has a simple philosophy that runs through everything we do and care about.


Personal Development

We are registered as a ‘not-for-profit organisation’, which basically means the school is run by the members for and on behalf of the membership, so everyone benefits. All teachers and officials contribute their time and energy voluntarily.

This is great news because we don’t have to get paid to do what we love.

In this modern age this is very rare. It means we can really focus on the individual development of each member and not have to maximise the profitability of the club to survive.

….So, regardless of ability, age or experience we carefully focus on each student’s personal development and that’s when we see people shine.

Trophies, medals or status – whilst on the surface are appealing – they aren’t important to us. If someone enters a class, tries their best, showing physical, mental or spiritual development, then their Karate-Do path will always be a good path.

These 3 students joined my class at a very young age. They are just a few who demonstrate how children can develop into bright young adults with the correct guidance, etiquette and approach. These students have demonstrated great spirit and commitment to their Karate training, I eagerly look forward to seeing how they develop in the next few years!


See you in the dojo – Shihan Piero Barba

Shoes off in the Dojo

We often hear the Sensei pick up on people entering a dojo with shoes on or even putting shoes on before they leave. Why are they so worried about shoes in the Dojo? Especially when the spectators are all wearing shoes and anyone else using the hall is wearing trainers. Here is a few reasons why it’s so important.

In Japan it is seen as basic etiquette to leave your shoes by the door and put on as pair of slippers specifically for indoor use. With the shoes you leave the outside dirt and as simple as that sounds that is the reason why you must not have your shoes on in the Dojo.

Is that the only reason? Well, yes and no there must be more to it…

I decided to search deep into my experiences to explain how important this is for Karateka to follow.

I’ll start with my first Dojo experience…
Imagine walking into a small cold hut in Cuckfield with cracks in the wall so big I could fit my fingers in them. The roof was made up of, what I can only describe as pieces of roof and the windows all bricked up. The floor however, was immaculate… wooden and smooth with that freshly sanded feel. A little bouncy in some corners but the surface was clearly cared for and respected. The walls were white and there was a large red sun at the far end with Kanji and a picture either side – how a dojo should be.

Before we started we were each handed a well used rag that was dunked and rinsed just enough so there wasn’t any access water dripping off. In the winter we had to crack the ice of the rags before we could rinse them, to give you an idea how cold it could get… the cracks in the wall didn’t help!

At this early point of the session – when you can’t feel your toes – we would run up and down the Dojo a few times pushing the rag down on the floor with our hands to make sure every inch was clean. This was repeated at the end of the session too, even though anyone using the dojo afterwards would have to go through the process AGAIN.

The Dojo was always well respected.

This brings me onto the Dojo it’s self and what it means to me. The word “dojo” 道場 is actually two words. “Do” which means “the way” or “the path” and “jo” which means “the place.” When the two words are combined it means “the place where the way is studied.” Where ever your Dojo IS, you will begin to understand that is becomes an important and sacred place. The size, structure, decoration or cracks in the wall are not important because the Dojo represents YOU…“the place where the way is studied.”

My Dojo location has changed many times from the old hut in Cuckfield, 34 years ago to the large professional sports complex infused with badminton sounds in Burgess Hill. However, my attitude has never changed – shoes off before you walk in….formal rei (bow) when you enter and leave…look for dirt and spillages…. clean, clear and tidy the space….ensure the area is safe to train.

How does this represents you? – “the place where the way is studied” – this is within you and everywhere you go.

  1. Shoes off – get ready to train – leave the outside dirt outside – clear your thoughts and focus on this moment in the Dojo.
  2. Rei (bow) before you enter and when you leave – the rei signifies your promise to give yourself to the training.
  3. Clean, tidy and safe – this is related to your training.
    1. Clean – your thoughts (focus)
    2. Tidy – body (perfect techniques)
    3. Safe – spirit (train with heart)

Karate is a complex study with messages and secrets intwined in all the aspects of the experience, including the Dojo and your shoes. Sometimes you may have to look deeper than what you see with your eyes and open your heart to the lessons Karate-Do has for you.

This is just one of the inspiring values I picked up from my teacher Kyoshi Peter Connolly, I hope you enjoyed it.

See you in the Dojo – Shihan Piero Barba.

Grading – April 2016

The Reiwaryu Ryushinkan Karatedo Renmei biannual grading has been organised for April 2016.

Where: Triangle Olympus Leisure Centre, Triangle Way, Burgess Hill, RH15 0WA
When: Sunday 17th April 2016
Start: Juniors and Seniors 1pm (registration at 12.45pm) Diddy Deshi 3pm (registration at 2.45pm)
Finish: Finish at 5pm (after bow off and group photo)

For all students being put forward for promotion you will be given a grading form by your Sensei.

Etiquette and Attitude for the grading
1. Be clean. 2. Have a clean karate suit (Gi) and sparring kit 3. Wear no jewellery or watches. • If you have a ring that you can’t remove, then put tape round it. 4. Long hair must be tied back. 5. Finger and toe nails must be cut short. 6. Any clothing should be soft (i.e. have no pins or pointed catches). 7. Have the correct attitude i.e. awareness, concentration, intention to give 100%effort. 8. Don’t be late (if you are late, kneel at the back of the dojo until you are told to start).

Horsham Dojo Change of Training Location & Closure

For the next few weeks the Horsham Dojo has to relocate due to exams at our normal venue.

Also note a few closures due to bank holidays.

4/4/2016 – Normal training at Millais
11/4/2016 – Normal training at Millais
18/4/2016 – Normal training at Millais
25/4/2016 – Closed – no venue available
2/5/2016 – Bank Holiday – Closed
9/5/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
16/5/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
23/5/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
30/5/2016 – Bank Holiday – Closed
6/6/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
13/6/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
20/6/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
27/6/2016 – Relocate to the Drill Hall – normal training times
4/7/2016 – Back to normal training at Millais

October Grading 2015 – Gallery

October grading was very successful with over 90 students grading including 2 Shodan promotions. Here are a few pictures from the day.