- I understand the purpose of the technique / can demonstrate knowledge of technique details. ~I can say with confidence that my understanding has been there from day one (probably because of ninpo training), and my knowledge of details is vast. Any details I have missed, I make a point to focus on and refine in training. It helps that I'm not starting from square one.
- I rely on unified body movement / retain control of my balance. ~In the past, when I've observed myself in photos and videos of myself moving, I notice that I tend to get cut off at the waist. The cause of my lack of focus on my lower body is no doubt due to my bad knees. I have seen this improve more and more, until the most recent footage I've seen of my movement has shown centered balance, bent knees, and aligned spine for optimal power.
- I demonstrate mental focus /concentrated fighting spirit. ~Look at the picture in the Nexus post below: that's focus. I practice zanshin consistently. However, I must respectfully disagree with the "no grinning" clause I see on this handout. On the contrary, the joy and laughter I foster when teaching or practicing is an essential facet of warriorship. It's one of my best attributes, and is central to being a ninja. Shoto Tanemura said that the heart of a ninja should be "as peaceful, joyful, and lovely as that of a flower" (Ninpo Secrets). Stephen Hayes said it plainly in the recent Nexus interview: "it's fun; there's a lot of laughter." I'm all about laughter as power.
- I am ever carefully observant of safe and controlled technique practice. ~As a Stage Combat instructor, safety is key. So is doing techniques correctly as far as execution/effect. The balance of these two things makes for a good partner either onstage or on the mats.
To close, here's a verse from an old handout from Shoto Tanemura:
If one holds a sword,
one's spirit should be like a sword,
If one holds a staff,
one's spirit should be like a staff,
If one holds nothing but air then
one's spirit must be as air.