I would like to share a short story with you all.
Martial arts has really helped me in so many ways, especially when I needed it the most. I would like to share with you how it changed my life in a big way. When I enrolled in the Bujinkan in 2008, I was really excited about learning the ninja and samurai arts. From taihenjutsu to tai sabaki, junan taiso, dakentaijutsu, etc, I was living my dream. Little did I know, that all of this would come in handy years later. Allow me to explain.
I am a musician, and I play a variety of flutes and instruments including the shakuhachi, a Japanese end blown flute, (which is my main flute) Xiao, a Chinese end-blown flute, and many others. I also play a bit of keyboard. Last year, I was invited to do two concerts in Japan, one in Osaka and the other in Tokyo. This was indeed a dream come true for me. After a few days of getting settled in, I had to go to 4 rehearsals, one of them was with another ninja performer who played the violin, one was a solo rehearsal and the last two, I did with a group of performers that I was working with, and both of those rehearsals lasted about 7 hours, After that, the real show started. Yes, 7 hour practice and the actual show was on the same day (for both days). Standing practically all day and playing shakuhachi took quite a bit of stamina. Oddly enough, though, it didn't bother me at all. In fact, after the first show, I got up early the next morning around 4:30 a.m. With a lot of energy. There was one segment in the concert where I had to hold a fighting posture (ichimonji) with my flute for about two minutes straight while the other performers did their part. I used my breathing techniques that I learned to get through that part with hardly no problem at all.
I also remembered that in order to get to the rehearsal room, (I think it was the concert Hall in Tokyo) I had to squeeze through these very narrow hallways. I remembered my training of yoko aruki and managed to get through without much trouble. I have never had to walk down narrow corridors, but it was pretty cool to be able to use my training of walking sideways.
Playing a flute like the shakuhachi requires a lot of breathwork and control, and I think martial arts also contributed greatly. I had to be able to play long sustained notes, not to mention having the stamina to hold the flute for long periods of time. Before I left for Japan, I would practice playing shakuhachi for hours after finishing my training. This took quite a bit of focus.
Although I have moved on to other martial arts styles, I am grateful for what I have learned. I hope to continue to build to an even higher level.