7 samurai  




Mitori-geiko (見取り稽古) is a style of learning used in Japanese traditional arts.

Mitori-geiko literally translates as mitori or "to sketch" and geiko or "to practice" but the nuanced  meaning is to learn something by watching and copying.

Today, most martial arts are experiential in nature in that one needs to do them to learn them.  However, this hands-on type of learning wasn't the case for centuries.

In the past most students learned mitori-geiko style in which their teachers didn't actually let them do the art for a long period of time.  Most had to clean and care for the teacher for a long  time and just watch the teacher perform the art.  After a long period of time, which I think was to vet the student's dedication, earnestness, honesty and loyalty, the teacher started to actually "teach" the student and allow them to do the art.

Today especially in the west, we don't have that luxury for a myriad of reasons to do that.  Students want to do the art and not just watch.  However, sometimes a special opportunity arises for a student to take their training, for a short period of time, back down this traditional route.

Usually this happens when a student gets injured or can't physically practice.  When a student gets injured, they usually don't come to class.  However, if a student is dedicated enough then they will show up and watch.  Most think this is somehow beneath them so most don't do this.  If a student does show up and mitori-geiko then they get the opportunity to, as they say in martial arts, develop their eye.  To develop one's eye means to learn how to see things from this art's perspective.  From this vantage point a wealth of information opens that might have been hidden while one was in the act of doing it.

In this world, our perspective is determined by how we "see" the world.  We can either choose to see something as a benefit or a detriment.  Looking at an injury as just another "way" to train enables us to use it for our own benefit.

Mitori-geiko is a wonderful opportunity to use an adversity in a positive way as we develop our eye and possibly see something that we have never seen before while at the same time demonstrating our true dedication.