In the practice of Martial Arts, one must distinguish, and differentiate between training and practice. In Japan the word renshu is used for training, which means to prepare or train the body; and keiko, word used to define practice, which means to train or prepare the spirit. This is due to the fact that the word keiko, is not only important in Budo but in many other cultural activities, where the spiritual aspects are of fundamental importance, for example, the Tea Ceremony and Kado, Flower Arrangement. Keiko, literally means "reflect on, review the past", it imbues training with a religious character, consisting in respect towards the maintenance of the best of past traditions.

The fact that keiko is fundamental for Japanese cultural arts, reflects the respect Japanese have for their best traditions. Summer Training in the hottest period (Shochu-Geiko) and Winter Training in the coldest period (Kan-Geiko) is a part of this great heritage.

There are many reasons for these trainings under extreme conditions, as well as trainings in early morning and at midnight, but one that is very present, is that it gives people the opportunity to be in direct contact with themselves and with nature. The practice of Budo, that contains the best of the traditional art, implies a way through which human beings can grasp and comprehend their roots and return to nature.

When we resist nature or we ignore it, we are incapable of really feeling what human life is, thus we give way to selfishness and dehumanization, something we all are afflicted by. We must then return to nature.

By Humberto Heyden sensei.
Translated by: Mogens Gallardo.

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