The Journey of the Monastic

In the monastery, we enter a series of rooms. Each room has someone sitting in the room.

Upon entering the room, they hand us a small slip of paper. On the paper is written a single word, a universal principle for us to practice while we sit in the room. We practice the single word, that particular principle, until we can apply it in any situation or circumstance.

Each principle is used to help us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. If we find ourselves stuck on a particular principle, we use another one to help us. If we only have one, then we use it in a different way, perhaps using our mind to help balance our emotions.

After much practice and many applications, arising, we open the door to the next room.

1.Simpleton— the man or woman of wisdom or inexperience who, upon arriving at a certain moment in their life, realizes they are coming up short. This realization is a root of wisdom. The principle in this room is Balance.
2. Supplicant — a state of mind suggestive of wishing or hoping there to be a better way of living. The principle in this room is Adaptability.
3. Beggar — upon arriving at a state of humility, the man or woman of wisdom or inexperience, is willing to do whatever they need to do to find their answers. The principle in this room is Interaction.
4. Scribe — writing, music, art and nature are often turned to by the Scribe, to find inspiration and to find a deeper form of an inexplicable ‘something’ within him or her self. The principle in this room is Movement.
5. Hermit — a time comes when the monastic needs a retreat, to go into a cave or solitude, to reconsider and perhaps re-map their life and goals. The principle in this room is Mechanics.
6. Wanderer — emerging from solitude, the monastic embarks on a journey to give expression to that which they cannot explain. The principle in this room is Energy.
7. Sage — the sage begins to realize that the state of ‘not knowing’ is only the beginning of a boundless journey. The principle in this room is Harmony.

The principles depicted in each ‘room’ are based on the Seven Fundamental Principles for Standing int the Face of the Truth, as taught by Great River Jiu Jitsu.

In the colored belt ranks leading up to the first degree black belt, a principle is studied for each belt. So, a white belt student studies the principle of balance in addition to their other belt requirements. Once promoted to yellow belt, the student then studies the principle of adaptability as they work on their Jiu Jitsu techniques for orange belt. The idea being that if we get stuck or out of balance, we can now turn to the principle of adaptability. We can adapt to a more balanced position. This weaving, daisy-chaining and inter-relating nature of principles is a hallmark of Great River training and philosophy.

Since earning a black belt in Jiu Jitsu can take as long as four to six years, dojo-based students have a great deal of time to focus on each principle.