Human senses play an important part in the training and development of Shinobi Samurai skills and combat capability. For this article I will highlight the difference between basic sensory function and the specific focus in order to start developing your senses.
But first, what are senses? “ A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to stimuli. For example, in the human body, the brain receives signals from the senses, which continuously receive information from the environment, interprets these signals, and causes the body to respond, either chemically or physically. (Sense - Wikipedia)
There are five main human senses. Vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. For these five senses we have organs responsible for receiving the stimuli. The eyes for vision, the ears for hearing, the nose for smell, the tongue for taste and the skin for touch. Within each of these sensory organs there are a multitude of receptors and specialized biological transmitters that I will not cover in this article. It is important to note that your brain does most of the work when it comes to interpreting the sense stimuli. This interpretation turns into perception, the way you see or experience the world.
If we look at the function of the human eye the main role it performs is capturing light. The light the eye captures is reflected off objects in our environment within our field of vision and then transferred to the brain. The brain then forms images from the processing of the light received from the eye. So the brain sees and not the eye. Keep this in mind that all the senses work in a similar way. The sense sends information received from our environment to the brain for processing. With that in mind let's continue.
In order to develop your brain's capability to improve your sensory perception a level of focus is required that you can only achieve through focus training relating to the sense you would like to develop. The training is difficult because you will be training your brain directly. In order to begin training you will need to understand the basics of how to access your senses. If done successfully you will begin to perceive some of the uncommon senses variations that the human brain is capable of perceiving.
We use the human eye to see. Obvious right? Your eye captures the entire environment in your visual field but yet you choose to focus on a specific object of interest in this field of vision. So from everything you are "seeing" you chose to "look" at something specific.
That is the first part of training: knowing the difference between seeing and looking.
Now for the Samurai’s use of vision. The battlefield is a chaotic setting with action and possible strikes coming from any and every direction. So training to widen the field of perceived vision was crucial. This is where peripheral vision comes into play. The human eye’s field of vision is 180 degrees. Samurai would train against multiple attackers to practice using this wide field of vision to their advantage.
Attempt this exercise: Look straight in front of you without moving your eyes or body. Now try to see everything in your field of vision. Some of the objects will begin to get blurry towards the edges of your field of vision but you should be able to identify quite a few objects if not all.
Now lift both your hands and keep them either side of your head, with your arms extended, your hands just visible on the edge of your field of vision. What do you see in your peripheral vision? Now repeat the exercise but this time wiggle your fingers. You should be able to see objects in your field of vision and both of your hands producing movement either side of your head at the same time. Amazing, right?
If this is practiced on a daily basis your brain will develop new perception pathways and your vision will become that of legend. Similar to any skill worth having practice makes perfect.
Other senses have similar developmental methods. I will give you the starting point of each.
We see everything in your field of vision but choose to look at certain things.
You hear everything around you but choose to listen to things of interest.
Everything around you has a scent but you choose to smell specific things.
Everything has a taste but you choose to test certain things. This sense is very closely related to smell.
You feel everything but choose to sense only certain sensations.
When you master the basic senses then different levels of perception becomes available to you. A good basic example would be changes in air pressure when someone enters a room. This combined with rise or drop in temperature could indicate the emotional state or intent of a person. This level of perception needs to be trained to achieve ,yet it forms part of basic perception forms that we have forgotten in the modern world.
Begin exploring the development of your senses today and open a new world of perception that will amaze you.
For further information on training and the skills of the Shinobi Samurai, join the Musashi clan and explore the world of forgotten knowledge.
Yuhkimaru of the Musashi clan is avid student of survival skills and martial arts used during the era of the Samurai. Yuhkimaru aims to use his writing skills and knowledge of human psychology to further the ideals of the Musashi clan and share it with the world.
Wisdom from the past carry much weight towards the application of the clan principles for use in modern times. "To insure the security of a bright future through education for all the people of the world is my dream." (Yuhkimaru)