SOKE DANIEL VERKERKE
Interviewed by A. Varga (1989)
Q.: Soke, what
inspired you to create such a complete art as Seicho Jutsu?
A.: In short, my life and my life's experiences. Martial arts fascinated me ever since I was very young. At the age of nine my parents enrolled me in my first martial arts school where I remained for three years. Already then I knew that I wanted more. I dreamed and thought about it all the time. I began training in two additional forms of martial arts and, although it was still not the art I quested for, it certainly provided me with a foundation from which I could further expand upon. During the years that followed I became highly proficient in several arts and continued to practice diligently during my time in the Armed Forces where I had the opportunity to train in diverse martial arts from Base to Base. Teaching later on in my own school provided me with constant new experiences as did attending and conducting seminars in various countries. You could say that Seicho Jutsu completes itself through my quest for never ending, limitless development of myself and my art.
Q.: What does the name Seicho Jutsu mean?
A.: Seicho Jutsu literally translated means "The Growing Art". Seicho - (Growing) and Jutsu- (Art).
Q.: Why was this art named Seicho Jutsu - (The Growing Art)?
A.: The name was chosen in order to suggest the limitlessness of the art. As the name indicates, it is "The Growing Art". In order to grow one must evolve through all stages and changes of life. The same holds true for my art, which therefor will never stop 'growing'. Each person, as she or he develops further, will also expand the art beyond it's foundation. Seicho Jutsu therefor is limitless, infinite.
Q.: Soke, what inspires you personally?
A.: There are many things which inspire me such as the waves of the ocean, the sun and the fire, earth and mountains, the wind and the sky. I'm also inspired by other artists. By that I do not only mean martial artists, but various kinds of artists like musicians, painters, dancers etc. Many life experiences themselves provide inspiration as well.
Q.: What does being a master in the art mean to you?
A.: To me, it is when techniques come from my natural movements, my knowledge and experience, from my emotions and all that I feel. They are an expression of myself. Movements and techniques are spontaneous and instantaneous, not premeditated. A dancer expresses himself through dance, a painter through painting and a musician through music. When an artists expresses himself with true feelings only then will it become meaningful and only then will it become an art.
Q.: Since you are the founder and creator of Seicho Jutsu, do you consider the philosophies and traditions new in your art.
A.: No, I can not take full credit for all the philosophies and traditions of Seicho Jutsu. There are philosophies and traditions which are thousands of years old and originated from the first true masters, the founding fathers of martial arts. It was in those days that martial arts were not defined or divided into this or that. A martial artist would spend his entire life learning, developing and experiencing everything there was to learn and incorporate it into his art. Unfortunately, the philosophy of a never ending and continues development on a physical as well as spiritual and mental level vanished to a great part with many of the forefathers of martial arts, as their followers never quite understood and comprehended the true essence and meaning of the total art. Instead they started to limit themselves and with it the arts to just what they have learned without developing further and then called it tradition. In my opinion this is a tradition which has lost it's foundation. The philosophies and traditions of my art reach back to those of the very beginning, even though the art, theories, philosophies and technique have progressed, developed and evolved throughout the stages and changes of time.
Q.: How does one evolve through this art?
A.: When you develop the art within yourself. Just as your emotions, feelings, knowledge and experiences continue to develop, grow and evolve so does the art within you. Seicho Jutsu is like life itself. It transits through its diverse growing stages before it matures. It is an art which guides one through life.
Q.: Soke, what is the end result in your art, what does someone want to achieve?
A.: The end result in this art is emptiness, flowing, continuing, absorbing but never holding. Everyone achieving this state will be the same. The end result is the same although every individual's reactions are different. reactions are triggered by the mind and depend on the individual's moods, emotions and overall nature. When you are able to react using your very own nature and abilities then you will learn how to flow. The end result for everyone is to be empty. In a fight that means that your first reaction is determined by the opponent's action. When actions and reactions become completely natural to you, the art becomes you which is part of the end result. The other part is total emptiness. This is why we all are the same at the highest stages of the art. We become empty and the art becomes us.
Q.: What would you consider to be the major difference between Seicho Jutsu and most martial arts of today?
A.: I would say that most martial arts today are viewed as enjoyable pastime offering physical conditioning and self defense, whereas Seicho Jutsu is a way of life, not only providing the serious practitioner with essential physical skills but also with a total development of mind and spirit which will guide him/her to a higher understanding of him/herself and all around.
Q.: Soke, what prerequisites must a student have in order to be accepted to train and study under you?
A.: A student must possess an open mind as well as a quest for higher wisdom and knowledge and a great desire to learn and understand. Only the individual who is will study the art diligently with true devotion and dedication will prove him/herself worthy to be accepted as a personal student.
Q.: One last question, Soke. How will you popularize the art of Seicho Jutsu?
A.: My goals and intention are to teach and train instructors who meet my standards and expectations from every province, state and country around the world. Presently I am accepting students from overseas to train with me personally, who then will teach and promote my art of Seicho Jutsu.
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