What We Do
The Fundamental Philosophy:
These are Kendo’s “Zen Through Kyu Shin Do Principles”, a perspective which guides one towards the infinite peace at the centre of the Zen circle. The perspective helps make sense of a life which may feel out-of-control, and indicates that seeking the deep peace of Zen through Kyu Shin Do will bring about healing, inspiration, and empowerment.
Kendo has released a guided meditation based on this, which includes relaxing music, nature sounds from the grounds of The Nagasaki Retreat, and healing Zen Singing Bowls, as played by Kendo himself. The meditation is a deeply relaxing and empowering experience, and the feedback has been extremely positive.
There is also a You Tube video which explains the background to how sensei Kenshiro Abbe developed the Kyu Shin Do philosophy, and how the man behind Kendo’s mask and Kendo have used it to heal and empower for many decades, and this work now continues through The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation at the Nagasaki Retreat.
What is the connection between Kendo Nagasaki and Buddhism?
Those who have followed Kendo Nagasaki will have seen the pages on his personal website which describe various aspects of mysticism with which we in the West are quite familiar, accompanied by his reflections on them. Having been born in England and growing up here, Yogensha, the man behind Kendo’s mask, had heard of these concepts, as eventually we all do, and being interested in personal empowerment and having a natural insight into intuitive matters, he reflected upon these mysticisms, and he carefully heeded what they had to tell him about empowerment and enlightenment; he was convinced that they all had a role to play…
It was in his teens after meeting and beginning to study under legendary Japanese judoka sensei Kenshiro Abbe that Yogensha was introduced to Zen Buddhism and meditation, and Abbe’s revolutionary philosophy, Kyu Shin Do. Abbe was an immensely capable mentor for Yogensha, who took very quickly to the ways of Buddhist practice, and – just as with the samurai in centuries and lives past – his focus and power increased rapidly. He gained deep insights into how the Western mysticisms work in the Western mind: he saw that the most important thing they do is to introduce a symbolic awareness that there may be forces beyond the control of the limited thinking mind, but which have important things to tell us about life. This is a key starting point for going beyond the limitations of what we learn in the mentally-dominated West, and marks the opening of a door to growing well beyond the limitations of a merely intellectual being.
Kendo’s pages about mysticisms familiar in the west will remain on his website for those who are looking for more understanding about life, and who choose to begin their explorations there; the path that Kendo has laid, however, ultimately leads to Zen. For those who are ready to go beyond a compartmentalised approach to spirituality, they should definitely look into Zen, not least because in Zen, each of the individual Western mysticisms can be seen to form a part of a bigger picture, which Zen reveals.
For example, reincarnation is known in Buddhism as samsara, and the same goal of transcending the cycle of birth and death also applies; karma is inevitably also part of the picture, as are fated relationships and the good and evil deeds of others, which can be considered as opportunities to practise the virtues which Buddhism espouses, in response to the challenges they bring
Uniquely, the Kendo Nagasaki Foundation can introduce you to Zen using very familiar concepts and language, and it can show you the many choices in how you may choose to evolve and grow. As it is so old (over 2,500 years), Buddhism has evolved and diversified to meet all needs, yet it remains incredibly valuable today, as it has an excellent, rational core message, acceptable even to those who would consider themselves as rationalists, scientists, and even atheists. As the religion of the samurai, Zen can help you achieve incredible peace, poise, and focus, and take you far beyond what Western culture alone can do…
In forming the Foundation, Kendo Nagasaki has opened his beautiful Staffordshire home to guests, and this is where Foundation events are held. The tranquility and beauty of his estate in the Staffordshire Moorlands creates the perfect setting for letting go of everyday cares, and preparing to open yourself to new thinking and new ways of being.
There are 3 fundamental aspects to a visit to “The Retreat”: explanation, experience, and practice. For example, in seminars you will learn about Zen, in the grounds of The Retreat you will experience new perspectives and symbolisms which help the pieces slot into place and awaken your intuitive self, and you will also practice the techniques of Zen, including meditation.
Kendo Nagasaki has long counselled on the power of the intuitive self, and how empowering it is to step away from relying upon the limitations of the conscious mind, thus freeing the intuition. Every small step in this direction is effectively a step towards achieving empowered enlightenment, which is, in fact, the goal of Buddhism.
The unique thing about Buddhism is that it does not require faith in the supernatural – the Buddha is looked-up to as an example of how to live the best possible life, but he was still a man, not a deity, and Buddhism has always pointed out that the same levels of enlightenment as Buddha himself achieved can be reached by all people. The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation has been formed to take you on that journey.
On this “Messages of Thanks” page, we are privileged to show some of the appreciation we have received from those who have attended Kendo’s “Event” days; it is very good to hear how much people have been helped by Kendo’s work, and he hopes to help a great many more.
Since November 2015, the Foundation has been offering overnight stays for Events lasting more than a single day. Those who have joined us for multi-day events have said that they really enjoyed being able to stay here after a day with us, chilling-out as opposed to travelling home right away, and then waking-up in such idyllic surroundings, with another restful, meditative, and mindful day to come. We’re working on expanding our accommodation to cater for more people, as well as holding Events ever more frequently, and we look forward to welcoming old friends and new faces increasingly often with time.
You can apply for a place at an Event by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will let you know if places are available on the date you’d like, and, if not, when we can accommodate you.
What are Retreat Events like?
You can apply for a place at our Events at any time, but additional Events will be held during the year, so do keep an eye on the Blog and the Events page for announcements about them.
Our weekend Events will all be held over both days of a weekend (except the Tea Ceremony Event, which is two individual Events over two separate days – see below*), and as they are all on Saturdays and Sundays, however often you visit us, you won’t have to take time off work.
The format for 2-day weekend Events including an overnight stay is as follows:
You’ll arrive late morning on the 1st day, and after a welcome meet-and-greet, there will be a buffet lunch, followed by the afternoon’s activities. There will be a traditional hot evening meal, after which you can relax in the guest lounge before retiring.
On the 2nd day, you help yourself to a self-service breakfast in the guest kitchen, and the morning’s activities start at 10:30. There will be a buffet lunch, followed by the afternoon’s activities, and, of course, an endless supply of tea, coffee, and biscuits on both days!
Each Event is for a maximum of 14 people, with overnight accommodation initially for 7 people.
Our 3 current guest bedrooms include a triple room with 3 single beds, a twin room with 2 single beds, and a double room with a double bed. As mentioned, there is a guest kitchen with breakfast provisions, a shower room with basin and toilet, a separate toilet with basin, and the guest lounge. We will be expanding our accommodations during 2016, but with rooms initially being limited, please book early to secure your accommodation at the Retreat.
Single-day Events include lunch and tea, coffee and biscuits.
The costs are £75 per person for an overnight stay, including all meals and refreshments, and £25 per day if you don’t stay overnight. Please note that these fees are to cover food and staffing costs, and we welcome additional donations to help us continue to grow the work of our Foundation.
To apply for a place at any of these Events, or to make any further enquiries, please send an email to email@example.com
*The Special Tea Ceremony Event is limited to 5 people per day, and involves Kendo Nagasaki conducting the Japanese Tea Ceremony for you as an individual guest. You will be served Japanese “matcha” green tea in your own unique specially-commissioned tea bowl, and after the tea ceremony, Kendo will ceremonially present the tea bowl to you in a lined presentation box, with a certificate of exclusivity. The tea bowls were commissioned from renowned pottery artist Anne Bates, who came to the Nagasaki Retreat for inspiration in crafting them. The resulting tea bowls artfully encapsulate and reflect the beauty and spiritual depth of the grounds of the Retreat, and perfectly accommodate the time-honoured and artistic Japanese tea ceremony, particularly as conducted by Kendo Nagasaki. The cost of a place for the Japanese Tea Ceremony as conducted by Kendo Nagasaki, and receiving your own presentation-boxed tea bowl is £100.
To enquire further, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We ask you to bear in mind that due to the costs involved in holding Events at the Nagasaki Retreat, we must reach a certain number of applications per Event before we can confirm that it will go ahead.
Our costs include staff wages, food and drink, and, in the colder months, heating the venue, and whilst we seek to operate as efficiently as possible, these costs, though modest, do need to be covered.
Consequently, we welcome all applications for Events, and will keep all applicants informed regarding whether enough people have booked for the Event to go ahead – we aim to ensure that you will receive final confirmation at least 3 weeks ahead of the Event.
If we have to advise you that an Event has not reached enough bookings, we will work with you to arrange a place for you at the next most convenient date for you.
We hope this won’t inconvenience you, and of course we hope that all our Events will go ahead and be well-attended by a great group of people, as usual!
Thank you for your understanding.
Keep watching this new website for expanded and updated information on The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation and its activities – this is an exciting new beginning in Kendo’s aim to bring people empowerment and enlightenment, and we are doing all we can to make it an amazing journey for you – see you at The Retreat!