Friday, May 29, 2009
Hotchiku - Watazumi Doso Roshi
Watazumido Doso Roshi (1910-1992) is perhaps the most legendary of all modern shakuhachi players and teachers. Amongst his many students is Yokoyama Katsuya, one of greatest players in Japan today.
Regarding himself as something other than a musician, Watazumido based his music in an uncompromising vigorous physical discipline. He was a practitioner of the Jo stick, a long hardwood pole with which he used to stretch, massage, pounds and invigorate his body in a daily regimen beginning at 3:30 AM each day. For over 3,000 consecutive days, he maintained this discipline.
Watazumido studied Rinzai Zen attaining the title of Roshi or Master and later became the Kanjo or unifying head of the Fuke sect of Zen Buddhism. He shunned traditional organized Zen practice for 32 years in favor of his own iconoclastic approach distinguished by breath training and vigorous exercise at its core. The lengthening of the "Out Breath" in his practice is directly descended from the wisdom of the breath as practiced in Zen.
Watazumido's music is as unique as it is intense. His style of shakuhachi playing is based on a discipline combining Zen breath awareness and the martial arts. He is known for the blowing an original, personal style of Honkyoku on bamboos of enormous size and length called hotchiku flutes.