Will Reed, Lessons from Shodo – The Way of the Brush – InnovaBuzz 514
Will Reed, Song of the Brush Dance of the Ink
In this episode, I’m really excited to welcome back as my guest, Will Reed, a Japanologist with over four decades of experience in Japan, and in-depth knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.
Will is a Professor of Japan Studies at the International College of Liberal Arts (iCLA) at Yamanashi Gakuin University, where he teaches Japanese and International Students from over 30 Countries. He is the author of several books in English on Aikido and Shodo (The Way of the Brush) and has written a number of books in Japanese as well. Today, we talk about his just released book “Song of the Brush, Dance of the Ink.”
In our conversation, Will talked to me about:
- What lessons we can take from Shodo – the way of the brush
- Finding balance, space and inspiration through focus
- Being fully present in every performance and getting out of your own way.
Will previously appeared as a guest in episode 296 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast.
Listen to the podcast to find out more.
Listen to the Podcast
One of the things that calligraphy teaches is learning to let go of the specifics, seeing the whole, and being aware of the details at the same time. @Wiliam_Reed on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet
Show Notes from this episode with Will Reed, author of Song of the Brush, Dance of the Ink
Key points and takeaways from this episode include:
- The heights of the branches reflect the depths of the roots.
- The 5 Excellences of the Asian Liberal Arts Education are calligraphy, painting, poetry, martial arts, and tea. These 5 things go together with the purpose of cultivating the whole person.
- Calligraphy can provide a space for people to reflect on themselves and the direction of their lives.
- The traces on the paper in calligraphy are a reflection of your mental and physical state at the moment you painted it.
- One of the things that calligraphy teaches is learning to let go of the specifics, seeing the whole, and being aware of the details at the same time.
- If you’re a leader, people are not going to respond well if you’re telling them what to do or if you’re interfering with the way they do things. Make it a point to emotionally connect with them to create a shared group experience.
- It’s important to shift your awareness away from your ego and yourself, and more to the situation and the people involved in it, and then focus on how to improve it.
- It takes 10,000 hours of deep practice to master something – Malcolm Gladwell.
- Deep practice enables you to focus on the kernel of the learning principles.
- Culture is partly inherited through our genes and beliefs.
- Be bold but not reckless.
- Will’s book, Song of the Brush, Dance of the Wind, is all about understanding mindfulness.
- All zen art is influenced by the idea of mindfulness and living in the moment.
- Calligraphy, martial arts, and swords work can teach us how to engage with a task that is really difficult to do but is highly influenced by our mental level.
- The result of art is a reflection of what has happened inside.
- Calligraphy is an accessible means of learning mindful meditation.
- Japanese ink painting teaches us to deliver our full expression at the moment without being able to go back and erase anything.
- Calligraphy tells the story of culture through proverbs and poetry.
- Calligraphy expresses many ways of thinking, lifestyle, and ways of understanding and connecting with nature.
- Calligraphy requires 100% engagement.
- Engagement is a rare commodity today. We need to learn how to reengage. We need to understand the process of how to get into something we can transfer and apply it to our daily personal and professional lives.
- Perseverance is power.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Will’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Have fresh eyes. Have a new perspective. Look beyond the lines.
- Best thing for new ideas – Walking and talking.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Mandala Chart
- Keep project/client on track – Focus on gradual improvements with baby steps (kaizen).
- Differentiate – Find your signature story and share it on different platforms.
To Be a Leader
Be a leading learner. Whatever you’re learning, learn a hundred times more and be continually learning. You’ll have a lot more to share and people will pick up your enthusiasm and they’ll take it in the direction that’s appropriate for them.
You can reach out and thank Will through his website.
Will suggested we have a conversation with Andrew William, an American living in Kyoto, who specializes in conducting online virtual tours of Zen Gardens in Kyoto. So Andrew, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz Podcast, courtesy of Will Reed.
- Website – Samurai Walk
- Twitter – @William_Reed
- YBS Radio
- The Art of Flexible Focus (including Mandala Charts)
- Online Program: NANBA Dynamics: the Japanese Art of Physical Finesse
Cool Things About Will
- He has an 8th-dan in Aikido with the Yuishinkai and holds a 10-dan rank as a professional Sensei of Shodo Calligraphy.
- He is the Director of WA no Mori, a company dedicated to revaluing Japanese Culture through experiences of Samurai Culture in beautiful natural and historic sites in Japan.
- He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Earlham College in Japanese Language and Area Studies, and a Masters’s Degree in Education from the University of Missouri.