I’m wondering how common it is for teacher to start teaching their new students Ryakubon. I my self started learning Hakobi, since that was the only temae my teacher knew. I have been thinking that maybe it would be beter to start the students with Ireko-date rather than Ryakubon.
In Rikyus day a new student would not begin learning Ryakubon, in fact they would not even start with Hakobi. They would start their studies with the highest temae, learning how to serve Tea using a daisu and a formal setting. Only when their experience grew did they simplify before finaly arriving at Hakobi as a Tea master. Somewhere around the 1700 this order was reversed. So that we today start our journey into Tea with the simplified temaes.
The virtues of Ryakubon
I have been asking myself; What is the virtue of Ryakubon that makes it the preferred first temae? I can’t think that many. However, I can think of a lot of reasons why it is not.
We are told that Ryakubon does not require much in the way of utensils. comparing the list of required utensils to that of Hakobi there are only a few items that differ.
The main argument for starting with Irekodate for me is that it allows a softer transition in to the other temae. Where as there is a large gap between Ryakubon and Hakobi, it is much smaller for Irekodate to Hakobi. Also it allows all the students in a class to use the same setup of furo/ro instead of having to set up specially for the beginning students.
I thought about it, why not start with Hakobi, why Irekodata? Mostly because Irekodate is quicker, so that the beginning studentd does not have to sit seiza for a long time, and it does not require Haiken. One might skip Haiken to shorten Hakobi, but from personal experience I know the students will learn that Haiken is something extra, something special not a natural part of the Hakobi temae. Therefore I think Irekodate is better as it does not need any modifications or adaptations.
Also if one only wants to learn one temae I personally think that Irekodate is the perfect choice.
Finally I cant think of a single movement in Irekodate that is not immediately usefull for the student in other temaes or in the mizuya.
I haven’t taken any new students in a while, I want to wait untill I have a proper Tea-room. Therefore I haven’t been able to se how it works to begin teaching a student Irekodate.
As mentioned before I started learning Tea with Hakobi, but without haiken. I felt this worked very nicely. However, our teacher did not teach us about haiken. It was only after studying in Japan for 6 months that haiken felt as a natural part of the temae and not as somthing added.
I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts about this, and if you have any experience with starting a students journey into Tea with anything beond Ryakubon.