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Japan Report Seven 令和5年

I began the morning in a hurry because I had to get to the dojo early. My days in Japan are very busy. I run and gun to fit in all of the classes, recording my video reports in between. And I still have to find time for food, laundry, sleep, as well as tourism and shopping.  Today I planned three classes, Furuta Sensei, Nagase Sensei, and Noguchi Sensei. But I didn’t have time to review my notes until the next morning in a cafe. The coffee sure helped. The FULL video review can be found here: The first class was at the Bujinkan Honbu dojo with Furuta Sensei. We began class wearing a lot of knives. He said you should wear at least 9 knives. He didn’t mean that literally but the number 9 implies an infinite amount. So you have the ability to respond or attack infinitely. He kept hiding behind the attack of his opponents. I learned this approach from him a few years ago during our study of 雲隠流 Kumogakure Ryū in his
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Japan Report Six 令和5年

I was invited to Furuta Sensei’s home dojo out in the countryside. He is very generous and picked us up from the train station. The only problem is that he plays a Lady Gaga CD on repeat during the drive. Furuta’s home dojo is very rustic with traditional tatami mats. He started training with ukemi and my cotton tabi really slid across the straw! His exploration of 基本八法 Kihon Happō is influenced by his study of 雲隠流 Kumogakure Ryū. As the next Soke of Kumogakure Ryū, he is hard at work learning and studying this school. And I feel lucky to be part of this journey every time I study with him. At one point he showed a detail of how to attack the 急所 kyūsho 血止 chidome and 血ダメ chidame. The name of this kyūsho means to stop the blood. Obviously this would incapacitate an opponent if you pull it off. But Furuta Sensei used a hooking strike into chidome to unbalance with one finger. The kyūsho becomes a 支点 shiten. The pressure creates a pivot or a fulcrum to affect the oppon

Japan Report Five 令和5年

Bujinkan training in Japan isn’t only about training. Sometimes it is about cultural experiences you might have there. And sometimes you might even find healing in the dojo! I began this day in Japan with a visit to 美術刀剣松本 Bijutsu Tōken Matsumoto in 西葛西 Nishikasai with my teacher Peter Crocoll. He brought a tsuka from home to be refurbished with new 柄巻 tsukamaki and fittings. We had some nice tea while Peter and Matsumoto-san swapped stories about their experience at this year’s 大刀剣市 Dai Tōken Ichi sword show. While they chatted, I wandered the shop looking at all manner of swords and weapons for sale. By the time we left I was happy to still have my wallet! This is a summary of the video I recorded in Japan which you can see here: Japan Report Five 令和5年 From there it was back to Noda-shi for training. On my way I shared a story from one of the classes I had with Hatsumi Sensei at the old Honbu dojo. Soke was teaching 無刀捕 mutōdori but reversed it to teach us a counter. In th

Japan Report Four 令和5年

I start off my Japan Report Four video going to Hatsumi Sensei’s house and the Bujinkan Honbu office. I do this on every trip because this is how I submit my rank paperwork for my students. In the video I talk about my “secret” route to his house. I also recall past times when I could just visit and have tea with Soke. During my walk to his house, I review some of my notes from old classes with Soke. During one class he said 自分の第六感兼ねあいうち Jibun no dairokkan kane aiuchi. This is when you make your intuition match reality. Or, more directly, your intuition is combined with something concrete such as a strike. Later in that same class, Hatsumi Sensei said 意識をさせない Ishiki o Sasenai. He was telling us not to allow our opponents to sense our intentions. Don’t put out any intention for your opponent to read. I thought it was fascinating to think about dairokkan and the use of intuition while also hiding your intentions. Hatsumi Sensei’s classes were full of subtle lessons lik

Japan Report Three 令和5年

Last night Paul Masse invited me and my teacher Peter over to his house in Noda-shi. While we were in the backyard swapping stories, his wife Tomoe invited us inside to a warm dinner of ちゃんこ鍋 chankonabe. She and Paul are very friendly and generous. Paul asked Peter what he found at the antique weapons market. Peter said that he was looking for 矢の根 yanone, which are arrowheads. He also said he bought a tsuba with a giant centipede on it. Paul was curious about this so Peter told us the story behind it. He told us 俵藤太物語 Tawara Tōda monogatari, the legend of Tawara Tōda. I share my version of the story on the video so if you'd like to watch the full video report, you can find it here: . But the short of it is that Tawara Tōda killed a giant centipede with a well aimed arrow. We had a wonderful time over dinner while swapping stories. Paul’s young boys were full of energy and were running around like crazy people. Danzo thou

Japan Report Two 令和5年

Morning Song at 月野宮神社 Tsukinomiya Jinja, photo: Michael Glenn On this day of my Bujinkan Japan Training trip, I began with a visit to the the 月野宮神社 Tsukinomiya Jinja Flea Market. There, I found an impromptu concert from a local guy with a guitar. And I also found many antique swords, jutte, and miscellaneous weapons. I finish by sharing a lesson from Hatsumi Sensei about 弱いも支点 yowai mo shiten, using your weakness as a pivot point. If you want to support my work, sign up to Rojodojo, and you can watch the full video: Japan Report Two 令和5年 During my train ride back to the dojo in Noda-shi, I stopped for lunch at a street festival on 大宮銀座通り商店街 Ōmiya Ginza-dōri shōten machi. This was random luck, I just popped out of the station and the party was on! Some nice people whipped up tasty and filling yakisoba for me and I ate it straight off the grill. Once back in Noda, I had a great class with Furuta Sensei. He started the class with tehodoki. But his unique approach is informed by 雲隠流 Kumoga

Japan Report One 令和5年

Every Bujinkan trip I make to Japan feels like a gift. And I always share that with you all in my Japan reports. This trip, I decided to video a lot. Like every day. So there will be quite a few of these. The only issue is that it takes me time to edit all of this video, so these Japan reports may spread out into next year. The first video is here:  Japan Report One 令和5年 The first day of any Bujinkan trip to Japan starts with a marathon. 20 hours of travel by Plane train, and automobile. Also, a lot of walking with a heavy backpack up and down stairs, through airports and train stations, and of course to the Honbu Dojo! Because I’m crazy, I arrived at the airport and went straight to Noguchi Sensei’s class. The class was smallish, maybe 20 people. I was a little shaky on my feet so I slammed some milk tea to get my energy back up. I partnered with Mario From Croatia. Noguchi began with 中伝之捌型 Chūden no Sabaki Gata from 高木揚心流 Takagi Yoshin Ryū. He put a lot of focus into what the opposit