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What Did Hatsumi Sensei Say Four Times in the First Four Minutes of Training?

In December, during a Friday night class at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo, Hatsumi Sensei repeated a word four times in the first four minutes of class. In fact, he said it both as a statement and a question as if we just didn’t get it. ゆっくりかな。 Yukkuri, kana?

First, he had Nagase Sensei stab at him and he said,
We’re not studying the form, we’re studying muto dori. ゆっくり。 (Yukkuri) ゆっくり Yukkuri got translated as, “Go slowly or take your time.” But those words in English don’t capture the full idea.

A moment later Soke repeated,
The feeling is very important. ゆっくり。(Yukkuri). You can create this lock here on the elbow. Take the knife. It has to be connected like this. This kind of feeling is important. ゆっくりと。(Yukkuri to) My training partner stabbed at me and I tried to use the feeling that Soke had just shared. But I saw Soke glance at me and he interrupted the entire class again to demonstrate,
This feeling. ゆっくりかな。 This was said like a question, "Yukkuri, kana?"

Well, I did wonder…
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Noguchi Sensei Surprised Us With Gikan Ryu

They love to crank up the heat in the Bujinkan Honbu. I find it too hot on most days. But today I had been doing photography out in the cold pouring rain, so I found myself ready to embrace the warmth of the dojo.

Noguchi Sensei greeted me when he arrived. He normally shares a few jokes with me, but today he seemed very focused.

Less than 20 students were waiting for him to bow in. He did so promptly as is his custom. Then he announced we were doing Gikan Ryu kata.

I was surprised. In more than 30 years I have not been shown these from any teacher. In between kata, Noguchi Sensei showed me a tattered notebook with the kata handwritten in a numbered sequence. He told me these were his actual notes from more than 40 years ago when Hatsumi Sensei taught these only to him.

if you are interested, I recorded a video of my experiences for 特訓 Tokkun members of Rojodojo: Bujinkan Kuden: Gikan Ryu with Noguchi Sensei

The class was quick and painful. This is koppojutsu after all. But …

Here's What is Happening at Bujinkan 冬修業 Fuyu Shūgyō 2020

In my dojo, we set a theme for each season of training. In the upcoming seminar on January 19th we will explore this theme with a sincere and direct effort. The winter season hints at 平常心是道 heijō-shin kore dō, a calm heart is the way.

I encourage any teachers who want this extra dimension for their teaching to train with me when the season is right. If you have passed the Godan, you should be able to know the right season for these things. If you don’t yet have that skill, train with the right teacher!

The topics we cover come from my own training in Japan last month. You will be surprised by some rarely taught techniques. And we will take a cue from Wumen Huikai’s (1183-1260) expression of how to have a peaceful mind or a calm heart during every season:

春有百花秋有月,夏有凉风冬有雪,若无闲事挂心头,便是人间好时节

“Hundreds of flowers in spring,
And in autumn, the moon.
A cool breeze in summer,
And in winter, the snow.
When useless things do not hang in one’s mind,
It is [always] a good season for [any] man.”

Don't Rattle Your 忍者刀 Ninjatō

Hatsumi Sensei surprises me with his teaching. The night before I left for Japan, we studied 忍者刀 Ninjatō in my own dojo. Then, on Friday night in Soke’s class at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo, he taught one of the secrets of this weapon.

I try to prepare for these lessons, yet I am still surprised. I suppose the only way is to always be ready. This is the ukemi of being Hatsumi Sensei’s student.

I landed at Narita Airport around 5pm local time. My normal plan is to run through immigration and customs as fast as Japanese bureaucracy will allow. Then catch a two hour train ride straight to Hatsumi Sensei’s class.

One hour into the train ride I began to lose my motivation. Warm trains make me sleepy. That, and the 20 hours of travel that wasn’t over yet.

I stood up to shake off the tired. It was already dark out, and the train cabin was reflected back to us in the window. I leaned my head against the door to watch the lights pass outside.

It looked wet and miserable out. I already felt the co…

Bujinkan 秋修業 Aki Shūgyō 2019

This fall we will have our 秋修業 Aki Shūgyō on Oct 20. This training event sets the Bujinkan theme for our fall training. The training theme is set to take over the season. We will move from  哀れみ Awaremi to 楽しみ Tanoshimi.

Not for Everyone! Only the most dedicated teachers are willing to go on a 修業 Shugyo. Only the most dedicated students commit to the adventure. Are you in?

text or call: (424) 272-6307 to RSVP

Our theme comes from the clue Hatsumi Sensei gave us when he matched the seasons with 喜怒哀楽 kidoairaku, or human emotions. In fighting, we normally strive to remove emotion, or at least, not let it control us.

But the ura waza, or hidden technique, is to harness the power contained in emotion. We draw it out of our enemy to use against them. Maybe on a deep level, we can even tap the power of emotion from within ourselves.

Hatsumi Sensei told us we must learn 遊びの中真実 Asobi no naka shinjitsu, or the truth hidden within play.

This is training Fresh From Japan. 修業 Shugyo is the pursuit…

A Secret 九字 Kuji for Defeating 100 Enemies

Within the 九法の力 Kyū-hō no chikara, or the power of the 9 methods, there is a kuji that holds the 秘技 higi or secret technique to overcoming a hundred enemies:

「護攻虚変争精神不動」GoKoKyoHenSeiShinFudo
This kuji, or gokui, repels any method of capture or defeat. You protect yourself by changing the attack itself with an immovable spirit. This is the time to do or die. You are prepared for death, but you’d rather do the enemy in.

How do you do instead of die? In that single moment of life and death you remain unmoved in the middle. That middle place is the key to ninjutsu.

On a very hot day in June, I learned about this. The air was loud with the harmonic drone of 蝉 semi (cicadas). But we were training anyway. Hatsumi Sensei told us to train in accordance with the temperature.

Two opponents attacked and Soke slipped behind the first attacker. He did this while trapping the second guy in his own attack. Then Hatsumi asked the uke to give his impression of what just happened. The confused student…

What Happened During Michael Glenn's Bujinkan Seminar in Québec?

This summer, I was honored to be invited to Québec to teach and share the Bujinkan training I've been doing in Japan. My hosts Bernard and Francine were gracious and wonderful. The students were very skilled, attentive, and curious. And Québec City was an amazing place to visit!

I covered many Bujinkan topics during the seminar. Here is an extended preview video:


The contents of the full Bujinkan training series is available below.

Part One: Kamae And Kyojitsu. In this first video I cover some basics of kamae and kyojitsu.
FULL VIDEO: https://www.rojodojo.com/quebec-bujinkan-kamae-and-kyojitsu/Part Two: Kukan and Tension. In this video I demonstrate how to shape the kukan. Then in this space we create tension that allows us to throw our opponent without strength. I also share some of the training I did with Hatsumi Sensei in Japan last month. FULL VIDEO https://www.rojodojo.com/quebec-bujinkan-kukan-and-tension/Part Three: Draw and Disarm. First I show how to shift the kukan to draw…