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Bujinkan Daikomyosai Party and Training Themes from Japan

What are the current Bujinkan Themes? For my second week of Japan training, I begin with a visit to 上野東照宮 Ueno Tōshōgū. This shrine was built in 1627, and enshrines Tokugawa Ieyasu. I have visited many times, but they did an extensive remodel a few years ago. This was my first time going beyond the 唐門 Karamon and into the grounds. The entire 本殿 Honden is covered in gold leaf and looks spectacular with the gingko leaves fluttering down around me. Michael Glenn at 上野東照宮 Ueno Tōshōgū Later that night, I arrived a bit early for Nagase Sensei’s class. He had moved the class time back 45 minutes so I took the opportunity to review my notes from the prior class. He has been working with 十方折衝 juppō sesshō and the directions for 天地人 Tenchijin and the sanshin within it. He described many aspects of Tenchijin. He would control his opponent at three points, high, middle, and low. He told us the Ten direction is 天照大御神 Amaterasu ōmikami. The Chi direction is 国常立尊 Kunitokotachi no mi
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Is the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo Open?

Who is teaching at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo? The Japan training schedule is irregular and I am following my instincts rather than any set schedule. Peter Crocoll shared a story about Hatsumi Sensei using instinct to buy an antique jūmonji yari based on a feeling. Furuta Sensei invited me to his class. He picked us up from the train station and we went to a high school gymnasium. We warmed up with a bit of rolling, sanshin, and 骨指基本三法 kosshi kihon sanpō. Then he went into the kata 乱勝 Ranshō from Takagi Yoshin Ryū. He did a deep dive with many themes from Hatsumi Sensei. The next day, I got up early to have coffee with my friend, Craig Olson . He told me some funny Nagato Sensei stories. He also told me that Furuta-san would be helping out at the Honbu office today. This piqued my interest because I had a lot of ranks and paperwork to be approved and recorded. Many things have changed in the Bujinkan office, and I had a lot of questions. Craig suggested that it would be

Bujinkan Training in Japan Update

 Which Dojo's are Open in Japan? After three long years, I return for Bujinkan training in Japan. The world is different. Training in Japan is different. Michael Glenn at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo I share my expectations and my actual experiences. I came here as a scouting trip. I wanted to see what changed and where the Bujinkan is going. So far I’ve trained in three dojos. Nagase Sensei started my trip with quick, focused taijutsu. Nagase Sensei with Michael Glenn November 2022 I visited my friend Sakai-san for training in Kasukabe. Michael at 酒井一弘 Dojo Novemeber 2022 And Furuta Sensei invited me to his dojo. Furuta Sensei and Michael Glenn November 2022 Luckily, I found more training than I anticipated. And I’m having a great time. I’m encouraged for the future. And this is only part one of my Bujinkan training in Japan report. You can watch the video about my training in Japan here: Bujinkan Training in Japan November 2022

How Do I Prepare for a Bujinkan Class?

Michael in Leandro Erlich's "The Classroom" at 森美術館, photo Michael Glenn I probably prepare more than most Bujinkan teachers. In fact, I spend 1-2 hours before every training session setting my lesson plan. But when Hatsumi Sensei made me a Daishihan, my prep changed. I had 5 steps before there were two big changes. Step one was easy for me, but step seven I didn’t even know about until recently. Let’s talk about the easy change first.  One: It starts with a Bujinkan theme As you know, Soke used to set yearly themes for the whole Bujinkan to follow. This made it easy to decide what to study every class. For example, If the theme was Gyokko Ryū, we could study the techniques and strategies from that school. But one Fall night in 2017 I showed up to the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo in Japan and change was in the air. Hatsumi Sensei’s wife was ill and Soke had made the difficult choice to move her into a care facility. He sat in front of the Kamidana and said a private prayer at his

Training From Inside a Bujinkan Dojo Membership Program

What can you learn from the Rojodojo membership program? or, Why start an online membership? I have been training all of my life. Started in 1985. Around that same time, I also got into film and video production. So when I began teaching Bujinkan and started my own dojo, It seemed like a natural thing to make training videos. I assumed I would put them out as DVDs. I even made some with chapters, extras (remember those?) and gave them out. But, this was the era of Netflix and streaming video. Many people were abandoning DVDs and VHS was already a dinosaur. Then my next thought was how can I stream these training videos? I put a few on youtube, a few on amazon, and I quickly realized it was a full time job. Between the teaching of classes, the video production, post production, streaming setup… And the equipment wasn’t free either. I knew I had a few friends from my mailing list and from social media who might be interested. So I set up the streaming on my new website and I

How to Practice the Fake Kick of 指拍 Shihaku

Real or fake kick? The other night in my dojo we were practicing fake kicks during the kata 指拍 Shihaku. It is a challenge to practice a fake kick. Here I will give you a method to make your fakes seem real. How do you trick someone into believing something that isn’t real? You act as if it is real. Or even better, make it real. This is how I often explain kyojitsu to my students. 虚 kyo means fake, and 実 jitsu means reality. For kyojitsu to work it has to be both real and fake at the same time. Shihaku has a kick that is kyojitsu. But remember kyojitsu only works if it can be either 虚 kyo or 実 jitsu. Too many people only practice the kyo part of kyojitsu.  Their fake fails because no one would fall for it. So it must be real. Just not necessarily delivered. This means that if the opponent doesn’t react to your fake, then make it real. And you kick him hard! If he’s not buying what you’re selling, then kick his ass with it. So when does does the fake become real? Where does that change o

3 Tips for 大外掛 Ōsoto Gake You Should Start Using Now

Bujinkan Honbu Masks, photo from same day by Michael Glenn Tonight in my class we studied 夢落 yume otoshi. The last time I did this in Japan, Hatsumi Sensei gave us some insights that I want to share with you. He began by telling us 空間で嚮導 Kūkan de kyōdō, or lead the opponent in the kukan. That was when I should have changed into a new gi. Because it was like a new life for an old ninja. I had a breakthrough for my understanding of taijutsu. But my day leading up to that experience gave no warning it would be special. I trained for about 6 weeks in Japan every year. So not every day could be amazing. This particular Friday was cold, wet, and boring. I had only errands to keep me entertained before Hatsumi Sensei’s class . Even my lunch was uninspired. I hunkered down at the low budget family restaurant, Saizeriya in Nagareyama. I only wanted to get out of the cold rain for a bit and work on my training notes in a quiet booth. Christmas music was already playing, but the holiday decor was