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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
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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

The Sound of Bujinkan 変化 Henka

One Friday night back in the old Honbu Dojo, Hatsumi Sensei moved to a very high level of training right from the start. After he asked someone to demo, he immediately went into counter attacks using his fingertips. And he said to be playful. Hatsumi Sensei painted and hung a scroll in the corner of the dojo. He did this every year to express the yearly theme. This year it was 神韻武導 Shin'in Budō . You can read this as Budō of exceptional artistry. Or, when you look at the characters for Shin'in, it could be a Budō that expresses the sound of the heart, the soul, or even  the kami. 神韻武導 Shin'in Budō, Bujinkan Honbu. photo Michael Glenn   Earlier that afternoon, I had made a pilgrimage of sorts to visit 矢切の渡し Yagiri-no-Watashi. The ferry that has been taking passengers across the Edo river for nearly 400 years. The Tokugawa shogunate did not build bridges over rivers to protect Edo. Ferry boats leading to the highway were strictly controlled, but ferries for farmers who had fa

Bujinkan 鎖分銅 Kusarifundō: Truth and Falsehood

Buki-mobile at 鎌倉・山海堂商店, photo by Michael Glenn Do you know the deepest levels of 虚実 kyojitsu lead down the path of 捨て身 sutemi? In a recent class I shared a dimension of kyojitsu that I’ve only ever heard expressed from Hatsumi Sensei. But is anyone willing to take this path? During my class demo, I shot the weight of the 鎖分銅 kusarifundō out into the face of my opponent. A surprise 中振 nakafuri strike, but my use of it was for kyojitsu. The sound of the chain and the weight act as 目潰し metsubushi and caught the opponent’s attention. These sensations hid my next move. It isn’t very safe to use a real kusarifundō in class. Unless your training partner likes dental work or a busted eyebrow, it is safer to use a short cord to practice. But then I noticed my students were missing a key aspect of this type of kyojitsu. Most people think of kyojitsu as being a feint or fake. You mislead and distract the opponent from your real strategy. Many students stop there by using a fake-out. But, for kyo

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