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Showing posts from January, 2010

Bujinkan Hi Jo Shiki, or uncommon sense.

Last night in class we addressed a common problem.  Many students practice unarmed taijutsu and they more or less are able accomplish the technique.  Maybe not do exactly what the teacher demonstrated, but reproduce a reasonable version that arises from their own taijutsu.  This is good.  This is how the Bujinkan is set up.  Each person's taijutsu is unique to them and should not look like a picture, video, or a mimed version of their teacher.  One problem that arises is when a weapon is put into the mix.

When a weapon is introduced, students get very attached to using it, or, conversely, they can't use it at all.  Moving naturally and using the weapon fluidly during the technique is a goal that many miss.  The weapon is an inanimate object.  With no attachment to being useful or even who wields it.  The same way one makes use of the earth, or the wind is how a weapon should be considered.

But something more.  Beyond common sense there is uncommon sense or things that can'…

Kyojitsu and Rokkon Shoujou?

How does kyojitsu connect to this years theme of rokkon shoujou?  I was in a class at the Hombu dojo where Soke said something very curious that may provide a clue:

Hatsumi Sensei spoke about not presenting strength, but rather weakness or friendliness.

He said in this way you wouldn't be a target or present a target.

He said sometimes lies and deception were necessary and that he doesn't get angry when someone uses them on him.  That he respects that they are practicing their Budo.

It's a happier way to go through life if you don't get upset over stuff like that.

Remember kyojitsu is an interchange of truth and falsehood.  So you can present friendliness and be ready to be a true friend, but the smile you present is that of purring tiger.  Relaxed yet powerful.  Content and dangerous.

Year of the tiger baby!

Hatsumi Sensei's "Gambatte" Inspires and Destroys Excuses.

A well known quote from Sensei:

"Gambatte" or "Keep Going. "

Simple.  Two words.  So why does it mean so much?  Why is it so hard to do?  And what does he mean exactly?

Soke wrote:

Forget your sadness, anger, grudges and hatred. Let them pass like smoke caught in a breeze. You should not deviate from the path of righteousness; you should lead a life worthy of a man. Don't be possessed by greed, luxury, or your ego. You should accept sorrows, sadness and hatred as they are, and consider them a chance for trial given to you by the powers... a blessing given by nature. Have both your mind and your time fully engaged in budo, and have your mind deeply set on bujutsu.
    Adapted from Tetsuzan, Hatsumi Sensei's original newsletter in English.
    © Tetsuzan & Bujinkan International

がんばって

There is the idea in Japanese culture of Musha Shugyo.   It is a warriors quest.  But also a life quest.  In order to discover your purpose and along the way, yourself, you mu…

Bujinkan Kouun, Hatsumi Sensei's ideas on luck.

One day at Hombu, after doing a miraculous technique that seemed require impossible coincidence, Hatsumi Sensei said,

You have to be the type of person that lucky things happen to.

Really.  On reflection, I felt lucky to have heard him say that.  But that was several years ago, and the idea has stayed with me.  There seem to be many layers to that idea,  And I have heard Soke mention variations on it since.

Usually the way people speak that idea in English is, "you've got to get lucky."  Or, "hope I get lucky!"  As if luck is something that just happens to you.  Hatsumi Sensei's version seems to suggest that luck is a product of the type of person you are, or maybe an aspect of your heart or spirit.

One of the reasons that phrase resonated with me is that I have had many "unlucky" moments in my life.  Moments where I just cannot fathom the depths of my misfortune.  I won't bore you with the details, but Soke's statement seemed to suggest a s…

Kusari fundo, basic and advanced Bujinkan weapon.

In the Bujinkan we have a large amount of weapons. You can just look at the walls of the Hombu dojo or visit Hatsumi Sensei's house to witness an armory that would rival anything the Quartermaster in the James Bond movies would stock. And as Hatsumi Sensei often says, anything can be a weapon. I once watched him use a bag of walnuts from the market against an attacker!




Even with our exotic Ninja weaponry, sometimes the most advanced is the most simple. Something as simple as a rope or chain can be the most challenging to learn. I have seen very skilled martial artists fumble around like a kid tying a shoe when you put a rope in their hands. Flexible weapons are naturally unruly and difficult to control. And that also is their main advantage.

A good weapon to learn is kusari fundo or short cord (for safe training). The kusari fundo is a chain around 46 to 76 cm in length and weighted at both ends. It looks so simple lying there. It is easy to transport. And variations on…