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 solution.

A year or two after I heard Sensei say that, I was very lucky to receive a calligraphy from Sensei of the word "Kouun."  It means "luck, fortune, or prosperity."  While I was waiting for the ink to dry, I showed it to my friend Paul Masse and Yabunaka.  Paul with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, pointed out to me that people often use the word "uunko" to reflect the opposite.  It is a word that is uttered when one has just stepped in dog shit.

This reminded Yabunaka of a story.  He said that when he was traveling with Hatsumi Sensei to the Atlanta Tai Kai, the weather was quite warm.  They were walking along behind Soke along the hot asphalt.  The heat from the road caused the glue from the sole of Sensei's shoe to soften and the sole fell off.  Hatsumi Sensei didn't miss a step.  He continued walking straight on his path.  Those behind him retrieved the sole and said, "Sensei, your shoe came off!"  Sensei just brushed them aside and stated that he didn't need it anyway.

This reminded me of something else I heard Soke say that may help to understand how to be lucky:

"The longer you train you need to be able to ignore things that you don't need.  Things that are unnecessary.  And set them aside.

As you do this, you start to see the bad parts of your own self.    And you have to be able to toss those things aside as well.  

Because if you have one bad part of yourself still within you, everything will collapse later.

So part of what Shugyo is, what training is... is discovering the bad parts of yourself and tossing them aside.

That's what life is.  Not just in the dojo."


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