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Showing posts from May, 2010

Beyond Striking and Kiai Into the Mysteries of Toate No Jutsu

There are mysterious things in life. Or maybe not so mysterious if you understand the secret behind such things. Then they become normal, or just part of being alive. One mysterious thing in our art is the idea of Toate No Jutsu (techniques for striking from a distance). How can this be real? If you haven't experienced it or delivered such a strike youself, then perhaps it is not real for you... Yet. If you subscribe to my training notes (if you aren't a subscriber yet, you miss a LOT of free Bujinkan notes), you know that we studied this the other night in my basics class. One secret of this technique lies in connecting to your opponent and the void. And in trying to understand this mystery it can be useful to make connections. So here we go, I was at a Friday night class with Hatsumi Sensei in the Hombu Dojo when Soke described toate no jutsu as a kiai or projection of spirit (maybe 気迫 kihaku?). Sensei said it was like the color of your heart projecting into

To Bujinkan Teachers: Stop Teaching!

Running classes is an interesting lesson for me. From the beginning my goal for having classes was to further my own training. It was never a selfless act of giving or sharing. And because of that goal, I work on things in class that I want to learn. Seems selfish. But what I have discovered is that is really all that can be done. I believe you can't really teach Bujinkan. It can be felt, experienced, and lived. But each student must discover it for themselves. Ultimately we are all responsible for our own training. One Friday night at Hombu, Hatsumi Sensei suggested that teachers should be discovering as they teach, learning and teaching at the same time. I am pretty sure that's what he has done all these years. It certainly shows in the freshness and vitality he brings to every class. In that same class, Soke also said that if we train with him, we are walking beside and in parallel with him. If not we fall into a hole. That is a path of discovery. The hole is

Can You Tap-Out A Bee?

Have you ever tried to capture a wild animal? Or just hold an animal that doesn't want to be held? The results are predictable, in that they involve emergency rooms and injury. If you haven't tried it, then come at it innocently, without aid of guns, tranquilizers, or nets. You will be humbled. That is why people use the phrase "a force of nature" to describe something gone wild or that is unstoppable. People like to train in submission fighting. Or they view a tap-out as something to strive for. I have never seen Hatsumi Sensei use a submission hold or go for a tap-out. Sure his Uke's tap plenty, but he often ignores it. That is not his goal. At the risk of creating controversy, I suggest that you not water down your Bujinkan training with MMA, submission fighting, BJJ, or any other sport martial art. Unless your only battles will be on the mats. Where you can tap-out, or the ref can stop the fight. In real life, people or animals do not tap. You ma