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 space. That color comes from your character or can be that which you decide to project. He said all this with his purple hair and made reference to Kabuki theatre in which a purple scarf on the head denotes death.

He asked Someya Ken'ichi to describe a time when Sensei "threw" a shuriken at his foot. There was no shuriken but Someya felt frozen in place and the spirit drained from his body. You can find a more detailed description of this event in "My experience of Toate Fudo Kanashibari no Jutsu" (Someya Ken'ichi, this article originally appeared in the Bujinkan Sanmyaku Densho in 1996)

Soke then went on to say that a true Bugeisha does not maim or kill, but rather removes the fighting spirit and the will from the enemy. Have you ever done this? Do you know how? Or do you just punch and kick about blindly without connection? I have heard Soke say many times, there is no attacker or defender. No distinction if you are connected.

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These are fascinating anecdotes. I am researching the subject of toate-no-jutsu for my book, The Dao of Dragon Ball, where I talk about this subject through the lens of Dragon Ball Z. Wish you all the best, and do well in your training!

Bujinkan Santa Monica

Thanks Derek! I'm glad you found them helpful in your research.

BTW, your blog and project looks great!

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