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 may break their arm, but that doesn't mean they will stop trying to hurt or kill you. You can choke them out (at great danger to youself), but few situations give that opportunity. It is important to ask, what is the goal of a choke? Is it stategically sound in most situations? You may have to kill or they regain consciousness. And good luck choking out anything wild.

There's a reason police prefer to overwhelm a suspect with many officers or tasers, or finally, firearms. Because it's very difficult to apprehend someone who resists. In fact, in almost any scenario, police prefer to use psychology or tactics that convince the suspect to submit willingly. Otherwise, someone gets hurt or killed.

Soke often suggests that we control our attacker by not holding them too tightly. Oddly, the tighter you hold the more unpredictable they may be. Their struggle becomes more frantic, wild, and dangerous. Adrenaline kicks in and a cornered animal will fight with everything its got.

Instead, if you hold lightly, give it space to move, you can let it defeat itself. Or submit from confusion or exhaustion. This is like a net. Or a spider web.

I heard Sensei describe this idea with the phrase:

Amo issun no tamamushi.

From Mats Hjelm,

"The Gokui secret teachings of our Takagiyōshin-ryū tradition contain a story about catching a bee. There is a power phrase that goes “Amo issun no tamamushi” By saying this mantra and grabbing a bee without hesitating, you will avoid being stung."

Every time I have heard Hatsumi Sensei talk about this he demonstrates by cupping his hands or making a very loose fist. The idea is you give the bee room to move, holding it loosely. Then it will crawl around looking for an escape.

If you clamp down or hold the wing, you will likely be stung.

I find this in life. The more I try to control, the less I have. And when I try to force my will, more surprises confront me. Better to be zero where submissions and control are like the mist.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.



I love this post, Arigato Goziamashita

Bujinkan Santa Monica

You're welcome. It's something difficult to explain in a blog, but I gave it my best!


I am sorry, but this is complete horse shit.
The only thing sporting about Judo/BJJ/Wrestling is that I decided to be "sporting" and not break your limb, drop you on your head, or choke you to death. I find it fascinating that ~17 years of Gracie challenges, and the UFC you still have people trying dismiss what has already been proven time and time again. The fact that Hatsumi ignores the "tap" means absolutely nothing besides he decided to be an ass to a compliant uke.

I am not trying to be a jerk, really I am not..but your post is absolute nonsense. "Sport" MA do not match a life or death situation exactly, but they are light years beyond what the Bujinkan and other so-called TMAs in this regard w/r to training and preparedness.


BTW, props for publishing my comment. A lot of people would have simple not done so because it doesn't support their position. You go my respect for that.

Bujinkan Geki Ryu Dojo

Ha Ha MDB he beat you you do not get it!


Have any of you ever tried fighting against someone who actually fights back?

Why don't you try visiting a local Judo, wrestling or BJJ club? Or even a muay thai, boxing or Kyokushin club? Let me know how well your training helps you in randori against people who actually train to fight.

What are your excuses?


"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."
Isn't ninjutsu trained on mats, too? Do ninjutsu practitioners just go at each other until someone is incapacitated, or are things constantly starting and stopping at the call of an instructor? How is it that the mats and the restrictions of MAA and BJJ amount to watered-down sport but the mats and restrictions of ninjutsu amount to realism?

Michael Glenn

apparently I hit a nerve with the submission/mma crowd. Please read what I wrote with an open mind. If you prefer not to, that is instructive as well.


If you check my blog, you'll see that I'm an aikidoist and not a member of the submission/MMA crowd. I am asking questions because some of the things you say here do not make sense to me. You don't have to answer my questions--I'm not a member of your club and you certainly don't owe me anything--but I do bristle a little at the suggestion that my asking questions amounts to not having an open mind.


Just out of curiousity has the author of this article competed or even trained in any full contact martial "sports"?


I just do not understand this at all. Why do you constantly have need to speak about "sports" martial arts? Why can't you just train what you train and leave others alone. Why do people from martial arts have the need to compare themselves with other sports? I was in bujinkan for 9 years, i was a 3rd degree black belt, or sandan. I attended seminars with Pedro Fleitas, Svenerik, Peter King, Arnaud Cousergue, many other shihans. I was in Japan, trained in calsses with all shitenno and soke. For all the years i was there, i listened all the time, judo is like this, they are too stiff, BJJ is no good, you can not defend versus 2 or 3 opponents, dont do muay thai, dont do boxing, ninjutsu is the perfect martial art, bujinkan can do everything. And after 9 years of bujinkan i stated going to jiu jitsu, and my knowledge and understanding of martial arts changed completely. I was living a lie for 9 years. Let me just sa one thing, Bujinkan has a lot of great things. Weapons, principles of movement and distance and timing, but bujinkan lacks what sports martial arts have - real sparring, opportunity to TEST your techniques with somebody who is resisting, trying to do his technique. When you spar in bujinkan, it is just controlled movement. When you spar in bjj, it is real combat, believe me. I am so sick and tired when i hear that ninjutsu is a proven martial art, used for hundreds of years in wars and combat, and it does not need to be tested again. That is great, but i didnt live in that time, nor do i have experience of 400-500 years of training. I do have to check if my technique is good, i do need to test it, work with it and fix it. As everything else, martial arts HAVE to evolve, you HAVE to use things that weren't in practice before, because everything else evolves. And if you just get stuck in past, doing same things all over again, you will not improve, you will learn some moves and techniques, and you will not be able to use them because you don't know your opponent, you are not familiar with his skills. You just heard from your teacher or sensei, that judo is stiff, boxing is not good, bjj is not real. And if there is a situation where you will have to fight boxer of bjj or judo practitioner, you will be surprised at what will they do to you. And you will probably go to your teacher, asking for explanation what happened. And he will tell you that you are just not training good enough, or that the fight was not for life or death, where you would most certainly win or something like that, but he will NEVER say "go to their class, find out why did he beat you." How can you speak about being open minded, and in the same time LIMITING yourself to just one martial art?


And to continue, this is such a paradox that bujinkan talks about sports such as judo or bjj not being able to constrain somebody who is showing resistance in real fight, and disregard to notice that exactly THAT is the sole purpose of judo and bjj, that they are ALWAYS working with somebody who is giving full resistance. And in the same time, Bujinkan practitioners never do that. When ever somebody resisted while i was training, technique would not work. Even for older and most experienced students. Nothing. And you would hear explanation that your base training and your katas are not good enough, that you have to train more, go deeper into the art and udnerstand the essence of the technique. And you will be ready to understand it in about 10-15 years, not trying it with resistance EVEN ONCE. And when i started training bjj, i successfully did a technique on my third or forth training, just because i was trying it with resistance so many times that i got the essence of it.And i used it! And it worked! And it didn't take 10-15 years, just pure training. When bujinkan starts practicing it's techniques with real resistance and not guided movement, it will be able to see which techniques work TODAY and which ones belong to the past. And that is the time when bujinkan will be able to successfully stand by MMA, BJJ, Judo, or any other "sport".

Michael Glenn

Hello 1986nesha, thank you for your comments. I understand your frustration. Most martial arts compare themselves to others and of course our own style somehow always comes out on top (at least in our minds). The Bujinkan is no exception to this very human tendency.

All I can say is that everyone’s experience and ability is different. I do not have the experiences you had in the Bujinkan. Of course some of the problems you mention occur in every martial art. That is just part of training.

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