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Showing posts from September, 2010

Happo Tenchi: Ten Directions of Truth

Photo by ePi.Longo In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost?  What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us. Look: this ball in my pocket: can you see how priceless it is? Ryōkan Taigu ( 良寛大愚 ) There is nothing wise I can add to the beautiful poetry above.  Just that, I find my inspiration from many sources.  I am constantly amazed at how these inspirations in martial arts and life mirror each other. Who has heard Hatsumi Sensei utter similar ideas? Ryōkan Taigu ( 良寛大愚 )  1758-1831, Japanese Zen Master, hermit, calligrapher, and poet; his name means "Goodly Tolerance."  Another Buddhist name that he took for himself means "Great Fool."  Ryokan is one of the most beloved figures in Japanese Literature, and is especially known for his kindness and his love of

How Can You Learn Shinobi Secrets?

Photo by Son of Groucho Do you think you have a grasp on this art?  Have you done all the kata in the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki?  Maybe you have memorized all the (known) kata from our 9 Bujinkan ryuha.  Maybe you have even mastered the Togakure-ryu Juhakkei - the 18 forms of the shinobi (is that even possible in the modern era?).  How long have you been training?  3 years? 10?  how about 20? Do I hear 30?  I know someone with over 40 years in this art and he is still learning new material. Don't miss the train by not showing up. Recently, I was at a seminar with my teacher, Peter Crocoll.  I was considering leaving early because I had a 9 hour drive back home.  I brought this up to him, and he said, "you can leave if you want, but what I'm about to show has never been shown in North America."  I stayed.  And it was worth it. I almost missed training with Peter again this month.  It literally was a coin flip whether I made the trip.  Somehow I pulled it togethe

Plan For Chaos, Fight Your Plan

by PhillipC A commonly heard phrase in military circles is, No plan ever survives contact with the enemy. This quote was originally uttered by Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, a German Field Marshal during the 1800's.  But Colonel Tom Kolditz, head of the behavioral sciences division at West Point, sums it up this way: You may start off trying to fight your plan, but the enemy gets a vote.  Unpredictable things happen- the weather changes, a key asset is destroyed, the enemy responds in a way you don't expect.  Many armies fail because they put all their emphasis into creating a plan that becomes useless ten minutes into the battle. So what do we do as martial artists?  For the most part, martial arts is learning to deal with smaller battles with individual or few enemies.  But the same conundrum confronts us.  All of our training for battle, the years of classes and techniques we have learned, and all the hard work to stay fit- all of this will be upset by this simple truth