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Showing posts from November, 2010

Echo (yamabiko  山彦) of Hatsumi Sensei

It's strange how training in Japan feels like coming home. Even though I don't travel here as often as I'd like there is always a moment after all the stress of travel drops away and I can relax into this experience that just feels right. Maybe it's the family feeling that exists in Hatsumi Sensei's Bujinkan. Maybe it's all the friends and good memories here. Or maybe it's just reconnecting with the source of this art that is such an important part of my life. Class with Sensei Tuesday night was truly wonderful. There were so many important discoveries I found in Soke's taijutsu that I told my teacher Peter Crocoll that even if all I had was that one class my trip was worth it. He said he thought the same thing last night. It's hard to convey what happened in writing, but I will be working on this material for many months to come in my classes at home. Sensei had us working on kage no tsuki for a bit. Then he made reference to existing in t

Groping the Void with 探り回る Sagurimawaru

Photo by judepics There are various types of awareness we use to gather information.  Maintaining good situational awareness is key to succeeding in any complex environment or encounter.  Once, when we were studying taihenjutsu and ukemi with Soke Hatsumi, he made reference to the term 探り回る (Sagurimawaru) which translates roughly as "to grope for, or fumble." But Hatsumi Sensei didn't talk about this in a way us English speakers might normally consider the term fumble, as some kind of clumsy, unskilled, movement.  He spoke of it more as a exploration and a searching about the environment to see what you may discover.  It was a process of discovery. So if we fumble about the Japanese language and look at other related terms in our art or just in the Japanese idiom, we may discover something: You may have heard about the Ashinami Jukka Jo- The ten ways of walking according to the Ninpo book Shoninki, but we also have 探り足 Saguri Ashi and Saguri Aruki which are used

Nakaima 中 今: a Privileged Moment in Eternity

photo by Guitarfool5931 People in the Bujinkan often mention distancing, angling, and timing as part of fundamental taijutsu.  While we train to get these right, there are many subtle nuances to what is "right."  For example, there is early, middle and late timing, but also an entire spectrum in between these measurements.  And there is a way to step outside of this measured time entirely. The ability to do this can be related to awareness in the moment.  Soldiers in combat are encouraged to keep their head on a swivel so as to maintain situational awareness.  Another simple look at states of awareness in combat can be found from Jeff Cooper, founder of the American Pistol Institute ("A.P.I.") in 1976 in order to teach the Modern Technique of the Pistol as a method of the handgun for self-defense.  He describes this color code: "In White you are unprepared and unready to take lethal action. If you are attacked in White you will probably die unless your a