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 adversary is totally inept.

In Yellow you bring yourself to the understanding that your life may be in danger and that you may have to do something about it.

In Orange you have determined upon a specific adversary and are prepared to take action which may result in his death, but you are not in a lethal mode.

In Red you are in a lethal mode and will shoot if circumstances warrant."

In the Bujinkan, we focus on awareness from the learning of kamae leading to the experience of the Godan test and beyond.  Hatsumi Sensei talks to this point as the secret of winning.  He says,
One never knows when a fight might start.  That is why in Budo one keeps prepared, so that should a fight arise, one can settle it as quickly as possible.  In a dangerous situation, you act swiftly without any hesitation.  That is the secret of winning.
He describes how to do this,
You must KNOW that you can win, and use this energy in your encounter.
In Shinto there is a word, "Nakaima," which literally means "the middle of now."  It teaches us that the current moment embodies the whole of time, and consequently, that how you live the current moment is of supreme importance.
Nakaima 中 今 as described by Shintoists repeatedly appears in the Imperial edicts of the 8th century. According to this point of view, the present moment is the very center in the middle of all conceivable times. In order to participate directly in the eternal development of the world, it is required of Shintoists to live fully each moment of life, making it as worthy as possible.

Hatsumi Sensei may also be referring to this concept with the idea Kanjin Kaname.  This can be translated as "what is truly important," but another reading is "the heart and eyes of the gods."  When you are in accordance with this, you are in accord with the laws of nature or heaven.  You cannot fail.   You may achieve kamiwaza (divine techniques).  Isn't that what you are studying in your dojo?


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