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Showing posts from February, 2011

Pull Yourself Together With Bushinwa 武心和

photo by ghindo In the Densho for Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, one of the 9 schools we study in the Bujinkan, there is a precept which is expressed like this:  Bu Shin Wa O Toutonasu 武心和を尊 The heart of the warrior holds peace righteous, or, a warrior heart holds harmony as sacred.  Of course the idea of Wa or harmony is vital to understanding the physical aspects of our training. But there is something deeper in this idea. An idea that is deeply Japanese and connects us to the roots of our art and the history of Japan itself. Wa 倭 until the 8th century, when the Japanese replaced it with 和 is the oldest recorded name of Japan. The idea of harmony in Japan is expressed in art, the tea ceremony, philosophy and even in daily manners or enforced through law. Many of the codes of honor of the Samurai were the result of an attempt to preserve harmony. Honor of a bushi was most important in this code. Abusive language was punished by confiscation of the samurai's weapons and property o

Ninpo Ikkan: Find Your Own Treasure

photo by katclay Understanding Ninpo Ikkan will unravel conflict and obstacles in a way that feels like 解脱 gedatsu (being liberated from earthly desires and the woes of man to reach nirvana). Does that seem unreachable to you? It is nearer than you think. Read on so I can explain where you may find it. What is Ninpo Ikkan exactly? Well, as with a lot of Japanese to English interpretations you will find many answers (an interesting lesson in itself).  A simple expression of Ninpo Ikkan is consistent devotion to the way of the ninja or the way of perseverance. Ninpo 忍法 being the way of the ninja, or as Soke sometimes writes,  忍宝 NinPo, or the treasure of nin. Where is the treasure? First, to find the treasure, you must empty yourself so that Isshi Soden becomes possible. You cannot receive this direct transmission of knowledge from a teacher or from nature unless you are free from your own life. Soke says that Bushido means "to die." This is sutemi. Throwing your life

雨遁 Uton no Jutsu: a Rainy Day Escape.

photo by J.J. Verhoef Tuesday night my class was training on an aspect of Ongyojutsu 隠形術. This topic is vast and one not often covered in most Bujinkan dojos. We have the fortune of training outdoors in an area that is part urban and part natural so we were able to explore. Out of the 30 methods of escaping, let's look at one that is contained in the tenton juppo section: 雨遁 Uton no jutsu (Rain Evasion). Using the elements of weather to aid in escape and evasion is a very natural technique, but that same weather can work against you. The trick is to be in harmony with nature's laws. As Hatsumi Sensei says, "... everywhere in the world, the trees are growing towards the sky and the rain falls towards the ground." Bearing this in mind, remember that Soke has also stated that modern military stealth methods may supersede the old densho and that we should keep up with the times. But there is still much to learn in our tradition. To begin to use the rain, it helps t

Dissipate Your 隙 Suki With 正願 Seigan

Ginza Rat photo by OiMax Suki are strange vermin. You think you see one, then it's gone. You train your ass off to get rid of them, then find they are all over, and in places you never looked! And if you ignore them, they seem to multiply. What are these intransigent vermin and what can be done about them? 隙 "Suki" is the Japanese term for "opening" or "gap" and refers to a weakness in your or your opponent's defenses. Suki can present opportunities to attack or be presented to draw an attack. These suki can be found in the timing, distance, angle, mind, or even spirit. This is partly what Soke Hatsumi means about being Zero. He says, "If one reaches to a higher rank, he need only eliminate his faults. It may sound easy, but eliminating faults is very difficult to accomplish, because we tend to think we are faultless. Faults can be translated into something different in Budo. They can be suki (unguarded points), or carelessness, presumpt