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Showing posts from May, 2011

強弱柔剛 Kyojaku Jyugo: Like a Dream in the Void

We had some great training with Paul Masse last weekend. One idea that Paul shared with us is:
強弱柔剛あるべからず 故にこの心から離れ 空という一字に悟り  体また無しとして 之に配す Neither strong or weak, soft or hard, separate from the heart of these and enlighten yourself to the one character of nothingness. Make your body nothingness and reside therein.This comes to us from Toda Shinzaburo Masahide of the Togakure ryu. Another translation of this phrase can be found in Hatsumi Sensei's book, "The Way of the Ninja,"
"One should be neither strong nor weak, neither soft nor hard. Leave such thoughts behind, awaken to the Void, and make your body Null to abide by this."Paul had us exploring these ideas through 虚実 kyojitsu, 無心 mushin, and 縁 connection.

Paul explained that for kyojitsu to be effective you have to sell it. He likened it to a magician performing an illusion. In order to sell it, he has to believe in it himself. In the world of magicians this is called misdirection. The next day Paul and I s…

忍辱の鎧 Ninniku No Yoroi: Patience as Armour

鎧をつけている人は、転ぶと大きな音がする。

He who wears armor falls with a big crash!
This saying reminds me of medieval knights of old, encased in metal, then falling off their horses, only to bellow on the ground like a sick overturned tortoise. anyone who has worn yoroi may have experienced similar sensations. But the armour that really weighs us down most often and acts against us is in our own hearts. We wear our pride or technique on our bodies like it will stop bullets. Ninniku offers us a different choice. In our Bujinkan training this is some of the most powerful armour available.

Hatsumi Sensei has explained to us how he dissipates the attacker's energy. This is one aspect of three methods that make up 忍辱の鎧 Ninniku No Yoroi. We will look at these three strategies after we try to understand Ninniku.

Soke describes it this way,
Ninniku Seishin. There is a saying, "Enduring insults and humiliation, I drop all
rancor, I desire no revenge," which implies bearing no hatred and holding n…

三心の構 Sanshin no Kamae: Silent and Deadly

We can learn a lot from the Kamae in our art. For example, there are three Kamae that are often associated with hanbo that Takamatsu Sensei called 三心の構  Sanshin no Kamae. These three simple looking kamae contain important insights about the nature of fighting and combat that can change everything about the way you understand Kamae and Bujinkan Taijutsu.

Hatsumi sensei says these Kamae are "three phases:"

型破の構 Kata Yaburi no Kamae – form breaking

無念無想の構 Munen Muso no Kamae – no intention, no thought

音無しの構 Otonashi no Kamae – silent posture

The stances betray no outward signs of readiness for action, offensive or defensive. You stand exposed, weapons lowered, and your body square to the opponent. This emptiness makes these kamae positions of pure, unlimited potential from which all manner of henka can arise. These kamae all pass rapidly from stillness into motion and motion into stillness. Offense and defense are one and the same. Emptiness and reality are embodied in the stan…

Fudōshin 不動心 or Fudōshin 浮動心 Floating Heart?

I was talking with Paul Masse about recent events in Japan. We were contemplating the appropriate "safe" distance from these disasters. Hatsumi Sensei often suggests to us that we evade by the width of a piece of paper. He gives us this image as a hint to take a small evasion, or, just as much space as needed. I have even heard him say that it should be the width of air. Now that seems risky for sure!

But there is another way to evade that isn't evading. And Sensei does this but it is not easy to see. To open our eyes let's look at one example from nature and one from Hatsumi Sensei.

While talking with Paul, I was reminded of a different kind of distance from a favorite poem. I shared this idea with Paul and he seemed to enjoy the feeling of it:
The Little Duck -----  By Donald C. Babcock Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.