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Showing posts from December, 2011

経津 Futsu: Reflections on a Theme for 2012

Katori-jingu, Katori-shi, Chiba-ken, Japan photo by TANAKA Juuyoh Training sometimes seems mysterious. Even more so when Hatsumi Sensei gives us Japanese philosophical ideas to consider.  Sometimes these mysteries come in the form of a stated yearly theme. The idea or feeling behind the yearly theme continuously changes as our lives and training evolve through the year. So whatever we think the theme is, it's important not to get attached to any set concept and to allow the natural evolution of training to occur. These yearly themes and ideas Soke gives us are like gifts that resonate throughout the year as reflected in our training, in our taijutsu, and our lives. As we enter 2012 what sort of starting point might we have for the yearly theme? UPDATE: 2012 theme seven months later: Shot to the Heart of Kaname 要 I was at a class earlier this month where Hatsumi Sensei gave us some hints. We spent a considerable portion of this class exploring concepts with a sword som

Fushaku Shinmyō 不惜身命: Mind and Body Like Diamond

Diamond Corridor photo by dickuhne Hatsumi Sensei's classes are often too crowded to do "large" techniques. Or, to train with weapons that need "large" distances. Recently I was lucky enough to be in a class that was small enough for Sensei to have us using Bo, Yari, and Naginata. Along with the big weapons came some big ideas for training. He was attaching these weapons to his uke's body or clothing, then moving in a way where the weapon seems to develop a life of its own. He explained he was using a reflection of the attacker. That was a big idea that reminded me of another time when he described 辛抱 Shinbo to us.  One other large idea he put out there for us came at a moment of evading a yari thrust. He used the phrase 不惜身命 Fushaku Shinmyō. Roughly translated in this context it means sacrificing one's life to accomplish its resolution. It can be related to concepts of Sutemi and throwing away the self. The roots of this idea come from Buddhism and

How to Grow Your Own 器 Utsuwa

敲玻璃器 Break on through, photo by .HEI Did I learn anything? Sometimes I wonder. I watch Hatsumi Sensei teach and then he does something or says something that I find fascinating. So I look around the Hombu to see how other people are reacting. Did they see what he just did? Did they understand what he just said? Did I? That's the real question. What is my own capacity to understand? Is everyone at the hombu dojo having the same training experience and are they getting as much from it as I am? Will I understand or experience the training as deeply as someone like Oguri Sensei who has been training more than 40 years and actually trained with Takamatsu Sensei? The answer is no. We are not having the same experience or learning the same thing. No one there is. We all have different levels of understanding. As for myself, I can only experience training to the fullness of my capacity. In Chinese they say, 大器晚成 it takes a long time to make a big pot. This suggests that great talents m

Hatsumi Sensei VS. Pro Wrestler Rikidōzan

Rikidōzan During a recent Sunday class at Hombu, Hatsumi Sensei was showing techniques  against a double lapel grab. He made a point of demonstrating these techniques on some of the largest foreigners in the room. He tossed them around easily and made them groan or whimper in pain. He then said that all of the Jugodans in the Bujinkan should be able to defeat any pro wrestler. He wasn't talking about the kind of pro wrestling we see now that is full of theatrics and largely staged, but he was referring to the kind of athletes and matches that were common during his youth. Hatsumi Sensei then told us about a story from his past when he had accepted a grudge match against one of the most famous of those wrestlers, Rikidōzan. Soke shared with us the surprise ending to this event, but first let's learn more about this legendary fighter. From the Rikidōzan Wikipedia entry: Mitsuhiro Momota (百田 光浩 Momota Mitsuhiro?), better known as Rikidōzan (Japanese: 力道山, Korean: 역도산