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Showing posts from January, 2012

Real Bujinkan Training (Where I Risk Everything to Inspire You)

Eastern Slope of Mount Fuji, photo by by ninja gecko I'm going to take a risk here. I'm going to risk trying to inspire you. The reason I want to take this risk is because I am inspired every day in my training and I want anyone who trains to find that for themselves. How do I get inspired? Remember what it felt like the FIRST time you trained? You were new and hopeful and open to try anything. As a new student your mind was just ready to open up. Almost every class with Hatsumi Sensei feels like that. At least for me it does. Is Bujinkan just a martial art? As a student I can tell you that it has given me a lot more than the study of combat. And as a teacher I work for moments of clarity in training that open the training up so that it is more than just a martial art and expands to reflect the lives of me and my students. If you don't believe this is possible in Bujinkan training, then why are you studying? You should answer that question. And the mystery to th

Kôichi Ôguri Sensei: 永遠の眠 A Long Sleep

Oguri Sensei's daughter writes:  Sayaka Oguri (via Facebook) "My father Koichi Oguri had a long long sleep..."  Thank you Oguri Sensei for your wonderful spirit and training. I will miss your infectious laugh, and the way you held your hand on your hip right after you put me in a body crunch. I also appreciate all the easy conversations we had. Even though the language barrier was awkward, you were never impatient with me. We will train hard for you tonight! If anyone has pictures or would like to share memories of Oguri Sensei, please comment below or email me: You can read about one class I had with Oguri Sensei here: The Power of Juuji in Taijutsu, Discovered via Oguri Sensei

Ninjas Are Worse Than Your Nightmares

Monomania-Light and Its Grand Narrator, photo by DerrickT How do you train to be a ninja nightmare? I was attending a class with Hatsumi Sensei when he did something terrible to his uke. I mean it was so hideous and gross I don't want to repeat it here. Maybe later in this article I'll work up the nerve. Then he looked at the expressions of everyone watching and told us,  as if we just didn't get it... When you are dealing with bad people, you have to do worse than they'd expect. This idea gets to the heart of a big problem with training. We get too comfortable in our dojos and our knowledge. Training becomes habit. We lean on technique. We become reliable and complacent in our ability. Bad people, or desperate and crazy people willing to do bad things, are the opposite. They will go to any lengths. They will have no technique. They will do things that just don't make sense. That is hard to defend against. So we can take a lesson from them and drop the &

Rinkiōhen 臨機応変: a Moment for Resourceful Kyojitsu

Asakusa photo by kalcul I try to keep it real. But there is real and there is REALITY. It is important to remember that training is not reality. Sometimes reality gets in the way of training. When I was in my twenties, I used to spar with some very large guys. I often lost because of their size and strength advantage. When they locked in on me with their strongholds I would feel desperate and trapped. Then I would instinctively claw and struggle to no avail. Now I don't have that problem even though I am older and not as strong. In my training I developed another type of strength that Hatsumi Sensei described in one class as 臨機応変 rinkiōhen. This is adapting oneself to the requirements of the moment. Musicians know this feeling as improvisation or playing it by ear. In this class Hatsumi Sensei was working on Suwari gata. He did one henka on Nagato Sensei where he kicked him in the neck three times before taking his arm. The same kata demonstrated on Senno Sensei was very dif