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Showing posts from February, 2012

2 Bujinkan Godan Test Lessons, Plus 1 Secret

Tokyo Tachikawa, Cinema City / CINEMA TWO. photo by Dick Thomas Johnson If you have taken the Godan test this may sound familiar, if not you have something to look forward to. If you think you know this stuff already, I suggest you consider it again at a deeper level. These two lessons are: the meaning of training itself and embracing fear. I will explain what the Godan test teaches about these things, but first why do we need to be taught these lessons at all? The Godan test is an instant in time, but it echoes forward and backward. All the days leading up to that instant and all the training after. Which is longer? These two challenges will continue to confront us before and after. So what has changed? For the first lesson, let's look at a common problem for both pre and post Godan students: People lose their passion for training. If you have trained for a long time, you probably have achieved some of the goals you originally set out to achieve. Maybe one of those goals wa

The Changing Flame of 変火 Henka

Ghost in the Rain, Hyodo Rinsei, The Sanyutei Encho Collection at Zensho-an I have been studying something in my training for 3 years. Ever since I witnessed Hatsumi Sensei show some henka during training that seemed to come from another place. But his explanation of the source was what was astonishing. It was a source of power that I had never considered in my training before. Despite what you read here on my blog, I am largely a practical, show me, kind of guy. I like to read and write about the mysterious, but in the end, If you don't get out of the way, you get hit. But Sensei made the mysterious real for me that day. To understand the source of what he was connecting to, I have been trying to connect to it myself for the last three years. And, as I have pointed out here, and in my 稽古記録 Keiko Kiroku training notes , I have had some success. Results which have astonished me. It is difficult to explain this source of power. Hatsumi Sensei has been explaining it for many

Like a Walk Through Yūgen 幽玄

Uto, Scenes from the Noh Theater, Tsuskioka Kogyo (1869-1927) A sudden change in the atmosphere. The kukan shifts. The air itself feels alive. Only to be shattered by the tip of the bo. This was the feeling I tried to communicate in one class. It was something I had experienced with Hatsumi Sensei and I wanted to share. But how to teach that? How does this occur in a technique? How does the body and weapon come alive in that instant? And to make it absolutely crass, what are the mechanics? In fact, the mechanics are super basic. Yet as with all basics, they quickly grow profound. We've been doing a lot of walking practice, or 足馴らし ashinarashi, in my classes recently. It's difficult to understand taijutsu without understanding this. Not just in our art.  Many disciplines start here, including Noh theater, The walk is so important in Noh dancing that the highest compliment that can be paid to a player is that his walking is good. - Carl Wolz, 1976 The experience I ha

Kukan no Kyūshō 空間の九勝: Twisting Around a Moment in Space

Blue Biker, Kyoto. photo by nWevurski Lately I've been studying Kukan no Kyūshō 空間の九勝 in my classes. When Hatsumi Sensei introduced this idea at the 2011 Daikomyosai, not many seemed to have heard of it before, but it made sense in the way elegant mathematics make sense. In other words it just felt right. But that doesn't mean I knew what to do with this feeling. I decided to look into what I felt and observed from Sensei's classes. What is a good way to study kukan no kyūshō? If you've been receiving my keiko kiroku training notes you have seen me describe various strategies for doing this. To get my mind around this concept and be able to use it in my taijutsu requires studying it from many angles. One idea we were working with the other night was a movement Soke described as 撚り型 yorigata. This involved spinning the sword through the kukan after twisting the body. The twisting action begins with with exposing your own 隙 suki to discover or open up suki on your