詒変の棒 Ihen No Bo: My Bo Stands Against the Wind

Raising a Pole, Japan 1914-18. photo By A.Davey
During the 2012 Daikomyosai, Hatsumi Sensei showed us some very mysterious forms of bojutsu. He was showing things most of us had never seen before. After watching one that was very surprising to the whole crowd,  Nagato Sensei turned to some of us and said, "Sensei has been reviewing his training notes from Takamatsu Sensei and he is remembering new things that he studied."

This statement can be interpreted in different ways. But my own feeling about what I witnessed Soke do with the bojutsu he learned from Takamatsu Sensei, is that it is connected to 詒変の棒 Ihen no bo. So I resolved to study this when I returned home.

How to study ihen no bo? If you have a basic grasp of bojutsu, then adding ihen requires tossing aside what you think you know. This is a scary starting place, because you must abandon what you thought were kihon. Why does ihen require this?

詒変の棒 ihen no bo can be defined as the deceptive or changing bo. Hatsumi Sensei says the "詒 i" in ihen can be read as 詒 azamuku or 欺く, which is deception. But you cannot deceive with just your own intention.

The deception comes from 虚実 kyojitsu, truth and falsehood, two sides of the same reality in the opponent's mind. In one of my recent classes, when we made a Bujinkan ► video of me demonstrating this, I explained this type of striking. It is an echo of the opponent's mind. If he believes you are striking him, you do not. The strike becomes false. If he doesn't believe you will strike, then it becomes real or true, and you strike.

With ihen the "hen" is the same as 変化 henka. It is the bo constantly transforming every moment in the kukan. This is reflecting life. Every moment is unique and the life of the bo changes with it.

Right now, one of my rokushakubo is leaning against a window shade to keep the wind from blowing through. It is not being used to beat up a swordsman. This is a natural henka for the bo.

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