Rare Look at the Vital Connections of 殺気 Sakki

Mirror entrance of Kannon-ji (観音寺), Tokyo, Taito, Yanaka photo by MIchael Glenn
Understanding connection is a survival tactic of the Bujinkan. Even a mystery like Sakki Nage 殺気投 appears from 繋がり tsunagari or vital connections learned in our basics. But to actually do this we must also throw it away. So for students hoping to learn the mysteries of our art, many find contradictions in this concept of connection. These contradictions lead to deadly mistakes. In one class I heard Hatsumi Sensei say,
"Everything is let go, but at the same time is connected. You have to be able to do this. Otherwise you won't become capable budoka."
How do you let go yet stay connected? One answer to this leads to martial abilities that appear supernatural and many people don't accept. Yet I know they exist through my own experience with them.

The thing to remember is that an ability like sakki nage grows from basic kamae and taijutsu in a natural way. To explain, let's consider a mistake many students make when doing a standard nage:

You forget to expand your attention as you do a technique or a throw. You lock your mind and spirit up with the throw. This exposes suki and you aren't even aware of it. Deadly.

So one fix is to go ahead, throw away the self. This is an aspect of sakki nage. This is the flip side of the godan test. Sakki in the Godan test is about sensing the killing intention written by Hatsumi Sensei as 察気.

Once you learn to throw away the self and the ego (which allows you to pass the godan test), then you may develop the ability to emit or mask sakki 殺気, the killing intent. In that order. People often find it easier to emit this intent than to mask it.

But what is even more fascinating is what comes next. Being able to project it! With this ability you can give the Godan test effectively. But also project this ki as an attack!

There we have Sakki Nage. There are 2 ways to consider this:

One is Throwing an opponent with your ki. I've witnessed it. I've done it. People who don't believe it probably haven't learned the steps before: sensing sakki; emitting sakki; masking sakki.

Second is throwing it away! Discarding sakki is and tossing it aside is an amazing defense. Which leads us back to the basic mistake of exposing suki.

What does this have to do with a connection to your surroundings and suki? Well all of these mysterious skills come from basic understanding of kamae and knowing that good kamae only exists through connection. When you are able to connect at the level of sakki nage, your suki will have disappeared.

Let me ask you this: where do you think they go?

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