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Showing posts from May, 2013

The Bold Magic of Sutemi

滚滚江水 Torrential photo by livepine There is a bit of magic in the Gokui we find in the history of our art. This magic can help us with training or in our own lives. One that Hatsumi Sensei has shared with us says, からまれて何にーっの勝手なし、身を捨ててこそ浮かぶ瀬もあれ Like many ideas in Japanese, there is more than one way to translate this into English. Two that I've heard are: When you become entangled, there can be no victory. By sacrificing yourself, you have the chance to be saved; or, with no thought of one's self, float in the torrent by throwing oneself in. In English we have similar sayings like: nothing ventured, nothing gained; make your own luck; put your life on the line… commit totally; Risk it all to win it all. These ideas show the power of being fully committed, but where does the magic enter in? Well some other translations hint around this: When you are ready to sacrifice yourself, you may succeed; by rejecting the body comes opportunity; It is those who sacrifice themselve

Ton'ei 遁影: Shadow Shield or Escaped Phantom?

影電話 photo By shokai Do you know how to use a shadow shield? If you've dropped all your fantasies of being a Ninja and only focus on dojo martial arts, you may have forgotten about what attracted you to being a ninja in the first place. So let's be mysterious Ninja for a moment. We have a skill, yes, a skill in our training called 遁影 ton'ei. This is sometimes translated as "shadow shield," but there is more subtlety for us to understand. Shadow is not just a nickname for Ninja, it is an aspect of ton'ei no jutsu. So this is a tactical strategy as well as a mysterious one. For the tactical, you simply fight with the sun at your back so that the opponent is blinded and has trouble seeing you. As Hatsumi Sensei says you are casting your shadow forward. Hiding in the sunlight is the real shadow of budo. For one mysterious aspect of 遁影 ton'ei, learning this skill can start with kamae. Soke says that even as you stand in any specific kamae, your heart and m