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Showing posts from July, 2013

Fresh From Japan: New Details About the Bujinkan 2013 Themes

In case you are not aware, 婦人の護身術 fujin no goshinjutsu, along with 無刀捕 muto dori and 剣 tsurugi are the themes for this year.

I have been lucky to travel to Japan twice so far this year to experience these themes directly for myself. I just got back home this week, and I have been reflecting on the meaning of my experiences.

Hatsumi Soke painted a scroll for me and my dojo to guide our training in 2013. The layers of meaning and feeling behind this kakejiku will inform much of our training during the second half of the year. This scroll had a surprising message. All I can say, is that these themes and Hatsumi Sensei's approach to them are not what you think.

If you want to keep up with me and my latest training notes as I study this material, you may sign up here for free:  Free Training Reports or...

For Rojodojo members you can learn about the message in the scroll, and the latest information about this year's themes from my direct experience here: Fresh From Japan: New Deta…

How Long is Your Staff?

We have three basic staff lengths in the Bujinkan: 六尺棒 Rokushakubo (six shaku staff), sometimes just called 棒 bo (stick or pole); 四尺棒 Yonshakubo (four shaku staff) or 杖 jo (staff or cane); and 三尺棒 sanshakubo (three shaku stick) or 半棒 hanbo (half bo).

Did you know that the Hombu dojo is built around these measures?

I was in one class recently where Someya Sensei held the bo and hanbo up against the walls and windows of the Hombu to show us this. The wall sections between supports was the length of six shaku, or the length of a bo. The sliding windows along the sides of the room are six shaku each, and the sliding portion is 3 shaku.

A doorway is six shaku high and 6 wide. But the sliding portion is just 3 shaku.

These lengths of shaku are not a measurement we have in the west. It is said to be derived from nature and is the length between nodes on a shaft of bamboo. But this measurement varies widely. I have also seen it described as the distance between the outstretched thumb and forefi…

Don't Know What to Expect in Bujinkan Training? Me Neither.

Somedays I don't feel like going to class. But I go anyway. Why?

Well, one spectacular reason just happened to me (again) yesterday. I showed up and saw this:

This is an 斧 ono, and it's not often one sees it in action at the Hombu. Yes that is rust, and that is solid metal, and one heavy muther&^%.

So I can't believe my luck when another surprise appears:

Another hefty piece of equipment by the name of 鎖鎌 kusarigama. Or you may just call it, the reaper.

So anyway, go to class. Like I've said before you might find a surprise there, and not going just feels empty.

弁財天 Benzaiten, the Prayers of Prostitutes, and Snakes in a Shrine

Today  I went on a search for the underworld that is (not so) hidden in Japan. This search involves prostitutes and their secret shrines. And the furtive 遊女の祈願 prayers harlots say on the day of the snake to stay free of disease and wash their money.

All I had were some clues from a mysterious local who we can call deepthroat. My man on the inside said that there was a place hidden nearby where two snakes would turn piles of shit into gold. What sort of miracle is this, I wondered. Then he went on to explain the miracle of the Hindu deity Saraswati and her Japanese Shinto/Buddhist mutant cousin known as Benzaiten.

I didn't know it when i started my search, but Hatsumi Sensei had just added the same symbol to the Hombu dojo a few days ago. And I couldn't turn down a search for evidence of the 平潟 遊郭 Hiragata red light district. Even if people say it no longer existed. Something was leading me to explore.

The train ride was easy, one stop on the 常磐 Jōban rapid. Then I exited the sta…