|Pay Attention Because Hatsumi Sensei Never Stops Sharing, photo Michael Glenn|
When I was sixteen, while my friends were buying cool new tires for their cars, I bought a kusari fundou. Like all the other Ninja weapons I was attempting to acquire at this age, I had to watch the mailbox every day to intercept the mail before my parents did. When it arrived, it was better than I expected.
This was 1986 and Ninja Movies were playing in the movie theaters. Hatsumi Sensei or Stephen Hayes were on the covers of Black Belt magazine every other month. The Ninja fad in the U.S. was in full effect. And I was fully hypnotized.
When I unwrapped this simple but strange new weapon, the first thing I did is what everyone should do. I swung it about wildly until I hit myself in the head. If you truly put weapons to the test, the first lesson you learn is that they will injure their owners. This is very important knowledge.
Basically, I had a bump on my head but no clue how to use this thing. No matter. I practiced incessantly and carried it everywhere with me. Even to school! Back in those days there were no metal detectors in schools.
I didn't want to stay stupid, so I sought out instruction. First I went to train with Stephen Hayes in Ohio. It was fun but unsustainable. Next, I found my way to my teacher Peter Crocoll in Arizona. I then went to many Bujinkan seminars and Tai Kai. Finally I began to visit Japan to train with Soke and the Shihan as much as possible.
27 years with this weapon and what have I learned? I taught myself a lot. I studied many diverse materials, including 正木流 Masaki Ryu as Hatsumi Sensei did many years ago. I feel capable with this weapon, but underlying its deceptive simplicity are hidden lessons that I've yet to uncover.
I was very excited to pick up this jewel of knowledge recently given by Soke. In my experience, Hatsumi Sensei will just drop random bits of information about Ninjutsu, obscure weapons, and secret strategies if you are paying attention. Then it's on you to take on this learning.
The simple Ninja trick I learned was how to move from 影に構え a shadow kamae. This kamae appears other than what it is. Other than what I always thought it was!
Then there are six methods of swinging the chain to create a loop (ハ字六法振リに相手をち砕く) and ensnare your opponent before you break or crush him. I will not type the rest...
Sadly I cannot give away the secret here. Not just because it is inappropriate to let anyone have it, but also because it is impossible. This direct transmission would be impossible to learn in text, photos or video. It must be teacher to student directly.
I owe a large debt to all my teachers. I try to repay this debt as best as I can, by keeping the connection alive through me to my own students. If you would like to learn this or anything else from me, feel free to connect here: Michael Glenn Bujinkan