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Showing posts from October, 2013

2 Mad 剣 Tsurugi Secrets, Plus 1 Mantra

I wrote earlier this year about my experiences in Japan with the iconography of Aka-Fudō holding the 倶利伽羅不動剣 Kurikarafudō ken. Back then I was seeking to understand what felt like a bomb Hatsumi Sensei dropped in the middle of our taijutsu with one part of the Bujinkan theme for 2013, The 剣 Tsurugi/Ken.

This Chinese style sword holds lessons and qualities of movement that challenge what you think you know about Japanese martial arts.

So it was really a sweet surprise that just the other night, after 10 months of study with this weapon, I found a personal breakthrough in my movement with the tsurugi.

If you want to attempt what I discovered, try two things, one difficult, the other absurd. Or even better blend these two for the full madness that is the tsurugi.

剣 Tsurugi Madness Number One: You see the pointy end of your ken? It is tiny and sharp. Let that one point become immovable. Just like the immovable spirit of 不動明王 Fudō Myō-ō, it will occupy the kukan and expand out from its p…

The 改善 Kaizen of Charlie Chaplin

Hatsumi Sensei did a quick drawing of Charlie Chaplin for me. This was after he had just quoted Chaplin in one class at the Hombu Dojo. I even witnessed Sensei emulate the shuffling Chaplin "Little Tramp" walk with a pantomime cane when he was explaining how to walk in 義鑑流 Gikan Ryu.

This drawing that Sensei made looks cartoonish. But it contains a very deep insight for our Bujinkan training. This comes from a Chaplin quote that Soke is fond of. The quote that Hatsumi Sensei frequently refers to goes like this,
そんなチャップリンに新聞記者が質問をします。「あなたの最高傑作の作品は何か?」と。そのとき彼はこう答えます。すなわち、「次の作品だ」と言ったのです。 To paraphrase, a reporter asked Chaplin, which of your films do you consider the best? Chaplin replied, "the next one." This means the one that hasn't been created yet. Or as Sensei implies, the henka that hasn't happened yet.

This concept in Japan is tied in with the idea of 改善 kaizen. or continuous improvement. You continually work, evolve, and change. Never stopping because …