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Showing posts from November, 2013

Japan Training: I got 無 nothing for you

無 mu near Kitasenju, photo by Michael Glenn My classes with Hatsumi Sensei for the last week have had an intense energy. Not because he is more intense than usual. His training is of a high level and never fails to surprise. But the intensity comes in the form of my own resistance to what he is sharing. He has been really emphasizing the 無 mu in muto dori. As some of you may know, muto dori has been a strong theme throughout training this year. After my other visits to Japan this year, I studied this from the feelings he gave us. But the difficulty for me now is that when he embodies mu, I get nothing. He is not presenting any feeling that I can key in on. This is instructive yet difficult to parse. It cannot be broken down for study. Soke is removing himself from the equation. He doesn't exist so he cannot be hit. But he seems to be doing this on a personal level too. Sensei made a very intricate and intense painting of a lion. He was asked, how long did it take? He said, &quo

The Ninja Tourists

Michael Glenn being a good tourist, Bujinkan Hombu Dojo I am preparing for my third trip to Japan this year. In my preparations I came across some old notes from another trip I made many years ago. Before one class I had with Oguri Sensei , I encountered a common attitude among visitors to the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo. The Ninja Tourists. On my way to Oguri Sensei's class, I bumped into one of these tourists from Los Angeles. Since I know him from back home, I stopped to chat a bit. This was his first trip. He was very happy. Beaming in fact. He showed me some photos he had gotten of himself with various teachers. But then he said something that sounded off to my ears, "We are part of history!" I asked, "How do you mean?" He said, "Being here." That seemed wrong to me at the time.  To me it was just class, just training.  You would be part of history sitting at home watching TV too.  But for him it was like visiting a holy place.  That's one extreme

詒転三転 Iten Santen: Never Ending Change Filled With Deception

Kashiwa Annex Frosted Window, photo by Michael Glenn Bujinkan fighting is an illusion. You will never find two witnesses of a fight who see the same thing. Even if you haven't seen this in a fight, you have in the dojo. Most of the time, no two students in the dojo witness what Hatsumi Sensei has shown in the same way. One day Soke said this was like  詒転三転 iten santen. I had no idea what he meant until I realized it was a play on words as he is fond of doing. The standard phrase is 二転三転 niten santen. This means being in a state of flux, a sequence of never ending changes. The way Sensei said it was to imply that these never ending changes are full of deception. A result of 虚実 kyojitsu. This is why Bujinkan is an art. You might say that art is neither truth or fiction. Soke told us that the real essence of the technique or of kyojitsu exists in "The place where one cannot see. It's here where changes to the extraordinary happen." This is akin to the short story