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Showing posts from March, 2014

How to Notice the Big Changes in a Small Breeze

Last year I had one of the most profound experiences of my life. Yet it was really nothing unique. In fact, many poets and artists have made note of it in their work. And this experience informs some core ideas in the Bujinkan.

I was standing under the cherry trees. A light breeze fluttered across my face. Then I was showered with falling petals.

I felt blessed and melancholy at the same time. Such is the power of sakura. In Japan this reverence for the signs of change is a deep subject of poetry, art, religion, and our own Bujinkan training.

This was on my mind when I taught 桐之一葉 Kiri no Hito Ha in a recent class. I wrote about this in my Bujinkan training notes, but I felt even more reflective after class. The name of this kata gets to the heart of the subtle signs of change.

Hatsumi Sensei tells us we should know the verse from which the name of this kata is formed:
桐一葉落ちて天下の秋を知る
One leaf of the Paulownia tree falls to earth/ The inevitable winds of change have come. This verse comes …