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Showing posts from August, 2014

A New Bujinkan 初段 Shodan in my Dojo

I went to Arizona last weekend for training. This was more than just a normal training trip. One of my long-time students, Richard, was going for his initiation to shodan.

In many dojos, a Bujinkan 初段 shodan  is not really treated as such a big deal. In most of the Bujinkan it requires at least a few years of study and a proficiency with the basics. But in my dojo and my teacher's dojo, we see it as an important event in a student's journey. So we approach this threshold with certain key ideas.
To begin with, skill and technical ability are important. Richard had to demonstrate this, but by the time I put any student up for shodan, I already know very well what he is capable of. So we only look at technique to make sure the student knows for himself what he is AND is not capable of.

The next part has to do with the personal journey. How or why did you start? Why do you keep going? For most of us, these reasons change as we grow in the art. Richard's path to his shodan was…

Quick! Change Your Bujinkan Training with 早替わりHayagawari

One of our Bujinkan gokui comes from the secret writings of Shinden Fudo ryu and it says, 
豹変して必ず勝つ hyohen-shite kanarazu katsu. "Sudden change will always prevail." This kind of change suggests sutemi or discarding the self.

Hatsumi Sensei tells us that this kind of change can come from the unconscious. He uses the expression 早替わり hayagawari to describe this quick change.  And it can lead to a complete transformation in combat, your Bujinkan training, or even your own life.

What is 早替わりhayagawari? Like many of the references Soke gives to us, it originates from Kabuki theater. It is a quick change technique for actors on stage. The tricks they used allowed them to quickly change from one occupation to another, male to female, young to old, good to evil, etc.

Sometimes actors would even play more than one character in a play. Then they would need tricks called 外連 keren to make a quick change on stage, or hayagawari. They might have one costume hidden under the layers of anoth…

Today's Gift from me: Hojojutsu Quick Snare Bujinkan Video

(if you can't see the image click here)

Hidden Weapons of the Unconscious

One of the secrets to understanding this year's theme of 神韻武導 Shingin Budo  is the ability to find the hints and openings hidden everywhere. These are like the lingering sound of a bell that hangs in the air after it has been rung. If you did not hear the original strike of the bell, would you know what you were hearing or where it originated from?

This sound is like the hidden training that takes place in the Bujinkan. Training that takes place in the unconscious. If you are only learning with your body and mind, you are missing out on the important unconscious training that is very real in correct Bujinkan training.

You may know that your unconscious affects ordinary life. It also is at work in combat or in the dojo. But do you know what it is doing?

Hatsumi Sensei has written 無意識 muishiki (the unconscious), as 武意識 buishiki which is warrior consciousness or military awareness. With this kind of unconscious ability, you will always be able to tap into hidden fighting strategy. O…