How to Throw Air With 体変術 Taihenjutsu

Hatsumi Sensei Throws a Look at Michael Glenn
I was training with 手塚 Tezuka-san in Hatsumi Sensei's class at the Bujinkan Hombu dojo, when Soke did something funny to him. He threw Tezuka without touching him. Tezuka came back to me and asked, how did he do it? I said I saw it, but I can't explain what I saw. Tezuka said it felt like magic.

The throw happened in the air. In the space of a breath. Soke refers to 空気浮き kuuki uki when you float your opponent in the air. But then he said to throw him like 空気の投  kuukinotou, throwing air.

The day before I was on a quest for an effigy of 役行者 En no Gyōja that I had heard about. He is considered the  father of Shugendō. Shugendō followers are on a "path of training to achieve spiritual powers." This involves transforming their bodies through harsh physical endurance.

The 役行者 En no Gyōja I was seeking is one that is not well known and hidden from public view. I literally had to use 体変術 taihenjutsu to get there. As soon as I did, I was mysteriously greeted by a guide that appeared from nowhere. I wrote more about that here: Hatsumi Sensei's 道祖神 Dōsojin NSFW Except in Japan.

Hatsumi Sensei has been training us to understand taihenjutsu. This goes beyond taijutsu and technique. The 変 hen that occurs is mysterious. It comes from a different place than technique. It can be the same source as Shingin and this year's theme.

体変 taihen is an interesting word. It can mean changing the body or changing reality, or, even a strange body or reality. This is what it felt like to witness my training partner Tezuka being thrown by Soke. Reality changed in front of my eyes, and Tezuka experienced something that confused his mind and body. He was disconcerted for the rest of that class and I couldn't help him get grounded again.

Shugendo followers seek to transform their bodies through physical endurance to gain spiritual power and enlightenment. But Soke said you can go directly there without sitting under freezing waterfalls. This is the kind of 体変術 taihenjutsu that Soke is sharing with us here in Japan.

Sunday Afternoon at the Bujinkan Takamatsu Memorial

Michael Glenn at the Bujinkan Takamatsu Memorial
The fall weather has been beautiful and the training very rich. More about that soon, but this afternoon Hatsumi Sensei invited as many as we could caravan over to his country house.

driving to Hatsumi Sensei's country house
After an pleasant drive, we arrived to be greeted by Soke.
Hatsumi Sensei opens the gate
It says Hatsumi

Hatsumi Sensei is very welcoming
We also were welcomed by his horses.

Hatsumi Sensei's horse
Hatsumi Sensei's horses were always searching for food
Soke really enjoys describing all the statues and monuments to us.

Hatsumi Sensei tells us about the monuments
a gorinoto
Hatsumi Sensei examines the Takamatsu memorial
Then Hatsumi Sensei made sure that everyone found a place for their stones.

Hatsumi Sensei looks for a stone
I brought a stone from Santa Monica during my trip in September and Soke had placed it just to the left of Takamatsu's bust.

A rock from Santa Monica Mountains now in Japan at the Bujinkan Takamatsu Memorial
The horses meanwhile found where I left my backpack and were about to tear it open... Hatsumi Sensei thought this was very funny.

My backpack (in the back) is discovered by Hatsumi Sensei's horses
Hatsumi Sensei couldn't get his horses to stay still. It was funny watching him chase them.

Hatsumi Sensei tries to hold his fleeing horse
Hanging out with Sensei is always relaxed and full of humor.

Hatsumi Soke sharing the Takamatsu memorial
Hatsumi Sensei and Marilyn Monroe welcome us
I feel very lucky to be part of the Bujinkan with such a generous Soke.

Guarding the gate at Hatsumi Sensei's house
Hatsumi Sensei's giving nature informs our Bujinkan training like a connecting thread through the generations. I will write more about my training here in Japan soon.


The Call of Bujinkan Training Takes Many Forms

I return to Japan again in two weeks. (if you can't see the video above, it is here: http://youtu.be/BGPhYFcs_cU )

A little more than one month ago I had an interesting experience there. I was walking around minami-shin ozakimachi neighborhood.

Just wandering...

Then I heard a sound. It was a clear soft chime in the warm breeze. I followed the sound down an alley.

There it was. The chime came from two 江戸風鈴 Edo fuurin. Edo fuurin are are glass wind chimes from edo, or old Tokyo.

I stood in the alley admiring their sound. They chimed from a back window of a restaurant kitchen.

A woman came out to see what I wanted. I told her I was listening to the furin. She went back inside.

I didn't want to bother her so I walked back down the alley.

I heard a yell. A man had come out. He took the bell down from the window and chased after me.

Then he gave me the furin! I said thank you and tried to give him some money but he refused.

The sound of the bell had struck on my heart and I followed it. Now it is with me across the pacific ocean.

That is why I return to Japan in two weeks for training. The sound of the dojo has struck on my heart so I must follow it.

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