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呼吸 Kokyuu: How Hatsumi Sensei Caught My Breath

I made sure to grip my sword well. My opponent stood before me, almost daring me to come in. I knew that if I didn’t cut in the space of that breath, I would be too late.

I cut, and I was stunned in an instant. I stood helpless at the point of my opponent’s sword… my own blade was slammed to the floor like the earth was a giant magnet.

My “opponent” was Hatsumi Sensei. He laughed as he drove the tip of his sword into my body. This forced my back up against the wood paneled wall.

This flash is burned into my memory from earlier this month. Soke was demonstrating to me a principle of 無く力を合わせ Naku chikara o awase that he was teaching that night. Meeting my attack without power. This principle was a thread that ran through many of my classes this month in Japan.

For some background, one night at Senou Sensei’s dojo,  Senou used the terms 姿勢 shisei: attitude; posture; stance; approach; or carriage (of the body)... And 態勢 taisei: attitude; posture; preparedness; or readiness. This means you ca…

Bujinkan Japan Training Winter 2015

Below I share a preview of my Bujinkan video exploring the kata 片胸捕 kata mune dori using concepts from my training in Japan over the last couple of weeks.

Hatsumi Sensei has been very reflective. Part of this comes from his birthday. And part of it is due to the end of a 42 year cycle that he says began when Takamatsu Sensei passed away.

In the full video at rojodojo I share many of the stories Hatsumi Soke shared with us. Some of the details include:

What the future holds for the Bujinkan;Hatsumi Sensei’s funny opinion about his 8mm footage with Takamatsu Sensei;How Soke feels about his age;The responsibility of our generation for Budo;Two profound lessons from the 天津鞴韜馗神之秘文 amatsu tatara kishin no hibun;A hidden meaning for 親切 shinsetsu;How does Senou Sensei consider 姿勢 shisei and 態勢 taisei in training?Hatsumi Sensei’s stories of lodging at Takamatsu Sensei’s house;Stories of the terrifying training that Soke did with Takamatsu Sensei;How Hatsumi Sensei survived a live blade attack f…

Ten Ways to 清澄 Seichou

A few nights ago, Hatsumi Sensei was trying to give us clarity (澄明 choumei) when he changed the kanji in juppo sesshou to 清澄 seichou which means clear and serene. The idea is that when you have this kind of clarity, you cannot be harmed by any attack. And he has often told us that the Bujinkan can only be understood with a clear, pure heart.

But not many of us in the dojo were clear that day. I think some people may be confused about what Soke is doing with his current line of training. This is understandable, because it is really hard to keep up with Hatsumi Sensei's progression.

This will be the first of several articles about the training I am currently doing in Japan, to receive all of them, please subscribe here.

It's like that feeling when you see your train pull in to the station but you're on the wrong side of the tracks. You know you can run, through the gate, up a flight of stairs, across the overpass, down another flight of stairs… you might even make it before th…

Hatsumi Sensei Expands Into A Ninpo Type Feeling

Next week I will travel again to Japan for Bujinkan training. My 3rd time this year. That may seem excessive, but the experiences I enjoy each trip help me discover the “secrets” of our art. For example, here is a lesson from Hatsumi Sensei that taught me how to be a lucky ninja.

One Friday night Hatsumi Sensei was showing us ninjutsu. Sometimes people who don’t understand our art ask, “when is Hatsumi Sensei going to teach ninjutsu?” Well he teaches these secrets all the time. But the secrets are hidden in plain sight… If you understand what you witness.

He began by striking with a koppo ken. But the koppo ken doesn’t arrive directly. It is hidden within the pattern created in the kukan. Soke said,
“Don't strike in one pattern. Expand into a ninpo type feeling.” Then he called me out to demonstrate. I punched. He started to perform what I thought would be a ganseki nage. But that evaporated. And as the form disappeared I was thrown by something else.

Then Hatsumi Sensei said that w…

The 生き様 Ikizama of Bujinkan Sanshin and Mutō Dori

You might learn one thing in class, and then another time, you learn the opposite. Ura and Omote. These are not contradictions, but rather they are part of one another. Like 陰 in and 陽 yo.

In my own classes, we recently studied 隼雄 shunū and 隼足 shunsoku. For these mutō dori, Hatsumi Sensei has suggested that we don’t try to catch the opponent’s sword. Instead we should entrap the sword’s very existence (生き様 ikizama).

This means you don’t focus on the weapon as a physical object. You focus on it’s entire existence in space and time. What is the weapon’s potential in any moment? Soke says,

“in mutō dori, the past present and future, the time before drawing the sword, after drawing, or when the sword has been re-sheathed., what may be called the nature of the sword’s existence(生き様 ikizama) … one entraps that.”

This is because the nature of the sword itself is not a threat. One moment it may be tucked in a corner or sitting on a rack gathering dust. In a different time it is red hot meta…

Do You Have Enough ゆとり Yutori to do Bujinkan Shadow Techniques?

Last night I did an omote gyaku on my opponent’s wrist by kicking it out of the air. Then I rode it down to the ground where the wrist would break as it is crushed to the earth by my foot. But I had the control to just pin it down.

My students were very surprised. But so was I. I have seen Hatsumi Sensei apply locks before where the opponent’s body just seems to assume the form of the lock without any contact from Soke. I first heard Soke describe these “shadow techniques” (kage no waza) during one of my trips to Japan in 2003.

I never understood them before and definitely never thought I would be able to do them. But during my trip to Japan this last summer, Soke helped me put the final pieces of this puzzle in place. So now here I am, surprising myself with my own kage no waza.

You must train deeply to learn all the elements that make kage no waza mysteriously arise in the kukan. And I have been puzzling over this ability for years in my own training. Here is one key piece of the p…

How Hatsumi Sensei Adapted the Ura Waza of Sanshin no Kata to a Confined Space

When anyone tries the ura waza for our Bujinkan Sanshin no kata for the first time they “blunder and fumble like a moth,” in the same way I quote clumsily from Faulkner. I show it to them, then they try it… then crash and burn. You can almost see the synapses misfiring across the hemispheres of their brain.

Not many Bujinkan teachers train the ura waza of 三心の型 sanshin no kata. And our bodies get used to the kata we always do. In my own classes, I use many approaches to sanshin to keep us adaptive. Each time we do it, it should be new again.

I will be teaching this as part of my Rojodojo Expert Rally if you want join us in Phoenix or Chicago. If you can’t make those cities, you can invite me to visit your dojo. As Hatsumi Sensei says, these things are 参考書 sankousho (a reference) for training.

I felt new again when Hatsumi Sensei showed a very practical use for the ura waza of sanshin no kata during one of my visits this year to Japan. He was showing how to use kakushi buki and he sai…

Is this the most adaptive word in the Bujinkan?

In a recent class we studied Bujinkan uke kihon gata. I demonstrated how to physically do a jodan uke. But here is what I wrote in the training notes that I send out to my subscribers:
 "performing jodan uke begins with an attitude. Remember, uke comes from 受けるukeru which means to receive. There are three important moments when I  have to remind students of this: during ukemi; when performing uke nagashi; and even when being an uke." But the fourth moment for this attitude is the MOST critical for your Bujinkan training. It is so important that I made a video about this word that you can watch below:


the most adaptive word in the Bujinkan?
Is this the most adaptive (and important) word for your Bujinkan training?
Posted by Rojodojo on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 you can also watch this on http://youtu.be/2pN1StVJhD4
receptive. that’s the sense
of an approach

no, more of an attitude for training.

some students arrive clear and receptive
others show up closed off
should they e…

If You Only Do The Densho Version of Bujinkan Kata, You're Doing it Wrong

In a recent class in my dojo we were studying the Bujinkan kata, 彈指 danshi. It is important to note that the waza is not in the densho. The densho cannot capture the fullness of the technique. The waza is transmitted from teacher to student as densho PLUS kuden. If you just do the densho version, you are doing it wrong.

This was evident when I had a student read from the densho and show the technique. Then I showed the actual waza as I learned it from my teachers. There are many subtleties not contained in the densho that make the technique real and functional. Some of these are burned in my own memory from experiencing them in person, some I recover from my personal training notes.

For example, when striking with the boshi ken, there is a particular way to trace the anatomy to the target. This comes from Hatsumi Sensei who shared 切紙  急所説明 48穴当込みの場所 , 口伝。This art of paper cutting (kiri kami) is used to show the kyusho locations of 48 openings for striking, and it is a kuden (verbal t…

Go Ahead, Ask Me About Sanshin Again...

Sometimes I go on a rant in my personal Bujinkan training notes. I usually don't share it publicly on my blog. But this one happens SO often, I will just hit you with it.

Not a week goes by that someone doesn't ask me "how" to do sanshin. This week, I'm really annoyed with this question. For two reasons: one, this question always comes from people who don't even know what they are asking... and two, because they never listen to my answers!

Anytime I do sanshin, I am reminded of my last class with Oguri Sensei and him teaching us these movements. He studied these even to the end. More than 45 years of Bujinkan training, and in his last class on earth, this is what we studied.

If you need a quick summary of sanshin in the Bujinkan, I wrote it: Sanshin no kata, are you doing it wrong? But nobody listens. People do whatever their ego tells them.

I know this because of the wide "variety" of basic versions I have seen from different teachers and at di…

Bujinkan Nagamaki in the Mountains with Peter Crocoll

I went to the annual Arizona Bujinkan campout in the mountains of the Coconino national forest. This is an event I have been participating in for more than 20 years. Big thanks to my teacher, Peter Crocoll, and all of my friends in AZ who welcome me back home every year.

After an 8-9 hour drive from Santa Monica, we arrived mid afternoon to our campsite of over 7000 ft elevation. We set up camp quickly because this time of year, afternoon rain showers are common. But the rain came in the evening.

Heavy and loud with lightning. But I was happy to curl up in my sleeping bag in the cold mountain air for some rest. Adjusting my heart and lungs from sea level can be hard work.

During the night, the rain broke. I woke up with moonlight illuminating my tent. I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. There was a dark silhouette crawling up the wall. I thought a big insect had gotten inside so I poked at it. It was a tiny frog!

The next morning, I had a very early hike. Then my student, R…

Why is There an Ox Cart Wheel in the New Bujinkan Honbu Dojo?

Before class, Hatsumi Sensei unwrapped several large objects. Noguchi Sensei was quite curious. Two were the heads of dogs.

I laughed when Noguchi Sensei forced open the mouth of one. As the jaw came unhinged, Noguchi bent over to see if there was anything inside. Then he put his hand in and pretended the dog was biting.

The third object was a large wheel. I turned to my friend Paul Masse and said it looked like a dharma wheel. But I was ignorant.

I look at my students and I know immediately when they understand and when they don’t. It’s natural as a teacher. And Hatsumi Sensei does the same thing. I don’t just feel his attention, I literally see him watching. It is like we are all travelling down the road he built.

He is patient about it. He knows if we stay on the path, it will all work out. That night he even told us,
“I’m giving you some hints so that you can practice on your own. Don’t worry if you can’t do it right away because you won’t be able to do it right away.”  Well, m…

The 骨 Kotsu of Bujinkan 手解 Tehodoki

A little over a week ago, I was in Soke’s class trying to do 両手解 ryō tehodoki. Normally, this is not difficult for me except there were complications. Hatsumi Sensei showed this double wrist escape while he was being punched by a second attacker. Of course, he destroyed them both with little effort.

Soke looked around the dojo. I think he saw everyone fighting. His main point tonight was not to fight at all. He admonished us, “戦わない tatakawanai.”

Hatsumi Sensei watched me and said to do it without waza, without technique. He offered his wrists so I could grab them. I didn’t feel him move at all.

One of my training partners tried to punch him, but was blocked by my own arms. Then we were tangled. My other training partner attacked Soke, and all three of us ended up in a pile on the floor of the dojo. Hatsumi Sensei stood over us laughing. He told me, don’t do it with waza, but with 繋がり tsunagari or connection.

Then he decided to share this most important idea for the whole group. He said,

悪い感覚 Warui Kankaku: Use Your Bad Technique as a Strategy

I sat across the dojo from Hatsumi Sensei. He had just thrown his opponent to the ground. Then he kicked him in the skull. I felt the thud in my legs where I sat. The impact vibrated across the entire floorspace.

Then Soke said something that made everyone laugh, but he was quite serious…
"This is a bad feeling." He used the words 悪い感覚 warui kankaku. He went on to add that you have to take what's bad, and make it good. This idea hits on many levels for our current Bujinkan study.

Of course when someone attacks you it creates a bad feeling. The bad feeling can also arise when you find yourself in a bad situation. It can even help you avoid trouble before it starts. Take the "bad feeling" and turn it to something good by winning the fight, or by escaping before the fight.

But Soke also meant 悪い感覚 warui kankaku on another level. He meant that we should take our bad technique and make it good. Not just to get better as a martial artist, but to use this as an actual …

How to Use 初心 Shoshin to Protect Your Bujinkan Training

During the tea break today, Nagato Sensei said some profound things. He began by speaking about how Soke has said that we should not teach bad people. Then he gave some examples.

Nagato named names. He listed some of the bad people that have passed through the Bujinkan. He aired some dirty laundry with details I won't write about here. Then he also shared how they are dealt with by Soke and the Japanese instructors.

Nagato commented on the interesting fact that Soke does not eliminate these people from the Bujinkan. He said we need these bad people around to learn from them. They are the devils we know. Keep your enemies closer, as they say.

He said in the Bujinkan, we need to be capable of doing worse than the devil himself. He used the mafia or the yakuza as an example of evil. They may be bad, but we are worse. He said they should be afraid of us.

But then Nagato explained that the most important of all is to protect the goodness in yourself. Don't allow your ability to destro…

New Bujinkan Book, "Dancing Embers" by Sleiman Azizi

My friend Sleiman Azizi has a new book out called Dancing Embers. I’m not sure if Sleiman wants anyone to know, but besides being a martial artist, he is also a poet. Being a poet myself, that was one of the things that drew me to him.

I met Sleiman many years ago during one of my trips to Japan for Bujinkan training. He was not one of the loud, in your face foreigners that one often enjoys in the raucous atmosphere of the Bujinkan dojo. In fact, I may never have noticed him at all had my teacher not introduced us.

I felt a quick bond because of the subversive twinkle in his eye. I often gravitated towards his corner of the dojo during my many visits. Over the years we continued to trade training ideas along with plenty of dry humor.

One day, without knowing why, I turned to him for advice about a pending complication with my upcoming godan test. My mind had been in turmoil for days because of a premonition I had about it. Sleiman gave me a quick suggestion that immediately felt rig…

A New Beginning and a New Bujinkan Shodan in My Dojo

Yesterday a new 初段 shodan was born in my dojo. My student Jesse proved that he has what it takes both with technique and heart. But he also showed something more which proves his understanding of what it means to be a Bujinkan Shodan.

I don’t give out rank easily. As the day grew closer for Jesse’s initiation, I checked my records to see when he started training. I was very surprised to see that he began exactly 5 years ago! I hadn’t planned for his black belt to fall on that anniversary, but sometimes everything lines up just right.

Jesse doesn’t know yet what it means to be a black belt in the Bujinkan. And of course everyone’s experience is different. I wrote an entire series about the black belt ranks that begins here: Bujinkan Shodan 初段: Searching for the Bull

For me personally, It was a new beginning. It took me a lot longer than five years to get my black belt. Getting there symbolized a re-dedication to the passion I had for Bujinkan training that began in my youth. But also a …

What if I Give Everyone in the World Bujinkan Rank?

This could be one of my silly or offensive posts. But, you may already know my personal feelings about Bujinkan Rank. Or, about how long it takes to get a Bujinkan Black Belt.

I remember when Hatsumi Sensei marked the occasion when he awarded the 3000th godan. We all stood and applauded. That was some years ago. He recently said there were 400,000 Bujinkan members worldwide. That seems like a lot.

So what if I just promote everyone in the world? I'll make up my own rank and promote everyone because I think my (fake) numbers may surprise you. I'll call my fake rank the "Rojodojo Bujinkan Level."

Out of an estimated 7 billion people on earth, what is Your Rojodojo Bujinkan level? (my made up levels are not proven by science, so don’t check my math too close)

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 0
about 5 billion people (about 70% of the population)These are people who have never heard of martial arts or don’t care
Rojodojo Bujinkan level 1
about a billion people (about 15% of the po…

How to Use 精神 Seishin to Rearrange the Body

I watched as Hatsumi Sensei brought his really big, central European opponent to his knees. He did this somehow without force. Even on his knees, the guy was almost as tall as Soke.

Then Soke snapped a sharp kick to a kyusho on the man’s leg. He yelped like a hurt pony. As he twisted to get away from the pain, we all saw that it was a trap that Hatsumi Sensei had set to pin the guy’s other leg.

How does Hatsumi Sensei break down bigger opponents so easily?

Maybe you’ve heard Hatsumi Sensei’s recommendation that we drop technique. Or not to focus on technique. Or that technique is a trap.

For many people who attend a martial arts class, this seems counter intuitive. We came to class for a reason. Why would we be there if not to learn technique?

Many martial artists get stuck at this level. They are happy obsessing over their technique and endless variations of it. You know the type, the ones who argue endlessly about the “correct” way to do kihon. Or which lineage is the “real” one.

S…

八方睨み Happonirami: Stop Staring at Me!

I grew up in the southwest United States. Where the desert sky is so big that at night you feel like you can run away from the moon. This feeling grows while driving very fast. You feel as if you are pulling away, but then you look back and the moon is following you.

In Japanese there is the phrase 八方睨み happonirami, which means staring in all directions. There are many famous paintings of dragons and phoenixes with eyes that follow the viewer.

Maybe you’ve seen a creepy picture like this. No matter where you stand it seems to be looking at you. Hatsumi Sensei has even painted Daruma this way.

But happonirami is also a way to ward off evil. By watching in all directions, you are vigilant and can see the enemy approach. How do we do this?

One key is to not look at any one thing or dwell on technique. Unfocus. One day Hatsumi Sensei told us,
“Don’t look at the attack. Don’t watch it. If you try to evade, block, and take a kamae you will be too slow. Be like stardust in the sky.” If you g…

鬼角拳 Kikaku Ken Makes Me Laugh

The other night, I gave each of my students a Glasgow kiss. They didn’t like it. This is a slang term for a headbutt.

If you subscribe to my training notes (if you aren't a subscriber yet, you miss a LOT of free Bujinkan notes), you know that we are currently studying 宝拳十六法 Hōken Juroppō in my basics class. These are the 16 striking treasures of the Bujinkan curriculum.

The Bujinkan name (or slang) for headbutt is 鬼角拳 Kikaku Ken. To help everyone visualize why this strike has the name that translates as demon horn fist, I brought a small oni mask for everyone to see where his horns are located. It may even be technically correct to grimace like an oni while delivering this strike.

The 鬼 Oni, or demon is not the same type of demon that westerners fear. Oni are associated with wild energy and bodily strength. They can be positive or negative.

You will see many people in the Bujinkan who embody both qualities. Like the Japanese expression, 鬼面仏心 kimenbusshin, the face of a devil b…

Bujinkan 妙音術 Myō-on jutsu, a Mysterious Sound in the Kukan

Last week we were making a video of 折倒 Settō for my Bujinkan class. This is a simple Kotō Ryū kata that many have experienced. But this time the expression of it was different. My opponents were collapsing and flying away as if by an unseen force!

I was fortunate to study this kata in Japan last month with more than one teacher. They were generous with the pain. Below I describe how when I did it with Hatsumi Sensei, he gave me a gift that has opened up a new understanding of taijutsu.

Everyone knows that proper taijutsu is not supposed to be muscled or forced. You should drop the power out to do it well. I wrote about that here Releasing the Power of 力を抜くChikara o Nuku

The key in that idea is expressing power or force, then releasing it. But the surprise for me was what Hatsumi Sensei said last month. He told us to put your intention in the kukan, then remove it (空間と退かす).

Maybe you’ve heard the expression that nature abhors a vacuum. In Physics this means that empty space will quickl…

The Stunning Effect of 気分 Kibun in Hatsumi Sensei's Class Last Week

Hatsumi Sensei did not move. The attacker with the sword missed him completely. I watched the next demo more carefully. His feet literally did not move at all. Yet he was not cut.

Maybe some of you have witnessed this strange event in person. If you have, you know how weird it can be when you try the same thing with your training partner. Most of us cannot repeat this.

After Soke demonstrates, you try it, and you get cut every time. Or, you must leap out of the way. But never can you repeat what he did.

I have seen him demonstrate this in class many times over the years. And I have to be honest, I always thought it was fake. I just chalked it up to a bad cut from the attacker.

But after last week’s training, I’m not so sure anymore. Soke shared something with me personally that I did not consider when I judged the previous demonstrations. I’ll try to describe what he showed me.

Here is what Soke told us that night. He said that normally when we evade, we do so with our minds gauging …

The Ura Side of Bujinkan Sakkijutsu

This is one of those Bujinkan training trips where I will be sore for the entire trip. Besides the normal beatings at the hands of my training partners, Hatsumi Sensei, Senou Sensei, Noguchi Sensei, and Nagato Sensei have all seen to it that they personally roughed me up.

For members of Rojodojo, I made a video: Bujinkan Japan Training Report: Kinryu Edition  Because...

Yesterday, I went to see 金龍の舞 kinryu no mai. Dance of the golden dragon. This is a rare sight… the sensoji temple also has the name 金龍山 kinryuzan. According to legend. the fisherman who founded the place saw a golden dragon swoop down out of the sky and create a forest in one night.

Eight guys carry the dragon and the 9th guy carries a lotus flower. This is symbolic of the dragon's dual nature. Although the dragon is fierce while attacking, it also protects.

Hatsumi Sensei has been saying the same thing for many years. In fact, on Tuesday night, he showed us this dual nature against his attackers. During one throw…

In Bujinkan Ninpo, We Live or Die with 空 Ku

In the following account, I describe a night when I killed somebody. The intention rose up my body, filled it, and took over. Then I struck him down. He never saw it coming.

Before you report me to the authorities, make sure you read all I have to say about that night.

Life and death can flip in an instant. They both exist in the same moment. What separates the two?

One moment you are full of life. You were born, grew up, and live with the choices you make every day. You have dreams and goals for your future. But all of your history and all of your future can be taken from you right now.

Life. Death. One and the same.

In our Bujinkan training, we have strategies to deal with this. I previously wrote about one of these that Hatsumi Sensei calls 過去現在未来之術 Kako Genzai Mirai no Jutsu. This is an art of existing in the moment between life and death.

Life or death only happens in the present moment which is ephemeral and very small. In fact, it is a moment of zero. It is like a 要 kaname of…

The Invisible Barrier of 銛盤手裏剣 Senban Shuriken

There is a secret hidden in 銛盤手裏剣 senban shuriken. I have seen the word senban written in many ways, such as 銛盤、 施盤、or 旋盤。All of these project different meanings.

As you know, Hatsumi Sensei often uses wordplay to expose different truths. And he wrote senban for us with different kanji that reveal a secret. But first let me tell you why you should care.

There are invisible barriers in our training. Here is one you may not know about:

As a Bujinkan student, you may come to stand on the edge of your own humanity, look down to the light side, and the dark side. And there you will find yourself. You might love or hate what you see. That’s a terrible beauty of training.

When I was young, I was not smart. I secretly ordered some senban shuriken through the mail because my parents would never have allowed me to possess ninja weapons. I had to wait everyday by the mailbox to get the mail before my parents did.

When my shuriken arrived, I quickly removed them from the package to test them ou…

The Distance Secret for Shaping Kukan

I used to have a friend who was so beautiful. She had a classical face like you would see in a Renaissance painting. Her brown skin was rich in color and smooth. She always had a bright smile for me. Then one day, I met her at the grocery store and she had deep wolverine style wounds across her face.

She had gotten into a fight with another woman who clawed her face. The scars were deep, and never went away. She never smiled the same after that. This sad story demonstrates the raw savage power of 蝦蛄拳 shako ken

Hatsumi Sensei taught us some secrets hidden within shako ken in a recent Friday night class at the Bujinkan Hombu dojo. He showed us how to use it not just to attack directly, but to shape kukan.

He held the claw up like 刀匿礮姿 tōtoku hyōshi in the space. Most of us can understand the obvious shape that brings to the kukan. The hand and arm project out from one side toward the attacker and you pivot around it as a shield. That is a very important detail that many people have …

Everybody uses 合掌の構 Gassho no Kamae for Prayer, But in the Bujinkan We Fight With It

In one of my classes we were studying a Gyokko ryu kata that begins from 天略 宇宙合掌 Ten Ryaku Uchū Gassho. Maybe you’ve studied this in your Bujinkan class. But even outside of Bujinkan training, if you are human, you have used gassho at some point in your life. It transcends cultures.

That night, as I recorded a training video about this for Rojodojo.com, I wanted to share even more about gassho with everybody. So what I show in the video is that there is much more to this humble kamae then you might think. But if you want to know what mysteries are bound up with this stance, keep reading.

Gassho is a general term that describes any form that brings the hands together, often in a form of prayer or reverence. In the Bujinkan the symbolism of this kamae runs deep. And the position is even sometimes called 金剛拳 kongo ken and it is used to strike or even conceal weapons.

In Buddhism the right hand represents the Buddha, and the left represents you (or all sentient beings). They come togethe…