In Bujinkan Ninpo, We Live or Die with 空 Ku

Shide at 稲荷神社, 南柏 Minami Kashiwa. photo by Michael Glenn
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 life and death.

That night I killed somebody symbolically. Hatsumi Sensei asked me to give the godan test. The guy never saw it coming, and I killed him with my sword cut. But it was also a moment in which I existed. That same moment of life or death. And I killed myself along with my victim.

Hatsumi Sensei commented, “In ninpo taijutsu you have to become 重いで空 omoide ku,  heavy with emptiness.” But he also changed the meaning by using 思いで空 omoide ku, which means thinking, imagining, or feeling emptiness. Empty your mind of life or death in this moment of zero.

If you want to know more, you can watch the latest video I made about 過去現在未来 Kako Genzai Mirai. In the video, I also show how to find the pivot point on your sword.


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