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

The lotus bearer from 金龍の舞 kinryu no mai. photo by Michael Glenn
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 distance or the angle of the attack. We’ve all been learning this since we were born. Our eyes process the physical properties of the incoming attack, and we duck or dodge.

But Hatsumi Sensei said That if you think about trying to evade, it’s already too late. Instead, he was using a kyojitsu of the kukan. The whole space and everything in it is controlled with kyojitsu. He controls the attack before it occurs, and there is no need to evade.

How do you do this? Well, what I felt when he asked me to attack him was a blankness or an absence. It was bizarre. Like having your memory erased. He just was not there. Yet I was thrown quite hard.

Hatsumi Sensei then said, you are being controlled by 気分 kibun rather than anything physical. Kibun is the mood or atmosphere. You may even translate it as the spirit of the moment.

This is the kyojitsu he applied on me, or rather, the entire kukan. And if his attacker with the sword experienced the same thing, I can understand why he missed. How do you cut absence or emptiness?

Instead of judging the bizarre appearance of what I witnessed in Soke’s classes, maybe I should realize I didn’t have all the information. I was lucky that Hatsumi Sensei chose to demonstrate on me personally to show me this part of the puzzle. Now I have a lot to work on at home to harness this power of moody kukan.


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