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Showing posts from May, 2015

How to Use 精神 Seishin to Rearrange the Body

Michael Glenn visits 鬼の子の木 by 熊澤 未来子。Ichigayatamachi, Tokyo 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 ab

八方睨み Happonirami: Stop Staring at Me!

Daruma with 八方睨み Happonirami eyes, which way is zen? photo by Michael Glenn 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, bl