The 骨 Kotsu of Bujinkan 手解 Tehodoki

Michael Glenn is frequently beat up in the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo
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,
“Study this way of connecting one to the other. Don’t show that you’re trying to take something. I’m not taking anything, but still holding. If you put it out there too fast they will feel that with their reflexes. Don’t try to take anything. Release or let go in the middle. Remember that the connection is the reality. It’s the waza, but it’s not the waza.”
Well now my mind was blown. The connection IS the reality. Not the fight or any technique. Wow!

Hatsumi Sensei had me grab him again. He spoke as he tangled me up with my partners,
“Don’t try to attack, just consider the importance of connecting one to the next, and the next. This is the 骨 kotsu (knack or secret) of fighting. Very important in a real situation.”
But Soke didn’t knock me down. He just walked away and left me hanging in mid air, about to fall on one of my training partners. I teetered there like I was in a weird game of twister. I guess that’s what happens when you lose your connection.


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