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Showing posts from August, 2015

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…