|Bujinkan 提灯 Chouchin, Hatsumi and Takamatsu Sensei's 位牌. photo by Michael Glenn|
When I returned from Japan, we held the annual 春修業 Haru Shūgyō All of the students were focused and trained hard to grow from this season’s theme. Here is a bit of what we studied.
We warmed up with 初心五型 Shoshin Gokei. Hatsumi Sensei has had a multi-year focus on 無刀捕 mutōdori, so we next did 五行の型 Gogyō no kata as mutōdori! If you’ve never studied this, it will really surprise you.
Hatsumi Sensei gave us perspective on this kind of 三心 sanshin. In the Hagakure, a famous quote says,
武士道といふは死ぬことと見つけたり The way of Bushido is found in death.But Hatsumi Sensei told us this idea is often misunderstood. He said that in the Bujinkan we study the way of living, and to protect life. Soke said,
“武士道は生死生よう Bushido wa seishi seiyō”This is similar to 生死一如 seishi'ichinyo which means that life and death are the same. But Soke added the third idea of rebirth. He said humans are born, then die and are reborn. This is Sanshin.
Every practice of mutōdori should be like this. Especially the Godan test! You must die under the blade to do proper mutōdori, but then you are reborn when you survive the attack.
We explored these ideas further with the kata 奏者 Sōsha and 引脇差 Hikiwkizashi. And we even did some basic 歩き方 arukikata and 足運び ashihakobi with the katana. This led to weapon retention henka.
All of this was to come at one idea from different angles. Because Soke told us,
The students went hard with the kata 虎倒 Kotō. Everyone really got the spirit of what Hatsumi Sensei called 気合わせ kiawase. This is a matching or meeting of the attacker’s energy.
I shared my experience of attacking Hatsumi Sensei in Japan. He used the principle of 意識出す ishiki dasu. You remove your own intention from doing any technique. This is when the students said it felt like I disappeared!
Yep, that is how it feels to attack Soke.
Please study with us or go to Japan to keep your training fresh and up to date. If you are part of our dojo, or connected to us through Rojodojo, I think spending time with these Bujinkan themes during your Spring and early summer training will make you a better Budoka!
RSVP: the 夏修業 Natsu Shūgyō will be July 28, 2019