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Noguchi Sensei Surprised Us With Gikan Ryu

Noguchi Sensei Shares 40+ year old Gikan Ryu notes. photo by Michael Glenn

They love to crank up the heat in the Bujinkan Honbu. I find it too hot on most days. But today I had been doing photography out in the cold pouring rain, so I found myself ready to embrace the warmth of the dojo.

Noguchi Sensei greeted me when he arrived. He normally shares a few jokes with me, but today he seemed very focused.

Less than 20 students were waiting for him to bow in. He did so promptly as is his custom. Then he announced we were doing Gikan Ryu kata.

I was surprised. In more than 30 years I have not been shown these from any teacher. In between kata, Noguchi Sensei showed me a tattered notebook with the kata handwritten in a numbered sequence. He told me these were his actual notes from more than 40 years ago when Hatsumi Sensei taught these only to him.

if you are interested, I recorded a video of my experiences for 特訓 Tokkun members of Rojodojo: Bujinkan Kuden: Gikan Ryu with Noguchi Sensei

The class was quick and painful. This is koppojutsu after all. But Noguchi Sensei was precise and true to his notes with each initial demonstration of the kata. He even reread them and made corrections if he forgot something.

The heaters in the dojo were blowing strong. I was dripping sweat from the punishing attacks. But I did not care at all.

A feature of Gikan Ryu is lateral strikes. They hit the opponent in multiples. And the rhythm creates a new fist with each kyusho. Most of my body is marked or swollen right now reminding me of the targets.

There were taijutsu, daisho sabaki, and muto dori forms included in the text. And Noguchi Sensei even contributed some tessen henka.

After class, Sensei seemed very relaxed. I asked him what his plans were for that evening. He said he was going out drinking. He laughed and added that he did this on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays… etc.

I watched him pack up the blue 40 year old notebook and I waved goodnight. I toweled off the sweat because I had class with Soke in less than an hour.

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