Bô jutsu: Weapon of Consciousness

When in 1993 Hatsumi sensei began to teach the now famous “themes of the year” he decided to begin with the study of bô jutsu. It opened a five year cycle dedicated to the weaons of the bujinkan.Amongst all the weapons of the bujinkan the bô jutsu is the most complete of all with an extensive set of techniques and levels that influences greatly our taijutsu both at the technical and spiritual level.Sensei speaks of “roku shaku bô jutsu” (六尺棒術) and this is the title of his first bô dvd. But many see only the size of the weapon. It is right to say that in the past the roku shaku was the size of the weapon. As you know even if the Japanese government began to follow the metric system at the beginning of the 19th century he kept alive the kanejaku (矩尺), the old measurement system. Even today people refer to the size of a room in number of tatami (疊).One tatami represents the surface of a measurement unit called the “ken” (間) and which has a length of 6 shaku. Until the 19th century all temples, castles, and houses were built with this unit. For more on this please look for “kanejaku” on the net.

But when it comes to the training we have to keep in mind that Japanese people before the 20th century were not tall (often around 150 cm). So, for us westerners, in order to keep the same ratio size/length in the buki waza (武器), our long staff should have a length of at least 2m. Note that buki (技) means also technique or art…

Now, when sensei speaks of the roku shaku (六尺) he is speaking of shiki (識), consciousness (vijnana in buddhism). Sensei implies that bô jutsu is the key to reach shiki (識) the 6th element of the gogyô, consciousness. By training the many waza of bô jutsu you are in fact developing your consciousness and become able to use it in every aspect of your life. By introducing this concept of shiki back in 2005, sensei forced us to do a major leap in our understanding of the bujinkan arts.

And remember that training the weapon -omote (表)- develop our consciousness of life – ura (裏). This is why bô jutsu is so important in the bujinkan.

Bô jutsu is the first step to free our taijutsu from the form. But to free yourself from something you must first be “trapped” by it. But how is it possible to achieve formlessness from something you don’t know?

We have to learn and study a lot to get the forms correctly until we can strip the forms off.

The bujinkan is a paradoxical system in which we are looking for something “natural” by studying things that are “not natural”. In fact the bô is the entry gate for the weapons and the necessary step to take in order to improve our whole taijutsu.

Until now no tools were available to review all those techniques this is why we have decided to record them all. We have also added for each technique, the kaeshi waza (返し技) to show you how to win against the bô. It took us four days of recording to do so and many bruises too.

With www.koimartialart.com (online streaming) or with www.budomart.com (dvds) you can now discover or rediscover the richness of the bô jutsu from the kukishin ryû. We recorded all the techniques (11 dvds) to help you unleash the power of your taijutsu with this fantastic weapon.

The bô (棒) is the link to the ten (天) and the chi (地) to become a real jin (人), a shiki no jin, a conscious human being (識の人間).

By the way did you notice that the kanji for “ken” (間) is identical to the second kanji of human being (間) …

Author: kumablog

I share here on a regular basis my thoughts about the Bujinkan martial arts, training in Japan and all over the world, and

3 thoughts on “Bô jutsu: Weapon of Consciousness”

  1. Hi Arnauld Shihan,

    Very nice article! Recently, I was at Rob Renner Shihan seminar in Brazil, and talking to him, he told me several tips about Bo Jutsu foundations to practice. It is also very interesting know more about the connections between the Bujinkan techniques and the sixth sense of the Buddhism. I think it is impossible to understand deeply Budo Taijutsu without it.

    About development of the consciousness in Bo Jutsu, thank you for share your understanding with all of us on Internet. I have read your teachings here and it is helping me a lot.

    Those tips are very important to develop consciousness and bojutsu understanding.

    Thanks in advance,

    Pedro Henrique


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