Hanpirei: inverse proportion


I had my first class of the trip tonight and I must say that I was a little lost. It will take me some time (and sleep) to be able to tell you exactly what we did. So to feed you with something I will explain a new concept taught by sensei before I arrived.

On arrival in the lobby yesterday, I met friends commenting a recent class with Sôke who spoke about “hanpirei”and I thought I could share it with you. This concept reminded me of the famous drawing (see picture) by M.C. ESCHER a Dutch graphist of the end of the 19th century.

Last week sensei spoke about “hanpirei” 反比例 or “inverse proportion”. Why? and for what? I do not know yet. I guess that I will learn it in my next classes with him. But thinking about it, it reminded me about an image he used recently and about which I wrote recently (the article can be found here: https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/use-a-telescope-to-see-through-space-and-time/).

Last November after one training with sensei I wrote the following: “To summarize the whole training that day sensei used a nice image. He said: “don’t be strong, don’t be weak, be zero and through this zero you can see the solution”. Saying that he put his hands in a circle and looked through them as if using a telescope. Once again everything is linked. Telescopes are used to see through sideral space and the stronger they are, the further back in time they can see. You should become a powerful telescope and see through time and space in order to be aware of what is coming next even before Uke knows about it.

It goes quite well together with this “hanpirei” concept. “Hanpirei” 反比例, this « inverse proportion » can be understood as watching through the other end of the telescope. Therefore instead of going in the past through time and space you become able to foresee the future and solve the problem before it is created.

Still going through time and space, but this time in the other direction you will be where uke will be and counter his moves even before he is moving.

Strangely, if you look into it from any end you will be able to « react » before the « action ». If you are seing through the past, then you are aware of the origin of his movements. But if you are watching into the future, you will see where he will be and what he will do.

And this is also the meaning of the « koteki ryûda juppô sesshô » of 2003. As you are the tiger and the dragon at the same time, you let uke in his past and projected in his future; and you move in a present that he is not able to see because he is never there. Everything is linked.

Through the kaname 要of your present, you are seeing through the past and into the future of uke. Present is nurtured by both the past and the future. It is a self-creation like the hands by Escher. This is the « henka » principle. Being aware of hen (the beginning of the change) and ka (the end of the change) you are in the « kû » state of mind (the completion). Zero.

You are « zero » because you are everywhere at any time and in any space.

Shakaiteki no Budô?

In the plane to Tokyo I thought a lot about our motivation as budo practitioners. I have been travelling to Japan many times and I did some math and figured out that I spent over 1000 hours to fly there!

These 1000 hours represent 44 days of my life, a month and a half in a tin can. And this is only the travelling to Japan. Every week since 1984 I train/teach for an average of 10 hours a week. This is nearly 15000 hours of training (or about 600 days, 20 months) and this doesn’t include my 17 years doing Jûdô…

So why are we doing that?  We know that the knowledge acquired during those numerous hours of training will never be used in a real life and death situation; but still we keep spending money and time for it. Why?

Honestly I do not have the correct answer or conversely I have many. So even if I see it as some kind of addiction, I trust that this is the best way to develop ourselves and become better humans.

Addictions are bad except if they reveal something extraordinary and this is the case for the Bujinkan arts. This is why I am worried to see that modern practitioners do not seem to have the same commitment I have put in my training. There is nothing wrong about it but then why do they train if they don’t commit fully?

With the spread of those virtual tools such as facebook, tweeter, etc we get more virtual and less real. Maybe is it a trend of our society but if people are more into virtual action why do they come to the dôjô. I have been wondering a lot recently about it. In some dôjô, training is not the main thing, the real thing is the social gathering. Social gathering is always fun and I enjoy it once in a while but never during classes as in the dôjô, training should be the only motivation together with learning an old philosophy of life.

The Bujinkan is not a  “shakaiteki no budô”  社会的の武道 i.e. a “social budô”, it is a “seimei no budô”  生命の武道 i.e. a “budô of Life”.

In Japanese “shakaiteki” means “social”. It is a mix of “shaka” (public) and “iteki” (barbarians). For the Japanese a “barbarian” is an uncivilized person (cf. gaijin). Therefore and playing with the japanese sounds, I invite you to transform this “shakaiteki” 社会的 into “sha ka iteki” 汝貝夷狄 where sha is “you”; kai is “shell, protection”; and iteki is “barbarian”.

Discard the social budô and train a Sha Kai Teki no Budô, a “budô protecting you from losing your civilized education”.

A “seimei no budô” like the Bujinkan is something that gives more values and more meaning, not less. And this require a true commitment and a lot of efforts (sei is “the nature of a person”; Mei is “clarity”). Recently in a class, speaking about the theme for 2012, Hatsumi sensei said we were learning “jinryû no kaname wo mamoru” which can be understood as “protection is the essential point of human spirit”. So protect yourself and others (kai) and become the man you really are. Through the practice of Bujinkan martial arts unveil your “sei mei” 性明 your “true clear nature” and become able to walk proudly as a human being controlling his destiny (sei, 制 – control; mei, 命 – destiny).

Don’t miss this chance, and train when you are on the mats because if not, everything you have done so far would have been in vain.

PS: Concerning the hours in the “flying tin can”, never forget that time is an illusion and that only the path matters! And it gives me a lot of time to think… 😉