I am not confused anymore as today, I finally got my answer. I am happy to share it with you as I guess you were all totally confused after my previous post.
Friday night, Hatsumi sensei was speaking of the necessary adaptation to take into account when using fighting techniques of the past.
His point was that applying techniques that belong to a period of time from the past, might result dangerous in another time.
I remember reading one day a book of strategy for samurai (Heiho Okugi Sho) were it was said that the best side to attack a sleeping samurai was to arrive by the top of the body (head) because he wouldn’t be able to draw his sword in this configuration; and a few pages later , they said to always protect the left side (this is why the Japanese still drive on the left side of the road) in order to protect the sword. These two examples show how wrong a good tactic can become a few centuries later. Today any soldier can shoot reverse above his head, so the first tactic is wrong. Guns being on the right side of the body today is the total ooposite, therefore this is the right side that must be protected (this is why the americans drive on the right side of the road)*. Wrong again.
Sensei used the image of the change from Chinese based beliefs to Buddhism around the Heian period. He spoke about jukyô (儒教 – confucianism) and of bukkyô (仏教 – buddhism) that replaced it. Acccepting changes is often difficult bur is alays necessary if you want to survive in your present.
This permanent change is what we learn in the Bujinkan, it is always better not to resist. Change is not good or bad, it is simply necesssary to survive. This is the original image of the in/yo concept. In/Yo (陰陽) symbolizes the alternative between sun and rain.
Like the nami (the wave) of yesterday, being able to interchange the in/yo every time needed is the best way to ensure victory.
* For Europe it is a change of sides decided by Napoleon in all the countries he invaded in order to protect the supplies for his troops. They were using big chariots with six horses and needed a young man on the first horse to help moving to the left or to the right the first horses so that the others horses would follow the proper direction. Now riding horses was always on the left side of the horse** and driving on the left side of the road created a big blind spot that prevented full visibility. This caused many accidents with walls, trees, other chariots. By changing the side of driving this problem was solved.
** the Europeans including the British*** were all driving on the left side because before the crusades the swords of the knigts were straight***** and being worn on the left hip prevented them from riding the horse on the right side.
*** The British were never invaded by Napoleon and so they are still driving on the “good side”, the left one even in New Zealand****
**** In the movie “the last Samurai”, they ride their horses on the left side. One of my friend being a stuntman on this movie, I asked him why they were riding their horses on the wrong side. His answer was: “we tried to ride them the Japanese way but the horses refused to let us ride them on the right side as Samurai would.” Why? “because the movie was recorded in New Zealand!”.
***** Japanese Samurai began to use curved swrod hanging lose on the hip, bbut as they were holding a long weapon in the right hand (yumi, yari, naginata) they would grab the pommel of the saddle with the right hand, and ride from the right side. te sword moving freely would follow the movement.
I share here on a regular basis my thoughts about the Bujinkan martial arts, training in Japan and all over the world, and
View all posts by kumablog
2 thoughts on “Confused? Not Anymore!”
good to hear you guys are well in Japan and that many people came to learn again.
Just as a short addition of mine: 人 means person. A person is not alone: it’s depending on others. If your Uke all of a sudden disappears [into any kind of invisibility], you lose balance. Like a person with only one side/leg (if you draw this easy Kanji and think of gravity). That’s what I like about Japanese letters: they teach something :).