Dkms1: Ikken Hassô, Tôtoku Hyôshi, Shitakara

20121130_162214Friday was the beginning of the dkms. The day began well as Sayaka Oguri joined us in Kashiwa on the train going to Shimizu Koen.

On arrival the “dkms feeling” was palpable. Sensei was in great shape today as if his birthday was giving him  some extra energy. This is something strange that I have always noticed since 1990 when I first visited Japan for dkms.

During this period of the year Sensei looks like he is “inhabited”. I am always amazed by his ability to move so fast at his age, he is an example for all of us.

The morning session was like training in the fog as Juan-Manuel and I were quite lost during the class. Sensei spoke again about the “kasumi no hô” (霞の方 – theme of 2004) feeling and having the deeling we were fighting in the fog and I must say that Juanma and myself were totally in tune with this idea…

If I had to define in three words what we did I would say:

Ikken Hassô (Shinden Fudô Ryû):

This is taken from the first level of Shinden Fudô Ryû and means “one fist, all directions”   but I prefer the idea of “unity within multiplicity” which gives a deeper meaning to it. In fact it would be difficult to explain what Sensei is demonstrating. The only thing that can be repeated again and again is: no force, no tension, no intention, no idea.

Back to the Kasumi no Hô concept, it was as if he was creating fog that would trap the uke and render them blind to whatever was happeing to them. I have been uke a few times and it is like is “not there, but there” as Pedro said once. You are totally lost.

The techniques were demonstrated by various Shihan and sensei would “change” (see previous posts) the form into a formless thing. After the day of training with my partners Juan-manuel Serrano and Stéphane Ladegaillerie, I had no memory of what we actually did. Day 1 was “totally fogged”.

Tôtoku Hyôshi:

In the afternoon Sensei played with the concept of Tôtoku Hyôshi that we know from biken jutsu (for the newcomers this is the one were from suwari you dodge the shuriken with your blade facing flat and vertically the opponent). As you can see below; the “tôtoku” has the meaning of shielding yourself with the blade.

Sensei used this concept explaining that the warriors in the past (possibly at the beginning of 17th century after peace was established and yoroi abandoned), had metal rods along the forearm and that you could dodge a cut by putting the forearm in front of you.

Everything is a question of timing (Hyôshi) and your shielding with the vertical forearm comes at the right moment. This Tôtoku Hyôshi not only protects you but gives away uke’s balance.


This last concept was detailed after we trained the Tôtoku Hyôshi for some time. Many of us were more reacting with the arm instead of the body even though Sensei insisted a lot on using the karada (body) in every move done.

Shitakara (from below) is the way you would unfold the twisted body resulting from the Tôtoku Hyôshi reception. As you know in tôtoku hyôshi you give your profile to the opponent. Here due to the distance, once you have blocked/dodged the attack, your body is twisted. Untwisting the body to finish uke has to come from the ground. The grabbing is not allowed as well as the simple upper torso movement.

What Sensei explained during this first day of dkms is that in order to show no strength and no intention you should only react with aruki waza (walking). To get the upper body in action the movement must come from the legs.

The theme this year was to use the fingers and/or to trap the fingers of the opponent. This action must be supported by the body movement and not be decided by your brain.

Natural movement is achieved when you only react softly to uke’s movement without deciding what to do. “Chikara o nuku”: by letting go of all the force you have you create the conditions of becoming aware of the next step always in accordance with your environment, with the attacks (from one or more opponents), with the distance.

Anyway the Gogyô are created from the ground (Chi) and go up to the sky (Kû). The Tenchi is replaced by the Chiten, a point.

Ikken hassô then takes a lot of sense as one can deal with an infinity of situations. Every point of the universe converge to one. And unity is zero.

ichi one;
ken sword (originally esp. a doubled-edged sword); sabre; saber; blade;
sword; katana;
toku shelter; shield; hide
解く toku to solve; to answer; to untie;
拍子 hyôshi (musical) time; tempo; beat; rhythm; the moment; the instance; chance
表紙 hyôshi front cover; binding
shita below; down; under; bottom; beneath; underneath;
から         kara from (e.g. time, place, numerical quantity); since; from (originator);
kara emptiness; vacuum; blank
地点 chiten site; point on a map; spot

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 “Dkms1: Ikken Hassô, Tôtoku Hyôshi, Shitakara”

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