Since sensei had been giving a training theme per year, I did my best since that time to do my “homework” before going to Japan for my first trip of the year. This year of the snake is not different. This is why I write a lot about the Chinese Ken. I write mainly to force myself to understand. I write to jeep track of what I find. It what find can help anyone then it is even better. Today, I was supposed to teach bô jutsu in Dortmund but Nona and her students “forced” me to give a Ken seminar instead. So I tried to share my discoveries with them and it was nice.
I might be wrong with my findings but the movements we a were doing with the Ken made sense and they worked quite well.
Some asked me how I researched and found these movement of the Ken?
So here after is my modus operandi: First: the Ken being Chinese I read and watched a lot about China’s warring states and the consecutive dynasties. Why? Because History is the origin of the development of specific weapons.
Second: I trained and studied the basic movements possible with a Ken. Why? To understand the balance of the weapon, the limits, and the possibilities.
Third: I established a set of possible kamae (there are no kamae) to start from. Why? Because a movement is the result of an encounter. It is created for a reason and to keep us alive.
Fourth: I satisfied the various possible grips and their possible use. Why? Because each weapon respects its own rules. No wonder that sensei is teaching the Ken only now because I don’t think we would have been able to understand its power if we hadn’t study the major Japanese of the Bujinkan.
Fifth: I studied how to apply the Kukishin and Togakure sets of biken jutsu with the Ken. Why? Because those techniques evolved from the Ken. The Ken created the Tachi, that created the katana. There is a timeline and we have to respect it.
Sixth: I applied basic Taijutsu movements with the Ken mainly Sanshin no Kata and Kihon Happô. Why? Because it is always easier to learn a new logic when everything else is already known.*
Seven: I “invented” sets of movements, looking very Chinese, to free the body from the weapon. Why? Repeating sets of movements is the best way for the body to discover its new balance and correct its mistakes. This type of study is always done slowly to give a chance to the body to adjust itself with the brain.
Do your homework; follow these steps if you wish, and you will be ready and get the best out of your next trip to Japan.
* sensei said recently that the Sanshin no Kata was designed at the origin for the Chinese Ken.