Be Strong, Then Soft


During a recent class,  while we were still in seiza after the opening rei, Hatsumi sensei began to speak. He said that: “when you are under the age of thirty it is important to develop your strength and your muscular power. Only when you get older can you train the more subtle movements”.

I don’t know what triggered his opening speech, but it is a fact that too many young practitioners lack power in their techniques.
The next day, I was in the train to Atago with my friend Marco from the Nederland, and we spoke about what sensei has said the day before.

Marco has been training for a long time in jûdô, jûjutsu and the bujinkan. And he is still training jûjutsu. I did jûdô for seventeen years and a lot of other things and I was defeated quite often.

But many newcomers in the new Bujinkan generation that we see training on the mats started their martial arts training with the bujinkan. They never had to fight in a tournament or in real life and they don’t know what it is to fight.

The worst part is that we see now some new teachers with the same  “zero” experience! When sensei aura that we have to become zero, I don’t think he means that. And these new teachers teach their beginners how it is to “fight for real”. But where did they get their knowledge from?

This is a dangerous turn in the Bujinkan and we have to be aware of it. Maybe it is the reason why sensei some about it before the class.
I’m not saying that we should have competition or that we should try to test our techniques for real, I’m just saying that we have to understand that our young students need to be more physical on the mats. If we don’t do it there might be some dangerous outcomes for them.

As teachers we have a big responsibility.

Sensei keeps saying he is teaching to the jûgodan. But for many, it flatters their ego as they understand that they are so good that sensei is teaching them the secret stuff. This is a wrong understanding.

What he means is that he is teaching students who have been training for a long time and are way beyond 30 years of age. And these senior students, because they have had their “muscular” years already, can now move to a more subtle way of training. It is because you have the ability to destroy life that you can preserve it, not the opposite.

In we compare Budō training to the gearbox of a car, we can say that today’s practitioners are always driving in 6th gear but are unable to go down to 3rd or 2nd gear. Now what will they do when in need of more engine power?

Copying the Japanese Shihan subtle movements is nice but totally useless and counter-productive when it comes to actual fight.
In Ninjutsu there is a field of practice called 幻術, Genjutsu, the art of illusion, magic. And many teachers are caught by this self illusion.

So it is important to train your students in muscle power until a certain age so that they will understand how to get rid of it when the time comes. The peaceful warrior is a real warrior with the power to use his skills to kill but who chose not to in order to preserve life.

The highest level of expertise in the martial arts is to defeat the opponent without fighting, but if you only trained the “cosmic” moves, I can assure you that the wake up call will be painful.

A Waza Is A Sketch!


My last class with Nagato sensei was full of interesting details. Once again, for those that didn’t read my blog recently, Hatsumi sensei has asked Nagato sensei to teach exclusively from the densho. And this is like rediscovering how good he is.

Obviously like every Japanese Shihan his personal style is visible but it gives even more insight on these techniques. Since we lost two of the Shi Tennō, it is nice now to have Nagato sensei showing an alternative to Noguchi sensei’s vision of the ryûha. I have to admit that I really enjoyed all the classes I had with him during this trip.

Today it was even better as Hiromi San was reading the densho while Nagato sensei was teaching it. And this was new to many of the students present today. For years I have been repeating that the densho were simple and not very precise in their explanations. We saw that today.

This apparent lack of precision in the explanation of a waza is the reason why the bujinkan is so different from other martial arts. This freedom of interpretation let students develop their own creativity within the frame given by the waza. But as Noguchi sensei said it last week, “to create variations, you first have to learn the waza”. Nagato sensei added during the class, that a waza is only a sketch that gives the general idea of the technique.

When you make a rapid sketch of a tree, everyone can see the tree, but depending on the technique of painting used, or the artist doing it, the same initial sketch will look different. Shapes, colors, volume, and rhythm will be different. This is the same in a waza.

But at first you have to recognize the global form of the tree. This sketch of a tree is the waza as detailed in the densho. Next time you open your notes, try to find first, the initial sketch (Kaname?). And only then will you be able to create variations. Today we continued with the Shinden fudō ryû Shizen shikoku no kata, the ground techniques.

In the Shinden fudō ryû, Nagato sensei reminded us that each technique can also be trained on the left side. It might be a surprise to many because if you work on the left side you give access to your “strong side”, the side of your weapon.

I have a theory about it and I’d like to share it with you. The name of Toda sensei’s dôjô was “Shinden fudō ryû dôjô” even though he was teaching many different ryû. Toda Shinryûken Masamitsu, was Takamatsu’s uncle* and first martial arts teacher. My feeling for years is that after retiring from the Nakano Academy** he dedicated himself to the teaching of Budō. And I believe that he tried to adapt the warfare techniques to the modern world. To do so maybe (that’s my guess) did he rewrite the techniques to render them suitable to the new times.

Remember that at the same time Kanô sensei’s creates the kodōkan jûdô by mixing a few old systems, Funakoshi Gishin transforms the Karate*** from Okinawa into shotokan karatedō****,  and Ueshiba Morihei, distancing himself from Takeda creates his aikijutsu that will later become the aikidō.

So it is reasonable to think that Toda sensei tried to do the same by transforming the deadly techniques of the past into some kind of educational system like jûdô, Karate, or aikido to be used for self-defense in the modern world.

At the end of the 19th century there is no more Yoroi and it is now forbidden to samurai to carry their swords. So these new systems of fighting are now more self defense oriented (the hanbō jutsu is a modern application of staff techniques to be used with a walking stick). In this evolution of Japanese society, the techniques have now to be trained on both sides.

Nagato sensei said also that each technique has an omote form and an ura form.  Because the techniques can be studied on both sides, it is important to be able to do them inside the attack or outside of the attack. Also, the techniques on the ground can be done standing up because in modern time, we should be able to perform them being seated or standing up.

Remember that our ryûha were designed and refined from the Muromachi Era (1333) through the Azushi Momoyama Era. When the Edo period was established in 1603 and the unification of the country carried out, they lost the Yoroi and the horse, but were still training in the way they have received from the past. Through a long period of forced peace*****,  my understanding is that, they lost their purity. The ryûha became a tradition rather than a fighting system applicable to its time.

Today in the Army we see the same unconditional love for “tradition”. The bayonet is the best example. The bayonet was designed for the long rifle that replaced the spear. With these rifles until WW1 you could shoot only once in battle, and if you were unable to reload your weapon then you could still reverse to the original spear by using the bayonet (cf. Jûkendō in Japan). Today’s armies still have a bayonet (mainly used for parades) but why do we still have them when our weapons do not exceed 60cm to 1m, and are able to shoot 30 rounds in a few seconds?
The bujinkan to survive today has to evolve in the same way its constituting ryûha have evolved through centuries in order to adjust to their times. Warfare techniques and weapons evolve so our techniques must evolve too. The Shinden fudō ryû of Toda sensei, in my opinion, followed the same path and tried to adapt to its time, and this is why we have these possible variations in the school today. But I doubt they were possible in the past.

I personally prefer to teach the Muromachi feeling and to think that we are still carrying the Yoroi, this is why I teach only one side in the technique. But when it comes to learning the waza, I do it both sides because waza is only a sketch.
*yes Toda sensei was not his grandfather! (cf. The essence of Budō by Hatsumi sensei).
**Military Academy under the Tokugawa shogunate
*** 唐手 Chinese boxing (T’ang dynasty) compared to
**** 空手 empty hand. The name was changed by Funakoshi sensei so that this Okinawaian martial art would be accepted as a Japanese Budō.
*****after the unification, war was forbidden, peace was established. And the Japanese began to lose their fighting creativity.

Daruma Daruma


Sunday’s classes were quite interesting. The first session was directed by Noguchi Daishihan, and we covered some techniques from the Jin Ryaku no Maki of the tenchijin. As always his interpretation was mindblowing. Nothing new but a fresh understanding. These techniques that I have been learning with him for more than twenty years, and that I’m teaching regularly in my dôjô, seem to contain some new hidden secrets each time I have the chance to train them in Japan. As you know I am a “tenchijin freak” and these techniques are always full of insights. To me these Jin Ryaku techniques are exactly like the Kihon happô or the sanshin no kata of the Ten Ryaku.

Then it was time for sensei’s class. After drying the sweat and putting up a new t-shirt, he arrived. Sensei asked my friend José to begin the class. José did a technique against double Tsuki ending in a Musōdori/Ô gyaku. Sensei reproduced it by insisting on the “no grabbing” and the importance of using the tip of the elbow to lock the shoulder blade. “by using the elbow in this way”, he said, “you can do it even if you have a weapon in your hand”.

He made a variation with the ninjatō applying some similar control. Once again he insisted on the importance of not waving or twirling the sword uselessly, but on the contrary to let the sword be positioned by the natural movements of 躯, Karada, the body. I must be honest, it was easy to understand and watch but nearly impossible to do. I guess I need another ten years to reach that level.
We also did some Bō, and still with the same feeling.

The calligraphy session was welcomed as we could dry a little. Tanaka San had brought me a nice scroll and sensei used it to draw a 達磨 (Daruma). Usually I get calligraphies but yesterday he drew a “mean” Daruma for me. Having witnessed him draw those daruma for years and even though I’m not an art critic, I can tell that each time he draws it differently. In fact it is like a Waza, he will give a new interpretation to it, each time he is painting it.

It made me think a lot and I tried to connect the dots.

We all know the story (legend, myth) of 達磨, Daruma (aka boddhidharma), this kalaripayat monk and healer, who brought martial arts to the Shaolin monks from South India. The legend says that he meditated so long that his arms and legs fell from his body, leaving only the head and the trunk.

躯, Karada means body, but if you break the sound down into  幹, kara and 達,  da, you get 幹達, or “to get an accomplished trunk”.

And this is exactly what sensei has been teaching this year. We have to let our body do the technique without trying to hold or use any force, to reach (da) victory. Once again it is echoing the theme of the year of Shingin Budō.

But there is more. If you break down the sound “daruma” and replace it with 達琉真, daruma,  you get “to reach, accomplish the pure gem”.
This is what the bujinkan is teaching. The bujinkan of Hatsumi sensei is not about mere techniques but it is inspired or guided by the divine so that we can shine naturally like pure jewels.

Our mind forces us to grab with the hands and use strength when, in fact, if we stay connected, Nature does it alone. We are connected permanently to Nature so we should do nothing that could sever this connection “en no Kirinai”.

Stop thinking, stop grabbing. Be connected!


達磨 daruma, 
躯 Karada,  body
幹 kara, trunk
達 da,  attain, arrive, reach, accomplished
琉 ru,  precious stone, gem, lapis lazuli
真 ma, just, right, due (east), pure, genuine, true

Dōshin Ikkan Suru


Once again we did a lot of sword movements last night with Hatsumi sensei. I really love the simplicity of his movements even though they are very difficult to do moving like he is some kind of ghost.
I had the honor to open the class and I did some strengthless taijutsu move that he bettered using the sword.

From Tōsui no Kamae (left leg forward), Hatsumi sensei simply went away to his left not bothering with the sword attack and applying a shutô-like hit with the sword to whack Uke’s back out right side of the neck while still walking. Distance and timing were impressive. He insisted on not trying to cut but about hitting uke. Using the sword not like a sword but more like a metal rod creates an opening in Uke’s neck from the outside. Even though he was using a padded sword, it felt like being hit by a truck!

Then still from the same Kamae, Sensei reacted by positioning his sword right under the right wrist of the attacker and cushioning the attack softly.  Then by a simple rotation of his weapon from the point of contact, he hit (not cut) the left side of Uke’s neck as if applying a shutô with the blade. That too was very powerful.*

Those first two techniques gave the feeling for the whole class. These techniques were the omote and the ura of last night and he then played with them adopting them in mutō Dori, bōjutsu, and hanbō jutsu (that, for some reason, he called “Sanshaku bōjutsu” yesterday night).

My partner yesterday night was Rob and it was nice training with someone who understands what sensei was saying. Also his approach to the bujinkan is quite similar to mine (bio mechanics) and our training was therefore very nice and productive.

While training with Rob, Sensei came to us and explained that by not showing your strength (going away, cushioning the attack softly, not trying to cut) you generate wrong counter-techniques from uke that opens up new kûkan in which you can enter and defeat the opponent. Fighting is often tough, so by showing no strength you destroy the general scheme of reaction of the opponent and let him kill himself in the process.

Sensei said that we had to be playful like a young kid. He was a real kid last night . And the calligraphy he did for me during the break is exactly that: “dōshin Ikkan suru” is “to make yourself move or act like a kid”. This “kid” approach in the fight perturbates the logic of uke, and he is so lost that he is overreacting.

By letting go of our intentions and by behaving as if we have no clue, we create a kûkan that uke has to fill and this is what is defeating him. Understand that we do not try to defeat uke, uke does it alone. By moving only with the body and by not using the sword in the way uke is expecting, we look unskilled and trigger Uke to over react and lose the encounter.

Yesterday was another night of high level Budō. Thank you sensei for a miraculous evening.

*when you are sensei’s uke, there is a better chance for you to understand what he is really doing. Don’t hesitate to ask him to do the technique on you. Sometimes he will, other times he won’t, this is not important. What is important is to stop virtual understanding and to get the information through your body. The bujinkan is not theory, it is pure practice.

Bugei Hyappan


With Nagato sensei we covered the end of the Takagi Yōshin ryû Moguri Gata and then we began the first level of the Shinden Fudô ryû. But somehow it was like continuing with the same fighting system.

潜り込む,  Moguri komi, has the meaning of “to conceal oneself” (but in plain sight). In fact you are moving in a way that cannot let the opponent know exactly what is going to happen next. When we moved to the Shinden fudô ryû waza, the same Moguri feeling was there too. This was another example of kehai wo yomenai.

Reflecting on that, I thought I would give a try on how to understand the bujinkan system from a global point of view. The Japanese use an expression 武芸百般, Bugei Hyappan, which means “all the martial arts”. And to me the last kanji “般” is the key as it means “all” but also “to carry”.  The way I see it, is that each martial fighting system is contained (carried) in any other. Therefore we understand that the idea behind Bugei Hyappan is that all fighting systems are the same or, at least, are all linked (cf. the Moguri feeling in the Shinden fudô ryû techniques.

Our Bujinkan system regroups 9 fighting systems that we call “schools” but it would maybe be more accurate to name them “armies”. The samurai of one clan were learning only one system and they had no clue about the other systems they were fighting. This is the same in modern warfare. All armies fight more or less in the same way, but a soldier from one country doesn’t train in another army. A French soldier will not follow the training of the Russian, British, or American army. Soldiers today know only one fighting system, the one from their country. That was the same in Japan before unification. So when we train Bujinkan, we must keep in mind that during the Muromachi and Azuchi Momoyama periods, the soldiers were fighting with only one system in a given army (apart from the regrouping of the Koto/Gyokko, and the Takagi/kukishin that happened in the course of time).

In those days, unification wasn’t carried out yet (it will be done in 1603 with Tokugawa Ieyasu). And each Daimyô trying to expand his own territory had a “master of arms” training his troops. The techniques had to deal with the same situation (battlefield, horses), the same type of equipment (Yoroi, weapons), and all of them were fighting humans (2 arms, 2 legs). The only difference was the terrain on which, and for which they developed their skills. When Nobunaga Nobuo (son of the Shogun) went to the mountains of Iga to force the Iga community to join the unification carried out by his father, he was easily defeated. The mountain skills of the Nobunaga soldiers were no match compared to those of the men of Iga.

But if each ryû developed a specific type of warfare due to the geography of their surroundings they had to solve the same issues when facing a one to one combat. This is why many techniques are quite similar in the ryûha. Yesterday Nagato sensei explained that Fûbi from Shinden Fudô ryû was very similar to Hitō of the koto ryû. This is the reason.

Once you have accepted that despite geographical locations the samurai had to deal with humans, it is quite obvious that there is a common base to every fighting system. This common element is the human, Jin. Therefore when you adjust the Jin to the surroundings Ten (weather conditions), and the Chi (terrain) every system is contained in each ryû. This is the Bugei Hyappan.

This is why Hatsumi sensei, in my opinion, designed the tenchijin program in order to give us a common platform to learn the ryûha. This is what we call the basics. This is the bujinkan boot camp.

Nagato sensei taught us yesterday Nichi Geki, the first technique of Shinden fudô ryû. The kaname (key point) is Koshi Kudaki which is found in the Chi Ryaku no Maki/Aite to Kumu Kokoro Gamae (aka Hajutsu Kyû Hō). Once you know the tenchijin (basic platform), it is easy to learn the different ryûha and to understand the specific aspects of each fighting system.

Whether you like it or not, the bujinkan system is a military system by essence. Each ryû is an army. The techniques are designed to be taught to 10-year old kids (samurai were 15-year old when allowed to go in battle). And because we have the chance to learn 9 different fighting systems, we can see that they are all connected. The bujinkan truly is teaching Bugei Hyappan.  As sensei puts it: “when you train a specific ryûha, all the trainings you have done in all the other ryû are influencing your understanding of a technique”.

This is why it is important to train with all the Shihan and to understand that each one of them being different, the same technique will never be the same. And this is why the bujinkan is complete.

No Waza, No Henka


With Nagato sensei covering the Takagi Yoshin Ryû and Noguchi sensei the Koto Ryû, the Wednesday classes were intense.

But each time they teach a (supposedly known) waza from any ryûha, I feel lost like a beginner, as the form they are teaching is often quite different from the forms I learned (with them) over the years. As pointed out by Duncan today,  Noguchi and Nagato sensei are “Dai Shihan” and this is to be expected at their level.

Yesterday after Noguchi sensei’s class, I went to speak with him about these differentials in his interpretations of the same technique. He said that once you know the waza, it is easy to change its form while keeping the same Kankaku (feeling). But he added that many teachers in the Bujinkan only do variations even though they don’t know the original waza. “This is strange”, he added, “how can they make a variation on something they never studied or understood?”.

And this is the main problem we see in today’s Bujinkan. Many visitors in Japan copy what they see Hatsumi sensei or the shihan doing. But having never studied personally at home the fundamental forms, they are only mimicking these movements. It is empty.

I had an uncle that was not a painter but he was copying masterpieces by Dali, reproducing every square centimeter and the result was amazing. But he wasn’t thinking that he knew how to paint like him! (I hope). By copying the omote you are not able to grasp the essence of a waza. Waza were designed to be simple so that kids would be able to copy them. But “if you use them as they are in a real fight you die” (cf. Hatsumi sensei). This is why there is always a kuden explaining the deeper meaning of the technique.

Each waza is in fact a result not a step by step process. Your training then consist in recreating the conditions that will make these waza possible. As long as you reproduce the steps you don’t have it.
Jissen has nothing to do with Embu (martial art demonstration).

So next time you are teaching or training, please spend some time trying to understand the basic form of the waza and you will see that your taijutsu will improve greatly. Excellence is not about collecting techniques, excellence comes from “being” the technique. And once you are the technique, simply forget it.

This year we train Shingin Budō but not so many can reach this level because they lack the basic knowledge. Learn the basics in order to be able to create variations, not before.

Did you ever wonder why the Shihan when they teach, read the techniques they have been training and teaching for nearly 50 years?

Sakki test 101


The Sakki test is the apex of a practitioner’s life. For many years sensei has been the only one to administrate the test and as one of the dinosaurs of the bujinkan (30 years in the Bujinkan last month), I had the privilege to witness him giving the test in numerous occasions. With about 30 Taikai and more than 50 trips to Japan I must have seen around 2000 Sakki tests. So I thought I knew what it was. Wrong again!

When in the Madrid Taikai of 2001 sensei asked a few of us to perform the test I was amazed to discover how draining it was to give the Sakki test. Honestly, I must admit that I didn’t believe it was that demanding. We had to do it twice and right after I left the training hall I had to take a nap before dinner as I was totally exhausted! I didn’t believe it was that difficult because I had seen sensei do up to 60 Sakki tests in a row at many Taikai.

When you are at the receiving end of the Sakki test it changes your life forever. But when you are giving the test it is like taking it again and again. This is one thing that no so many people in the Bujinkan know. Giving the test is similar to taking it! Except that you take the test only once.

Tuesday night I gave the test to three shidôshi (no, I don’t get tired anymore). And I think it is good to reveal some truths about the test for those of you who will take it soon (on either end of the sword).

1. There is no way to prepare yourself.
I know that some teachers are training their students for the test, this is useless. You have it. The perception of danger is ingrained in our brains. Only sincere training will allow your being too dodge the cut. It takes about 5 to 6 years to unearth the Sakki feeling bien in our reptilian brain.

2. It is not about crashing the skull of the applicant.
Many jûgodan try to hit the applicant, this is wrong. The Sakki test is a connection between the emitter and the receiver. It will always work if both the emitter and the receiver are connected. Without connection there is only pain (for the receiver). In fact the Sakki test is the expression of Shingin Budō.

3. Your regular senses cannot help.
When you take the test do not rely on your regular senses. If you hear the cut it is already too late. Simply relax and let your body react. Don’t think. This is why it is always better to close your eyes. But this is not a rule as many succeed with their eyes open.

4. Feel the urge to move. And move, don’t analyse.
Both the emitter and the receiver are connected and both must feel the urge to move. The receiver moves without knowing why. The emitter goes down because at some point when the connection is established, he had to go down. You don’t take the decision to move, you move because it is the only to do. Over the years I’ve seen many applicants fail even though they got the connection. In fact they are so amazed at the feeling that they last their concentration and got hit while thinking “wow I am feeling it!” and then wham!

5. Shin Gi Tai Ken Ichi Yotsu.
It is not a meditation and no god will do it for you. There’s no magic, it’s natural. The Sakki test is what makes the bujinkan what it is. It is about feeling the unity in all things, the connection with nature.

If you are to take the test soon, or if you are to administrate it, please remember that this is something that comes naturally when you are ready.

Shin Gi Tai Ken Ichi Yotsu


For years sensei has been repeating that our movements are done with 躯, Karada, the body. To help the students understand this, we keep telling them to develop footwork. The pedagogical reason to it is that if we tell them “move your body” they will not know what to do. But by speaking of the legs we force them to move the body.

In the tenchijin there is this concept of “Ken Tai Ichi Jô” or “moving the body and the weapon (armed or unarmed) as one”. Yesterday sensei repeated this “Ken Tai Ichi Jô” concept during his class.

To me it was echoing a more complete concept he introduced last Sunday. This new concept was: 心技体剣一四, “Shin Gi Tai Ken Ichi Yotsu”. To understand this, you have to know that  sensei is teaching the ninja ken these days. Sunday the whole class was about 一閃剣, Issen Ken,  and yesterday about 一刀 投げ, Ittō Nage.

“Shingitai” and “Yotsu” are concepts borrowed from Sumo wrestling*, where full body movements are required. By adding the “Ken” Sensei somehow connected the 3 aspects of Shingitai to the Ken, turning the “3” into “4”.
Hence the “Ichi Yotsu”, is the unity of (the four): shin gi tai ken.

Once the four are connected you are one. And because you are one, you can become zero. I know that this binary approach to 実戦, Jissen (actual fighting,  true fight) may look strange to many practitioners but I can assure you that this is exactly the feeling you have when sensei is using you as uke.

Sensei asked me to be his uke a few times on Sunday and Tuesday and each time he was blocking my attacks (Jodan Kiri, tsuki) with his sword, there was no sword movement that I could perceive, each time head doing it with the body. To make myself clear sensei was physically deflecting or blocking my sword with his sword, but the only thing I could feel was his body movement. There was no clash, no strength just a simple Stephen would make, rendering my attacks useless.

Sensei being zero, his sword was a natural extension of his body. His movements were so natural that no intention, no show of power could be felt from my side. Each time it was like fighting a ghost. In fact, he spoke a few times about becoming a ghost to your opponent. “It is Kage no Shinobu” he explained layer saying that we had to move like a shadow.

On the technical side, the Issen Ken (the sword moves in a flash) and ittō Nage (throwing the sword) were done so softly that there was no time for me to counter his actions. There was nothing. One moment I was attacking, the next I was dead.

This “Ken Tai Ichi Jô” or should I say “Shin Gi Tai Ken Ichi Yotsu” is the essence of sword fighting and the purest expression of Shingin Budō and this is where we are now in the Bujinkan.

* Sumo:
心技体,  shingitai : three qualities of a sumo wrestler: heart, technique, physique
四つ相撲, Yotsu zumo: sumo wrestling in which both wrestlers grasp the other’s belt with both hands

Mushin: No Intention


無心, mushin (no intention, no thinking) is one of the many concepts we encounter when walking on the martial path.

I was reading recently a quote from Sensei where he explained that “During the times of the warring states in Japan, everyone was like a wild animal. Everyone would react to whatever you intended to do. So the only way to win was to have no intention”.*

Having no intention is quite a paradox when you imagine yourself being caught in a fight but becomes logical when you are actually fighting. The time to think is not available, chaos unfolds very rapidly and your reactions are only what remains from training your basics for many years.

You can know many techniques intellectually, the history of a given Ryûha, but nothing prepares you better than studying your basics thoroughly. Learn the taijutsu techniques, learn the weapons but trust yourself when it comes to survive. A book will never fight for you, you will.

This is why the bujinkan is so different from other martial art, it prepares you to survive not to collect waza. Sensei often says negatively that many teachers are “collectors”or “scholars”,  and this is not what he is teaching. In fact we learn them to forget them. Staying at the collecting level is for “kindergartners” he said once in class.

If knowing the techniques is an important step in your progression, it is your 器, Ursula (ability) that makes the difference. And this ability can only come from the deep integration of basics within your mind and body.

Your sole intention should be to have no intention and to rely on Shingin Budō. Let the natural flow guide your actions.

* Hatsumi Masaaki in “Understand? Good. Play!” book by Benjamin Cole ISBN 0-9710849-5-5

Soyez les bienvenus à Paris

I cannot believe that the Taikai will begin in only  9 days.
This will be another chance to meet with friends from all over Europe and to exchange with the shi tenno.

As I’m not a football fan,  I didn’t know that this world event could damage the Taikai. This year, I don’t think we will reach the 
100 practitioners.

This is not a good news for me, the organizer, but this is good news for you as it means that the groups will be smaller in size giving you a chance to get the best advice from each one of the shi tenno.

Also,  this year with four training halls (the dojo has been renewed) the classes will be easier to attend to.

Each day we will have private classes with each of the shi tenno and a joint class together.

Training will begin at  1000 and end up at 1730 and will consist of 4 private classes by level and one joint training. The four groups will be decided on day one as usual. 

Group 1 will regroup the high ranks, 
group 2 the black belts / Shidôshi, 
group 3 the advanced Kyû and shodan,  and
group 4, the beginners.

The Paris Taikai is the only seminar that I know where this splitting by technical level is done,  and this allows the teacher to adjust his level of teaching to every level. I’m sure that you will appreciate.

Sunday afternoon after training we will have a “party” in the dojo.

I’m eager to welcome you all in Paris for this  11th edition.
If you didn’t register yet please do it now at  AND don’t forget to fill in the form HERE we need it for making this event a success.


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