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.