Caught In Invisible Brambles


How many times did you, as a kid, ruin your clothes in a blackberry bush while picking the fruits? I guess many times. The type of movement we are expressing today in Shingin Budô* ressembles this blackberry bush, except that we are the bush and uke is the fruit picker.

The 6th element completing the五行, gogyô is 識, Shiki, or consciousness. But Hatsumi sensei also refers to it as “awareness”. This awareness allows us to grab and to create the kûkan** in order to defeat uke. Since 2003 and Juppô Sesshô***, things are no more “images in two dimensions”, they are live movements in 3D.

十方, Juppô is the evolution of the wheel of the 8 directions (happô)**** to which a vertical axis linking Ten and Chi is added. The wheel of 2D with this vertical axis in the middle, oscillates in such a way that the original circle (2D) becomes a sphere (3D). This is why sensei says that video cameras cannot seize his movements as they can only give a two dimensional representation of what is really done

Awareness belongs to 3D world which is “Sanjigen no Sekai”*****. The brambles of the blackberry bush are the same. It is a “sanjigen bush”, and when reaching out to grab the fruit you are caught without strength by the many thorns that were not visible until then. This is the feeling you have when you are attacking Hatsumi sensei, you get captured without knowing it. Sensei is permanently using the kûkan and gives you the wrong feeling that you can get him without damages.
He is like the brambles and he catches you from an invisible spot while you are only focusing on him.
He is a blackberry bush and his thorn will tear you apart.

This knowledge of Kûkan is the key. He explained it once saying that “even if you give uke some space to move, he will not, because he is stuck in the kûkan”. After being sensei’s ule, one friend told me that it was like being trapped by brambles: the more you move and the more you get stuck and injured.

When you are able to manifest this awareness of kûkan, you are a true Bujin. There is no preconceived intention, you do what you have to do because the kûkan evolves with uke’s moves. In fact once you have reached full awareness and consciousness, you become able to react unconsciously inside a permanently evolving kûkan.

It sounds like paradoxical isn’t it? in fact, it is not.When you move in full consciousness you don’t think, you are fully aware of everything surrounding you (uke, kûkan, environment), you are zero. Any modification of those elements, even minimal, will be taken into account and dealt with naturally.

Sensei said once:” 90% of the mind is in the subconscious. Use it in the Kûkan and you will become invisible to uke”. This was during the Daikomyôsai 2008 and it is still valid at the Shingin Budô level.

The bujinkan is as simple as that, and this is why it is complex.

*神韻武導, Shingin Budô: our martial ways are guided by the natural artistry of the gods
** 空間, kûkan: empty space
***十方折衝, Juppô Sesshô
**** 八方, happô has the meaning of “all sides, all directions”. Front, back, left, right, and the 4 diagonals. Symbolized by a circle or a wheel.
*****三次元の世界, Sanjigen no Sekai was the theme of the first year of Juppô Sesshô in 2003.

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

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