Tsunagari Through Hanpa


I opened the session with two taijutsu techniques trying to put into life the Ishitobashi 石飛ばし concept I had trained since my last trip in May. (1)
After doing a few variations, sensei applied the same concept to sword techniques. As always I am in awe when he takes whatever is demonstrated and bring it to the next level.
These days, Hatsumi Sensei is insisting on Tsunagari (2), the connection between uke and Tori, and the weapons. This connection is the first step to the Enno Kirinai (3). Once Tsunagari is done, you must keep this connection.

To do so, he said that we must not finish the movements (Hanpa). (4) Hanpa is not new to us; we studied it a few years ago with Chūto Hanpa 中途半端, the half cooked techniques. (5)

Hanpa allows the Tsunagari and we keep the connection with Enno Kirinai. There is no intention; we are “zero” and simply surfing on uke’s movements. Keeping the connection, we can “cut with the leg movement”, Ashi Kiri 足切, and move like a skipping stone. As the sword is a shield and cutting not being the main point, we move the sword with footwork and not with the arms. Sensei said (again) to use no strength Chikara Janai 力じゃない, but only the body movements Karada 体 (body) not Chikara 力 (strength).
To reach this non-action state, he added that mastering Kihon Happō and Sanshin are the prerequisites. He insisted again on the importance of building a strong foundation to our taijutsu. The quality of your taijutsu foundations is the path to understanding what Sensei is doing these days. When you master the basics, they are ingrained, you don’t think about doing a movement. This the “ri” of “Shuhari”. (6)

At the “ri” level, you can now focus on the intention. As Sensei said during class, you have to be Honto 本当 real in your actions, to influence uke’s reactions. (7)
Paradoxically this forces you to alternate the “no intention” with “full intention”. He added that that this is part of human nature “ningensei” 人間性 to feel danger or to expect danger (whether it is real or not). By alternating those two states, you create openings in uke’s atavic reactions and overcome his intentions. This animal reaction is inyō 陰陽, better known as the yin yang.

Strangely, Ashi Kiri 足切 can be written Ashi Kiri 足霧, where “Kiri” means fog. So we can say that bu cutting with the legs, we are also creating a metsubushi like movement that capture uke’s mind and make him react wrong to our non-actions.

1. Ishitobashi 石飛ばし
Skipping stone principle. See previous blog entry “Ishitobashi.”
2. Tsunagari / 繋がり
connection; link; relationship
3. Enno kirinai / 縁の切ない
Do not sever the connection
4. Hanpa / 半端
remnant; fragment; incomplete set; fraction; odd sum; incompleteness
5. Chūto Hanpa 中途半端
For more on this, see blog post https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/consciously-unconscious/
6. Shuhari / 守破離
Shuhari; three stages of learning mastery: the fundamentals, breaking with tradition, parting with traditional wisdom
7. Honto / 本当
Truth, reality

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

2 thoughts on “Tsunagari Through Hanpa”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: