The last class with Sensei completed the philosophical aspects he began to develop on Sunday.
I opened the class with some taijutsu that he put to another level, insisting on the Mutō dori aspect of everything we do this year. Even though the theme is “Gokōgoshin” (1), the essence of what we do has an intimate relation to the essence of Mutō dori. (2)
Sensei said: “When you think there is something, there is nothing; when you think there is nothing, there is something.” Then added, “this is Kanjin Kaname aka Shinshin Shingan.” (3)(4)
I learned two things during this class:
1) this concept of Kanjin kaname belongs to the Takagi Yōshin Ryū and the Kotō Ryū,
2) The Shinshin Shingan, “eyes and mind of the gods”, belongs to the Togakure Ryū.
Sensei played a lot with those concepts moving from taijutsu to Yari and ninja biken as always. He was manipulating his uke like they were nothing, only with one finger. But he repeated that the finger was simply the extension of body movement. I asked him to do it on me, and it was like hitting a wall. Sensei is relaxed and doesn’t seem to move at all, but you cannot get to him. On the contrary, you fly away without reason. Nothing magic here, it is pure taijutsu.
Often when you watch him doing a technique, you think that his uke is faking it. But when you are experiencing it you understand that nothing is faked. You can collect all the Waza you want, if you do not feel it with him, you cannot know. Sensei’s budō is only about feeling.
To get this feeling you have to train correctly, which means that you have to listen and obey. This is what being a disciple is all about. I wish there would be more disciples in the dōjō.
Funnily, this “being a disciple” echoed what he taught on Sunday. Sensei facing the Shinden during the break spoke about Monju Bosatsu. (5)
As you know, there is a statue of the monk Ganjin in the Shinden, made out of ironwood. (6) Inside the statue, there is a hole where Sensei wants to put a statue of Monju Bosatsu. This Bodhisattva is supposed to be Sariputra, the best disciple of Buddha. (7)
Manjusri (skrt) is the Bodhisattva of calligraphy and represents the archetype of the sincere disciple. Maybe we should become sincere disciples.
The calligraphy introducing this post reads “Kamu, Kamu, Kamu, Shinyû, Shinmyō, Aun” This is what he said during class last Sunday. (8)
Not sure that I heard correctly, I asked him to repeat. He said that he would make a calligraphy for me. This is the calligraphy.
Sensei said that “divine power” guide our movements. We must not do anything during the fight, but let the “divine” inspire our actions. There is no good nor bad solution, only a natural movement popping up.
So if you want to get this “natural movement inspired by the gods” into your taijutsu, then behave like Monju Bosatsu, and become a sincere disciple of Hatsumi Sensei.
1. Gokōgoshin / 悟光護心 / read more here
2. Mutō dori / / read more here then here
3. Sensei in his teachings often speaks of Kanjin kaname. And he is using many different meanings depending on what he wants to convey to us.
Kanjin kaname / 肝心要 / main point
Kanjin kaname / 観 神 要 / to see the truth beyond illusion
4. Christian Petrocello wrote “Sôke tells that 心神 心眼, Shinshin
Shingan (mind and God’s eyes) is called Kanjin Kaname” in https://tenryuenglish.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/shinshin-shingan/
On Shinshin Shingan, I wrote in an older post: “the “eyes and spirit of the gods” said sensei during training. But Shingan is also 真贋, (authenticity); and Shinshin being also 心身 (body and mind) we can understand that Tsurugi is the way to becoming fully authentic with our body and mind. Tsurugi is the tool to achieve that. By moving freely in our Taijutsu, we clean ourselves from intention. From an older post (read here)
5. Monju Bosatsu (jap) aka Manjusri (skrt): http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/monju.shtml
Bosatsu = Boddhisattva
6. Ganjin: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jianzhen
7. Sensei wants to put a small statue of Monju Bosatsu into the hole of the statue of Ganjin. Monju is the representation of Sharishi (skrt) aka Sariputra (jap) who was the best disciple of Buddha. The Hannya Shingyō Sutra is a discussion between Sharishi and the Buddha.
8. The first three signs are bonji for “god” or “divine power” (Kamu is like kami). There is no Kanji.
神佑 / Shinyû is the heavenly protection; the divine help
神妙 Shinmyō is in a sense showing meekness in the help of heaven (comment thanks to Doug Wilson)
阿吽 / A Un is 1: (Usually written using kana alone) Om; Aun; syllable representing the primordial trinity of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma; 2: inspiration and expiration; respiration; alpha and omega. Doug Wilson added: ” the a and un are also the balance and the duality of its there its not etc.”