Kisei: The Devil’s Power Of Details


Men who wish to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details. Heraclitus

Senō sensei showed a very interesting way to hit the attacker and get his balance. As he explained in Saturday, there are many steps hidden within the spaces of a 1, 2, 3 technique. This hit is one of them. Mastering it, will change your taijutsu entirely.

Uke attacks with a right fist and you pivot softly (1),  keep your hips parallel with his. At the same time, you use Naka Dakken, and hit Nagare in a special way.

Naka Dakken is a type of Fudô ken from the Koto ryû. You can see it in sensei’s book “unarmed fighting techniques of the samurai”. In this book, there is a double page with many forms of fists. Study them, they are not there by chance. (2)

To form this fist you put Sui in your palm and top it with Kû (3). You fold the other fingers so that “Ka” and “Fû” are supported by Sui/Kû. This special manner of clenching the first, gives solidity and coherence to the fist during the hit.

The way you use this fist will take uke’s balance. While positioning your hips in the correct distance and position, you hit and “sukui” or scoop the attacking forearm at Nagare. (4) The scooping action has to be done precisely. As Senō sensei said “if you are too light, you don’t take the balance; and if you are too deep, you lose the momentum of the action. The timing of the scooping action has to be fine with the whole body.

When it is done correctly, uke’s balance is broken. Uke’s stops in his attack. The next movement is hitting with the same fist, to Gankotsu, Jûjiro or Murasame.

From there, you end the fight the way you want. Either with a Ganseki type of movement in the left arm; or a Ô Soto Gake on his right side. In fact you apply Ishitobashi, the skipping stone concept taught by Sensei since last summer. (5)

I hope this very detailed explanation will help you improve your general taijutsu. As we say, the “devil is hiding in the details.”

In our case,  棄世, Kisei (death), leads to 気精, the power of the devil (spirit) is what gives strength and vigor to our actions. (6) (7)

Details are important. 
1. Depending on the distance, Senō sensei explained that you either step forward or backward. The body movement is like a dance movement, you are one with your partner. It’s nearly magnetic. 
2. Everything that is in Sensei’s books is there for a reason. It is not only to fill the pages. 
3. The five fingers follow the order of the Gogyō from the pinky (Chi) to the thumb (Kû). 
4. 掬う/sukû/to scoop; to ladle out. This is sukui. 
5. 石飛ばし/ishitobashi/skipping stones (on a body of water); skimming stones. 
6. 棄世/kisei/death
7.  気/ki/spirit; mind; heart|nature; disposition|motivation; intention|mood; feelings|atmosphere; essence. 
精/sei/spirit; sprite; nymph|energy; vigor (vigour); strength|fine details|seven.

What Answer For 2016?


In this article I want to share some of my thoughts on my understanding of Sōke’s vision. It will seem quite esoteric to most of you. Please forgive me.

On Sunday, at the end of the class, Sensei gave a little speech.  Amongst many subjects, he announced the theme for 2016.

Without surprise the theme is “42”. Sensei explained that the Taikai commemorating Takamatsu sensei’s passing anniversary that will take place on the 2nd of April 2016 will be the beginning of a new cycle of 42 years.

Takamatsu sensei died on the 2nd of April 1972. The 2nd of April 1973 was the first year of the 42-year cycle that ended this year, in 2015.

The year 2016, he said, will be the beginning of a new cycle of 42 years. I already wrote about the symbol of “42” that we find in many ancient esoteric traditions. (1)

Sensei said that it took him 42 years to master what he had received from his beloved teacher. He added, half joking, that, for a long time, he understood nothing (that gives hope to many of us).

Now, is the time for a new beginning. The new Honbu inaugurated on the 22nd of February of 2015 was the end of the previous cycle. When the new dōjō opened, Sensei told us that it symbolized the beginning of a new era for the Bujinkan.
The following is how I understand the logic of the 42-year cycles.

Last year, I wrote that the date of the inauguration of the new Honbu, might not be accidental but chosen on purpose.

As you know, Hatsumi Sensei and the Japanese love numerology. And Sensei is definitely very Japanese in this respect,  and love to play with numbers, symbols and spirituality.

So we have two dates: the opening of the new Honbu on February 22nd, 2015; and the Taikai on April 2nd, 2016.
Both can be translated with “69”.

In numerology, the 22nd of February (02) is 6; and 2015, the 27th year of Heisei is 2+7 or 9. This is “69”, or Roppō Kuji (2), which is another representation of Inyō (yin-yang). (3)  You might have noticed that the concept of Inyō is deeply rooted into the Bujinkan system.

The date of the Taikai is 04/02/2016 which is another “69”. (4)

The old cycle of 42 years that ended in 2015 (based on the Heisei calendar), is reborn in the modern times, next April 2016 (based on the Gregorian calendar).

The previous 42-year cycle was the one of Takamatsu Sensei; the new cycle will be the one of Hatsumi Sensei. And it will be our duty to carry on his teachings, the way he did with the ones he received from Takamatsu Sensei.

This way of understanding reality, might look weird to us westerners, but knowing Sensei, I would not be surprised that this is the kind of thought process, he went through to come up with this new theme.

The new 42-year cycle that will begin in 2016, is another Roppō Kuji (69 or yin-yang). Symbolically, the old world gives way to the new world.

For me, it is his way to tell us that, starting next year, he is going to leave the future of the Bujinkan to us. He is doing what Takamatsu did for him in 1971 when he inherited the nine schools.

The circle is completed: this is “maru no ichi”. (5)

1. The answer “42” that became famous with the book “the Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” is one amongst many. You don’t need mice. Check this article to know more:
2. Roppō Kuji was the theme of 2004. It was also the year of Yûgen no Sekai,  the  “world of ghosts”. 幽玄/yuugen/subtle grace; hidden beauty; yugen; mysterious profundity; elegant simplicity; the subtle and profound; the occult
3. 陰陽/inyō/cosmic dual forces; yin yang; sun  moon, etc.
4. This is also “69” because 2nd of April (04) is 2+4 = 6; and 2016 is 2+1+6 = 9. 
5. Maru no ichi was the name of Takamatsu sensei’s restaurant in Kobe. This is also another name for Inyō.