Can You Spend 22 Cts/day For Your Art?


KOI MARTIAL ART

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Since I was a kid, I always loved libraries. At home, I have more than 2600 books (I read them all). I love books.

But this is the 21st century and new tools are now available for those who want to develop their knowledge. This is why I’m writing e-books and streaming videos.

Our streaming unit was created in India in 2010 but the UI was not very good. So after many months of hard work, we have finally launched the new Koi Martial Art streaming platform.

Koi Martial Art gives you access to nearly 2000 techniques of the Bujinkan.

Our Online Bujinkan Library as I like to call it, regroups:

  • ALL unarmed combat techniques from the Bujinkan Ryūha: Koto, Gyokko, Shinden Fudō, Takagi Yōshin, Kukishin, Togakure.
  • ALL weapons: kunai, shotō, katana, tachi, tsurugi, hanbō, jō, bō, yari, naginata, manriki gusari, nawa.
  • ALL basics and fundamentals of the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki.
  • All Buki Waza basics of the major weapons.

For less than 22 cents per day (i.e. 80 euros/year), you can review and remember any technique of the Bujinkan.

Videos are better than texts because they show you more than a description.
Our 80 Go of videos will help your training better than any book.

But Koimartialart doesn’t replace the regular training in your dōjō, with your qualified instructor. Koimartialart is not an online course; it is just a new tool fitting the way we live today.

Our new platform plays equally on any computer (PC, Apple, Chromebook), tablet, or smartphone.

Join today!

Katana Is Not For Beginners


Biken 12 (1)We often hear that Katana is not for beginners. Obviously, when you begin training, training with a metallic sword would create more problems than giving solutions.

My advice in this is to limit the use of metal weapons, to the black belt or Shidōshi.

I have been using a real sword since the nineties, and I cut myself a few times, although not terribly.

My point here is that, even if you’re an experienced practitioner, there is always a risk to get cut when using live weapons.

A weapon is a weapon, and it doesn’t know if you’re a good guy or a bad guy. A live arm will behave like a live weapon and do as a live weapon do.

In my dojo, I prefer the students to use padded and wooden weapons, as it is safer for practice.

Students are expected to have three different type of “sword,” each one being used for various situations and parts of the training.

Each weapon has benefits and inconveniences; I am reviewing them with you now.

Padded weapons:
They are the best for learning the waza with a partner.

Positive side: you can be able to move it in your exchange with your opponent.

Negative side: padded weapons are often round in diameter which prevents you from knowing where the cutting edge is.
This is the major drawback to using padded weapons.

Training note: always match the type of padded arms to avoid accidents. Bamboo against bamboo, foam against foam, plastic against plastic. The resistance of the components of your padded weapons should be a perfect match.

Wooden weapons:
They are the best when you need to feel the momentum of the attack, the quality of your counters, or of the blocking of the assault.

Positive side: the weight of the weapon is developing your awareness of the momentum. As it is shaped like a real blade you know when you are using the cutting edge, the side, or the back of the blade.

Negative side: you might crush your knuckles or uke’s fingers. When I was a beginner, it happened to me quite a lot. Honestly, I think it is useless as it is slowing down the speed of the exchange with your partner.

Training Note: use a Tsuba to protect the fingers. We’re not training Aikidō. Add a scabbard to learn Nuki gatana.

The non-sharp metallic weapon is the real thing as it has the look and feel of a real sword.

Positive side: the weight is correct and teaches you not to overdo your movements (momentum, balance). Also, the sori (curvature of the blade) gives more than when doing the techniques. The scabbard becomes part of the art of swordsmanship.

Negative side: even if your blade is not sharp, a Tsuki will stab your partner.

Training note: avoid to buy a cheap one as it often has a poor balance.

For the advanced practitioners, if you buy a real sword, make sure it is not a modern sword designed for cutting straw poles. These swords do cut well, but they do so because they are modified with extra weight in the head of the blade. So it will not teach you the proper way to use a Japanese sword. Also, consider that buying a real sword is, financially, worth a few trips to Japan.

The title of this article says that “Katana is not for beginners.” I would add that Katana is not for training whatever your technical level.

There is another aspect to keep in mind. You need to take care of a live blade.
At the beginning of my Bujinkan training, I had an excellent friend who was a professional sword polisher. He studied sword polishing in Japan. I spent a lot of time with him in his shintō workshop (the area is like a shrine). There, I could feel and hold dozens of real blades.
When you have an actual Japanese sword, every year or so, you have to bring it to the polisher and pay a few hundred euros or dollars to get it sharpened, remove the rust, and to get it realigned.

Now, if you wish to get one, do it, but it means that you won’t train in Japan with Sōke for a long time.

Is it worth it?

Black Belt Comes With Responsibilities


sutemi

It is important to understand the responsibilities that are bestowed upon you when you become a black belt.

In the Bujinkan, it is easy to get a black belt after three to four years of regular practice. But things are more complicated than you think. When you train in the martial arts you are on a quest for yourself, you are not only training to get a reward.

A black belt comes with responsibilities. Too often, I see students freshly promoted to Shodan, stopping their training. Before they achieved this “precious rank”, they were attending every class. Today, we hardly see them during practice. And when they come, it is to teach their lack of knowledge to those who are still in the process of getting it.

The real training begins when you get the black belt. Everything else is a total misconception.
For the Japanese, becoming a black belt means that you are accepted in the dojo as a beginner. You still move poorly, but your teacher, your sensei, recognized that you have acquired the fundamentals of the given martial art that you have elected. Shodan is the first step.

Before it is like kindergarten, you learn how to read, write, and do basic maths.

As a result, it is not uncommon, to see only beginners training in the dojo and not so many black belts. Even though, the dojo has many of them. Suddenly, they do not have to attend training, as regularly as when they were trying to get this black belt.

In French, we have this saying “noblesse oblige”, (a translation could be “Nobility obliges your actions”). It comes from feudal times but remains still valid today. As a black belt (a nobleman), you have a duty. You must behave as an example to the beginners (the ordinary people).

Whether you think of yourself as being a samurai or a ninja, it doesn’t matter. What does matter actually in the dōjō, is that your Black Belt forces you to excellence. The ancient Japanese Samurai called that your “duty.” This duty is better known to martial arts practitioner as 限 “giri,” the sense of duty and honor. (1)

In the Modern world, a Samurai would be the equivalent to an army’s officers.
In the military, an officer leads by example in front of his men. He demands what he can do.

As a black belt, you should behave like an officer, when you are on the mats and be an example for everyone.

Having a good technical level is expected of you, but having high ethics and morality, commitment and resiliency is even more important.
These values are showing that through training, you have developed as a human being. It indicates that intense practice has impacted your attitude in life. But if you are a black belt and not attending class anymore, how can you show it? How can it last?

As I said above, the Shodan is the first step in your progression. When are you going to begin to climb the staircase to excellence, if you are not attending classes regularly?

The Hagakure, says that what is expected from a Samurai is to “live today as if it was your last day.”
So, next time you are on the mats, keep that in mind and train as if it was your last day.

The Bujinkan is like water, if you don’t keep training, it will evaporate, and your diploma will simply be a meaningless piece of paper.

Be Responsible!

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1. Giri: duty; sense of duty; honor; honour; decency; courtesy; debt of gratitude; social obligation

Photo by Cédric Le Goff, Annecy, France