After a recent class with Hatsumi sensei, we were on the train to Kashiwa with Adonis and Harry Mitrou, the twin brothers from Greece. We were speaking of the training we just had, trying to understand the profound insights that Sensei shared with us.
Sensei said that “controlling the space” was the same with or without weapons, and that whatever the beginning, the end was remaining the same. At some point, Adonis said, “well it is like the Hess’s Law in chemistry”. There was a long silence.
Here is the law: “The law states that the total enthalpy change during the complete course of a chemical reaction is the same whether the reaction is made in one step or several steps. (…) In other words, if a chemical change takes place by several different routes, the overall enthalpy change is the same, regardless of the path by which the chemical change occurs (provided the initial and final condition are the same). (1)(2).
I asked him to be more precise, and he added that if we apply this law to the Bujinkan, we can find that in any technique, like in Hess’s Law, the beginning of the movement is related to the end of it, independently of how many steps we take to do it. Because we control the space, whatever happens in this space leads to the same outcome”.
Sensei said that when we control the space, all of the Uke’s actions are immediately felt once they are expressed. Then it is easy to defeat the attacker as long as we are “zero”, and keep the feeling of Mutō Dori. I know it sounds strange, but it makes sense when you watch Sensei’s movements. I have been Sensei’s Uke a few times in the last classes, and the feeling is that there are no feelings. When you attack him, you face nothingness. There is nothing to hold on. Like a chemical reaction in a glass container, your attacks can unfold there, but they stay in the middle of the controlled space. The theme of Saino Konki comes to mind (3), Utsuwa (Ki) being the controlled space.
Each time I grabbed or attacked Sensei, I felt like being lost, limited in my options, and powerless. The only force that I could feel was the one I used in my attacks. It was like Sensei was not there. It was a weird sensation.
The same goes for Taijutsu or weapons, and Sensei repeated that at this level, there are no techniques, there is only a flow of possibilities entrapped in the controlled space. This is why it didn’t matter if the attack is Taijutsu or weapons.
It is hard to do it, even though when Hatsumi Sensei does it, it seems obvious. Controlling the space appears to be a superior technical layer of ability allowing you to survive any encounter.
It is impressive.
3. 才能 魂 器 “saino konki” or “saino tamashii utsuwa”
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6 thoughts on “Bujinkan Chemical Reaction”
Thank you -as always- for your insights which you share with us. My father was a chemist and his burial will be this week. This is one of the moments when you realize that you can’t ask him anymore about whatsoever. Fortunately there will always be answers – but just given by other people. Therefore I am very grateful for the Bujinkan family.
All my sympathy Gerald. I went through that a few years ago, so I know what you feel. I’m glad you liked the text. AJC
Hi Arnaud sensei, as always I was very fascinated after reading your posts, but the new one above is a little bit specific, because you mentioned the enthalpy and the first thing that came to mind was the thermo dynamic process of a gas/steam turbine. In short the higher the enthalpy difference between the income point and the outcome point of the turbine is, the more energy we can get from the gas/steam.
Possible adaption to bujinkan: if uke is the enthalpy and tori the turbine at its zero modus, than it is possible to extract all energy of uke. This energy is a kinda like self destructive energy for uke…
In short tori is like a gas turbine which work uke’s energy down to 0 by letting pass the gas through each turbine stage …..
Very interesting, and helpful comment. As I am a literature man, I can only agree with you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.
Dear Arnaud sensei,
thank you for sharing your thought with us. The idea of enthalpy is interesting, as a chemist my self i appriciate your vision.
I would like to suggest also my opinion.
Hatsumi sensei speaks firstly on idea of high sensitivity that is mentioned in the words “all of the Uke’s actions are immediately felt once they are expressed.Then it is easy to defeat the attacker as long as we are “zero””.
The concept may come from the idea that it is by far easer to recognize a very small signal when the level of the noise around it is neal. It is a physical concept for signal identification that is called signal to noise ration (SNR) (1). In practice this is the reason one can hear the weakest whisper in the silence of night or why fluorence spectroscopy (that looks for a light signal in the dark) (2) is orders of magnitude more sensitive than UV-vis spectroscopy (the looks for the reduction of an intensity of light source) (3).
To my opinion, at least in part of Hatsumi Sensei words, he talks about creating a subdimension of spacetime (4), a silent mini-universe in which one traps his opponent seperatly from the noisey universe we exit in. Thus enabling him to feel immediatly Uke’s actions even when the sensory sigantures that he make are infinitesimally small (5). Somewaht similar to the way a spider while being totaly motionless feels the action of its pray that was cought in its web.
In addtion, I feel that Soke speaks about controling the realty that Uke perceives.
One should remember that what we call “reality” is a processed reconstraction of spacetime that is built upon the information collected by our sensory system (6). In other words perception (7) and what we learn with time. To do someting (e.g. strike with our fist) we calculate the needed force and the length of time of its application to creat the correct trajectory in spacetime. During the performance of the action our brain receives feedback information from the sensory systems and tries to calculate any needed corrections at that given priod of time.
Here we go back to the term of SNR.The sensory system is eventually a collection of sensors that each one has its one unique SNR – the abilty to detrmine statistically if a reading recieved is a meaningful signal or just an unimportant noise (1). To my opinion Soke teaches us to make our signal to be as close as possible to zero to the visual and somatosensory systems (6) of Uke – this idea is manifested through the concepts of Ku and Kozushi. The first deals, mainly, with Uke’s visual system and the latter with the somatosensory system (touch and proprioception). When one masters the two concepts he is able to avoid the Uke’s sensory systems thus creating a new reality for him, an illusionary one. An illusion that the caster disappears altogether or appears where he is not. Thus disabling Uke from calculating the correct trajectories needed for his actions. With that we can go back to Sokes words: “all of the Uke’s actions are immediately felt once they are expressed.Then it is easy to defeat the attacker as long as we are “zero””
This is in my opinion what stands for the kanji of Bujinkan – the term Bu Kami – the warior god/god of war, a god that creates a new universe at will in context of the art of war.