On Asobi, by Magnus Andersson


saitama-8
Playful warriors

Another interesting comment on Asobi by Magnus Andersson.
Thank you for your comments.

For what it’s worth here are my thoughts on asobi. Feel free to use it or dismiss it.

The concept of asobi which Hatsumi sensei use from time to time can easily be dismissed as children’s play or play with the technique in a light-hearted manner. However, it can be more serious than that. To use asobi in the context of a battlefield martial arts should be interpreted in a different way, I believe.

It is not child’s play but rather the activity between reality and unreality, between the real and the unreal. It’s in a way Kyo Jitsu.

When taking a look at the kanji for asobi 遊, we find that the original meaning is also “to wander” or “to go a distance”. Another meaning is “to freely wield (a sword)”, and it is also the very verb (to “play”) that the Chinese use in the idiom “yóurènyǒuyú” which means “to do something skillfully or with ease” or “to move skillfully or easily”.

So could it be that Hatsumi sensei is knowingly or unknowingly asking us to go through the training with skill and to explore the real and unreal in our movement to be able to move more freely and without any preconceived notions? We most certainly need to aim for zero and become one to make it happen.

It could be farfetched, but I don’t think we can afford to take his “play” as anything, but seriously if we want to evolve. I believe you wrote a few years back on your blog that sensei wants us to be “seriously” playful. Could this be what he meant? I leave it to you to figure it out

I know that you and Hatsumi sensei like to play with words, so I leave you with this little pun based on the kanji for asobi…. It is better to be serious in your training and be a yūshi 遊子 a wanderer (of the path) than becoming a lighthearted yūshi 遊士 (a playboy)

Have a pleasant evening.

On Enthalpy by H. Weill


koi8
Young sensei and young arnaud at the Italian Taikai

Dear Arnaud sensei,

Thank you for sharing your thought with us. The idea of enthalpy is interesting, as a chemist myself I appreciate your vision.
I would like to suggest also my opinion.
Hatsumi Sensei speaks firstly on the 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 simpler to recognise a small signal when the level of the noise around it is near. 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 the night. Or why fluorescence 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 separately from the noisy universe we exist in. Thus enabling him to feel Uke’s actions immediately even when the sensory signatures that he makes are infinitesimally small (5). Somewhat similar to the way a spider while being totally motionless feels the action of its prey that was caught in its web.
Also, I feel that Soke speaks about controlling the reality that Uke perceives.

One should remember that what we call “reality” is a processed reconstruction 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 something (e.g. strike with our fist) we calculate the needed force and the length of time of its application to create 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 period 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 ability to determine statistically if a reading received 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 warrior god/god of war, a god that creates a new universe at will in the context of the art of war.

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(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal-to-noise_ratio
(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescence_spectroscopy
(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet%E2%80%93visible_spectroscopy
(4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacetime
(5) http://www.dictionary.com/browse/infinitesimally
(6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_system
(7) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception

Tama, The Sphere Of Zero


img_20161201_120325Gyokko Ryû is an excellent school, profoundly related to the new theme for 2017 of “controlling the space”.

Let me explain. In Sensei’s last class, he spoke about Tama, the Sphere. Tama is also read Gyoku, and Gyoku is the “pearl” find in the name Gyokko. (1)

We read on the Internet that Gyokko is the “jewel tiger”. This is incorrect, Gyokko is the “tiger Pearl” or the “Tiger sphere”.

When we say “zero” we see a circle. But what if “Zero” is not a flat circle, Maru (2), but in fact symbolises the sphere of the controlled space that Sensei is speaking about?

We leave the world of the second dimension of Nijigen no Sekai for the Sanjigen no Sekai, and the sphere of controlled space is created. (3)

My feeling is that this is what Sensei wants is to understand. We are at the centre of this sphere, this is why “zero” he keeps saying that “zero” is not empty.

But as it is often the case in Japanese, there’s more.

Zero is also Mu (4), and Mu is nothingness. Nothingness is the secret to playing in the controlled space. In this space, everything is possible because we are not emitting anything. We are Mushin, free from obstructive thoughts. (5). We do not try to win, we play with the attacker’s intentions. This is Asobi, being playful. (6)

While walking in Kashiwa yesterday, the sign “OIOI” caught my eyes. “OIOI” is a Japanese department store on the platform next to the station. It is pronounced “Marui, marui”, spherical. (7)

Was it a sign from the gods?

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1. 玉/tama/ball; sphere; globe; orb|bead (of sweat, dew, etc.); drop; droplet|ball (in sports)|pile (of noodles, etc.)|bullet|bulb (i.e. a light bulb)|lens (of glasses, etc.)|bead (of an abacus)|ball (i.e. a testicle)|gem; jewel (esp. spherical; sometimes used figuratively); pearl
2. 〇/maru/circle (sometimes used for zero)|’correct’ (when marking)
3. 二次元/nijigen/two dimensions vs 三次元/sanjigen/three dimensions; three-dimensional; 3D; 3-D|(joc) real world; IRL (in real life) +
世界/Sekai/the world; society; the universe|sphere; circle; world|renowned; world-famous; well-known outside of Japan|realm governed by one Buddha; space
4. 無/mu/nothing; naught; nought; nil; zero|un-; non-
5. 無心/mushin/innocence|free from obstructive thoughts
6. 遊び/asobi/playing|play (margin between on and off, gap before pressing button or lever has an effect)
7. 円い/marui/round; circular; spherical|harmonious; calm

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