Mutō Dori Is Happiness

Thank you Sensei for the gift of happiness!

What I like about this period of the year here at the Honbu, is the happiness emitting from Sensei. His classes resemble more a family gathering than a Budō training. In fact, we don’t train that much, and we have long breaks.

Everyone has now reached the highest Bujinkan ranks. So those travelling to Japan come only to pay their respects to Sensei. The group has been the same since I attended my first DKMS in 1990. And I know that many other friends are on their way to be here for the second of December. (1)

Sensei teaches a Way of Life. Our presence for his birthday is our way to thank him for a gift he has been giving for 50 years. (2)

What we receive in Japan is not only about technique, it is about learning to live a happy life. “Be Happy!” he keeps repeating. Happiness reveals itself when duality disappears. It is a simple process, even if many don’t see it (or don’t understand it). The Bujinkan is teaching us “inner freedom”.

Ashtavakra said:
By inner freedom one attains happiness.
By inner freedom, one reaches the Supreme.
By inner freedom one comes to the absence of thought.
By inner freedom to the Ultimate State.॥50॥ (3)

Sensei said that “beyond philosophies and religions lies the Mutō Dori no Sekai, the world of Mutō Dori.” (4) That is a level that transcends Waza and Kankaku (feeling), thinking and analysis. That leads to inner freedom, a no man’s land where everything happens naturally. Natural movement generates happiness and happiness generates natural movement.

That is why during the week before his birthday, Hatsumi Sensei looks so happy. There is no more agenda or expectations, it is about living in the “Nakaima”, the middle of now. (5)

When you look at him seated on the mats with us, you feel his pure joy of being in the middle of many of his “kids”. We are what he helped us to become.

For me, to see him so happy is the best present we can give him. He gave us so much. This particular time of the year is our way to pay him back for what he has given. Our presence around him expresses this inner freedom of Mutō Dori that he is teaching.

Thank you Sensei for these 50 years,
Thank you for giving us the Mutō Dori no Sekai to find happiness.
1- Dai Komyō Sai aka DKMS is Hatsumi sensei’s birthday party. He was born on December 2nd, 1931 in Noda.
2- The Bujinkan celebrates 50 years this year. I have been in the Bujinkan since 1984. That is more than 33 years ago.
4- Mutō Dori no Sekai: 無刀取りの世界, the world of Mutō Dori
5- Nakaima: 中今, Shinto concept of the present (esp. as a privileged moment in eternity)

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