When you go out for a trek in the mountains, you carry a backpack. Everything you might need during the long hours of walking is inside.
When you pack it, you select the content and organize it. You know precisely where every object is:
socks, clothes, sleeping bag, map, compass, knife, rope, gloves, rain jacket, torchlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, food, water bottle, etc.
And often, you don’t use all the things you packed for your trek. You carry them in case you might need them
The Bujinkan program is like a backpack, except that often, your bag is half empty! It is half empty because you weren’t given a chance to know what to put into it. What you need is a set of necessary and useful techniques that you can adapt to any situation. This is what the tenchijin is about.
The Bujinkan comprises nine different Ryūha (1), which makes it quite complex to learn.
When you learn a single Ryū, the basics, the technical levels are all given in a somewhat logical system. You have a set of tools to help students to learn the correct way step by step. These tools are called scrolls.
In a Ryū you have the Ten no Maki, the Ryū no Maki, the kotsu (or kurai dori), the taihenjutsu, the kamae, the densho (2), the e-densho, the kudensho, and the Juppō Sesshō. (3)(4) A Ryū details a specific approach to actual combat. But nine Ryū regroups several different methods to fight on the battlefield. They all have their specificity. That is why Hatsumi Sensei has regrouped them in a modern tool that he called the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki. See the Tenchijin as the first level to get Hatsumi Sensei’s style of Budō. The nine Ryūha are the source for it, and also exercises to understand his way of training, his specific flow. (5)
The Tenchijin is your backpack, and you have to know it so well that you don’t think when you use it. It has to become second nature, like when you are riding a bike or swimming.
You have to use what naturally is in your backpack. To me, the Tenchijin is the expression of the “Hatsumi Ryū.” After reading this, ask yourself: “do I have a full backpack?”
Have a good trek!
Funny note: Did you know that Japanese call the ebooks, “densho”? (6)
1 流派, Ryūha; school (e.g. of ikebana)
2 伝書, Densho; book or scroll that has been handed down through generations; a book of secrets. Depending on the Ryū, there are 3,5, 9, or more densho. They detail the Waza from the beginner to the advanced practitioner
3 I already explained this structure in a previous post on this blog. And what is the purpose of each scroll. But this is not the goal of this article
4 十方折衝, Juppō Sesshō can be understood as the essence of a system. For example, the Juppō Sesshō of Gyokko Ryū is the Sanshin no Kata. That is why it is so hard to master it.
5 流, Ryū; Way; style; manner. Or school (of thought). Or flow; stream
6 電書, Densho; electronic book; e-book; ebook