On Asobi, by Magnus Andersson

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

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.

(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

Not Wanting, In Order To Get It!

collage_glassclockBeing a student of the Bujinkan Martial Arts system is not easy and requires a lot of commitment. You have to keep the connection with everything, learn, memorize, and always be eager to improve your skills. This is a long path but it is worth it.
The life of a Bujinkan practitioner can be seen as a glass of water in which you pour the desired quantity of liquid. The water level in the glass will only depends on you.
If you want to drink water, you will have to define three things:
How much water do you have in the jug.
How thirsty you are.
How big the glass is.
If we compare the glass of water to training, we can see the Bujinkan martial arts like a huge jug of water. First you have to understand that it is your responsibility to “drink” it (and not your teacher’s).
A teacher is like the jug of water. A sensei is an older practitioner who has been thirsty long before you (see the meaning of sensei)*; and who learnt to quench his thirst. Because he “experienced” this, he is now capable of explaining it to you. But if you are not thirsty or committed to learn, you will not drink. Whatever you chose to do is always your choice. Your sensei will not be thirsty for you.
Your brain can “drink” more than you think as long as you believe you can learn and improve. Even if you have a small glass you can learn a lot, you simply have to refill the glass many times until your thirst is satisfied. But to be satisfied requires high expectations. Sadly many students stop training after black belt because this is what they wanted (low expectations). But Shodan is nothing, it is only the beginning. Be thirsty!
This “water sanshin” of  the “jug-thirst-glass” is another way to understand the concept of Sainô Konki (ability-soul-container). The soul wants to drink and prepares the glass (container) to receive the ability (water) through long training because the path is long.
The Bujinkan path follows three steps:
1) learn the basic forms (kihon, waza);
2) turn them into situations (kata),
3) in order to forget them and to be yourself.**
Before forgetting the forms you have to remember a lot of them. Your kamae (attitude) in that respect, is important. If you don’t pay attention to the details and go with the “in ninjutsu we can do anything we want” that we often hear, then you will go nowhere. You have to be curious of everything. As Richard Whately said “Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory.”
Without curiosity/attention/memory you will simply mimick the movements and never reach the ura of things. What Hatsumi sensei is teaching
us is not a set of techniques but an ability to discover and understand the world by ourself. This is why kokoroe is vital. You have to learn and memorize.
Everyone one of us uses clocks, watches, or a phone to know the time, but when those tools are missing (or more likely when the batteries
are dead) do you know how to estimate the time and direction like a real ninja?*** I guess not: this is what “curiosity” is about, always having a “plan B” for everything you do.
When in the army I learnt those things, and even today where GPS devices are available, we still train with the compass and the map.
This the “just in case Murphy was right” attitude.****
In the Bujinkan we have a huge collection of techniques (our “jug of water”).
The techniques are first taught as basics in the Tenchijin. This is our compass and map. But then the second step is to learn them “anew” in their  original Ryû. Now, even though some of  these fighting techniques are included in the basic Tenchijin that we studied, they change completely when reinserted in their original system. A Ryû presents the waza in a very specific order because in each level the second technique is the evolution of the first; the third of the second etc. Ignoring that will get you misled and you will never get the kokoroe***** of fighting in this specific system.
One you have done that with the Tenchijin and the Ryûha, and with the weapons you are entering the third level of training where things are not decided but come naturally to you. You have learnt to surf the flow of possibilities and became able to survive by your own ability. But until you reach this third level, everything you will try to do will be unnatural, forced and lack nagare. Someone once said: “How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?”. And this is exactly where you will arrive if you forget before studying; think before act; and want before accepting the natural flow of the Universe.
The Universe is there to serve you as long as your ego is not in the way. Stop with the “I want to do a natural technique” and move to “I flow with nature”. Remember the concept of 真如, Shinyô (the ultimate nature of all things)******
*先生, sensei means “the (one) born (in the art) before (you).
** do you remember the last glass of water you drank? no, once you drank it, you forgot about it. Techniques are the same, you learn them to forget them more efficiently.
*****kokoroe is knowledge (see previous posts)
******Shinyo (tathatâ in sanskrit).  In “Advanced Stick Fighting”, book by Hatsumi sensei, P38, Kodansha Edition or the definition here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tathat%C4%81

Genkaku no Sekai

This is an illusion! it is not me.
In Japanese 幻覚 genkaku is illusion or hallucination. This is the “gen” from genjutsu.
But when you try to understand what illusion really is, or why reality is considered an illusion, you need to get some advice from our elders. Plato has always been one of my favorite philosopher and today I stumbled upon this sentence that made me think a lot about this “illusion/reality” duality. I know now that where there is duality there is lack of unity, and unity is what we are looking for in the Bujinkan. So I tried to unite this dual aspect. 


“A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true”.

Asian philosophies (and many others) have taught us that the world in which we live is not “reality”, that it is “illusion”. And we’ve all accepted it, thinking: “if those clever Asian guys said it so long ago, it must be true”. But is it really true? And here, Plato, who wasn’t really from Asia, helps us understand it better.

The “relative emotional values” (REV) he is referring to are created by ourselves (brain, education, ego) and these REV, in fact, act like shields preventing us from seeing clearly was we have in front of us. It is because we are unable to see correctly with the 心神心眼, shinshin shingan (the eyes and the mind of the gods) that we are stuck in the world of illusion*.

The first problem is that people have accepted this and are happy with it, not trying to see beyond the veil. They know it is wrong but they are too lazy to even try to change it. This is the same in the dôjô, where many come from an illusion of what ninjutsu is and once taught properly stay or leave the dôjô because they do not want to change their initial wrong vision.

The second problem is the concept of “morality”. And the main issue is that the concept of morality bears many definitions** if it refers to onself, the group/family, the city, the country, etc. But whatever morality is, is it still morality when based upon emotions? No.

Our emotions are flawed and make us see things different from what they are. Therefore when morality derives from emotions that are based upon our inability to see reality; what we obtain is a “system of morality” that is not able to provide us with the tools to survive in the real world. The Chinese were the first to understand the difference between theory and praxis. Apparently this system of morality is only theoretical and not at all practical.

So I would rephrase Plato’s sentence and say instead: “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values defines a theoretical reality, and a practical illusion”.

We do not live in 幻覚の世界, genkaku no sekai (the world of illusion) but in 現実の世界, genjitsu no sekai (the world of reality). The Bujinkan is an art based solely on practical reality.

 * This is the blue pill/red pill of the Matrix movies

得心 or 心得 (kokoroe 2)

 hscollageI do not speak Japanese but I love to “understand” the meaning of Japanese kanji.

This is one of the many things I learnt from Sensei during all these years.
Today, a friend sent me an interesting comment about “kokoroe” (cf. recent post). Kokoroe, “knowledge” is written 心得 shin/kokoro + u/toku. But when the two kanji of “kokoroe” are reversed: i.e. 得心,  it is “tokushin” and means “understanding”. So knowledge is also about understanding Nature and Life.
This is good but it gets better!
The sound of the first kanji “toku” in tokushin can be written with different kanji and have different meanings in Japanese. For example, we all know that  Karate, 空手 (“empty hand” today) used to be written Karate 唐手, Chinese boxing before Funakoshi Sensei changed it to have it accepted as a Japanese Budô at the end of the 19th century. Obviously a Chinese fighting system couldnt have recognized as a Japanese Budô.
So for “tokushin”, if we keep the sound but change the kanji, we get three interesting meanings.
1) The regular toku: 得, is the kanji we used so far, and it means “benefit or gain”. This is the one in tokushin, but change it (same sound) and you obtain (toku) two other interesting meanings which are:
2) Toku: 匿. This “toku” means shield. Tokushin then can also mean that our mind/heart is shielding us, protecting us from the outside world. Kokoroe, going from Omote to Ura is protecting us from what is bad or wrong. Because through hard training we reach the level where we obtain (toku) the “intuitus” (see “intuitus” in blog), or the awareness and ability to see through; we are protected.
But there is more, and I was totally amazed with what I discovered.
3) This last “toku” written 徳, becomes “benevolence”! In the post on Kokoroe, I quoted Takamatsu sensei writing about “Jihi no Kokoro”, the “benevolent heart”. This new kanji gives a deeper interpretation of the above mentioned text by Takamatsu sensei. In a way, we can see that tokushin (written Toku no Kokoro  得の心) is conceptually similar to Jihi no Kokoro (慈悲の心).
The Bujinkan art is not about war, assasination; it is about peace and this new Sanshin made out of “kokoroe, tokushin, and jihi no kokoro” is there to help us achieving this “benevolent heart” through long study. The only thing to do to get that is to commit oneself to the art. Ranks are nothing if they are not supported by high skills. Training is the key and will lead to true knowledge, the knowledge of the heart!
Takamatsu sensei confirms it when he writes: “Personal enlightenment can only come about through total immersion in the martial tradition as a way of living. By experiencing the confrontation of danger, the transcendence of fear of injury or death, and a working knowledge of individual personal powers and limitations, the practitioner of Ninjutsu can gain the strength and invincibility that permit enjoyment of the flowers moving in the wind, appreciation of the love of others, and contentment with the presence of peace in society.
Peace is our goal, and Ninpô our tool.
Remember that “Budô is not made in Japan, it is made in Human” (Hatsumi sensei). And this is why the Bujinkan path is open to anyone with a pure heart.

Kokoroe And Jihi no Kokoro

hsjihiIn Japanese  心得 knowledge is kokoroe. Interestingly it is made up of two kanji 心, “shin” which is kokoro (heart, mind) and 得, “u” that has the meaning of: to get; to acquire; to obtain; to earn; to win; to gain; to secure. 

Therefore, acquiring kokoroe (knowledge) is seen by the Japanese as obtaining things through a better heart, a better mind and not “intellectual knowledge” as we see it in the West. 
And this definition reminds me of what Takamatsu sensei in wrote in a text called: “Essence of Ninjutsu”, in which he defines the 慈悲の心, the jihi no kokoro or “benevolent heart” of the ninja. 
He writes: “Stronger than love itself, the benevolent heart is capable of encompassing all that constitutes universal justice and all that finds expression in the unfolding of the universal scheme. Born of the insight attained from repeated exposure to the very brink between life and death, the benevolent heart of Ninpo is the key to finding harmony and understanding in the realms of the spiritual and natural material worlds”
But then, if knowledge is linked to the heart it is not linked to the learning of waza and kata. This benevolent heart will develop through therepetition of these waza and kata but these forms are only the Omote and not the ura. Over the last thirty years I have trained an lot in order to understand and master the forms of theBujinkan but in the process I noticed that these forms ans techniques were not tthe answer. In fact the more I train in Japan the more I iunderstand that there is nothing more important than the feeling of the situation.
So we we come to see a huge paradox. We have to learn the forms in order to discover what lies beyond them. It is similar to trekking where the next hill might unveil a fantastic panorama. But before reaching this hilltop there is no indication of what lies behind. Walking the path of the Bujinkan you will come to understand this type of thing and be able to apply them in your daily lives. 
The Benevolent heart of the Bujinkan is not something you can learn, it is given to you once you have polished your “brain knowledge” to turn it into a “heart knowledge”. And when you think about it, the concepts developed by Hatsumi sensei over the years, such as: “feeling, no strength, no waza, be happy, don’t think etc, make a lot of sense.
If you want to develop the 慈悲の心, jihi no kokoro, learn the forms, train hard, then destroy the forms and feel the moment; and do not rely too much on your knowledge. 
As Sensei repeated many times: “in a real fight, a waza will get you killed!”
*benevolent heart: http://www.winjutsu.com/source/hatsumi.html

A Fantastic Day (part 2)

2013-12-01 12.18.11This post was originally posted directly on my Facebook page on December 2nd in Japan.
It follows https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/a-fantastic-day-part-1/
A Fantastic Day (part 2)
But reducing sensei’s movements to those of a puppet master, does not show the “simple intricacy” of his teachings.
Sensei at 84 moves like he is half this age. In fact he once again spoke about the 42-year cycle (see my blog on 42). Later during lunch he mentioned it again and repeated that this year is the end of a 42-year cycle. This end is the beginning of another one beginning next year. As a joke he added that this should let him reach 120 years of age!

The main thing during the class was what he said about Mu no Kûkan. Mu no Kûkan is the zero power of the previous class that expresses the Seishin no jutsu (see previous entries).

When able to manifest this Mu no Kûkan the practitioner doesn’t apply any given waza. He is only surfing on the waves of intentions of the adversary. This is the third edge of the sanshin triangle detailed in the first part of this article. In fact the Sakki experienced during the Sakki test is the perfect illustration of this. The receiver and the emitter are somehow connected and the flow of energy is going both ways. You don’t give the sakki you connect yourself to the Sakki existing in any sentient being.

This is about relation. Without it the only thing happening is a bump on the head followed by a big headache.

Sensei spoke a lot about this connection. He said that once reactivated the Sakki should pulse permanently. The test is only there to reveal it to yourself. There’s no magic only natural understanding of what a human is. When you are in a middle of a fight you don’t fight. You control and secure every angle, but you keep a Mushin state of mind. You do not try to do anything. You don’t want to do anything specific.

Sensei going deeper in his explanations commented that it is important to hide your understanding and not to reveal yourself too much. Be aware that most of your daily fights will not be physical. They will happen at the if office, in your daily lives. If you do not develop this Sakki you’ll end up having an unhappy life.

For many years Hatsumi sensei has tried to make us accept and find happiness in our lives. In fact this is for me the most important part of his teaching. I will always remember this one class where he came to me during training and told me that he had decided to live a happy life. And he added: ” and you should try it too!”.  Since then I’ve tried to be happier. It is not always simple but when you understand that happiness is often only a moment, then it is possible to get it.

A moment of happiness is similar to a cloudy sky. At some point the clouds split and you can enjoy the light of the sun for a few minutes. Learn to recognize these moments and to enjoy them.

A moment of happiness is exactly what he offered to a group of us yesterday after the class when we went to eat together in Noda. This was what made this day such a fantastic one.

Read here the last part A Fantastic Day (part 3)

Thank You for the Magic, Sensei!

hsmagic14On the 28th of January 2014 we will be entering the year of horse of wood. This will be my third year of the horse in the Bujinkan like it has been the case on 27th of January 1990 and on the 12th of February 2002.  I see this third occurrence as some kind of Sanshin.
Every year of the horse that happened always brought for me some major outbreak.

Horse 1990. This is the year when I came to Japan for the first time and I experienced this as an epiphany. Everything I saw during my first stay in Japan inside and outside of the dojo was like magic: to train with Sensei in Japan; to meet with the Japanese Shihan; and to discover Japan and getting a taste of true Japanese culture.

Horse 2002. With “Menkyo Kaiden” or 面 虛 怪 伝 as the yearly theme. Somehow the primitive magic of 1990 was gone but a new magic was arriving, a magic leaving the sole mechanical movements to enter something more mental, more spiritual.  Techniques are easy but this evolution (revolution), this new paradigm was much more difficult and impossible to grasp. Menkyô Kaiden introduced us to a reality that existed behind reality; it introduced us to a 世界 sekai (world, society, universe) that existed only beyond the physical world. Please remember that 2002 was the last year of  Budô Taijutsu and that Sensei was preparing us to grasp the pure magic of the realm of Juppô Sesshô opening in 2003. The year 2002 can be actually considered as Juppô Sesshô 101.
Horse 2014. I don’t know exactly why but I have the feeling that this new horse, will bring us another one of Sensei’s conundrums. And this transmission will undoubtedly bring us deeper into his magic. Trying to understand Hatsumi sensei’s Sekai through our occidental preformatted minds is useless and will never lead you to get the 極意, gokui (essential point, essence) of what he is showing and explaining.
The year of the horse in the Bujinkan  reminds me of the story of the Kachi mushi, “the dragonfly holding the tail of the horse will travel further and faster”. This story has been repeated over and over by Sensei. This is a metaphorical story. The dragonfly never flies backwards and therefore was assimilated to victory by the Samurai. But in Sensei’s perspective, it is not only that but also that by training with him, we become this dragonfly and go further and faster at his running speed. We are the insects and Sensei/Bujinkan is the horse we are holding on to.
We have been holding the Bujinkan tail for many years now and with the help of  Sensei’s unstructured system we have come to understand several sekai (worlds) of magic. But if Sensei is the horse and we are the insects, the “tail” is our excuse to evolve.
The tail is only a tool, don’t worship it. The Bujinkan is the tail, it is not the horse!

His magic is revealed and demonstrated in each class. But how many bujinkan members are really able to see that what he is teaching us goes far beyond a mere collection of waza and fighting skills? Not so many I guess and this is a pity.

But for those able to see, this is how we learned to see through the illusions of “reality”. The “real” world is not WYSIWYG, it is more like WYSIDNWYG (what you see is definitely not what you get)!
In fact what Sensei teaches is true genjutsu 幻術 (magic). Sensei used to repeat during class that we were all “doctors”, now I understand that we are all becoming “magicians” if we train properly under him and see the world through kanjin kaname 観 神 要 “to see the truth through kyojitsu”, the magical reality is ours.
Thank you Sensei for these magical gifts that you have displayed for us to take! I cannot wait for this new year of magical discoveries.
Thank you for the magic!

Nagare Is Important to Nagare

sven141The year 2014 began a few days ago and after wishing everyone a happy new year it is time to get back to the dôjô.
As Sensei didn’t give us yet, the theme for the year of the horse of wood, I have decided to begin the year by digging a little more into the concept of  流れ, nagare (stream, current, flow).
Everything we do on the mats is related to this concept.
When I announced that I would focus on 流れ, I was surprised to receive immediately a message from my dear friend Sven saying: “This is interesting Arnaud, my intent exact. Nagare (flow) is my “new beginning” for the day seminar the 4th January”.
Even though I’ve been training in the Bujinkan for 30 years, I can’t help being amazed when this type of coincidence happens. This is not the first time and surely not the last.
To begin the year with 流れ, nagare was somehow quite logical for me. It was like an obvious choice. Hatsumi sensei has been teaching footwork for many years emphasizing the importance of distance and “no strength”. When you look at how those different concepts mingle together, the word 流れ nagare comes to mind immediately. Because if you position yourself correctly by using the adequate footwork then there is no need for strength and the movements flow naturally from the situation. The Bujinkan is 流れ, nagare.
Nagare is THE answer. But when you look at  a class you notice that Bujinkan students are often stuck in a 1, 2, 3 way of moving. It seems more like a bad “kata” than a real flow of action. At beginner’s level, to study the 1,2,3 steps is necessary in order to learn the sequence and to absorb it correctly within the body. But with the development of expertise if you don’t go there you end up mimicking movements that have nothing to do with actual reaction in a real fight.
We, teachers, have a strong responsibility here. We have to teach the forms but also to teach in a formless manner. Now, this second phase of the learning process can only be achieved when the forms are known. Forms cannot be avoided. Formlessness comes from well known forms.
The nagare is transmitted through, what the Japanese call Kûden. A Kûden is not a secret, it is only the expanation allowing the practitioner to get rid of the form so that he/she can enter the world of natural movement. In a way, Kûden can be seen as the didascaly*, the notes of the author of a play adds to the text to help the actors undersand the situation, the feelings and the ambiance when acting on stage. The play doesn’t need it, but the actors will play better with the help of the didascaly included in between the dailogues.
So 流れ nagare will be my study apporach in the first seminars of  2014. And as we are going to have a new Honbu Dôjô in Japan in April, we can see that the year 2014 will be a new start for the Bujinkan getting finally recognized for what it is, a sytem created to render us responsible and mature. And the maturing process is also nagare 名枯れ (reputation growing up, maturing).
Enjoy the year of the horse of wood, and don’t get confused with the wooden horse which either has been used by kids to play, or by the Greeks to get rid of the Trojan!
Tomorrow go and train nagare with Sveneric Bogsater in Deventer (holland) if you are in the area.

A fantastic day part 1

2013-11-01 18.46.50Sunday will stay in my memory as one of these days that makes life enjoyable.
The sky was blue and the weather good, the air crispy. I attended the first class of the day with Noguchi who did his magic again, using the 3rd level of Shinden Fudô Ryû. As he has been doing it how for nearly a year he revisit these well known Techniques but twists them in a new manner so much that I’m totally lost. I love it!
We did some donkey kicking (uma geri?) in all directions to Uke’s legs (front or back leg) with both hands on the ground and also hiting the body at tenchijin levels depending on the distance.
We did some “shoehorn” technique where we hit butsumetsu with the forefinger turning it into a fist after impact. Some kind of Niken waza.
We used the whole karada (body) turning inside or outside uke in a Uzumaki sort of move and delivering multiple hits: fist, elbow, fist…

Then it was sensei’s class.

Unlike his usual behavior, sensei began the class without asking anyone to demonstrate. He was in a very good mood as it is often the case with him around his birthday.

Receiving the punch he merely stepped forward and outside shielding the attack with the whole body. He said again that the theme of the year was Muto dori and that was not about defending yourself unarmed when facing a weapon. It is about moving fearless into the attack in a Mushin state of mind. The key to Muto Dori is to go toward the attacker with your guts.
Sensei said that every move is like a triangle where uke and Tori represent the first two angles. Now the third angle is kukan or zero and this is not simply the interaction between the first two, no it is something more complex that is not definable. This world of the 3rd dimension, Sanjigen no Sekai is what the bujinkan has been working on since the discovery of juppo sesshô in 2003.

Your intention or the lack of it moves the opponent by triggering or destroying any of his abilities making him move like a puppet, Tori being the puppet master.

Muto dori is definitely the expression of natural power.

Please read part 2 and 3 

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