Ten Chi Jin: Teachers Are Responsible


Hatsumi Sensei told me last April that the bujinkan was now 200000 practitioners worldwide. Many dôjô claim to be “bujinkan” even though they ignore the true foundations of the bujinkan.

During my last seminar I had the opportunity to speak with a group of beginners students about the importance of the ten chi jin ryaku no maki and they really had no clue about it. One even told me that ” this is the first time he heard about it”. And he was already 6th kyû!

As teachers, this is our responsability to give the beginners the necessary basics so that their bujinkan path is successful. Many teachers never received the basics either but they were given high ranks. And when they began teaching their own students they duplicated the teachings they had received from their original instructor. Everyone is sincere but the results for the beginners are not good.

During the DKMS 2008 Hatsumi sensei insisted to the people attending the seminar that they focus on teaching the basics of the ten chi jin for the year 2009 as “many bujinkan students have never been exposed to the basics”. We are now in July 2010 and the students I meet in my seminars still do not know the fundamental techniques of the bujinkan.

Teachers: please teach the basics to your students, not the ones you think are the basics but the ones that were exposed by Hatsumi sensei back in 1983 in his first technical book: “togakure ryû ninpô taijutsu“. This book in Japanese was then translated into English (and greatly modified) in 1987. This should be the core of your teaching to the kyû belts.

The bujinkan is a fantastic system not because of its name but because it is the answer to actual fighting. It is not about strength or violence it is about footwork and simple body mechanics. Learn them and improve your skills dramatically!

In my next summer camp I will have written exams again every day so that the participants will know the names and content of the various sets of techniques included into the ten chin jin ryaku no maki. If there is no study there is no knowledge.

If you are a students remember that your teacher is the one guiding you on the bujinkan path but at the end of the day YOU are the one walking the path. Remember that you train for yourself for your own good and that no one is higher than you as we are all human beings. Get the knowledge you need where you an find it. respect your teacher for what he is giving you but please be pro-active and do not wait to receive the knowledge, as sensei used to say: “steal the knowledge where it is!”

Summer is a good moment to think back about our yearly achievements and to make new plans for the new season of training beginning in September. Please add “basics” in your plans.

Have a happy summer in the spirit of rokkon shôjô.

Basics & Fundamentals (part 2)


What does the Ten Chi Jin imply?

The Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki is based on the three levels of life: heaven, earth and man. Man is the link between earth and heaven or between outer space and the planet. The old Chinese pictogram is a drawing representing two opposite half circles linked by a cross. The pictogram displays symbolically a human body with his legs on the earth supporting the sky with his arms, and mixing these two influences within his body.
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What are the different parts of the Ten Chi Jin?

The Ten Ryaku deals with footwork, distances and angles; this is the vertical line in the pictogram. The Chi Ryaku deals with the bio-mechanical aspects of the different waza that can be applied once uke has reached tori (gyaku, nage, torite). This is the horizontal line. The Jin Ryaku is a series of about 50 waza taken from the nine schools to show the interaction of the waza and the footwork. This is the point where the vertical and horizontal line cross each other.
The Jin Ryaku has nothing to do with the schools. The waza taken from the schools are often quite different from the waza included in a certain level of a school. They are used as examples to manifest the interaction of body movement and creativity.
This is why they can be trained on both the left and right side and why they do not imply the use of weapons.
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To be continued…

Basics & Fundamentals (part 1)


The Ten Chi Jin from 1987

During my last seminar in Chemnitz, I was asked to explain to the group the Bujinkan system. It was a discovery for many students so I decided to share here in this blog the importance of the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki.

The first thing you have to get clearly is that the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki is the best system ever created to give a martial artist a chance to develop his creativity. This is the kaitatsu explained by sensei recently.
Too often the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki is underestimated by the teacher more inclined to dwell on the rich legacy of the nine schools. This is a major mistake as without the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki no student can really grasp the essence of sensei’s teachings.
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What is the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki?

It is a program put out by sensei in the eighties as a common basic program for the beginners. The first “official” edition was published in Japanese back in 1983 under the title “Togakure Ryû Ninpô Taijutsu”. Divided into three parts which are Ten, Chi, and Jin, it presented in a certain order the elemental bricks necessary to study the nine schools and their specificities. After a few years of practice, it had been reviewed and modified to be even more practical. In 1987, we received from Japan, the first English version of this new system. The majority of the techniques were the same, but the repartition had been changed to facilitate the learning. The first published versions of this new Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki (TCJ2) were done in 1991 by Pedro Fleitas in Spanish and by Mariette Van der Vliet in English. The French Protek was published by me in 1998. An adapted version in German by Steffen Frohlich was also released during the same period.  Many other incomplete and transformed versions were published subsequently.
To be continued…