Happiness In Japan


the group posing with sensei in front of takamatsu memorial

Today a group of buyu from all over the world where lucky to visit once again Sensei’s second house.

Today around 11:30, we met with Akira, Noguchi, Darren, Collado, Miller, Eguia and a few others at the hombu where Senô sensei was teaching a group of students sweating in the terrible heat of the day.

you can see here how bad I felt in the AC 🙂

The heat and humidity were at their peak today and I felt bad to be in the car with Noguchi sensei (and the AC). When the group was complete with Darren and his car we drove to the Tsukuba mountain where sensei has located his second house.

This is there that he spends a lot of time painting, writing, and taking care of his many animals.

A real gentleman farmer!

When we arrived we were welcomed by sensei dressed like a real gentleman farmer in his country outfit.

Many practitioners see him as “non human” and not only because he always repeats that he is a UFO.

The bujinkan is a system to live a happy life and he was shining happiness and expressing it like he does with his budô.

I love to see him so happy in his daily life.

the group preparing for the incense

In the garden each one of us lit some incense sticks to the 9 statues of the nine schools and we all prayed to the memory of Takamatsu sensei in front of the memorial of 6 tons built in the garden.

Do you know that in his office in Noda sensei prays everyday for the memory of his parents, of Takamatsu sensei but also for the sake of the shidôshi of the bujinkan?

Sensei is very religious person and only a few of the bujinkan students know that. Over the years when I was helping him for some work, I saw him a few times praying while we were working.

sensei and one of the poneys

In the garden there is a green house that we use in winter, a small arena where sensei “walks” the poneys, a small stable for the poneys and many staues and carved stones carved with the name of the nine schools.

The garden is filled with statues of divinities, symbolic rocks and carved texts.

After padding Kuki and Tobi, the two poneys of sensei and taking care of the dogs (asuka, mae and a third one), the water turtles in their basin, it was time to  “pay our respect” to the statue of Marylin Monroe (sensei likes her very much).

Noguchi sensei and Marylin (a classic) 🙂

I have been visiting this house many times since sensei has decided to split his time between Noda and Tsukuba.

And the “Marylin game” has become some sort of ritual over the years.

I think I have pictures of all the high ranks of the bujinkan (including me) having fun with the american star. as he puts it, life is too short to take it too seriously.

Put laughter in your life – rokkon shôjô

Then it was time to eat and the whole group climbed into the cars and we all went to have lunch with sensei in a restaurant nearby.

ten chi jin?

The house is surrounded by rice fields on the plains down the Tsukuba mountain.

It is strange to be there after the being in the citadin life of kashiwa city or Atago.

With the heat hammering everything, it felt like being in another country. No noise, no wind only the sound of the cicadas in the trees.

A special thank you to Darren for keeping cool bottles of water in the car after the heat of the garden.

It was a real enjoyment.

In the restaurant

The poor restaurant keeper had a hard time coping with a sudden arrival of so many gaijin.

I have seen that many times over the years and I believe that sensei loves to do that.

As always this is a very special moment and I am sure that many bujinkan practitioners would have liked to be there with us. We felt privileged and honored to spend these special moments with him.

the group with the translator
During this two hour lunch, sensei spoke a lot about the importance of the flow in our lives, of past events and above all of the priority to be happy.
Happiness is more important than the techniques he said.
The goal of the bujinkan is to make people happy and to live a happy life. We were also lucky to have a charming Italian resident translating for us and through her could speak with sensei easily. Thank you Cinzia on behalf of the whole group!

Memories of those who left usSince my last visit many new stones and stones have been added. The one on the left is to remember all our bujinkan buyu who dies since the beginning.

Death is what makes Life worth it explained sensei to the group in the restaurant. Because we train techniques to bring death to our opponent we develop by contrast a strong feeling of life.

Many times during lunch sensei spoke of our future Hombu dôjô that will be built soon to become some kind of cultural centre for the world.

Sensei asked us also to share these moments of true kumite with the buyu from all over the world this is why this long article is written for.

the last drink before closing this fantastic day

It was time to go back to our lives in the city and after a last teas in one of the room of the house with the walls covered by the many presents, sensei has received during all these years, we departed.

We left sensei benefiting from the rest of this day and from the happiness it has given us all.

Funnily during lunch he thanked us twice to have been able to come!

Hatsumi & Noguchi sensei enjoying the instant

Be happy and do not take your life too seriously – simply enjoy beautiful moments like this one.

Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyô

Why “Yûro Shi Tennô Taikai”?


Last August when I brought Hatsumi sensei some pictures of the Taikai in Paris decided to change its name and to call it the “Yûro Shi Tennô Taikai“. When I asked him the reason for that he said this was a pun between “Europa”  [yuropa] and the  Japanese word “Yûro”. Yûro means something like the “path to bravery”.

So we invite you to join us in this eighth “path of bravery spreading everywhere all over Europe!”  More than 15 countries are expected to come! Come to Paris and build up your memory.

Shi Tennô is the nickname that sensei gave us back in the nineties as the four of us were spreading the Bujinkan system all over Europe. If the original meaning is the “four emperors”, it is in fact the name given to the four Chinese spirits of the four directions: North, South, East and West. Nothing glorious there.

But because Kano sensei, the founder of jûdô, nicknamed his four students spreading the kodôkan jûdô over the world by the name of “shi tennô“, Hatsumi sensei decided to do the same. Unfortunately this name has nothing to do with our martial skills. 🙂

Taikai means big seminar and this one is definitely a big one. This is one of the last 3 day seminar that we have after the end of the Taikai directed by sensei. If my friends and I have decided to organize it in the past it was because we were missing those taikai with sensei in Europe and in the USA. Those Taikai with sensei that we have organized between 1987 and 2002 were always a fantastic moment of friendship and budô. This Yûro Shi Tennô Taikai is following the same tracks and this is why, each year, we have more and more success.

Over the last five years, the success of this event has been increasing so much that we had to limit the number of participants. For those of you training in the Bujinkan and who didn’t get the chance to train in Japan this year, this Taikai is your chance as each one of the instructor in this seminar has been staying in Japan one, twice or three times since last November.

As sensei was saying at the honbu recently: “only those who  train regularly in Japan with me have a chance to get what I am showing”. This is your chance to get your update.

See you there with a smile on your face.

Online prebooking

Update on death & Toda


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Takamatsu sensei doing Take Ori

In one of my previous posts I quoted Hatsumi sensei saying that a true master should be able to “laugh while facing the ennemy”.

This is quite similar to  what Toda Shinryûken Masamitsu, Takamatsu sensei grandfather (or uncle*) once told him:

“Never talk about knowledge as you could lose it,

Confront a defeat with a smile even if you are closely facing it,

And even when you are faced with certain

death, die laughing!”

This year’s theme is Rokkon Shôjô so keep smiling whatever hardship you are confronted with.

* All Bujinkan books keep repeating that Toda sensei was Takamatsu sensei‘s grandfather but recently one Japanese shihan during class said that actually Toda sensei was Takamatsu‘s uncle not grandfather…

To a Westerner the sounds for ojiisan (grandfather) are very much similar to ojisan (uncle). Sorrymasen. 🙂

Tachi Tips & tricks (6)


No harm

Yesterday during my seminar, one student was waving his sword held to his wrist by the rope at the tsuka kashira and the ring at the end broke releasing the sword.

Training weapons are NOT real ones and might break easily. Do not get over excited while training and keep high security levels. There was no harm but an accident could have happened.

We are now training with metallic blades instead of padded ones. Therefore our ways of training should adapt accordingly. Permanent adaptation is not to be applied only during the techniques but should include all the elements of the class in the dôjô. Adaptation is what tachi kumiuchi is teaching us. Stop thinking always in the same ways. Last month sensei said: “don’t hold to what you know or you won’t improve your skills”. The key point is to adapt.

A weapon designed for training purpose is still a weapon. Please be careful. You can influence the actions of a sentient being during the fight but there is no possibility to affect an in-animated object.

Be aware of this.