Thank You For The Gift!

The Daikomyō Said is always a magic moment in the life of the Bujinkan. This year was no exception.
The format has evolved over the years. Training halls have changed many times until there were no halls and no training sessions.
The formal dinners at the Hilton or the Noda Park hotel, replaced the open party at the Honbu until there was no more dinner.
Today, there are regular classes followed on Sunday by a small lunch party. And this is fine because the feeling is still the same.

Daikomyō Sai is not only about Budō, but it is also more about respect Kumite. Apart from the techniques taught during this period of the year, this is the chance to spend some quality time with friends from all over the world, around our Sōke, for his birthday.

Every year the group gathering in Atago is about the same. Sensei has created a formidable group of friendship where borders don’t exist anymore. This is really a very special moment for all of us. This year again, many made the trip for Sōke’s birthday.
Moti from Israel; Sheila, Jack, Jay, Michael, Phil, Par, Ed, Doug from the USA; Juan-Manuel, José and Rosa from Spain; Peter from the UK; Koosje  from the Netherlands ; Laszlo from Hungary; Oliver, Stefen and Jacqueline, Michael, Alexander, Raphaëla, Simon from Germany; Christian from Argentina; Lubos from the Tchech Republic; Lauri from Finland; David from Colombia; Harry and Adonis from Greece; Faraji from Iran; Jorge from Chile; Ole from Denmark; and many others. Sorry for the many names I forgot, and for the students that made the trip to the Honbu this year. But thank you all for being there.

During his birthday speech, Sensei said the Bujinkan has spread a lot in the last 42 years of its development. Today the Bujinkan regroups more than 500000 practitioners worldwide.
Sensei went back on the “42” cycle. When Takamatsu Sensei told him “I taught you everything” back in the seventies, Sensei said that he had no clue at all. But after “teaching for 42 years what he didn’t understand, I now know what he meant at that time”.

We are beginning the third part of the Sanshin. And he is confident that the next 42 years will be good. (1)

Being now 85 years old, he has covered two “42-year cycles”. The third period of this Sanshin cycle is beginning, and that it is our responsibility to take over, and to bring it to the next level.

Later, he added that “we now have over 450 Jûgodan and 4200 Shidōshi (another 42) in the Bujinkan, I’m confident that within this vast group, many good men and women will continue to walk the path initiated with Takamatsu Sensei”.

“Ichigo Ichie” (2) he added, “it’s not an issue of time, but moments in time, a continuation of moments. I have a happy life. Enjoy your life, enjoy those moments, and don’t think so much”, were his words of conclusion.

Thank you Sōke for the gift!

1. Sensei likes to play with numbers. He was 42 when Takamatsu Sensei passed away. He taught us for 42 years since. Now that he is 85, the third “42-year cycle” begins. For the twisted like myself I would add that 42 = 6. 3 x 6 = 18. 18 = 9. Everything is in order.
2. 一期一会/ichigoichie/once-in-a-lifetime encounter (hence should be cherished as such)


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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

Update on death & Toda

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. 🙂

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