Martial arts training should be a life time study. They are things that cannot be totally understood or effectively learnt/applied in one or two sessions. So, if coming to my training expect to be a little confused and unable to do everything instantly. We live in an age of instant communication and gratification and many people, particularly young people may struggle with this long term investment and commitment.
My training path within the Bujinkan started after a few years experience of martial arts and Judo whilst at school and at university. As a young person I wanted to learn something effective and comprehensive and stumbled into Bujinkan training in the search for this. I trained with my first teacher for 7/8 years until his circumstances changed and no longer ran a class. During that period, with his consent, I trained with people he respected and learnt from them. Once this 7/8 period ended I then trained consistently with one main teacher in London who I had been advised to train with by first teacher. So, for a dozen or so years I have maintained this connection.
As I have moved through the Bujinkan arts I have recently identified in my own training that I need to work on certain aspects not commonly trained at other Bujinkan classes. I have been doing work with protective equipment since the summer to become more resilient to pressure and to make sure my techniques work at speed and with a more random elements/stimuli. I feel this has been a worthwhile exercise and has benefited me and the people attending my classes.
This type of training has been balanced out with understanding principles and working with these. The drills have been designed to progress the student through working under little pressure and slowly up to full speed. I personally feel many students in the Bujinkan never move beyond the first step in their training. They become good at responding to people attacking slowly in very predetermined ways but never deal with the intensity that comes with realistic speeds. Your decision making has to be accurate and timing has to be spot on even under these demands. If learning to drive you have to learn to get onto the motorway at some point.
My present path has taken me in this direction and I will continue to use this type of training as part of my process. There are pitfalls to all approaches so it is important to maintain a balanced approach and use different learning methods to get particular skills worked through. The Ten chi Jin and Ryuha contain tonnes of information to work on but it is necessary to look at using these lessons in a more pressured context as part of the learning process. I am trying to learn how to protect myself and others so this is my approach at present.
My approach and manner of training is constantly evolving and sometimes might go ‘off piste’ but it is important to explore different aspects of your training. As this is a long term project and requires investment be prepared for the long haul and think of this in your own development – you want to make good choices about how, what and when you train and who with.
See you at training.