Japan Training: I got 無 nothing for you

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無 mu near Kitasenju, photo by Michael Glenn

My classes with Hatsumi Sensei for the last week have had an intense energy. Not because he is more intense than usual. His training is of a high level and never fails to surprise. But the intensity comes in the form of my own resistance to what he is sharing.
He has been really emphasizing the 無 mu in muto dori. As some of you may know, muto dori has been a strong theme throughout training this year. After my other visits to Japan this year, I studied this from the feelings he gave us.
But the difficulty for me now is that when he embodies mu, I get nothing. He is not presenting any feeling that I can key in on. This is instructive yet difficult to parse. It cannot be broken down for study.
Soke is removing himself from the equation. He doesn’t exist so he cannot be hit. But he seems to be doing this on a personal level too. Sensei made a very intricate and intense painting of a lion. He was asked, how long did it take? He said, “only a couple of minutes. But if I stopped to think about it it would have taken much longer.”
There seem to be other things like this at work in the Bujinkan as well. Some key people have passed on. There is no Daikomyosai this year. But the hombu dojo still stands, despite all the other buildings around being dismantled. This is the mystery of mu.
But one day soon it will be gone too. Maybe the natural progression of the Bujinkan leads to this kind of dissolution.
Soke said last night that the important things in life cannot be seen. This is where the life force or spirit is. When death happens the form is emptied. Where does the unseen go?
This kind of emptiness will never be cut by any sword. This is muto dori.

Michael GLENN
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