|Cameraman Enters Torii, Shibamata Hachiman Jinja 柴又八幡神社. photo Michael Glenn|
Our Bujinkan theme for 2014 is spiritual culmination. Hatsumi Sensei said last night that it has been 42 years since the passing of Takamatsu Sensei. He said that the students of the Bujinkan have finally matured enough so that he can share these teachings with us.
Maybe you have seen the scroll hanging in the Hombu. Or have heard the theme of 神韻武導 Shin Gin Bu Dou. It is easy to hear these words, but very difficult to understand and include them in your training.
After training with this idea in Hatsumi Sensei’s classes, I have a suggestion for how to open up this theme in your training this year.
Soke tells us that the theme this year is about not doing your own techniques, but rather letting the divine techniques work through you. He told us that this happens with a divine resonance in the kukan. The space itself becomes divine.
Harnessing this theme requires the clarity created by 大光明 Daikoumyou. When we start each class, we ask for protection with the chihayafuru uta, and recognize the opportunity for enlightenment that comes with daikoumyou.
Many people bow in and clap without reflecting or opening up to this experience.
But the dojo is a sacred space. It may not seem like much. In fact a dojo can be anywhere with the right spirit. This year Hatsumi Sensei is helping us to find this same divine space in the kukan.
You can find it even in the middle of a fight. Open up the kukan for yourself and create this peaceful space where you can live. The peace you bring will be contagious. Hatsumi Sensei told us it will protect us like 冥加 myouga. Then everyone within this space, even your enemy, can be protected.
Don’t enter the dojo and do your own technique. Don’t use your own power in a fight. Hatsumi Sensei said,
“if you use your own movement, your lack of skill will appear. Use God’s movement. Let divine movement come out through you.”
This is kamiwaza. This may seem esoteric or mysterious. But we are all capable of it. It is the most natural ability that comes with our birth. A butterfly can balance on a flower or the edge of a sword with no training.
When you enter this divine space the change is subtle. Subtle like the opening that occurs in the Godan test.
When you pass into a sacred space like this, walk through a 鳥居 torii or into a church, the change you feel reflects your own spirit. Some feel nothing, others feel a great deal.
Sensei told us during one technique, that it didn’t matter whether we used a kodachi or a bo. It becomes space, it becomes 神韻 shingin. He said, “this year I’m teaching this kind of divine space.”
So we can walk through a 鳥居 torii or pass our godan test. It’s all the same. As Hatsumi Sensei told us right after we bowed in at the beginning of class, this is how we are able to see what real budo is.