The Sakki test is the apex of a practitioner’s life. For many years sensei has been the only one to administrate the test and as one of the dinosaurs of the bujinkan (30 years in the Bujinkan last month), I had the privilege to witness him giving the test in numerous occasions. With about 30 Taikai and more than 50 trips to Japan I must have seen around 2000 Sakki tests. So I thought I knew what it was. Wrong again!
When in the Madrid Taikai of 2002 sensei asked a few of us to perform the test I was amazed to discover how draining it was to give the Sakki test. Honestly, I must admit that I didn’t believe it was that demanding. We had to do it twice and right after I left the training hall I had to take a nap before dinner as I was totally exhausted! I didn’t believe it was that difficult because I had seen sensei do up to 60 Sakki tests in a row at many Taikai.
When you are at the receiving end of the Sakki test it changes your life forever. But when you are giving the test it is like taking it again and again. This is one thing that no so many people in the Bujinkan know. Giving the test is similar to taking it! Except that you take the test only once.
Tuesday night I gave the test to three shidôshi (no, I don’t get tired anymore). And I think it is good to reveal some truths about the test for those of you who will take it soon (on either end of the sword).
1. There is no way to prepare yourself.
I know that some teachers are training their students for the test, this is useless. You have it. The perception of danger is ingrained in our brains. Only sincere training will allow your being too dodge the cut. It takes about 5 to 6 years to unearth the Sakki feeling bien in our reptilian brain.
2. It is not about crashing the skull of the applicant.
Many jûgodan try to hit the applicant, this is wrong. The Sakki test is a connection between the emitter and the receiver. It will always work if both the emitter and the receiver are connected. Without connection there is only pain (for the receiver). In fact the Sakki test is the expression of Shingin Budō.
3. Your regular senses cannot help.
When you take the test do not rely on your regular senses. If you hear the cut it is already too late. Simply relax and let your body react. Don’t think. This is why is always better to close your eyes. But this is not a rule as many succeed with their eyes open.
4. Feel the urge to move. And move, don’t analyse.
Both the emitter and the receiver are connected and both must feel the urge to move. The receiver moves without knowing why. The emitter goes down because at some point when the connection is established, he had to go down. You don’t take the decision to move, you move because it is the only to do. Over the years I’ve seen many applicants fail even though they got the connection. In fact they are so amazed at the feeling that they last their concentration and got hit while thinking “wow, I am feeling it!” and then wham!
5. Shin Gi Tai Ken Ichi Yotsu.
It is not a meditation and no good will do it for you. There’s no magic, it’s natural. The Sakki test is what makes the bujinkan what it is. It is about feeling the unity in all things, the connection with nature.
If you are to take the test soon, or if you are to administrate it, please remember that this is something that comes naturally when you are ready.