|Black Market at 江戸東京博物館, Edo Tōkyō Hakubutsukan. photo by Michael Glenn|
One of the secrets to understanding this year’s theme of 神韻武導 Shingin Budo is the ability to find the hints and openings hidden everywhere. These are like the lingering sound of a bell that hangs in the air after it has been rung. If you did not hear the original strike of the bell, would you know what you were hearing or where it originated from?
This sound is like the hidden training that takes place in the Bujinkan. Training that takes place in the unconscious. If you are only learning with your body and mind, you are missing out on the important unconscious training that is very real in correct Bujinkan training.
You may know that your unconscious affects ordinary life. It also is at work in combat or in the dojo. But do you know what it is doing?
Hatsumi Sensei has written 無意識 muishiki (the unconscious), as 武意識 buishiki which is warrior consciousness or military awareness. With this kind of unconscious ability, you will always be able to tap into hidden fighting strategy. Or find a surprise victory in an impossible situation. This is also a secret for hidden ninja weapons.
The best hidden weapons are not weapons you are hiding. That takes too much conscious effort and can be seen, read, and even countered. The best hidden weapons are hiding in plain sight.
Soke tells us we can find 鉄扇 tetsubane, 鉄刀 tetsuto, 馬手差 metezashi, and 隠し武器 kakushibuki hidden everywhere in normal everyday life. These things leave hints or suggestions (暗示 anji) to the warrior who is attuned to their resonance. Your unconscious can read these clues and allow you to find these hidden weapons.
If everyday objects can be transformed into weapons by the unconscious following these hidden signs, then what about yourself? Soke says that this type of knowledge will make your life pulsate (生悸に一変) and undergo a complete change. It can make it possible for 早替わり hayagawari, or for you to quickly change into anything. This is the real shugyo.
Martial arts create this kind of transformation in life. Seek out a dojo that has these hidden hints and signs for your unconscious intelligence. Remember, if you’re the smartest guy in the dojo, then you’re in the wrong dojo. Look for hints that lead you to hidden knowledge and the right teacher for your whole self, not just the conscious part.