Albert Einstein said that “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Yesterday was my first class with Sensei since last August. I just arrived the night before, so I was happy that he added an extra class Wednesday afternoon for his birthday. The class was special.
After he asked me to open the class, Sensei did many variations with taijutsu, sword, Bō, and kunai. He also spoke about illusion.
Illusion is created when “kago, genzai, mirai”, (past, present and future) are not three, but when they become one. (1)
To uke’s perception there is nothing, as we don’t move away and do not seem to fight back or to counter his attacks. There is no intention, only Genzō, illusion. (2)
At some point, after launching a sword attack, Nakadai sensei commented that “sensei was there, but then he was not”. Later, my friend Juan-manuel Serrano, attacking sensei with a tsuki with a kunai, thought he was going to stab him: “I really thought I was going to stab him, and it put me off balance”, he said afterwards.
Every time, sensei’s movements were slow and soft. He compared this to the feeling of the Sakki test. You move naturally without even trying to avoid the attack. When you do not try to avoid the attack, and move slowly, uke’s perception is wrong. It forces the attacker to stop, slow down, or move away. That was quite impressive to watch.
When “kago, genzai, mirai” are not separated anymore, uke is unable to prioritize his actions, therefore, he is trapped in his illusion of reality. Sensei said that it takes a full cycle of 42 years to manifest this confidence. Being 84 year-old since yesterday, he already lived two cycles.
At the end of the class, we had a half hour discussion with him. He said that since he met Takamatsu Sensei and trained with him for 15 years, he never stopped training in the following 42 years, that is until now. (3) The new cycle of development of the Bujinkan beginning now, will be different. The study of body mechanics ended last year (2014), and we are now moving at the mutō dori level. (4)
Uke is “blinded” by our lack of intent, as if he is walking in pitch black. His original intent is modified by his illusion of reality, because he is attached to his fake perceptions. To him, Tori appears like a phantom. (2) Genzō (幻像), illusion, becomes Genzō (幻増) as our natural attitude increases his illusion.
What we do is not what he perceives, and what he perceives, is not what we do.
過現未, kagenmi, the three temporal states of existence, are unified, they are one, so that to uke we are zero. For uke, “the distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
1. 過去/kako/the past; bygone days; the previous|a past (i.e. a personal history one would prefer remained secret); one’s past|past (tense); preterit; preterite|previous life
現在/genzai/now; current; present; present time; as of
未来/mirai/the future (usually distant)|future tense|the world to come
2. 幻像/genzou/phantom; vision; illusion
3. Takamatsu Sensei left us in 1972. This was 42 years ago in 2014.
4. Mutō dori: 無灯/mutō /without lights (ie blind) / mutō dori was also the theme for 2015.
5. 像/zou/statue; image; figure; picture; portrait
6. 過現未/kagenmi/past, present and future; three temporal states of existence