Every time I’m here, I have the feeling that Sensei’s Budō is getting more subtle.
The theme this year is multiple (like it is always the case) and revolves around Mutō Dori, the Katana, and the concept of zero.
Hatsumi sensei precised that “zero is not nothing, it is a point”. It’s not empty. I understand it as another form of inyō. (1)
Because there is nothing, there is everything. Inyō represents the cosmic dual forces, but it is not dualistic. There is no opposition, there is only 真心, reality. (3)
Sensei exclaimed this apparent paradox speaking about 平常心, Heijōshin, “one’s presence of mind”. (2)
In the encounter with the opponent, one must not show his intention, one must have no feeling. Having no feeling, Tori simply surfs on Uke’s intention. The situation is read and answered naturally.
Because you don’t have any intention, you can react naturally, which is why Sensei that Heijōshin is in fact Heijōshin 平常真心, with “shin” being “magokoro”, sincerity or reality. (3)
Being zero, you can adjust to reality and defeat the attacker with no intention. Uke is trapped by his actions.
This is why, he said, there’s no waza. Waza will get you killed in a real encounter. A waza is a form, it is not zero. If you remain zero and shows no feeling nor intention, you can use uke’s the against him.
This is Kyojitsu tenkan hō (虚実転換法), and Kyojitsu tenkan hō (虚実転換方). Alternating strength and weakness, intention and lack of intention, you force uke to stay in his waza state. Uke reacts to his own movements and cannot see defeat before it is too late for him. This is the essence of Mutō Dori, whether you have it haven’t a weapon.
Like with Ishitobashi, the skipping stone of last year, the various kûkan created between the contacts with water, unfold possibilities invisible to uke’s intentions. (5)
Tenkan Hō is like Henka. The beginning of change (hen/tenkan) and the end of change (ka/hō).
At the beginning, I wrote that the theme of this year “revolved” around Mutō Dori. Amazingly, Tenkan also has the meaning of revolving, and defines your ability to alternate intention and no intention.
Therefore, we must see Heijōshin, (平常真心) as the true essence of Mutō Dori.
I told you that sensei is getting more subtle, didn’t I?
1. 陰陽/inyou/cosmic dual forces; yin-yang; sun and moon, etc.
2. 平常心/heijoushin/one’s self-possession; one’s presence of mind
3. 真心/magokoro/sincerity; devotion; reality
4. Kyojitsu tenkan hō
虚実/kyojitsu/truth or falsehood
法/hou/law; act; principle|method|mood|dharma
方/hou/direction; way; side; area (in a particular direction)|side (of an argument, etc.); one’s part|type; category|field (of study, etc.)|indicates one side of a comparison|way; method; manner; means|length (of each side of a square)
石飛ばし/ishitobashi/skipping stones (on a body of water); skimming stones
6. 転めく/kurumeku/to spin; to revolve; to twirl|to be dizzy; to feel faint|to bustle about