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Skydiving Anyone?

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img_20180302_202715.jpgThese days, this is precisely the feeling I have when training at the Honbu. When skydiving in free fall, you have this incredible feeling of falling within your fall. It is like being into a vortex. The fall seems infinite like falling into an endless fractal. If you had the chance to experience it, you know what I mean. Speed keeps increasing. And you feel you are falling inside your fall until you reach terminal velocity.

Kūkan is like this; it is part of Ūchū, the Universe. (1)(2) Flow with this natural aspect and be one with Kūkan. If you think you can influence the universe, you’re mistaking! You can feel Jūryoku, gravity, on Earth (Chi level), but it exists everywhere in the whole universe (Ten). Being one with the Kūkan, Tori is in control (Jin level). That is the Tenchijin of 2018! (3)

There is a broad relationship between Humanity and Kūkan. Sensei said “Ningen to Kūkan Tsunagaru,” “humanity and space are connected.” (4)(5) When you connect yourself to your own inner Kūkan, you are part of the whole. The Waza are only a means to reach perfect control. As everything is linked in the universe, we just have to use this feeling and move freely. Nothing that we do is relevant, the only thing that matters is the natural flow. Sensei doesn’t do any Waza, he only controls. Control applies to the attacker, but also to the situation, space, and to yourself. If you can control your space, then the rest is natural, because you are moving in harmony with the forces of the universe.

Kūkan is the space between, inside, around Tori and Uke. It is only the place to be. Connected to Kūkan, we are moving into the natural and powerful flow surrounding us. Our intentions, our willingness to do something hinder the natural expression of Life. Hatsumi Sensei does his movements without thinking. He has no intent and is always in phase with the universe. He lets things happen. But Uke trapped in the “I want to attack,” blinded by his intents, cannot see his defeat coming. By not fighting, “Tatakai Wa Janai,” you are one with all things and Uke is your toy. (6) That is why the Bujinkan system is about peace, not war.

I love Sci-fi, and my last sentence reminded me of the end of the book “2001, a Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke. “and the star child understood the universe was his toy.”
That is what the Dai Shihan must do: play with the universe.

This year is Mutō Dori with an emphasis on justice and peace. Phil Legare on his blog wrote: “I asked Sōke if he had any instructions or advice for the Dai Shihan for the new year 2018. He said, Justice and Peace. Sensei wishes all Dai Shihan to bring about Justice and Peace in their own countries. He noted that we now have Dai Shihan in 55 countries around the world and more all the time. Sōke said that each Dai Shihan must figure out their way forward with Justice and Peace. He hopes they will foster the same goodwill within their own countries and in their groups. Honbu training is still Mutō dori, Control, and No power for each, as before. But there is also an emphasis on the five virtues of the Buddha: the Gojō.” (7)

“Then he [The Star Child] waited, marshalling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something.” ― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
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1. 空間, Kūkan: Space. Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum known as spacetime.
2. 宇宙, Ūchū: the universe. The universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary, and similar terms include the cosmos, the world, and nature.
3. 人間, Ningen: a human being; person; man; mankind; humankind
4. 繋がる, Tsunagaru: to be tied together; to be connected to; to be linked to; to be related to
5. 戦いわじゃない, Tatakai Wa Janai: There is no fight.
6. 重力, Jūryoku: Gravity, is a natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their masses. Gravitation is most familiar as the agent that gives weight to objects with mass and causes them to fall to the ground when dropped. Gravitation causes dispersed matter to coalesce, and coalesced matter to remain intact, thus accounting for the existence of the Earth, the Sun, and most of the macroscopic objects in the universe.
7. The Gojō are:
滅の不施, Fumetsu no Fuse, endless giving
真道の持戒, Mamichi no Jikai, awareness, right path of self-justice
自然の忍にく, Shizen no Ninniku, perseverance, forbearance
光明の悟り, Komyō no Satori, the light of enlightenment
自然の超越, Shizen no Choetsu, natural transcendence

Arnaud COUSERGUE

Source : https://kumablog.org/2018/03/06/skydiving-anyone/

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Satori, Gojō, Gogyō

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Master and students

DISCLAIMER: COMPLEX CONTENT

I have not been in the dōjō for three months, and I have the feeling that Sensei’s movements gained in subtlety. How can it be possible? I am amazed. After class last Friday, I spoke with Liz, a Canadian resident about it and she agreed with me.

I will not detail here what he does because every one of his moves is the expression of high-level Mutō Dori. It is beyond explanations.
Sensei controls his Uke from the very start, and all along the movement. When asked to share what he felt, Duncan said: “Sensei controls me at the very moment he calls me to attack him.” There are no more Waza, only natural adaptive movements.

But his teachings are also getting much more profound. And I want to share some of his lessons from Sunday here. I will give you a few keys to understand, but I will not try to explain them. You can share what you got from it, later in the comments.

Sensei introduced the class by speaking about 悟, Satori. (1) He said the Kanji contains three parts: Kokoro (2), five (3), mouth (4). This new sanshin links the Gojō (5) to the Gogyō. Understanding that, he said, is the goal of the Dai Shihan.

Before I expose the Gojō, I want to explain what a Dai Shihan is in today’s Bujinkan. I heard many people being critical about this evolution of Sensei’s vision. First, once again, Sensei does what he wants and if you are unhappy, then shut up or go away. Second, during the last class Sensei said that with the Mutō Dori of 2018, the real Budō was beginning. He noted that the Dai Shihan are entering the Shōden level of Mutō Dori. That means that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of a new dimension of Budō. Dai Shihan sounds much better than Ōkudo (old beginner), don’t you think?

The Gojō are the five virtues of Confucianism. (6)

In “Advanced stick fighting” (48), Hatsumi Sensei lists the Gojō as:

  1. 滅の不施, Fumetsu no Fuse, endless giving
  2. 真道の持戒, Mamichi no Jikai, awareness, right path of self-justice
  3. 自然の忍にく, Shizen no Ninniku, perseverance, forbearance
  4. 光明の悟り, Komyō no Satori, the light of enlightenment
  5. 自然の超越, Shizen no Choetsu, natural transcendence (7)

Confucianism defines them also as (same order):

  1. JIN: Benevolence, charity
  2. GI, JINGI, O: Justice, rectitude, righteousness, morality
  3. REI: Courtesy, politeness, tact
  4. TOMO, CHI, SATOSHI: Wisdom, knowledge
  5. NOBU, SHIN, SATORI: Sincerity, trust, fidelity (8)

Sensei has been using the verb Tsunagaru (to be connected to), a lot these days. (9)
So, the mission of the Dai Shihan this year is to “connect” the Gojō and the Gogyō, through Satori (Kokoro, Go, Kuchi).

I hope the next classes will shed some light on how to achieve that. Because right now, I am lost. I wish I were a Satori (10), a monster that can read minds.

Anyway, next Sunday is the first Buyukai meeting at Hana. I guess Sensei will give us the direction to follow during this year. (11)
Ganbatte! (12)

___________________________
1. 悟, satori: comprehension; understanding; enlightenment; spiritual awakening
2. 心, Kokoro: heart, mind, spirit
3. 五, go: 5
4. 口, Kuchi, mouth, gate, opening
5. 五常, gojō: the five cardinal Confucian virtues (justice, politeness, wisdom, fidelity, and benevolence)
6. More on Confucianism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianism
7. The Five Constants are:
Rén (仁, benevolence, humaneness);
Yì (義/义, righteousness or justice);
Lǐ (禮/礼, proper rite);
Zhì (智, knowledge);
Xìn (信, integrity).
8. In a recent post, Duncan lists the Gojō as being:
滅の不施, Fumetsu no Fuse, Everlasting giving
真道の持戒, Mamichi no Jikai, Vow of the true way
自然の忍にく, Shizen no Ninniku, Natural resolve
自然の超越, Shizen no Choetsu, Transcendence of nature
光明の悟り, Komyō no Satori, Illumination of the awakening
9. 繋がる, Tsunagaru, to be tied together; to be connected to; to be linked; to be related to
10. 覚, satori: folklore monster that can read minds
11. Since January 2018, the Buyukai replaces the Shidōshikai. The new organization is now accessible to any practitioner. The first Buyukai meeting will take place at Hana. That is the usual restaurant in front of the old Honbu. Lunch begins at 2 pm after Sensei’s class.
12. A Personal message to Phil. So? What do you think?

Arnaud COUSERGUE

Source : https://kumablog.org/2018/03/05/satori-gojo-gogyo/

虚実皮膜 Kyojitsu Himaku: A Barrier Between Truth and Falsehood

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“Spectrum” by Tokujin Yoshioka, photo by Michael Glenn

During one Friday night class at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo, Hatsumi Sensei asked a senior student to demonstrate a technique. The student avoided a punch and redirected the energy of it to knock his opponent down. This was a normal start for Soke’s class, but what happened next surprised me.

Soke called me out and punched at me! Now I was supposed to do the technique that had been demonstrated. But how was I supposed to knock Hatsumi Sensei down? Of course, that wasn’t going to happen.

But, I gave it my best shot. Hatsumi Sensei punched at me and I foolishly attempted to capture his punch. As soon as I did this, it was like the kukan shifted. This left me hanging or floating in space. I still don’t remember how he threw me, but I ended up in a pile on the mat.

Hatsumi Sensei then told us we must exist within 虚実皮膜 kyojitsu himaku. I had never heard that term, nor had the translator. But lucky for me, Hatsumi Sensei had left clues for us by referencing art.

Coincidentally, I had gone to Ginza earlier that morning to see an art exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery. The art installation was called “Spectrum” by the designer Tokujin Yoshioka. The gallery was filled with light and fog. Beams of light radiated off of prisms to brush the walls, floor, and the viewers with a spectrum of color. Like any great installation art, you become a part of the art as you experience it.

The term kyojitsu himaku comes from the Bunraku theatre, when the writer 近松門左衛門 Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote about a theory of art,

“Art is something that lies between the skin and the flesh, the make-believe and the real. … Art is something which lies in the slender margin between the real and the unreal. [….] It is unreal, and yet it is not unreal; it is real, and yet it is not real. Entertainment lies between the two.”

—”Chikamatsu on the Art of the Puppet Stage,” Anthology of Japanese Literature, from the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century, ed. and trans. Donald Keene

For us in the Bujinkan, we are familiar with the term kyojitsu. But himaku is a thin membrane or “skin” between truth and falsehood. In fact, it is so thin it is permeable and inseparable from one or the other. Chikamatsu (who was the son of a Ronin) even pronounced it as hiniku, which is the skin over the flesh.

This philosophy is a kind of solipsism. It rests on the idea that we process the entire world through our senses. This means reality is filtered by this processing in our minds. Kyojitsu himaku takes advantage of this by existing in between the mind and reality.

In art, this means the art is created in such a way that the end result only comes to life in the mind of the viewer. If you’ve ever “looked behind the curtain” at a piece of art, maybe looked too closely… you will know that this examination breaks the illusion.

In fighting, we also create these illusions in the mind of our opponent. But we should not care if he “looks behind the curtain” or is able to pierce through our kyojitsu. We strategically place ourselves at the “himaku,” or the place in between. Then if he breaks through, what has he accomplished? Now we are behind him!

Anyone who has attacked Hatsumi Sensei knows that feeling when he seems to disappear and reappear elsewhere. He is not really doing anything. We do it to ourselves in our efforts to understand what cannot be understood.

Michael GLENN

Bujinkan Strategies of Control Part 7: 中心 chuushin

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Hatsumi Sensei and Michael Glenn

I got off the plane and went straight to the dojo. This is extreme. And maybe a little foolish.

I got up at 5am in California, went to the airport to fly across the Pacific Ocean for around 12 hours. When I land in Japan, I get on one train for an hour, then another for half an hour, and the last one to the dojo for another half hour.

When I arrived for Hatsumi Sensei’s class, he decided to throw me around the dojo. Then I got back on a train to go check in at my hotel. When I finally lay in bed, it is 22 or 23 hours since I left home. But I lay awake trying to understand what just happened in training.

Even if I only had this one class, the whole trip was worth it. Hatsumi Sensei was teaching us about control. But it is not accomplished by purely physical means. In fact he said, “Don’t grab, it’s neither grabbing nor not grabbing.”

What is in between grabbing and not grabbing when you are trying to control someone? This in between space is what he was trying to show us. And here is a huge revelation for your training if you are ready for it. Soke said,

“Don’t do more than necessary by grabbing. But trying NOT to grab is also doing too much. you have to be in the middle. that middle space is where you can disappear.”

What does this type of control look like? Well, I just felt it and witnessed it in the Bujinkan Honbu dojo. The opponent ends up fighting himself. Soke was doing this against knife attacks. And every time the attack came in, Soke pivoted around it and was able to redirect the knife so the attacker stabbed or cut himself.

This can happen when you are neither taking nor not taking. But what you do “take” are things you can’t see. Those in between things, those invisible things are really controlling the opponent. とってでとってない totte de tottenai.

Soke threw his opponents very painfully. But they couldn’t take ukemi because he controlled them. He laughed and said 親切 shinsetsu. which is the word for kindness, but the kanji means killing the parents. Like you’re killing them with kindness. He said that throwing them is a type of kindness.

He also used the word たすけて tasukete which suggests that he is helping them find the destruction they seek. You are helping them and using kindness to throw them, but then you have to be able to immediately kill them. Kill them with kindness.

I watched as he demonstrated a type of 手の内 tenouchi which is the way of using the palm or the fingers. He would catch the opponent’s finger right in the center or palm of his hand and move it around like a joystick.

He told us 力を感じさせない chikara o kanji sasenai… don’t let the opponent feel your power. You control through connection, but when you connect these ideas, they become zero.

Remember, it’s not your hand that is connecting to the opponent… and it’s not the place on the opponent where you put your hand…. it’s the connection. It’s the zero in the middle. In between your hand and the opponent is where the connection exists.

When you block or place a hand on the opponent, it’s neither the hand or the opponent that matters. It’s the connection or the place in between. That moment of zero.

Soke says we are studying mutō dori. And when we do mutō dori we are not really taking their weapon. He said we are taking 中心 chuushin, or their central point. This is their essence or core spirit.  Another way to write the kanji for 衷心 chuushin can mean their innermost feelings or inner spirit. Hatsumi sensei called this type of control “zero-style.”

Soke reminded us that he cannot teach this. We have to discover it for ourselves. We have to try to get this feeling from him in person.

I had travelled 5497 miles or 8,846 km for tonight’s class. I closed my eyes and dropped my head into the 蕎麦殻枕 sobagara pillow. I was exhausted, but for a lifelong budo addict like me, every mile was worth it!

Michael GLENN

J’ai l’impression que je ne suis pas bon / I feel like I’m not good.

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Il est intéressant de discuter avec les étudiants de leur perception personnel en ce qui concerne leur évolution martiale. Certains auront l’impression qu’ils progressent à pas de géant alors que d’autres auront tendance à se dévaloriser en disant qu’ils n’avancent pas qu’ils sont loin derrière les autres étudiants de même niveau. Mais est-ce que cette perception reflète vraiment la réalité?

La progression martiale d’un individu n’est pas mathématique. Dans les arts martiaux, on ne peut quantifier le talent et les habiletés d’un pratiquant. Bien sûr, on peut compter le nombre de katas qu’il possède ou le nombre de techniques qu’il a accumulé, mais cela n’a rien à voir avec la véritable compétence martiale. Attention, ici je parle de budo et non de photocopier à l’infini une technique que le professeur nous a enseignée. J’élimine donc d’emblée tout ce qui est robotisation et reproduction exacte des mouvements du professeur. Je parle de l’habileté que l’on peut développer chez un pratiquant afin qu’il puisse se défendre efficacement en situation réelle.

La première erreur est de se comparer aux autres étudiants du groupe. Ils semblent meilleurs que nous, ils semblent exécuter la technique avec tellement de facilité que cela nous donne la sensation que nous ne sommes réellement pas faits pour ça. Pour une personne qui n’a pas la compétence de voir les exécutants plus en profondeur, cela peut sembler vrai. Mais si l’on creuse davantage, la conclusion peut être fort différente. Beaucoup d’étudiants semblent avoir tellement de facilité à exécuter la technique. Mais comme on dit, le diable se cache dans les détails.

Avec les années, j’ai appris que souvent les étudiants qui en arrachaient le plus s’arrêtaient sur ces petits détails. Ce petit angle qui fait toute la différence, cette distance primordiale qui nous permet d’éviter la lame ou cette sensation qui nous amène à pensé que l’on ne l’a pas, que l’on est à côté de la vérité. Ces doutes qui nous empêchent de progresser avant d’avoir compris comment cela fonctionne. Dans bien des cas, celui qui semble exécuter la technique avec facilité ne s’est pas préoccupé de ces paramètres. Il prend plaisir à exécuter la technique, sans se laisser embarrasser par les erreurs accumulées. En bougeant de la sorte sans se préoccuper de l’exactitude de ses mouvements, il dégage une aura de confiance. Et, ce qui est important, il prend plaisir à exécuter la technique.

La seconde erreur qu’ont certains étudiants est qu’ils se découragent en voyant les autres agir avec ce semblant de facilité. Généralement, dans le budo, celui qui à long terme progresse le plus, est celui qui a dû faire des efforts, qui a dû surmonter ces complexes d’infériorité. Il a tellement travaillé pour comprendre les petits détails diaboliques qu’il en est arrivé à une meilleure maîtrise de ces techniques.

Dans les deux cas, les étudiants apprendront à progresser. Ceux pour qui cela semble facile, avec le temps ils finiront par polir leur matériel, à combler les faiblesses des bases du budo qu’ils ont accumulées. Pour ceux qui ont l’impression de ne pas être à la hauteur, ils réaliseront qu’une fois qu’ils auront maîtrisé les solides fondations auxquelles ils se sont attaqués, ils seront devenus efficaces. Tout n’est qu’une question de patience.

 

Bernard Grégoire

Yushuu Shihan Bujinkan Québec

 

I feel like I’m not good.

 

It is interesting to discuss with the students their personal perception of their martial evolution. Some will feel that they are progressing easily while others tend to devalue. They are persuaded that they do not move forward that they are far behind the other students at the same level. But is this perception really reflect reality?

Martial progression of an individual is not mathematical. In the martial arts, one cannot quantify the skill and abilities of a practitioner. Of course, you can count the number of katas he has or the number of techniques he has accumulated, but this has nothing to do with true martial skill. Attention, here I speak of budo and not to photocopy to infinity a technique that the teacher taught us. So I eliminate from the start everything that is robots and exact reproduction of the movements of the teacher. I speak of the skill that can be developed in a practitioner so that he can defend himself effectively in a real situation.

The first mistake is to compare to the other students in the group. They seem to be better than us, they seem to perform the technique with so much ease that it gives us the feeling that we are not actually made for that. For a person who does not have the skill to see the performers more in depth, this may seem true. But if we dig deeper, the conclusion may be very different. Many students seem to have so much ease in performing the technique. But as they say, the devil hides in the details.

Over the years, I learned that often the students who seemed to have the most difficulty stopped on these little details. This small angle that makes all the difference, this essential distance that allows us to avoid the blade or this sensation which leads us to think that we do not have it, that we are beside the truth. These doubts prevent us from progressing until we understand how it works. In many cases, the one who seems to perform the technique with ease did not care about these parameters. He takes pleasure in performing the technique, without being embarrassed by the accumulated errors. By moving in this way without worrying about the accuracy of his movements, he exudes an aura of confidence. And, what is important, he takes pleasure in performing the technique.

The second mistake some students have is that they become discouraged by seeing others act with this semblance of ease. Generally, in the budo, the one who, with time, gets worse, is the one who has had to make efforts, which has had to overcome these inferiority complexes. He worked so hard to understand the diabolical little details that he came to better mastery of these techniques.

In both cases, students will learn to progress. Those for whom this seems easy, with time they will polish their material, to fill the weaknesses of the bases of the budo that they have accumulated. For those who felt they were not up to it, they would realize that once they have mastered the solid foundations they have tackled, they will have become effective. It’s all a matter of patience.

Bernard Gregoire

Yushuu shihan Bujinkan Quebec

Source : https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/i-feel-like-im-not-good/

https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/jai-limpression-que-je-ne-suis-pas-bon/

Mutodori

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Mutodori

Cette année, 2017, Hatsumi sensei a démontré qu’un mutodori n’est pas simplement le fait de se défendre à mains nues contre une attaque au sabre. Le mutodori est avant tout un état d’esprit. À mon dernier voyage au Japon, Hatsumi sensei a dit que la compréhension des mutodori était la base du vrai budo.

Le mot clé pour la maîtrise des mutodori est sans contredit le contrôle. Contrôler la situation, contrôler l’adversaire, mais avant toute chose, apprendre à se contrôler soi-même. Première erreur dans l’apprentissage des mutodori, cela n’engage que mon point de vue, c’est probablement le fait que la plupart des gens n’ont pas le contrôle de leurs émotions au moment d’exécuter ces techniques. Hatsumi sensei a répété à de nombreuses reprises que l’on ne doit pas faire de techniques, qu’il faut que les choses se fassent de façon naturelle. Je n’avais qu’à jeter un regard autour de moi pour réaliser que ce n’était pas le cas.

Beaucoup de gens désirent bien paraître aux yeux de Soke et des autres personnes présentent sur les cours. Plutôt que de faire ce que Soke enseigne et de se retrouver en terrain inconnu, ils préfèrent se fier à leurs mémoires et reproduire des pattern où ils se sentent en sécurité. Il faut apprendre à quitter sa zone de confort. Hatsumi a déjà dit de se fier à la partie divine qui est à l’intérieur de nous. Si l’on exécute la technique avec la peur de mal paraître, on manque une partie essentielle de l’apprentissage, l’échec.

Deuxième erreur dans l’étude des mutodori, le contrôle total de l’adversaire. Bien sûr, il faut maîtriser l’arme. Mais l’adversaire a deux bras, il est facile pour lui de sortir un autre couteau si l’on ne focalise notre attention que sur l’arme principale. Il faut prendre conscience du jeu de levier qu’offre le corps humain. Vous contrôlez un doigt qui a une incidence sur le poignet, qui lui-même en passant par le coude positionne l’épaule de l’adversaire de façon à orienter ses hanches changeant ainsi l’orientation et les possibilités de mouvements de l’autre bras. Tout cela aura bien sûr un effet sur l’équilibre et la solidité de la structure de l’adversaire.

Troisième erreur, l’état d’esprit. Lorsque l’on fait une technique, on désire gagner au point d’en faire une affaire personnelle. Le mutodori exige que l’on soit détaché de l’action. Lorsque l’on désire trop fort un résultat et qu’il n’est pas au rendez-vous, le cerveau se retrouve perturbé momentanément. Il faut être détaché du combat et laisser les choses s’enchaîner naturellement. Lorsque l’on regarde Hatsumi sensei faire une technique, il agit comme si l’adversaire n’était qu’une distraction sans importance sur son déplacement d’un point A au point B. Il ne focalise pas sur l’obligation de gagner son combat. Son visage ne montre des signes d’agressivité uniquement lorsque son corps a besoin d’énergie supplémentaire pour effecteur une frappe ou une clé. Aussitôt ce moment passé. Il reprend son aspect paisible et détaché. C’est shizen, c’est naturel.

Hatsumi sensei redirige souvent l’attaque de l’adversaire d’un seul doigt. Il exagère volontairement la situation pour nous démontrer que si nous mettons la pression au bon endroit et au bon moment, nous n’avons pas à utiliser de force physique pour contrôler l’adversaire. Au Japon durant les cours, il n’était pas rare de voir des personnes agripper fortement leur partenaire et tenter de les amener au sol par la seule puissance de leurs muscles. Le plus souvent, ces gens prennent tellement de place qu’ils finissent toujours par bousculer tout le monde autour d’eux. Ils désirent un résultat prouvant leur compétence à maîtriser l’adversaire plutôt que d’essayer de s’améliorer, quitte à mal paraître sur le moment.

Nous avons à apprendre énormément des mutodoris. Pour y arriver, il faut accepter que cela prenne du temps et qu’il faille laisser notre égo de côté.

Bernard Grégoire

Yushu Shihan

Bujinkan Québec

 

 

This year, 2017, Hatsumi Sensei demonstrated that mutodori is not simply the fact of defending unarmed against a sword attack. The mutodori is primarily a state of mind. On my last trip to Japan, Hatsumi sensei said that the understanding of mutodori was the basis of the true budo.

The key word for the control of mutodori is undoubtedly control. Control the situation, control the opponent but above all, learn to control oneself. First error in the learning of mutodori, this is only my point of view, it is probably the fact that most people do not have control of their emotions when performing these techniques. Hatsumi sensei has repeatedly said that we must not do techniques, that things must be done in a natural way. I just had to look around to realize that it was not.

A lot of people want to look good in the eyes of Soke and the other people in class. Rather than do what Soke teaches and find themselves in unknown territory, they prefer to rely on their memory and reproduce pattern where they feel safe. We must learn to leave his comfort zone. Hatsumi has already said to trust the divine part that is inside of us. If one executes the technique with the fear of appearing bad, one misses an essential part of learning, failure.

Second error in the study of mutodori, the total control of the opponent. Of course we must manage the weapon. But the opponent has two arms, it is easy for him to take out another knife if we focus our attention only on the main weapon. One must be aware of the leveraging of the human body. You control a finger that has an effect on the wrist, which by itself passes through the elbow positions the opponent’s shoulder so as to orient his hips thus changing the orientation and possibilities of movement of the other arm . All this will, of course, have an effect on the balance and solidity of the opponent’s structure.

Third error, the state of mind. When making a technical, we want to win at the point of making a personal matter. The mutodori requires that one be detached from the action. When one desire too much a result and it is not at the rendezvous, the brain finds itself disturbed momentarily. It must be detached from the fight and let things happen naturally chained. When one looks at Hatsumi sensei to make a technique he acts as if the opponent was an unimportant distraction on his movement from point A to point B. He does not focus on the obligation to win his fight. His face shows signs of aggression only when the body needs extra energy to knock an effector or a key. As soon as this moment passes, it resumes its peaceful and detached aspect. It’s shizen, it’s natural.

Hatsumi sensei often redirects the opponent’s attack with one finger. He voluntarily exaggerates the situation to show us that if we put pressure in the right place and at the right time, we do not have to use physical force to control the opponent. In Japan during classes, it was not uncommon to see people clinging strongly to their partner and trying to get them to the ground by the power of their muscles alone. Most often these people take up so much space that they always end up jostling everyone around them. They want a result proving their ability to master the opponent rather than try to improve, even if it looks bad at the moment.

We have to learn a lot from mutodoris. To get there, we must accept that it takes time and that we must leave our ego aside.

Bernard Grégoire

Yushu Shihan

Bujinkan Québec

 

Source : https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/mutodori/

https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/mutodori-2/

 

Bujinkan Strategies of Control Part 6: 神経 Shinkei

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Ricky, Kiwa, and Michael on our way to the Bujinkan Honbu

I got up really early on Sunday to meet a new Japanese friend in the train station. He had been training in a Bujinkan dojo in Tokyo until his teacher died. I was sad to hear about the death of his teacher who had been Soke’s uke for many years. And I was very surprised to learn that my new friend had never been to the Bujinkan Honbu dojo to train with Hatsumi Sensei.

I decided to risk breaking some kind of Japanese formality or etiquette that I was unaware of and invite my friend to train with us today. I hoped that Soke would be happy to meet him. We never know what these connections might bring.

In Hatsumi Sensei’s class everything he taught was about using small points of connection for control. He demonstrated this with with his fingertips. In one moment he slapped the opponent in the eye with his index finger. Then he showed us how to line up the body and the shoulder behind one finger as if it was a sword.

Then you pivot around that point. When you pivot around this small point, you control the opponent’s kamae, his balance, or the point of pain.

Soke said,

“With the fingertips being able to 変えるkaeru. You’ve got to be able to do this just with your fingers. it’s not a technique. you don’t really feel like moving much, right?”

Soke said he was controlling through connection. Connect to the opponent’s movement, but also what he is thinking and feeling. Once you make that connection you can control him. Control his body, thoughts, and his feelings through this connection.

But he emphasized,

“You’re not controlling one specific point, you’re controlling everything. I said by the fingers, but it’s not really the fingers. It’s about control. It looks like it’s happening at the fingers but it’s actually happening with the whole body.”

Soke used the word 神経 shinkei. This is a sensitivity through the nerves.

“Study this way of controlling through connection. Connect with what he’s thinking or he’s feeling. It’s not technique. you have to be connected with him like this. You can’t teach this. If you try to avoid, you’re going to break that connection.”

This is not something you do with your own human intention. Shinkei is instinctual like an autonomic response that your body has if you are sensitive enough.

You use the small parts of your body. To demonstrate Soke began to wiggle his ears and we all laughed. Then he said to take the small things and connect to the big things in the kukan and then use that connection.

This is the correct 空間利用 kukan riyō or use of space. When you connect with a finger, it is a small thing or point. But it connects to a big thing which is the conflict or your opponent’s aggression. You use that small connection (NOT the finger… the connection itself) to control.

Hatsumi Sensei said we create a vacuum and have this “mood.” Soke used a play on words between English ムード muudo and Japanese 無道 mudou or even 武道 budou. You are being led by the martial arts into zero. Going between mood and the way of emptiness or formlessness. We are led by the martial arts into zero and become zero through the martial arts.

During the break, Hatsumi Sensei painted a dragon for my new Japanese friend. Many of our other Japanese Shihan and buyu were very friendly and welcoming to him. Maybe in time he will find his new teacher in the Bujinkan.

Michael GLENN