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Sensei introduced us in November to “controlling the space with Mutō Dori”, and last week for the first class of 2017, he said the yearly theme to be Kannin Dokuson, “mutual respect.”
Each time Sensei comes up with a new theme for the year, it is important to read “between the lines” to follow Sensei’s train of thoughts. So, hereafter are a few possible hints to help us get it.
In a few days, we are entering the year of the fire rooster. (1)
Traditionally the fire rooster is called “Hō Ō”, the Phoenix. (2)
When you study the two kanji, you have 鳳 the male phoenix, and 凰, the female Phoenix. In other words, it is a representation of the Taichi, the Inyō (yinyang) of Taoism.
Inyō is represented by “zero” as we established recently in previous posts. Controlling the space means “balancing harmoniously” this complementarity between Uke and Tori during the exchange. This is the essence of Mutō Dori.
At the Shidōshikai meeting, Sensei developed his vision of “Kannin Dokuson”.
From a post by my friend Alex Esteve from Spain, Sensei was referring to “la integración y perseverancia en el respeto mutuo, respetarse y respetar al oponente”.
The way I understand it in English is to: “persevere to integrate Mutual respect, self-respect, and respect for the opponent (in our actions).”
This is the Sanshin of 2017!
But Kannin Dokuson is more than that. (3) And I will write more about it in my next entry.
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1. Each Chinese zodiacal sign is linked to one of the 5 chinese elements (earth, metal, wood, air, fire). Last year was the fire monkey.
2. 鳳凰, Hō Ō, Chinese firebird; Chinese phoenix
3. 貫忍 独貴
KAN
一貫/ikkan/consistency; coherence; integration
貫/kan
NIN
忍/nin/endurance; forbearance; patience; self-restraint
DOKU
独り/hitori/one person|alone; solitary
SON
尊/son/tattobu/to value; to prize; to esteem; to respect; revered; noble
Arnaud COUSERGUE

Uke, aïte, uchi-dachi, uke-dachi, bref, l’autre ! celui qui perd !

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3 Janvier 2017 , Rédigé par Léo Tamaki Publié dans #Budo – Bujutsu

Pascal Krieger est l’un des rares adeptes à avoir une expérience reconnue dans le Budo et le Bujutsu. Maître de calligraphie, il a longuement vécu au Japon. Il partage dans cet article son apprentissage et ses réflexions sur le rôle du partenaire dans la pratique martiale.

Uke, aïte, uchi-dachi, uke-dachi, bref, l'autre ! celui qui perd !

Dans toutes les disciplines martiales traditionnelles ou modernes (Kobudo/Shin-budo – ou Gendaï Budo), et dans tous les arts martiaux traditionnels ou modernes (Kobujutsu/Shinbujutsu) dans lesquels le travail se fait à deux, il y a celui qui fait la technique et celui qui la subit, qui la reçoit, ou qui la rend possible, cela dépend de l’attitude de cette personne sans qui on ne peut démontrer une technique donnée.

Le nom japonais de ce “faire-valoir” change selon la discipline. Pour les disciplines à mains nues, c’est en général “uke” (celui qui reçoit) qui fait face à “tori” (celui qui prend). Lorsqu’il s’agit de disciplines armées, les termes “uke-dachi” (le sabre qui reçoit) ou “uchi-dachi” (le sabre qui frappe) sont en général utilisés. Personnellement, je préfère le terme “aï-te” pour toutes les disciplines à cause du sens d’égalité qu’il implique: “Aï” (ensemble, mutuel, réciproque) et “Te” (main). D’autant plus que chacun est l’aï-te de l’autre.

Calligraphies de Pascal Krieger

Calligraphies de Pascal Krieger

Depuis que j’ai commencé l’étude du Budo en 1963 en tant que judoka de 18 ans, j’ai vu, en Europe, aux Etats-Unis (où j’ai vécu 2 ans) et au Japon (où j’ai vécu 6 ans) toutes les figures possibles de “aï-te”. Très souvent, et surtout dans les arts à mains nues (mais pas seulement), le “faire-valoir” (bien loin du sens de “aï-te”) est moins expérimenté. Il subit des réponses violentes aux attaques qui lui sont imposées, résultant parfois en des blessures plus ou moins graves. J’ai moi-même subi, dans plusieurs arts, ces violences dont je porte encore les marques. Et je suis loin d’être innocent sur ce point-là, je n’ai pas non plus toujours montré les égards dont je parle dans cet article aux ukes qui étaient en face de moi.

Ce n’est qu’avec le temps et l’expérience que j’ai changé d’attitude concernant le rôle de “uke”. J’avais eu d’excellents exemples du rôle de “uke”, mais je n’ai pas su les voir à l’époque.

Shinto ryu Kenjutsu, Nishioka Tsunemori senseï et Pascal Krieger

Shinto ryu Kenjutsu, Nishioka Tsunemori senseï et Pascal Krieger

La compréhension de ce rôle de “aï-te” m’est apparue soudainement il y a une trentaine d’années. Dans un “randori” (combat libre, sans arbitrage) de Judo assez énergique, j’attaquais à fond avec un mouvement de hanche. Mon “aï-te” l’esquiva et rentra le même mouvement à gauche. Cela réussit au-delà de ses espérances. On s’est envolé tous les deux pour retomber sur le tatami, lui dessus, moi dessous. C’est à ce moment-là que j’ai eu mon petit “satori” (illumination). On s’est regardé complètement émerveillés par ce qui venait de se passer. Que l’un soit dessus et l’autre dessous n’avait juste aucune importance. C’était la parfaite synchronisation de nos deux mouvements qui avait créé ce petit miracle. On s’est souri béatement, on s’est relevés, puis mon adversaire m’a dit: “Je n’ai jamais fait un mouvement aussi parfait !”. Je lui ai répondu: “Moi non plus.”. Nous avons alors réalisé l’un et l’autre que ce qui venait de nous arriver était dû au fait qu’on était deux ! Que ce mouvement n’aurait pu avoir lieu sans que l’autre soit là. Dès lors, mon attitude envers le partenaire, l’adversaire, bref, l’autre! a changée du tout au tout. Il n’y avait plus un gagnant et un perdant, tout juste deux gars qui n’avaient fait qu’un dans un mouvement merveilleux !

Mifune Kyuzo, légende du Judo

Mifune Kyuzo, légende du Judo

Mais c’est à travers les disciplines martiales traditionnelles que j’ai mieux compris ce qu’était le rôle de “aïte, uke, uchi-dachi, etc”. Dans le Jodo (la Voie du bâton), par exemple, uchi-dachi (celui qui tient le sabre et prend le rôle de Uke) était toujours d’un grade supérieur. Pendant 6 années, aux entraînements libres du Rembukan à Tokyo, je ne touchais pratiquement pas le sabre. J’étais un perpétuel “tori” ou “shi-dachi”. Lorsque je posais la question à Me Shimizu Takaji, il me répondit que si l’on voulait que “tori, shi-dachi” progresse, il lui fallait un “uke, uchi-dachi” mieux entraîné que lui. En fait le meilleur “uke, uchi-dachi” est le Maître lui-même car son attaque sera la meilleure qui soit, et si “tori, shi-dachi” peut répondre à cette attaque convenablement, c’est qu’il a compris la technique. Pour moi c’était donc le monde à l’envers !

Quand je fus assez avancé pour prendre le rôle de “uke, uchi-dachi”, ce fut un nouveau “satori”. Avec le débutant, je faisais des coupes généreuses, pas trop rapides, pour que “tori, shi-dachi” me voit bien arriver et puisse effectuer la technique appropriée pour me contrer et me contrôler. Puis, progressivement, je “resserrais les boulons”, faisant des coupes plus rapides, laissant moins de place et de temps, jusqu’à ce que mon adversaire adapte sa technique à mon nouveau rythme, et ainsi de suite… C’est là que j’ai compris que le rôle de “uke” était en fait un rôle d’enseignant.

Pascal Krieger, uke

Pascal Krieger, uke

C’est alors que je me suis souvenu que j’avais été surpris de voir, au Kodokan (le Dojo central de Judo au Japon) un 9ème dan (ceinture rouge) prendre le rôle de “uke” lors d’une démonstration du Kime no Kata avec pour “tori” un 6ème dan (ceinture rouge et blanche). J’étais quelque peu choqué de voir ce Maître, clairement plus âgé que “tori” “gicler” à gauche, à droite, effectuant des chutes impeccables. J’en comprenais alors la raison. Et je comprenais aussi que le principe de “uke” étant supérieur en technique à “tori” n’était pas l’apanage des disciplines martiales traditionnelles, mais était un principe généralement admis.

Même si cette vision des choses s’est un peu perdue actuellement, je pense que ce qui précède garde toute sa pertinence. Si vous voulez progresser, vous ne pouvez le faire que mieux avec un attaquant qui sait ce qu’il fait, aussi bien que vous, sinon mieux.

Dans le cas où votre “uke, uchi-dachi” aurait moins d’expérience que vous, cela ne devrait pas empêcher une attitude respectueuse envers celui sans qui vous ne pourriez pas démontrer/effectuer la technique que vous voulez faire. C’est votre façon de vous adapter à sa vitesse, puissance et peut-être imparfaite attaque qui fera de votre technique un mouvement harmonieux.

Le but de ce travail à deux reste avant tout dans l’optique d’un des deux principes fondamentaux mis en avant par Me Jigoro Kano (fondateur du Judo): Ji-ta kyo-eï (bénéfice mutuel).

Kano Jigoro, fondateur du Judo

Kano Jigoro, fondateur du Judo

C’est là que j’ai compris que le rôle de “uke” était en fait un rôle d’enseignant.

Bio-express

Pascal Krieger est né en 1945 en Suisse. Il débute le Judo à l’âge de 18 ans, et part au Japon. Il y fera la connaissance de Donn Draeger, qui l’introduira auprès de maîtres qui lui enseigneront en parallèle du Judo le Jodo, le Iaïdo et le Shodo. Pascal Krieger passera six ans au Japon en deux séjours de longue durée. Il est Menkyo Kaïden de l’école Shinto Muso ryu de Jodo. Auteur de “Jodo, la voie du bâton”, Pascal Krieger enseigne au Shung Do Kwan de Genève www.sdkbudo.ch.

Source : http://www.leotamaki.com/2017/01/uke-aite-uchi-dachi-uke-dachi-bref-l-autre-celui-qui-perd.html?utm_source=_ob_email&utm_medium=_ob_notification&utm_campaign=_ob_pushmail

The Sanryaku and Gyokko Ryu

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Sensei actually talked about this three weeks ago but it has taken me a bit to get it sorted out.

“There are many famous books about Heiho, military strategy, and one of them is the Sanryaku三略.  The Sanryaku is, as the Kanji in the name state, three stratagem.  The Jo, Chu and Ge, or upper, middle and lower.  While some Densho have a Shoden, Chuden and Okuden with the Shoden being the easiest and the Okuden/Okugi being the hardest the Sanryaku is divided into three sections not based on level.  The Jo no Maki, or upper book should not be considered to be any “easier” or “harder” than the middle or lower books.”

More on this book in English here.

Unsui Sensei then drew a parallel to the three scrolls of Gyokko Ryu:

“The Joryaku of Gyokko Ryu is taijutsu where both are unarmed.  The Churyaku deals with doing Mutodori against a short sword/knife while the Geryaku no maki has Muto dori against an opponent armed with a Katana.  Each scroll is important in its own right and, just like the Sanryaku, should not be thought in terms of levels.  It is important to keep this difference in mind when training Gyokko Ryu.”

The images are from a Japanese edition published in the nineteenth year of the Tensho 天正 Emperor 1591.  The are the first pages of the Jo, Chu and Ge Ryaku chapters in all their scribbly Kanbun glory.  Remember the Kana on the right side of each column are the verb endings and whatnot while the marks that look like the numbers one and two on the left side show how to reorder the sentences into Japanese grammar.  The red lines usually link words while the dots indicate other…stuff, like breaks in passages and emphasis.

Do you doubt?

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25 Monday Jun 2007

A very important point was made by Noguchi Shihan a few weeks ago. This comment has rang through my mind, and I’m compelled to write about it now.

 

Noguchi Shihan told us that “if you doubt your technique or ability, then you should just leave”.  At first glance, this may seem like a harsh comment, but it maybe one that will save your life.

 

Confidence is a very important aspect if not the most important aspect of martial arts and combat.  In budo, we have the specific term “Shin Gi Tai” that refers to the 3 aspects of mind, body and spirit or a more direct translation of Mind, technique and body.  All 3 must be in alignment for mastery of a martial art. Without the confidence of mind then the other two will not follow.  How can you expect to be skilled if you don’t have the confidence?

 

Soke often makes reference to “Luck” and how it works with us and against us in life.  Therefore, we must have the confidence that we will conjure only the “good” type of luck and not doubt the outcome.

 

As I stated before in an earlier post, technique is basic and should not be forgotten, but currently there is little value attached to technique. It is expected that one has trained long enough to understand this, or at least be training with someone who does.

 

If you are in a real conflict, you have to be 100% sure that you will succeed or you are handicapping yourself in a potential life or death situation.

 

I’m 100% confident that this is why Noguchi Shihan said, “if you doubt yourself or your technique then you should just leave”.  

In shinkengata, there is no room for doubt.  You must win, it is that simple.

Doug WILSON

Source : https://henka.wordpress.com/2007/06/25/do-you-doubt/

Bujinkan Strategies of Control

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雪吊り yuki zuri at 六義園 Rikugi-en. photo by Michael Glenn

The train rattled by the Bujinkan Honbu dojo. I looked down at the knife in my hand. I looked up at Hatsumi Sensei who called me to stab at him. I plunged the knife toward him. He made a kiai that came out like the creaking, groaning sound of an old iron gate.

It was not a human sound. And he was in my face, laughing. I fell to the floor. He asked me to speak and share what I just felt with all of the students in the dojo. All I could say was that his smile made me drop.

It has been difficult to write about my training with Soke during this trip. Not because I don’t have anything to share. But because writing or talking about it is a distraction from the experience itself.

I didn’t want my own thoughts or preconceptions to intrude on the direct transmission of the teaching that Soke is giving us. So I waited. Just absorbing as much as I can. And now I feel I can begin to share.

In every single class, Hatsumi Sensei tells us not to fight, but to control. In fact, he says that this is the theme that he is teaching from. He uses the 外来語 gairaigo (borrowed from English) pronunciation of the word control. In the Japanese pronunciation this becomes コントロール kontorooru.

He tells us that what he is showing us cannot be taught. He says,

“I’m not teaching how to fight. I’m showing control. If you try to fight then it’s a very low level of budo. Please learn to control.”

Why can’t this be taught? Because it’s control, not waza. Waza (techniques) can be taught. But this is not waza. It’s control.

Soke says he’s not teaching technique anymore. He told us to have this control of あも一寸の玉 虫 amo issun no tama mushi.  In a real confrontation, this “amo” is very important.

Hatsumi Sensei’s classes are all about control. But first you have to control yourself, only then can you control the opponent. He demonstrated this over and over by controlling his opponents without even touching them. It happened to me every time I faced him. He explained it like this:

“You have to be able to not do a technique yet have it happen anyway. This is the theme for the 15 dans this year.”

One of the ways he does this is kukan no コントロール kontorooru… to control the kukan or use the kukan to control. But here is a warning: Any method you use to try to do that will probably not work! That is the mystery of this strategy.

Since I cannot possibly share everything I am experiencing here in Japan in just one article, I will write a series of articles. Maybe I will call them Bujinkan strategies of control. If you want to receive all of them, make sure to subscribe here.

When I attacked Hatsumi Sensei with the knife, he asked me to share the feeling I got from him. In that moment it was overwhelming, so I couldn’t say much except that his smile made me drop to the mat. But now that I’ve had some days to consider what happened, my feeling is that he used one of the strategies I will write about next. 次次次… The next one is the best one!

Michael GLENN
Source : https://bujinkansantamonica.blogspot.fr/2016/12/bujinkan-strategies-of-control.html

Kaitatsu Gairyoku: Indirect Transmission

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img_20161127_130403Hatsumi sensei said in class that “you cannot be good doing Bujinkan, if you’re good, you are not doing Bujinkan”. It reminded me of Salvador Dali’s quote: “Don’t be afraid of perfection, you’ll never reach it”. This quote could summarise what we are training these days. Don’t try to be perfect.

The essence of controlling the space is not to do a perfect movement. We move in a way that is a simple answer to Uke’s intentions; that is all. It doesn’t have to be pretty; it has to be “good enough”. Too many practitioners try perfection, by doing so, they meet defeat as they cannot adjust their moves to the ever-changing situation.

The idea is to derive power from indirect and forceless movements. What you do, the way you react makes it impossible for Uke to guess what is coming next, and therefore it keeps you alive. Sensei called this concept “Kaitatsu Gairyoku”, indirect strength or indirect transmission. (1) (2) (3)

Indirect strength is using no force at all. And when you use no power, Chikara or Ryoku (4), Uke cannot use it against you as leverage.

“A perfect technique gets you killed”, added Sensei, “because when you try to do a technique you are trapped mentally”. You can be lucky once, maybe twice, but in a real fight, it is about staying alive. The Tao Te King means that when it says “don’t do anything, and nothing will be left undone”. (6) The water flowing downstream doesn’t think the many rocks it encounters, nor does the water try to avoid them. The water is not trying to do anything; it flows naturally and reaches the sea. It is as simple as that.

And as Kary Mullis Nobel Prize 1993, said about DNA duplication, “it is very complicated to make (things) simple.” (7)

When you watch Hatsumi sensei doing Kaitatsu Gairyoku, it seems very simple, but it is extremely complicated to do.

If you don’t come to Japan regularly, you will never get the actual depth of the Bujinkan martial arts.

You can fly to Tokyo with a “direct” or an “indirect” flight to receive your transmission…

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1. 回り/kai/mawari/circumference; perimeter; edge|surroundings; locality; neighborhood|rotation; circulation +

経つ/tatsu/to pass; to lapse

2. 回経/kaitatsu/indirect

3. 外力/gairyoku/external force/transmission

4. 力/chikara/force; strength; might; vigour (vigor);

energy|capability; ability; proficiency; capacity; faculty|efficacy; effect|effort; endeavours (endeavors); exertions|power; authority; influence; good offices; agency|support; help; aid; assistance|stress; emphasis|means; resources.

5. 力じゃない /chikara janai/there is no strength

6. Taoteking or Tao Te Ching: modern translation by François Jullien §37, 48 in “le traité de l’efficacité”, (French edition).

7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kary_Mullis

Arnaud COUSERGUE

Source : https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/kaitatsu-gairyoku-indirect-transmission/

Bujinkan Chemical Reaction

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saitama 2After a recent class with Hatsumi sensei, we were on the train to Kashiwa with Adonis and Harry Mitrou, the twin brothers from Greece. We were speaking of the training we just had, trying to understand the profound insights that Sensei shared with us.
Sensei said that “controlling the space” was the same with or without weapons, and that whatever the beginning, the end was remaining the same. At some point, Adonis said, “well it is like the Hess’s Law in chemistry”. There was a long silence.
Here is the law: “The law states that the total enthalpy change during the complete course of a chemical reaction is the same whether the reaction is made in one step or several steps. (…) In other words, if a chemical change takes place by several different routes, the overall enthalpy change is the same, regardless of the path by which the chemical change occurs (provided the initial and final condition are the same). (1)(2).
I asked him to be more precise, and he added that if we apply this law to the Bujinkan, we can find that in any technique, like in Hess’s Law, the beginning of the movement is related to the end of it, independently of how many steps we take to do it. Because we control the space, whatever happens in this space leads to the same outcome”.
Sensei said that when we control the space, all of the Uke’s actions are immediately felt once they are expressed. Then it is easy to defeat the attacker as long as we are “zero”, and keep the feeling of Mutō Dori. I know it sounds strange, but it makes sense when you watch Sensei’s movements. I have been Sensei’s Uke a few times in the last classes, and the feeling is that there are no feelings. When you attack him, you face nothingness. There is nothing to hold on. Like a chemical reaction in a glass container, your attacks can unfold there, but they stay in the middle of the controlled space. The theme of Saino Konki comes to mind (3), Utsuwa (Ki) being the controlled space.
Each time I grabbed or attacked Sensei, I felt like being lost, limited in my options, and powerless. The only force that I could feel was the one I used in my attacks. It was like Sensei was not there. It was a weird sensation.
The same goes for Taijutsu or weapons, and Sensei repeated that at this level, there are no techniques, there is only a flow of possibilities entrapped in the controlled space. This is why it didn’t matter if the attack is Taijutsu or weapons.
It is hard to do it, even though when Hatsumi Sensei does it, it seems obvious. Controlling the space appears to be a superior technical layer of ability allowing you to survive any encounter.
It is impressive.
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2. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enthalpy
3. 才能 魂 器 “saino konki” or “saino tamashii utsuwa”
Arnaud COUSERGUE