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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

¿Porqué Sensei lleva el pelo de color morado?

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Hace ya más de 8 años – creo que fue a primeros de 2009 – que nuestro Sensei, el Sôke Hatsumi, se tiñó el pelo de color morado. Y a día de hoy, casi una década después, todavía sigo viendo en las redes a gente de diferentes países preguntando el porqué.

He aquí una pequeña recopilación de los posibles porqués, ya que Sensei nunca lo ha explicado clara y concisamente, y a cada persona que le ha preguntado directamente por eso le ha dado una respuesta distinta 🙂

Así es nuestro Sôke! Una persona MUY especial y sorprendente!

 

Bien pues, uno de los motivos o explicaciones que dio Sensei de porqué lo hizo, es que los actores de Kabuki y Noh cuando se retiran se tiñen el pelo de morado para mostrar que están ya retirados. Además significa longevidad y está asociado con haber alcanzado un alto nivel de maestría.

El color morado en japonés se llama murasaki, que en Feng Shui simboliza Yin, conciencia espiritual, curación física y mental. También los Daruma de color morado son para conceder una larga vida y para la prevención de desastres. En la poesía tradicional japonesa el murasaki denota perseverancia y constancia.

El color morado (murasaki iro) también sugiere alto rango y liderazgo, algo que proviene de la antigua corte y tribunales de Japón, donde la mayor virtud estaba representada con el color púrpura.

También hay quien asegura que Sensei le dijo que era para protegerse de las enfermedades de transmisión sexual! ja ja ja! ¡Qué grande es Sensei! 🙂

Dani ESTEBAN

Source : https://bushidojo.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/porque-sensei-lleva-el-pelo-de-color-morado/

Des produits sans nom/Products without name

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3 avril 2017 par bujinkanquebec

Beaucoup de gens qui ont pratiqué d’autres arts martiaux et qui viennent s’entraîner à notre dojo sont surpris de constater qu’un grand nombre de techniques que j’enseigne n’a pas de nom. Au début, plusieurs de ces personnes ont l’impression que nous sommes une école désorganisée, qui semble manquer de rigueur. Bien sûr, nous avons un grand nombre de techniques codifiés. Toutes celles qui nous viennent des 9 ryus portent un nom. Mais lorsque l’on regarde Hatsumi sensei enseigner, on réalise qu’il va bien au-delà de ces techniques qui sont codifiés. À mon point de vue, le fait que nous ne nous sentions pas obligés de donner un nom à chaque technique n’est pas une faiblesse, mais au contraire, c’est une force qui nous permet une grande liberté de création. Demander à la plupart des shihans occidentaux du Bujinkan de vous enseigner une technique de défense contre une attaque qu’ils n’ont jamais vue, la majeure partie d’entre eux pourront vous surprendre de l’efficacité de la technique qu’ils vont créer pour vous. Codifier chaque technique, donner un nom pour chaque mouvement devient une entrave à la création et à notre faculté d’adaptation. Ce n’est pas pour rien qu’à de nombreuses reprises, Hatsumi sensei nous a dit de ne pas demeurer prisonniers de la technique. Lorsque je donne des séminaires de défense contre couteau, la plupart des techniques n’ont pas de nom. Mais elles fonctionnent et ont fait leurs preuves en situation réelle. En donnant un nom à chaque mouvement, on se sent obligé de demeurer dans les limites du système. Plutôt que d’improviser de nouveaux concepts, les pratiquants d’arts martiaux retravailleront continuellement les mêmes enchaînements en essayant d’améliorer la vitesse, la précision et tous les paramètres que l’on pourrait programmer chez un robot. En travaillant comme nous le faisons, il peut arriver que nous fassions des erreurs lors de l’exécution d’une technique de défense. Mais si cette erreur arrive, la créativité que nous avons appris à développer nous permet de nous adapter et transforme cette erreur en quelque chose de positif. Les nouveaux étudiants qui passent outre ce premier préjugé constatent rapidement la force et la richesse de notre art martial. Malheureusement, ce n’est pas tout le monde qui peut se sentir bien dans un tel système. Beaucoup de gens ont besoin d’un encadrement sévère, de balises qui dictent les limites de leurs fonctionnements. En nous enseignant comme il le fait, Hatsumi sensei nous amène à nous dépasser, à participer à l’enrichissement de notre art. Notre art martial est vivant et il évolue. Par le fait même, il nous permet une amélioration de notre conscience martiale comme peu d’arts martiaux peuvent le permettre.

 

Many people who have practiced other martial arts and come to train at our dojo are surprised to find that many of the techniques I teach have no name. At first, many of these people have the feeling that we are disorganized school, which seems to lack the rigor. Of course, we have a large number of codified techniques. All those who come to us from 9 Ryus have a name. But when looking at Hatsumi sensei teach, we realize that it goes far beyond those techniques that are codified.

From my point of view, the fact that we do not feel obliged to give a name to each technique is not a weakness, but on the contrary, it is a force that allows us a great freedom of creation. Ask most Western Shihans of the Bujinkan to teach you a technique of defense against an attack they have never seen, most of them will surprise you with the effectiveness of the technique they will create for you. Coding each technique, giving a name for each movement becomes a hindrance to creation and our ability to adapt. It is not for nothing that on many occasions, Hatsumi sensei told us not to remain prisoners of the technique.

When I give seminars of defense against knife, most techniques have no name. But they work and have proved their worth in real life situations. By giving a name to each movement, one feels obliged to remain within the limits of the system. Rather than improvise new concepts, martial arts practitioners will continuously re-engineer the same patterns, trying to improve the speed, accuracy and all the parameters that can be programed in a robot.By working as we do, it may happen that we make mistakes when performing a defense technique. But if this error happens, the creativity that we have learned to develop allows us to adapt and turn this error into something positive.

New students who ignore this first prejudice quickly discover the strength and richness of our martial art. Unfortunately, it’s not everyone who can feel good in such a system. Many people need a strict framework, tags that dictate the limits of their functioning. By teaching us as he does, Hatsumi sensei leads us to surpass ourselves, to participate in the enrichment of our art. Our martial art is alive and evolves. By the same token, it allows us an improvement in our martial awareness as few martial arts can allow.

 

Bernard Grégoire

Yushuu shihan Bujinkan Quebec

Source : https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/des-produits-sans-nom/  / https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/products-without-name/

Muto Dori With Marishiten

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Michael Glenn

at 摩利支天 徳大寺 Marishiten tokudaiji

The other night in Hatsumi Sensei’s class I ran to grab a bokken from the weapon rack. When I returned, my training partner was waiting for my attack so he could try the muto Dori technique that Soke had just demonstrated.
When I cut down I had a great surprise. Hatsumi Sensei appeared from behind my training partner. He pushed my training partner aside so that I was cutting at Soke instead!
I thought that I hit something but Soke was beside me laughing. Somehow I missed. He said that I should learn this feeling.
This year one of the main themes of the training in Japan is Muto Dori. Anyone who has cut at Soke will tell you that he disappears or even splits in two.
That was what I experienced this time. It was like there were two of him. I hit one but that was an illusion.
I’ve often struggled to understand the reality behind this. Even though I can sometimes do this with my own students, the act remains elusive from any explanation.
But today I was lucky. Hatsumi Sensei gave us a big clue later on in the class. He showed a knife evasion and he said to move like the heat wave from  摩利支天 Marishiten. He said this as an aside to his uke and then he moved on.
Marishiten is a goddess I have some familiarity with. One of the very first shrines I visited in Japan was  摩利支天徳大寺 Marishiten tokudaiji in Tokyo. This place is a bit hidden in the middle of a very urban market.
Marishiten is very important for warriors and for ninja. She protects because she uses illusion to help us disappear from our enemies. In Mikkyō (esoteric Buddhism), there are mantra and mudra which are said to make a warrior invisible.
Marishiten appears like a ray of light or mirage. Her image is like a shimmering heat that bends light. Under her protection, anyone who attacks us would be blinded by illusion.
The illusion comes in rays of shimmering light. When you look, it is like staring into the sun, and Marishiten charges from within this brilliance.
When Soke said this a subtle light went off in my brain. This ineffable feeling he wanted me to understand was now more than just an odd experience I feel when I attack him.  You have to see more than the illusion.
Maybe my training is to grasp the nature of the mirage and illusion that arises from Marishiten. This is one aspect of Hatsumi Sensei’s lesson to me. But an odd side effect of this knowledge it is that I can now learn to counter this.
The mirage of Marishiten is a type of blindness. Once you can see and pierce through this veil, what lies beyond it grows clearer. I do not know what surprises Soke has waiting for me when I see past this layer, but I suspect it will open like the lotus blossom.
Marishiten is often depicted standing on a lotus. But her more angry form is shown standing on the back of a wild boar. Hopefully I will see flowers instead of beasts!
Michael GLENN

Mitori Keiko

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28 02 2017

Mitori Keiko (o Mitori Geiko), se traduce como entrenamiento de observación o aprender mirando.

Hay ocasiones en las que no puedes entrenar físicamente porque estás lesionado, te encuentras mal ese día, o por otras circunstancias de la vida que van a hacer que durante un tiempo determinado no puedas entrenar físicamente, pero eso no es motivo para dejar de aprender.

ishishoden

Es el momento de Mitori Keiko. Ve al dojo igualmente, pide permiso a tu maestro y siéntate a mirar la clase. Eso es Mitori Keiko, seguir aprendiendo a través de la observación.  Mirando a los compañeros y al maestro en el propio dojo.
Observar la clase desde fuera es también un excelente método de aprendizaje, ya que te permite ver las técnicas y movimientos desde otra perspectiva mental. Observar atentamente a tu profesor dando la clase, sin ninguna de las distracciones que se encuentran al ser un participante de la misma, es una visión única de incalculable valor. La capacidad de ver desde el exterior, de tomar notas y de reflexionar sobre lo que se está presentando en la clase, es una ayuda inestimable para nuestra progresión marcial.

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Puedes hacer preguntas, puedes ver cómo trabajan tus compañeros y observar sus errores y aciertos, identificarte con ellos y tomar notas de los puntos en los que debes mejorar. Al igual que viendo un vídeo, no se puede avanzar en la habilidad sin la práctica física del arte, simplemente observando; pero Mitori Keiko es una herramienta útil para continuar con nuestra práctica más allá de lo físico. De hecho siempre empezamos nuestro entrenamiento a través de la observación. Observamos lo que nos muestra el maestro y luego intentamos reproducirlo físicamente.

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En cambio en Mitori Keiko sólo observamos y asimilamos a través de la mera observación reflexiva. Además, y muy importante, el hecho de continuar acudiendo al dojo aunque no podamos entrenar físicamente, también demuestra nuestro compromiso y refuerza la relación alumno-maestro y alumno-resto de alumnos/compañeros. Seguir acudiendo al dojo hará que no se enfríe nuestra relación con el mismo y con nuestro arte. Demuestra que el alumno intenta aprender siempre tanto como le sea posible, que está ahí, presente, y le brinda también la posibilidad de poder seguir sintiéndose parte del dojo, ayudando en las tareas del mismo, colaborando en las propuestas, participando en las charlas post entrenos, etc.

Gambatte Kudasae!

Dani Esteban -Kôryu-

Source : https://bushidojo.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/mitori-keiko/

 

 

Human Bonsai!

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bonsai1Over the last twenty three years here in Japan, I often have the pleasure and honor to translate for my teacher Masaaki Hatsumi Soke. Often a student has a question that he would like to ask. It is a always a delight to be able to help facilitate communication between teacher and student. So many questions and so many unexpected answers! One episode comes to mind.

A student asks, “Why are some people friendly to your face but then are hurtful and mean behind your back?”.

Sensei replies nonchalantly, “that is just how people are made.”. As I translate, I can see the look of confusion cross the students` faces. I too am at a bit of a loss. So the question is asked again and once again the answer is the same,”that is just how people are made.”.  Then Sensei looks up into space and asks me, “Paul, have you ever seen a bonsai?”. (small miniature Japanese art trees)I nod my head “yes”. In fact, I had just taken some friends to a bonsai garden the day before so I was a bit surprised by the sudden question about bonsai. He continues, “it is like a bonsai, people are made. You can make a person any way. But it is not natural. You would not go to a forest and find a bonsai. It is not a natural state. But you can twist a bonsai into any shape you want. People are the same.”

How true! Just the prior day I was remarking on the branches of the bonsai. Each branch wrapped with wire and forced to go this way or that way. Every branch! bonsai3Each branch wrapped in wire and forced to take a seemingly natural posture or kamae. And how unnatural it really is. We, too, as humans, each being wrapped in the culture, politics, education, religions and beliefs of those around us and society. Some people wrapped as capitalists, some marxists, some Christians, some Muslim. But all are being bound by the conditioning of the environment and society. Then what you think are your own thoughts can betray you.  In a tragic conclusion, we often we take a kamae or stance for or against another wrapped up in a different shape. Both unaware of the wires that trap them in this position.

Unwrapping these wires and constraints is an important step in the practice of Ninjustu. A true ninja will become free and his tree will grow strong and pure into a natural state in accordance with the natural state of his existence. A Ninja is able to explore his true essence in infinite space. That is why in the Go Jou or Five Precepts as taught by my teacher, a constant diligence and watchfulness to your true path is essential. First become aware of where you are now. What shape are you now? When your shape become visible, start unwrapping!

Paul MASSE

Source : https://kasumian.com/2017/02/08/human-bonsai/

Kan Nin Dokuso (part one)

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kanninpot

“In the all the heavens and earth, only I am exalted!”

Kan Nin Dock Son is a phrase you may hear around the Bujinkan dojo this year. Is it the theme for the year? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows?! But whether it is a theme or not is really not important, it should give you something to ponder and explore this year in addition to your continued practice of the physical movement and techniques. Kan Nin 貫忍, steadfast and single-minded perseverance all the way. Doku Son 独尊、to be revered or exalted. It most likely refers to a story of the Buddha. The story is, when he was born, the Buddha took seven steps and pointed one finger up and one finger down and exclaimed, “In the all the heavens and earth, only I am exalted!”.  What is this elusive I? Some think of it as me, my name, age ect. But you would lose some of the poetry. Who are you when your name, age, social status are stripped away. Going deeper, who are you when the body is stripped away and the mind faded and gone, and even your conscience vanishes like smoke after a fire?Maybe you have heard the Gokui (inner teachings) Persevere the body, Persevere the heart, and Persevere the conscience.

Your body had plopped out of this earth and it will dissolve back into the earth. No matter how good they wrap you like a mummy! But what of a natural energy? A power of nature that drives the seasons, sings thru a myriad of creatures? This power that keeps the clouds drifting and the water flowing, and an infinite number of stars alight? This natural power, the natural power of life is what we must become aware. When you have persevered thru all, this power will shine. Hatsumi Sensei once said to me, “it is like in the movies, when someone opens a treasure box, and their face is lit up by the golden light of the treasure.”. I really like this image. This is the treasure of Nin or Ninpo, 忍宝。 Kan Nin will help to uncover it. Be like Indiana Jones and go treasure hunting. The treasure is so near! When you uncover it, you won’t need to be and air bender or water bender or fire bender. You will know that you have been bending them all the time!