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…


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


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.
2. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enthalpy
3. 才能 魂 器 “saino konki” or “saino tamashii utsuwa”

Kawasu: Chatting With Uke

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I feel gifted to have access to so many fantastic teachers when I train in Japan. But I feel even luckier when I have two classes in a row with the same master.

That was the case yesterday as Senō sensei opened the Sunday training after teaching us on Saturday. When we teach, we often keep unfolding the same idea over a few classes. The Japanese Dai Shihan do the same.

Yesterday, Senō sensei continued with the Binkan concept (1) he taught on Saturday.

Budō is about developing this sensibility in the middle of the encounter. When your six senses are in tune with the opponent, then your body reacts without thinking. This sensitivity begins with your ability to detect the enemy with your skin, binkanhada (2).

This is why when we move we have to keep the body relaxed. The less tension we put in the body, the better we feel the other’s intentions. When this feeling extends to the whole body, this is Taikan (3).

Taikan doesn’t only concern the bodily sensation; it is also the result of your experience. We know it because all of us have already experienced it before. The more you train, the better you can “sense” uke’s movements. Sometimes it feels that time is slowing down.

This ability to sense the opponent doesn’t come overnight. It is something, like the Sakki test, which builds up gradually. One day you have it. It is something you acquire with consistent training and study. Some practitioners will develop it in twenty years, others in thirty years. But at some point, I believe that everyone training seriously within the “Bujinkan borders” will get it (4).

At the end of the class, Senō sensei explained that in the time and space where the exchange is happening, Uke and Tori are exchanging: this is Kawasu (5).

I see Kawasu be similar to modern chatting. When you chat with a friend, each one writes in turn, and exchange ideas. But as you have all experienced, due to the speed of writing, there are moments where ideas get mixed up. Your answers come too late; your correspondent is already speaking of something else. And it gets hard to follow.

When this is happening you get this type of exchange:

– uke: how are you?
– Tori: excellent. What about you?
– uke: I’m going shopping.
– tori: maybe we meet there?
– uke: I had a bad night.
– tori: I must get some fruits.
– uke: I think I ate too much yesterday.
– tori: I have to eat healthier.
– uke: when?
– tori: every day.
– uke: no, I meant when do we meet?

At some point, each one is following his train of thought and doesn’t listen to what the other is writing.

The same thing happens during the exchange/fight with the opponent. If Uke attacks, we should not try to put our intention in the exchange, but sense him with Taikan, and go with the flow until we can defeat him.

Kawasu is an important part of the fight and will benefit us, as long as we don’t try to impose anything on the opponent. As Hatsumi sensei says “be zero, don’t do a technique. Anyone can do a technique and therefore, becomes visible. Be unexpected”.

The best way to be unexpected is to develop sensibility.


1. 敏感/binkan/sensibility; susceptibility; sensitive (to); well attuned to

2. 敏感肌/binkanhada/sensitive skin

3. 体感/taikan/bodily sensation; sense; experience

4. Bujinkan borders: to me, the Bujinkan is a complete system that doesn’t need extra “add-ons” from other fighting systems. Teachers that are adding MMA, or sports-like techniques to the Bujinkan syllabus, are missing the point. The Bujinkan is perfect in itself, anything you add, proved your lack of competence. Would you put a Mp3 player inside a guitar? No. Don’t cross the “border” before you understand all that you have to understand.

5. 交わす/kawasu/to exchange (messages, greetings, arguments, etc.)|to intersect; to cross; to interlace|… with one another; … to each other.


Source : https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/kawasu-chatting-with-uke/

Using Tōate To Control Space

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img_20161125_210544_1Sensei speaks a lot about controlling these days (see previous entry in this blog). But during his last class, he detailed it a little more.
Controlling the space in Mutō Dori should be the theme of the study for next year, he said, this is why I will try here to share with you what I understood.

The control he is speaking about is the control of space with Mutō Dori. Technically, it is the theme of this year with a deeper understanding. Managing the space is mainly done with the legs. As always, footwork is important.

Proper footwork will give you the perfect distance needed to control the space. Not too far, and not too close.
This control is done at the physical level as well as the mental level. Sensei spoke about Tōate a lot during the class, in both taijutsu and weapons. Tōate is the ability to influence uke’s perception by throwing your determined mental attitude onto him (1). Tōate impacts uke’s perception of distance and gives Tori more space to move during the exchange.
This way of controlling affects the space at the physical level but also the attacker’s brain. Uke’s senses are unable to deal with the movements he perceives.

Sensei insisted that to control uke, you have first to control yourself. To control yourself you must be “zero and one” at the same time. You emit nothing, and you have no preconceived idea of what to do. You are “one”, body and mind, and you move freely, surfing on the movements of the opponent in this controlled space you have generated. The outcome of the encounter doesn’t matter. It is irrelevant. Sensei said that at this level “there are no techniques” (2). It is the flow of your movements that make things turn out positively for you. Controlling the space in battle, you also control the time within this space. You react swiftly but without any precipitation.

You occupy the space with your body, walking around uke to create the perfect distance. You shouldn’t be focused on ending the technique, simply the first step matters.

When space is controlled, then your Taijutsu and your techniques with weapons are the same. This is the superior level of Mutō Dori.
In a sword against sword attack, Sensei said you block by avoiding only, with body movement (footwork). “Don’t do sword techniques” the waza will pop up and apart into the controlled space by itself.
Later, against a Dō kiri knife attack, the Kaeshi was simply to hit happa Ken on the driving hand. Timing and distance were paramount.

This ability to control the space of Mutō Dori was hard to get. I hope that in the next classes, I will be able to get a better feeling about it.

Stay tuned.
1. 投/tō/throw/ (Kun-Yomi = nage) +
宛/ate/aim; object; purpose; end|expectations; prospects; hopes|something that can be relied upon
2. When sensei says there are no techniques, it didn’t mean you don’t have to learn them. This is a common mistake amongst young teachers. Forgetting the techniques means that you spent time learning them. The only way to forget something is to have learned it in the first place.

please visit KUMA HUB


Source : https://kumafr.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/using-toate-to-control-space/

L’infiniment petit / The Infinitely Small

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Depuis 50 ans, il se passe une petite révolution dans notre monde moderne. On se dirige vers l’infiniment petit. On miniaturise tout. L’auteur de science-fiction Isaac Asimov disait un jour que sa plus grande erreur était d’imaginer les ordinateurs occupant de plus en plus d’espace. Au lieu de ça, ils n’ont cessé de se miniaturiser au point de tenir dans une main. Les moteurs des voitures ont rapetissé tout en gagnant en puissance. La médecine se dirige vers les nanotechnologies, utilisant des micros véhicules afin d’aller porter des médicaments dans des endroits ciblés. Tout devient plus petit.

Certains domaines n’ont pas suivi cette tendance. Les arts martiaux font partie de ceux-là. Dans les temps anciens, on cherchait à passer inaperçu. On minimisait les gestes de défenses au maximum afin de ne pas attirer l’attention. Un voleur nous agressait, une frappe rapide et discrète à la gorge suffisait pour faire tomber le malotru. De nos jours, la plupart des pratiquants d’arts martiaux utiliseraient de grands gestes qui, inconsciemment, sont associés à de la puissance et tendent trop souvent à impressionner les spectateurs. Ils enchaîneraient de plusieurs frappes plutôt que de quitter la scène en laissant l’agresseur reprendre son souffle. Ils voudraient être témoins de leur victoire.

Plus on progresse sur la voie du budo, plus on constate que nos gestes deviennent minimalistes. Si l’adversaire essaie de nous impressionner, plutôt que de prendre une position de combat, on va calmement le regarder sans broncher (Fudoshin). Plus besoin de forcer comme un diable pour neutraliser l’attaquant. Pas besoin de grands déplacements acrobatiques pour éviter une attaque, on se contente de bouger l’épaisseur d’une feuille de papier (kami no e). Plus de mimique agressive pour décourager l’adversaire, on se montre vulnérable utilisant du kyojutsu, cet art de donner une fausse réalité à l’adversaire. Plus de grandes clés pour réussir à projeter l’agresseur, une simple torsion légère sur son poignet, torsion qui passe pratiquement inaperçue et qui créera un déséquilibre susceptible de faire tomber l’agresseur par lui-même.

Au lieu de faire de grands gestes démonstratifs, on se contentera de reculer à la limite de l’attaque de notre adversaire afin de le faire déborder de son élan (Yoyu). Si l’adversaire frappe trop fort, on bougera à la dernière seconde, l’amenant à se perdre dans un espace vide (kukan). Puis, lorsqu’il sera positionné comme on le désire, d’une simple pression d’un doigt au bon endroit on l’amènera au sol (kyusho). Si on doit le frapper, ce qui paraît comme une seule attaque en sera plusieurs (Ikken hasso).

Bien sûr, s’il fonce sur nous comme un diable, on pourra se contenter de pivoter en prenant appui sur son bras (kaname), le déviant facilement de sa cible. Et puis s’il sort un couteau, notre esprit se positionnera en mode (muto taijutsu), nous deviendrons nous-mêmes une arme. Et, grâce au (ko sakki), nous serons en mesure de devancer d’une fraction de seconde l’intention de notre adversaire. Puis, nous enchaînerons à la façon d’une pierre qui rebondit sur l’eau (Ishitobashi), ne laissant pas ainsi à notre adversaire le temps de constater ce qui vient de se passer.

Et tout ceci sera fait sans que nous ayons à faire de grands gestes. De cette façon, la plupart des gens autour n’auront même pas idée de ce qui vient de se passer. De petits mouvements pour une victoire sans gloire et sans témoins. Et vous, arrivez-vous à vous défendre sans gestes grandiloquents?

Bernard Grégoire

Shihan Bujinkan Québec



For 50 years a small revolution has taken place in our modern world. We are moving towards the infinitely small. We miniaturize everything. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said that his biggest mistake was to imagine computers occupying more and more space. Instead, they have become miniaturized to the point of holding in one hand (your smart phone). The engines of the cars have shrunk while gaining power. Medicine is moving towards nanotechnology, using micro-vehicles to bring medication to targeted locations. Everything becomes smaller.

Some areas have not followed this trend. Martial arts are part of that. In ancient times, one sought to go unnoticed. We minimized the gestures of defenses to the maximum so as not to attract attention. A thief assaulted us, a quick and discreet strike at the throat was enough to bring down the aggressor. Nowadays, most martial arts practitioners would use great gestures that, unconsciously, are associated with power and tend too often to impress the audience. They would chain several strikes rather than leave the scene letting the aggressor catch his breath. They want to witness their victory.

The more one moves along the path of the budo, the more we realize that our gestures become minimalist. If the opponent tries to impress us, rather than take a fighting position, we will calmly look at him without flinching (Fudoshin). No more need to force as a devil to neutralize the attacker. No need for large acrobatic movements to avoid an attack, we just move the thickness of a sheet of paper (kami no e). No more aggressive mimicry to discourage the opponent, one shows oneself vulnerable using kyojutsu, this art of giving a false reality to the adversary. No need for big keys to successfully project the aggressor, a simple twist on his wrist, twist that passes almost unnoticed and which will create an imbalance likely to cause the aggressor to fall by himself.

Instead of making great demonstrative gestures, we will simply retreat to the limit of the attack of our opponent in order to make it overflow of his movement (Yoyu). If the opponent strikes too hard, he will move at the last second causing him to get lost in an empty space (kukan). Then, when he is positioned as desired, with a simple press of a finger in the right place he will be brought to the ground (kyusho). If one is to hit him, what seems like a single attack will be several (Ikken hasso).

Of course, if he rushes at us like a devil, we can simply pivot by resting on his arm (kaname), easily deviating him from his target. And if he uses a knife, our mind will position itself in mode (muto taijutsu), we will become a weapon ourselves. And, using the (ko sakki), we will be able to know a fraction of a second before he moves, his intention to attack us. Then we will continue like a stone bouncing on the water (Ishitobashi) thus not leaving our opponent time to see what has just happened.

And all this will be done without our having to make a great gesture. In this way, most people around will not even have an idea what just happened. Small movements for a victory without glory and without witnesses. And you can you defend yourself without grandiose gestures?


Bernard Gregoire

Shihan Bujinkan Quebec

Source : https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/linfiniment-petit/

L’esprit du budo

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Il m’arrive de temps à autre de poser à mes étudiants la question à 1000 $. Qu’est-ce que le budo pour toi? Bien sûr, la réponse facile qu’ils donnent souvent est l’art que l’on apprend ici. Mais cette réponse est insatisfaisante. Reprenons notre question autrement. Est-ce que tous les arts martiaux sont du budo? D’après vous?

Est-ce qu’enchaîner coup de poing et coup de pied peut être considéré comme du budo? Est-ce que tenter d’immobiliser quelqu’un au sol en respectant des règles sportives peut être considéré comme du budo? La réponse exacte, je ne le sais pas. Tout ce que je peux faire est de donner un seul point de vue de la question, le mien. Et bien sûr, ça ne sera pas tout le monde qui sera d’accord avec mon point de vue. Mais comme un blogue est fait pour stimuler des réflexions, je me lance sur le sujet.

Je pense que la plupart des gens seront d’accord pour dire que le budo est une voie qu’emprunte le guerrier. Le budo a pour but d’apprendre à celui qui le pratique, comment se protéger et comment survivre. Et si l’on pousse un peu plus loin notre réflexion, il a pour but d’aider le guerrier à protéger son seigneur, sa famille.

Pour arriver à ce résultat quels sont les ingrédients nécessaires pour former un guerrier compétent ? Bien sûr, la première étape est l’apprentissage de techniques. Comment frapper, esquiver et contrôler un adversaire ? C’est probablement la partie facile de la voie du guerrier. Si vous prenez un adolescent ou un jeune adulte, vous le motivez pour qu’il gagne une compétition ou deux et à la fin, il croit fortement qu’il est devenu un grand guerrier. À ce stade est-ce que l’on peut dire qu’on pratique le budo? Personnellement, je pense que non. Il manque quelque chose d’essentiel, la conscience. C’est ce qui sépare l’art martial de la pratique du budo.

Dans les arts martiaux, on apprend à être réactif. Un coup de poing se dirige vers nous, on esquive et on contre-attaque. C’est un jeu d’action-réaction. Dans le budo, on sait à l’avance quelles seront les deux prochaines attaques de l’adversaire. On travaillera de manière à influencer son mental. On le manipulera à croire des choses ou encore à douter de ses capacités. Si votre art martial n’influence pas votre adversaire psychologiquement, ce n’est pas du budo, ce n’est qu’un échange de coups et de techniques. Et lorsque je parle de manipuler son mental, je ne parle pas de laisser un cri dans le but de le faire sursauter. Lorsqu’un étudiant qui arrive d’école d’art martial essaie de me surprendre avec un kiai de la sorte, ça me fait toujours sourire.

On doit arriver à fausser aisément la perception de l’adversaire. On doit pouvoir éviter de focaliser uniquement sur la personne qui est en face de nous. Le budo nous enseigne à prendre conscience de tout ce qui nous entoure tout en combattant l’adversaire principale. Le budo nous apprend à devenir imprévisibles. Si l’on ne sait pas nous même ce que l’on fait, comment l’adversaire peut-il le savoir? Si lorsque vous vous battez vous n’avez qu’une envie, celle de massacrer votre adversaire, vous êtes loin de la voie du budo. Bien sûr, on doit avoir le désir de survivre, de vaincre, mais cela se fait de manière détachée sans se laisser dominer par ses émotions. De plus, celui qui suit la voie du budo apprend à utiliser différents types d’émotions.

La plupart des gens qui pratiquent les arts martiaux tentent d’exécuter les techniques comme ils les ont appris. Ceux qui pratiquent le budo ne se sentent nullement gênés pour adapter leurs connaissances aux besoins du moment. Si vous faites vos déplacements toujours de la même manière sans varier angle et distance, vous ne faites que des arts martiaux, vous n’avez pas encore atteint la route qui mène au budo.

Ah oui, un dernier point important : le professeur. Si votre enseignant refuse de répondre à vos questions, peut-être est-ce parce qu’il n’a pas trouvé la voie du budo lui non plus. Pour moi, me faire dire que je vais comprendre cela plus tard n’est pas une réponse acceptable. Tous les enseignants qui pratiquaient le vrai budo ont toujours répondu à mes questions.

Alors, pratiquez-vous simplement un art martial ou marchez-vous dans la voie du budo?


Bernard Grégoire

Yushuu shihan Bujinkan Québec

The spirit of the budo


It happens to me from time to time to ask the question of $ 1,000 to my students. What is the budo for you? Of course, the easy answer they give is art that is taught here. But this response is unsatisfactory. Returning to our question differently. Are all the martial arts of Budo? What do you think?

Does chaining punch and kick can be considered of Budo? Did someone try to immobilize ground respecting sports rules may be regarded as of Budo? I do not know the exact answer. All I can do is give one view of the matter, mine. And of course, it will not be everyone will agree with my views. But as a blog is done to stimulate thoughts, I start on the subject.

I think most people will agree that Budo is a path that takes the warrior. Budo aims to teach those who practice it, how to protect themselves and how to survive. And if we push a little further our thinking, it aims to help the warrior to protect his lord, his family.

To achieve this what ingredients are needed to form a competent warrior? Of course, the first step is learning techniques. How to hit, dodge and control an opponent? This is probably the easiest part of the way of the warrior. If you take a teenager or young adult, you motivate him so that he wins a tournament or two and at the end he strongly believes that he has become a great warrior. At this point is that we can say we practice budo? Personally, I think not. It lacks something essential, consciousness. This is what separates the martial art of the practice of Budo.

In martial arts, you learn to be reactive. A punch moves towards us, we dodge and against attack. It’s an action-reaction play. In Budo, we know in advance what the next two attacks of the opponent. We will work in order to influence his mind. We will handle it to give him false certitudes or to doubt his abilities. If your martial art does not influence your opponent psychologically it is not Budo, it is only an exchange of strikes and techniques. And when I talk to manipulate his mind, I do not mean to leave a shout in order to make the jump. When a student comes to martial arts school tries to surprise me with a kiai like that, it always makes me smile.

We must get to easily distort the perception of the opponent. We must avoid focusing solely on the person in front of us. Budo teaches us to be aware of everything around us while fighting the main enemy. Budo teaches us to become unpredictable. If we do not know ourselves what is done, how the opponent can he know? If you fight when you have only one desire, to kill your opponent, you are far from the path of Budo. Of course, we must have the desire to survive, overcome, but it is detached manner without being dominated by emotions. Moreover, one who follows the path of Budo learning to use different types of emotions.

Most people who practice martial arts techniques attempt to perform as they learned them. Those who practice Budo do not feel embarrassed to adapt their knowledge to the needs of the moment. If you always go the same way without varying angles and distance, all you do is martial arts, you have not yet reached the road to Budo.

Oh yes, last one important point: the teacher. If the teacher refuses to answer questions, perhaps it’s because he has not found the way of Budo either. For me, if I am told that I will understand it later is not an acceptable answer. All teachers who practiced true Budo have always answered my questions.

So just do you practice a martial art or you go in the way of Budo?


Bernard Grégoire

Yushuu shihan Bujinkan Québec

Source : https://bujinkanquebec.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/lesprit-du-budo/