Real budo isn’t the the technique (waza) or variation of movement (henka) . True budo has a depth that penatrates your soul. It has its grounds set deep in repedative motion and understanding the human body from is psych to its muscles, yours and your attackers.
Your budo requires you to go beyond your senses to a place that we seem to all have lost till good true budo or an event draws it out . It is a primal function in life that is no longer needed in our overly complacent lives . Our will to see beyand, to survive and perceive danger . This is Saiki ( 佐伯). It is used in the Bujinkan during a test administired at the 5th degree ,godan level . Where a high level instructor sends his intent to strike you while you kneel infront of them. He then chooses a moment to strike you with a bamboo sword. Your job is to know the distance to sit for the test and receive it without flinching or worries. Your minds eye should be in tune and perceive this and move only when the danger is at its worst.
Dont hesitate or stay too late ,if you move to fast you could be cut . The attacker will see your movement and change with you . Move too late and your senses need to be honed..you are not intune yet with death or life.
At our dojo we train this sense by training blindfolded. There are many levels of this training. And you are the one with the answers. Be true to your self ( 自分に忠実 )and your budo .
The levels to depth:
Sense the attacker
Sense the threat ,when he moves closer or readies to punch
Kwow where he is ,do not loose him and his angle of attack
Sense the timing of his attack
Block or move defensively
Knowing all this know your ditance to the danger and you can reach to touch the punch
This is basic to the Bujinkan godan and it can help to elivate your awareness. No a punch or an attack is much easier to deal with . You can loose many of the thoughts that might interupt your movement and reaction of the oncoming interuption in your movent . And this is not just for physical attacks this goes deeper to your heart and handling life and situations . Your death is your life and your life is your heart to understand the metaphysical.
Too many times there is too much of a connection in what we are trying to do. We are thinking of a result or worst yet an end (エンド)to the begining. The begining is just there but the end is endless . If you are searching for the end than you are too busy to see everything betweeen. Your mind must stay clean of vituous and unvertuous thoughts Munen, zero no thought( ない心 ). Allow the journey to carry you don’t be carried by the journey .You may be keeping yourself closer to death than you know ( 成句) meaning that if you are looking to far into the future you might see your demise,your death .Stay alive in the moment and keep living it .
Think along the lines of Kihon Happo The end is the begining and the beging can be the end .. From spring blooms growth till falls death nourishes the soil for the next spring .Make both ends meet ( 収支を合わせる, 収入の範囲内でやっていく ).
This is life this is your budo connection from one to the next never really ending just continuing in another space or time ..without end ( 果てしなく［い］).
Soke Hatsumi has said to not give 100% give only 60% and save 40 for what comes next. Keeping yourself alive is key and not just through budo and training in all matters of your life . Blinders on horses are ment to keep them only looking forward giving the horse a false sense of its journey . We are far greater than a horse but some still enjoy blinders by seeing only one thing or consentrating too hard on future endeavors . Work hard,stay true and keep your techniques simple. Allow the future to wash over you and take note of it allow life to flourish and and your eyes ( mind, senses )open to all.
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Martial arts is a long journey for most of us . It doesn’t end within years or a belt rank. Infact sometimes you can’t even set a goal to move towards . I was talking to a student the other night after training. He is very diligent in showing up for training. And it was nice to hear questions and answers I seek at my level in the conversation.
When you start in your budo the answers and questions are pretty clear..maybe blurred a bit but your guide book or instructor can help. High levels on the other hand need Japan,Shihan or constant training and self evaluation to keep you on the right track. The lines are very obsceure and you have to keep reminding yourself of the basic principles as a guide.
Look into the basics
Stay offline (distancing)
Less movement and less muscle
This doesn’t seem like much but when you create te pyramid off of each waza ( movement) and then add henka it is a lot too look into. The hemka like a good drink shouldn’t be diluted till its weak without content. And if you add too much it is just yours but as a whole it isn’t Budo or Bugei. Be wary of this you are your worst problem. Accepting movement of your own without any of the principles is very bad. Search for the basics in your movement at all levels.
Last but not least sacrifice ( 犠牲 )one of the toughest parts of training is sacrifice. We all have a life,school,family and jobs. But it is the sacrifice you make towards self study and training or teaching that will keep you right. Many times you will need to miss a family event take time away from school or work. The people that do show there true spirit of Budoka ( 戦士の学生 ) warrior student. This sacrifice isn’t simply for your benifit it is there for all around you.
Levels of your taijutsu will truthfully depend on you and how much time you put into it .It will also depend on how you see or adapt at seeing what is being demonstrated .
One of your first levels of learning will be to learn to defend yourself and attack back as needed. This will be ongoing refinement till you are way beyond godan level, 5th dan. Once you start to better understand movement and your Kihon you will look at your henka (variation 名詞 )And that will continue to improve through the rest of your life .
Your kihon will need to be looked at observed and refined continously even into your dan ranks. Looking at your balance as well as your ukes ( 週 ).Looking at the physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy ( 勢力) and force ( 力). Note the kanji used in both are the sword energy and force can be studied as power ,influence and strength. Cause and effect of every movement from yours to how your uke reacts .
Again though you are trying to learn to live and survive an attack being physical or mental. But just keeping to the idea of the physical if you are trying to hard to be in the right spot or angle and not living in the moment the true , you are not alive. Your budo needs to be alive and at your lower stages you need to at least comprehend a true attack. Otherwise you are fooling yourself and leading your students in a dangerous direction. Not being in the fight and moving in perfect lines is a good thing to look at but do not forget the variations of life that will attack each seperate ackground has its own life and dangers.
You need to be able to defend, comprehend the severity of an attack or situation first and through out your training ,this is the budo…
We are as budoka trying to aspire to a grander level but don’t forget the danger and life we teach and train in. The ones that survived the battles are the ones that kept the densho moving forward. When you can do this descently enough then aspire to Sokes movement ( 勢力のない) powerless; with ［having］ no influence.
Are you training right? Are your students or uke helping you mature in your Budo. Keep in mind that your Budo, bu (warrior 武 ) do (way のじゃまになって )must also mean bu (warrior 武) (life 一生) isshou, whole life ,existance.
If it is being taught as art you should have paint and paper there to learn it . Life is a constant study to no end with many paths and doors . You will need to study yourself as well as body machanics and psychology.
If your uke,s are moving or falling for you you will not grow even if your trying your best to look at the exact footwork and angling. Teaching a student good body mechanics in how to throw an effective punch is good . Teaching a student how to punch so you can more effectively utilize your knowledge is bad. As a student or as an instructor you must descern and decipher the incoming information. If the punch is high,low… fist verticle or horizontal.
Your understanding of movement is key to your existance and it follows true to life . Your life needs to be steadfast yet moving . Expanding and shrinking to the pressures of the surroundings .
Go to the well and drink to see the waza go to the stream and drink for the life . Basics are very important to your movement in budo the same as language and manners in life. But taking time out and seeing that life is in constant motion the same as your surroundings and the way human nature changes. This means that you need to study your budo with others and allow your uke to attack in different speeds and in different directions so that you are breathing the life of true budo.
The basics are a guide to to principle movement our morals at the end of the story. But be aware the staries are different from city to city and culture to culture. The times are evolving is your budo?
Things to think about for training .. Soke has always mentioned footwork and movement (ashi 芦ノ湖 ).Keeping mind that budo is always moving and not just the feet it is ever changing. To keep you alive.
I was also watching Soke this morning and he was talking about koshi ( koshi 合志 ) And it wasn’t the exact atemi koshi. He was referencing the idea of the balance point ( バランス ポイント) in the movement of the uke . Whether you are creating it by leading him or if you are finding it at the end of its existance in the ukes strike or movement.
We need to look continuous into what is being said by Soke many times to really try and make our budo closer to zero.