Weekly training and training with an honest partner (uke) is the key to understanding and advancement . You can do the kihon well , very well but what happens if the ukes first punch than fades and becomes a grab and push . Static training is a good exercise and a good way to look at movement from a microscope .
Not only looking at your attackers movement but your own . Looking at the openings the uke has left open or where he could potentially attack from next . As the tori or defender you can take time to look at the effect of timing and your distance to the attacker . Your footwork and balance as to how strong they are . Where your next opening is to potentially escape the attack or what surrounds you (possible weapons) . These things need to be instinctive and reactive . That is why you train the kihon and train slow to better understand everything.
Than you test your skills by having your uke attack honestly to the best they believe . You cannot reproduce a real fight there is too many elements involved . But an honest uke will help that ,making you think on your feet react swift and know your distance .
The Japanese kanji at the top refers to : 手答え (effect, response, resistance, reaction)
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Change seems simple its a part of life since our conception . Than why do we dislike it so much ? Life has been a change from the womb through our graduation of life . Schools , jobs, friends . Without change we wouldn’t be who we are . Soke Hatsumi took 9 martial ryuha and put them together in one school the Bujinkan . That was a big change in martial arts .
A fire consumes and yet gives birth to new growth . The earth has it’s cycles of change from the birth of Spring to the abundance of Summer through Fall as it all retires for Winter .
Soke Hatsumi has mentioned more than once to stop collecting . Yet most of us still are searching for the one new cosmic technique . Once you have learned your sanshin and kihon start your new journey into the next cosmos of nothingness . What you are doing doesn’t have to have an ending that in life is death . Be alive in motion and and allow your brain to be alive and active . If you are having troubles and in life or business your brain has to be in overflow of change to keep up with what you need to do to survive or accomplish .
The same is true to survive in martial arts and not just to learn to defend but to keep going at times when it seems your done . The only key is to know what you know and not strand yourself with thought .
Face forward walk forward and keep changing this is our art this is life . Our sanshin and kihon is our legs arms brain and thoughts . Zero is that we have done our training repetitively so we can walk talk and live .
変わる change, vary, be different, be transformed, veer, be revised
Keep practicing and listening . Your awareness to detail is key to the development of your taijutsu 体術 . When you walk it isn’t just your feet leading you it is all of you from your legs to your hips , eyesight and senses as well as your conscious choice .
To do something and not connect is to drive to the store stop before you get there and be satisfied . You will surely die from this . Life is forward you must keep that going . There is no race but without following forward you are just there .
Your taijutsu 体術 does not end at the waza . If the attack changes you change , take a new lane and go forward . Follow the body and be in-tune and connected at a higher level . 合わす (match, adjust, adapt, unite, combine, connect) .
Technique and waza can only get you so far . Same as the car your driving to the store . You have to be alive and attentive to follow . Your life is yours and you choose to stop or go ,right or left . Your movement doesn’t stop at the change of your ukes attack keep connected keep moving keep following .
Shiki wo shinobu 四季を忍 Through a patient and dedicated commitment to the art, vision and realization are focused internally and externally at the same time for spiritual forbearance.
Many of us train in a form of martial art . Whether is a sport martial art or a budo or combat martial art we a with a good heart trying to get to one goal .Mental state of awareness .
You train often as a diligent student learning your kata ,forms,strikes and joint locks . Through time you are memorizing theses tools and combinations to go with different situations . This is forming your relaxed state of mind called Mushin (無心).
mushin no shin (無心の心), a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything.Mushin is achieved when a person’s mind is free from everyday thoughts ,anger, fear, or ego during combat or everyday life
You are training to react without thought move naturally and intuitively . You are learning to move free and flow uninterrupted .
All of this is related to your state of Zanshin ( 残心) . This state of awareness and forth right fortitude can be carried far beyond your training at the dojo . Aware of not just the Uke/attacker or there movement . Its awareness of everything surrounding , this is where your martial arts teachers are hopefully teaching you not to use your eyes .
Look away no fixed gaze know your distance to a target without looking train blind folded .
This awareness or state of mind is used in business and how to be aware of your partner,client or colleague . So that you are better able to help follow or control a destination . Train your awareness in the dojo and use that same skill in your life or job.
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あなたの内なる武道フィード ,Feed your Budo
Training is watching and understanding at what ever level you are at to watch Soke teach a movement,kata,henka or concept it is your level to see.
At a lower level you should be able to notice Soke doing a piece of sanshin maybe see the kihon technique that arose. But don’t try to look so hard that you miss everything. Soke is not moving at speeds so fast you cant see him. Watch again, take note of his calm demeanor his timing and distance. If an attack can be seen and you take the time to relax and move to a better distance you will notice it much easier to move next or react.
At a higher level you should be able to see the connections and the
distance that is controlling the uke . The distance will create the attackers next movement and the distance will set you to an area to better control
the next move.
The next step is to feel, to feel the space,feel the strike .At that point your level of understanding will be at its best. There are so many variables that you cannot see them all feeling it will help all the other senses .
Your training and learning from what you see and what you feel as uke is feeding life into you. Your movement can now grow and you can
implement these ideals.
This point keeps re accuring in discussion . The Bujinkan is a strong martial art made strong by those that are moving forward and understand the obvious that we are not alone ..not the only martial arts out there .
The best instructors know more than just the Bujinkan and at the same time have there feet grounded well in the roots of the Bujinkan. They are willing to allow other arts in not to change our art but for the true ideals of flow . The water cannot stop . But at the same time we in this art need to look without blinders on .
Soke Hatsumi uses his sword left handed.. This is wrong by all means of the way of the sword in the eyes of the Japanese sword. Soke Hatsumi knows this and teaches this,he also ranks people by there knowledge of military movement. So why are those teaching this Bujinkan art afraid of any change. Simply said its in the instructor.
If you lift wrong you ‘ll hurt your back by breaking muscle structure . So we want to follow close to the principles of structure and movement. The same goes for instructing, follow the principles that make the movement work the way it does. Don’t preach why you wear certain clothes . A punch is a punch a sword cut is a cut ,there are better ways to fight using less force and relaxing and better ways to cut with a sword but remember that depends on the sword edge weight and who yields it .
Movement is key with structure but an instructor that has taught his knowledge to over-sized and stronger attackers and have taught much smaller to handle these over sized aggressors. This makes your teaching true ..there is change there needs to be . Teach right by principle and live . Teach by the book and you’ll only be that good
Martial arts can be tough to follow there is alot to do just to attain or or understand the the information in front of you.
The three things you need it to listen, listen to what the instruction is to the important pieces. The principles of what is being provided for you to help understand the movement being taught. Learn to understand and read between the lines (comprehend) not making your own story up with a few of the words the instructor is saying.
The next thing in your understanding is to watch, look if you can at different angles to see the movement. Watch the feet, the body and see how the uke responds to what is happening. Watch close and try to follow the movement instead of creating whats easier for you.
The last and most important is to learn. This means you need to open the mind up and see what you watched and re follow what you heard. Even at a lower level if you see a strong common principle you should follow it Don’t change what was done by the instructor . But see beyond what your eyes show you by adding the other information and processing it and move slow to follow the movement . Budo is a constant study as we try to decipher movements and verbal instruction to better our budo skills. Then work on them over and over .With the right attitude of learning there will always be a piece that you can shine and make new .
Life is always a beginning or so you should want it to be, if not you are dead ,life is stagnant.
As a budoka you need to train and look inward to yourself testing yourself and conquering your surroundings . Every gain and every fail is in truth a beginning . The journey doesnt end you just keep moving around ,over top and through and you mentally store your information and decipher it .
So this is the way you should be looking at your training at any level you are or feel that you are . The more you train the better skill base you have the more mistakes you can make so that you can adjust to get better . Training with other higher ranks,women and children will teach you or give you a fresh look and perspective on your path or journey that you are on.
To hope that something clicks and you understand your rank or what to do next is like looking at a diner but not walking in to eat in fear of it having no food. There will be something that will come out of what you strive for even if it is finding out that diner is empty.
You need to look at your basics and re teach them and watch high rank and re learn them. It is all the same lines and angles relative to distance and timing.
You can only learn to run by learning to walk and you need to fall and re access to understand how to walk better
Shodan,Godan,Judan and above the journey begins and ends with you and it only ends when you stop.
遠路 Take that journey
You must learn your basics first. Budo is a very beautiful piece of art if you are trying to just do budo you are missing key points to your training. You cannot paint or do art without first understanding shapes as simple as circle,square,triangle basic geometric composition . And basic colors yellow,blue and red that later can be transformed into a great piece of art.
In your training you can look into the movement of budo (warrior art) but go back to your basics and study. Look into your 9 schools and look at the structure how your body shapes and moves to create kukan. You will learn that your body and movement will create the openings . You will always need to go back to the basics to become new or fresh again in your own movement that over time will create better budo .
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.