Errata (First edition v3.0)

Errata of the first edition version 3.0

Mistakes found in this book will be added here below as soon as discovered. If you found something, please let me know, comment below, twitter or e-mail as listed in the book! Check this page once in a while and keep your own copy updated.

YUDANSHA BOOK by MATS HJELM

武神館有段者の案内所
YUDANSHA – BUJINKAN BLACK BELT GUIDE

List Price: $27.77
Introduction Price: $22.22
You Save: $5.55 ( 20% )
Prints in 3-5 business days

English, Perfect-bound Paperback, 184 pages richly illustrated with pictures and illustrations. (32 483 Words, 145 533 Characters)

This book is a comprehensive guide to understand the Taijutsu of the Bujinkan system as taught by Masaaki Hatsumi Soke. We have this concept of Shu-Ha-Ri which is three major processes to learn Budo. First, we learn the fundamentals, then how to break them up. Then you transcend to a state where you are totally free without even thinking of what you are doing. Needless to say, you can’t get to the last stage without knowing the first stage well. It is said that you should study each level for at least 10 years. This book is all about the first stage we call Shu. It is further divided into three levels.

  • 天略の巻 TEN RYAKU NO MAKI (The scroll of Heaven)
  • 地略の巻 CHI RYAKU NO MAKI (The scroll of Earth)
  • 人略の巻 JIN RYAKU NO MAKI (The scroll of Man)

About the Author: Mats have been training Bujinkan Budo-taijutsu since the early 1980’s. He travelled all around the world to train and teach Bujinkan Budo-taijutsu. http://YudanshaBook.com

Print details: 8.26″ x 11.69″ (EU Standard A4), perfect binding, white interior paper (60# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (90# weight), full-color exterior ink.

YUDANSHA Book RELEASED on Lulu

武神館有段者の案内所
YUDANSHA – BUJINKAN BLACK BELT GUIDE

List Price: $27.77
Introduction Price: $22.22
You Save: $5.55 ( 20% )
Prints in 3-5 business days

English, Perfect-bound Paperback, 184 pages richly illustrated with pictures and illustrations. (32 483 Words, 145 533 Characters)

This book is a comprehensive guide to understand the Taijutsu of the Bujinkan system as taught by Masaaki Hatsumi Soke. We have this concept of Shu-Ha-Ri which is three major processes to learn Budo. First, we learn the fundamentals, then how to break them up. Then you transcend to a state where you are totally free without even thinking of what you are doing. Needless to say, you can’t get to the last stage without knowing the first stage well. It is said that you should study each level for at least 10 years. This book is all about the first stage we call Shu. It is further divided into three levels.

  • 天略の巻 TEN RYAKU NO MAKI (The scroll of Heaven)
  • 地略の巻 CHI RYAKU NO MAKI (The scroll of Earth)
  • 人略の巻 JIN RYAKU NO MAKI (The scroll of Man)

About the Author: Mats have been training Bujinkan Budo-taijutsu since the early 1980’s. He travelled all around the world to train and teach Bujinkan Budo-taijutsu. http://YudanshaBook.com

Print details: 8.26″ x 11.69″ (EU Standard A4), perfect binding, white interior paper (60# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (90# weight), full-color exterior ink.

Hatsumi Sensei’s Use of 指先 Yubisaki

Hatsumi Sensei Directs Sayaka Oguri, photo by Michael Glenn

During one class in Japan I was shivering. It was so cold my teeth were chattering. We were indoors, training on a chilled hardwood floor, so my indoor tabi were little comfort to my feet.

Maybe that is why when Hatsumi Sensei smashed his opponent’s head to the floor, my frozen mind didn’t understand the very important lesson he shared with us. After my brain thawed out, I could grasp the message. He was teaching us about 指先 yubisaki, the fingertips.

I first wrote about this in my personal training notes which you can get here: http://eepurl.com/d0w_r

At that moment, my own fingertips were encased in gloves. And probably tucked under my armpits for the body heat. I watched Hatsumi Sensei’s uke twist on the floor in pain, exhaling vapor in the cold after each gasp.

Soke did henka from the kata 天地 tenchi. Heaven and Earth. But which comes first?

You strike low to 鈴 suzu, and this lifts your opponent to heaven! Then strike high with 手五指 te goshi to 顔面 ganmen. But with this strike, you slam him back down to Earth.

In my own experience, the kick delivers the opponent’s face to your fingertips. Then most people deliver this next strike like a 蝦蛄拳 shako ken. That does work, but Hatsumi Sensei shared a different strategy with us.

Soke constantly tells us to use the fingers to control (yubi osae). But this seems impossible when you have a strong opponent. Can one finger, or even all five, do very much? If you have ever been Hatsumi Sensei’s uke, you know he doesn’t do too much.

It is a very subtle thing. Hatsumi Sensei said 指取りをこみ仮り yubi-tori o komi kari, which is like placing a temporary hold with the fingers as an incentive. He applies a light touch or pressure that he interrupts with percussive strikes.

Soke also used the words 操り ayatsuri and あや取り ayatori. This suggests that he manipulates you like a puppet to line up each strike in quick succession. When Hatsumi Sensei does this to me, I never see the strikes coming, so my body is unprepared to receive them or defend in any way.

Each strike becomes more powerful. They arrive in an uninterrupted flow that you cannot escape. This is because Hatsumi Sensei steers you with his fingers!

But this use of the fingertips doesn’t end with striking. While grappling, Soke used the word 量るhakaru. This is when you size up your opponent. You estimate his strength and ability, as well as his balance or weakness.

Soke does this with subtle shifts in his hands or elbows while grappling. The fingertips control but also act like antennae. These light touches may or may not get the opponent’s attention.

Hatsumi Sensei chooses when he wants you to notice what he is doing. This is another form of control. He directs your attention even with his fingertips.

Soke does this often against a sword or knife. It looks crazy watching him manipulate the blade with his fingers. I think this is more 量るhakaru.

Once you find the measure of your enemy, his weakness will reveal itself. The feeling I get from Hatsumi Sensei when I cut at him with a knife is that he allows you to fall victim to your own weakness. He doesn’t need to do very much.

Grow Up, Size Does Matter!

toomas animation
Did you ever walk with shoes too small for your feet? It is painful, even if they look good.
Well, I see a similarity with the weapons we use in the Dōjō. Many of the weapons we use are undersized. Tradition is beautiful, but sometimes it can be counterproductive. I will explain why in this post.
  • First, what we call the “Japanese martial arts” developed out of necessity. Between the Heian period (1185), and the forced peace at Sekigahara battle (1600), Japan was at war. (1)
  • Second, Japanese people were small. The founders of Gendai Budō (Jūdō, Aikidō, Karatedō) were all three, around 150cm in height! (2) We can surmise that was the case for the majority of the Japanese people.
  • Third, in the Kanejaku system of measures, the central size is the Ken (6 Shaku, app. 182 cm), and every building in Japan follows this system of length. (3) Shakkanhō is the name of this global system of measures. (4)
A Ken being six shaku that gives a size of 6 x 30.3 cm = 181.81 cm (or 5.9652 feet)
For the sake of our demonstration, we will keep the value of 1 ken = 180 cm.
size jp
If the average Japanese man of the past was 150 cm tall (5), the Europeans of today are around 172 to 181 cm. (6) We have to adjust the sizes of the weapons we use.
Keep in mind that a soldier will always have a weapon he can use to defend himself. And about the long arms, the longer, the better to keep the opponent out of reach. Musashi did the same when fighting Kojiro. He used an oar as a bokken to match the length of his opponent’s Nodachi. (7)
The Japanese Bō is 180 cm. That means the size of the weapon is 20% longer than the body size. (8)
So the size of our Bō should be between 200 cm and 220 cm!
That is pure math, but you should consider training with weapons for your size. Keeping the “traditional” format for the weapons just doesn’t make any sense.
I am 176 cm tall; my Bō should be 210 cm. I use a Bō of 2 meters, and I find it correct to train. My Hanbō is 105 cm, and my Jō is 140 cm.
To sum up, many of you train with a Bō too small for them. Your Hanbō looks like a cane for old people, and your Jō is about 20 cm too short.
  • A Bō is six shaku + 20%
  • A Jō is four shaku + 20%
  • A Hanbō is three shaku + 20%
 When in Japan, I spoke with Toomas, the founder of Soft Hanbō Ltd. He creates and sells the best Europeans padded weapons we can use in the Bujinkan. The last trip, he gave a set of padded weapons to Sensei, who was so pleased that he gave him one of his iaitō in return!
After speaking together, he might create longer training weapons suiting our body size. Check with him on his new website. (10)
Here is a chart you can use to find your perfect weapon size:
weapon chart
 Test different sizes to see which one works for you. The dimensions here have to be adapted to your height, length of limbs, torso, etc. Find the perfect match for you.
I added the size of the Tsuka in the chart above. The blade is essential but what is even more important is the size of your Tsuka. Because of the Yoroi, the size of your Tsuka should be the width of your torso. With a long Tsuka, you do not injure the inner side of your arms. You can also extend your arms better. The small Tsuka we have on the bokken or swords is coming from the Edo period where the Yoroi was no more in use.
So, grow the size of your weapon, because you know now that size does matter!
________________
2. Gendai budō (現代武道): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendai_bud%C5%8D
5. They began to grow in height during the 20th century. My first trip to Japan was in 1990. I am 176 cm, and I remember that on the train I was taller than most of the locals. Not anymore, regular proteins input changed that.
6. Average European Height for males: https://blog.cliniccompare.co.uk/tallest-men-in-europe
8. 150 cm x 1.2 = 180 cm
9. Modern European size for a Bō: 172 cm x 1.2 = 206.4 cm to 181 cm x 1.2 = 217 cm!