27 trainings… and a couple of stories from trainings in the past

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Two days ago it was snowing and cold (9C in Honbu), yesterday it was warmer but very windy (almost 20C in Honbu). Yesterday one of the Shihan told us about training in the old days when they trained in Hatsumi Soke’s chiropractic office, it was only 8 tatami big full of stuff that they had to carry outside before training. They were usually 10 people training, so they had to be careful when moving not to break the glass window (the door to was glass I think he said). During one training Soke wanted to test one student for the Godan test, he used a Shinai but twice in a row the student failed. So Soke went outside and came back with a real sword and said to the student that he would kill him (if he didn’t move). Soke raised the sword and brought out his ki-power, and all the lights went out. That is how strong his ki was in those days. I’m sure he is stronger today, but he uses no more than necessary, just like taijutsu, no more power than necessary. The Shihan also continued talking about that Soke never showed the same technique twice, and that he never told anyone what to do, and that we are lucky today because Soke do show the same technique a couple of times and let us know when we are doing things wrong and try to help us.

Another Shihan also told us about training in the old days and said that Takamatsu Sensei never ever praised Hatsumi Soke even once during his 15 years of training with Takamatsu Sensei. He did however praise soke for his paintings, but not for his budo. One day Takamatsu Sensei told Hatsumi Soke that he does not need to come back, he thought that he sucked so bad that Takamatsu Sensei finally had given up. But in reality Hatsumi Soke had been taught everything Takamatsu Sensei knew, and he had been appointed the next Soke for our nine schools in Bujinkan.
The Shihan continued saying that today Hatsumi Soke praises everyone (maybe too much). When someone is doing something on the mat Soke says it was good, when it really was not so good (I know this from experience!). This is also Kyôjitsu I think, Soke is teaching us that nothing is necessarily the way it seems or looks.
The same Shihan also said that if we do exactly what Soke tells us to do we will be ok. “Do as the old man tell you to do”, this means also your parents or grand parents, they know a lot of things from experience, and usually knows what they are talking about. So if we do what Soke and the seniors tells us we will be ok. If we don’t believe in Soke and do what he tells us to do, maybe we don’t really belong in the Bujinkan.

I would like to thank Chris who translated from what the Shihan told us. I must also say that what I’ve written here above is a mix between my own thoughts and from what I remember, both the translations and the body language from the Shihan etc. I hope I got the essence of what they wanted to tell us right, not necessarily word for word.

21 trainings, less people here now?

From Kabutoshimen by admin

Seems like a couple of groups left Japan now, yesterday (Monday) we was just six people on both Shihan classes. But there will probably come other bigger groups soon? The weather has been quite cold the whole trip, yesterday I looked at the thermometer in Honbu and it was 13 C, it has been that cold the whole time I been there.

Today there was no class (in Honbu at least) during the day so I’ve been sleeping the whole day, and listened to new albums by The Toy Dolls (special Japanese versions not sold overseas). Oh I also found a black tatami mat in Kashiwa that will fit perfect in my newly decorated bedroom.

Soon I will head over to the class with Soke in Ayase.

“tuesday night is bash night this is what they say
we are gonna dig the groove, we’ve waited all day
we wear trendy trousers with belts a mile too long
we are gonna catch the bus into town
we are boogie on down…”

(lyrics from Dig that groove by The Toy Dolls)

14 trainings in one week

From Kabutoshimen by admin

We have trained mostly on the first six techniques from Santo Tonko no Kata, the 7th technique is two opponents and you throw metsubushi, strike and disappear, the 8th technique is two in front and two behind, and the 9th is three in front and two behind, you throw teppan and metsubushi, and then disappear. Training on these three techniques seems somewhat pointless, more important is that any technique you train on with your partner you should also try to see everyone else in the dojo as a potential opponent. But there is also many other techniques in Togakure-ryu I hope I will get a chance to study this trip.

This year is even more formless than before, the idea is that a really skilled fighter will pick up what technique you is about to do the same instant you think of it. Almost like the sakki test, but more advanced, it is like the really skilled person can read your mind. So how can we defeat someone that knows what you will do the second you think of the technique? Well, this is not easy, but this is the level Hatsumi Soke is teaching now. If you don’t understand, don’t worry he is teaching to those with 15th Dan, the so called true Shihan of Bujinkan. In other words those who have reached the highest rank in the Bujinkan system.

Traditionally the highest rank in a ryûha is called 免許皆伝 (men-kyo-kai-den、initiation into the secrets of the art), on the new scroll in the honbu Sôke has written Menkyo kaiden with alternative kanji ( 免虚怪伝 ), where the second character means void, emptiness or untrue, the third character means suspicious or mysterious. So maybe becoming a menkyô kaiden in Bujinkan means that you are walking along the mysterious tradition where nothing is as it seems.

My first training with Soke this year

From Kabutoshimen by admin

So I’m at the hotel going to bed soon after my first training with Hatsumi sôke this year. Soke was in good spirit as usual. Two basic techniques from Santo Tonko kata was covered, first one being when someone grab the collar from behind. Soke’s kept uke on the toes most of the time by moving before he could get a good grip, it was like he had eyes in the back of his head. He said that we shouldn’t worry if we fail or not, and referring to the poem; “if you think it is there it is not, and if you think it is not there, it is”.

There was around 30-40 people training in Ayase. I think it went pretty well with the techniques and feeling. We trained with Ninja-to, Senban, Shuko and Kyoketsu-shoge, or I should say we tried to, since we didn’t have any weapons to train with. My luggage got stuck in Zurich, I also almost got stuck to, I had to run between the flight connections because the flight from Stockholm was one hour late. But I had three seats on the flight all by myself, so after lunch/dinner I put myself horizontally and sleept until breakfast.

Well, now is bedtime, I should try to rest for tomorrows two trainings. Oh I also got myself a new Tokaido keikogi and belt, so now I look good.