The more I train here, and the more I am lost.
- Waza Janai: 技じゃない
- Tatakai Wa Janai: 戦いわじゃない. Tatakai: battle; fight; struggle; conflict
- Chochō Hanami, Maai: 胡蝶, 花実, 間合い
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|shrine to 蔵王権現 Zaō gongen. photo by Michael Glenn|
Earlier that afternoon in Japan I visited a mountain shrine to the Shugendō deity 蔵王権現 Zaō gongen. The Meiji government had abolished such shrines, but this one was still hidden in the shade of the forest. Probably too small to bother with.
Through the broken sunlight, I spotted the stone monument. A bleached white object caught my eye at the base of the mossy grey stone. Someone still active in the shamanistic practice of Shugendō had laid a lone antler and a skull on the rock.
Zaō gongen is often portrayed forming the 刀剣印 tōken-in sword mudra by his hip. This mudra is a wrathful hand gesture for conquering evil. I did not expect that later that evening I would see an active variant of this mudra used in combat.
When the attacker came in, Hatsumi Sensei would point and his attention would be caught. Then Soke would redirect it. This is a method for shaping the kukan. You must understand that kukan is not just the physical space between the fighters. It also holds the much larger space that exists in the fighter's mind. If you control that, you control the fight.
In Japan, there is a similar practice for controlling one’s own mind and manifesting this in the physical world. It is called 指差喚呼 shisa kanko (pointing and calling) and is a safety measure. You will see it at train stations with the white gloves. It provides the engineer with an extra indication as to whether a switch has been turned on or off, or whether the train station platform is clear before and after departure.
When Soke pointed he caused the opponent to change his focus or move his intention in a certain direction. The ability to do this comes from a strong kamae and the ability to manage the space and the psychology of the opponent. In fact, in one instance, Hatsumi Sensei waved the finger through the air like he was erasing smoke (it looked like 千早振る chihayafuru). When Soke brandished the finger this way, the opponent stuttered his attack and his ability to stand just collapsed.
Hatsumi Sensei told us that to do this, "You can't focus on any one point. It's like cutting through the kukan. This is what defines 気 ki."
I certainly felt a kind of atmosphere and mood when I saw the antler that afternoon before class. And later that evening, I felt different when Hatsumi Sensei changed the spirit to one of laughter. I can't wait to go back to Japan next week!
This was filmed in Australia in the middle of Mats Hjelm’s #JapanTrip38.
The instructions on this film is in English. Each technique is demonstrated several times from all angles. The techniques are a mix of basics and new techniques from Japan trainings this year.
14-15 OCT – Port Macquarie Seminar
On Saturday the training started with all three forms in Sanshin no kata, then moved on to Muto-dori. Muto-dori and especially Shinken-shiraha-dome is this years theme in Japan, it is unarmed defence against knife and sword where you grab the blade.
Sanshin Gokei no kata (5 techniques)
Sanshin Gogyo no kata (5 techniques)
Sanshin Goshin no kata (5 techniques)
Sanshin with Kunai (5 techniques)
Muto-dori and Taijutsu (many techniques)
On Sunday the training started with Ashirau with is techniques trapping his legs and take him down. Then Taijutsu and Muto-dori against sword and knife was taught. Finally the five Jutte techniques from Kukishin-ryu was taught.
Ashirau (4 techniques and henka)
Muto-dori and Taijutsu (many techniques)
Jutte-jutsu (5 techniques)
The video is edited down to 62 minutes
17 OCT – Newcastle extra training
Some of the people was at the seminar and requested more Ashirau techniques and Jutte techniques. A little Kunai was taught and also Muto-dori and Taijutsu.
The video is edited down to 17 minutes.
18 OCT – Sydney extra training
Taijutsu and Muto-dori was taught at this extra training.
The video is edited down to 27 minutes.
Title: Down under in Australia with Mats Hjelm
Instructors: Mats Hjelm
Theme: Sanshin no kata, Kunai, Jutte, Muto-dori
Recorded: Recorded in Port Macquarie, Newcastle and Sydney, Australian October 2017
Kind: Apple MPEG-4 movie
Size: 5 703 149 641 bytes (5,7 GB on disk)
Codecs: H.264, AAC, Photo – JPEG, QuickTime Text
Duration: 106 min
- Edo no Jidai (1603-1868)
- Hideyoshi killed three Daimyō opposed to him. As a result, a lot of Ronin began to wander all over Japan.
- Unemployed soldiers began to teach Martial arts to the civilians. This situation led to the creation of many Dōjō. The technical level was not always “high level.” “By the end of the Tokugawa era, there were 718 swordsmanship schools, 52 archery schools, 148 spearmanship schools, 179 unarmed combat schools.” p26 In “The truth of the ancient ways” by Anatoliy Anshin, Kodenkan Institute NY. We can imagine that the majority of these schools were not the best.
- Katate: 片手, one hand
- He lived in Japan for 17 years. As a Frenchman, he was a member of the Japanese Kendō team, vice world champion of Kendō (for Japan). Teacher of the Musō Shinden Ryū, and 35 other older Kenjutsu schools, teacher of 5 styles of Battōdō. Only to let you know that when he spoke, I was listening.
- The Yoroi is designed to parry the Yari, the most dangerous weapon on the battlefield. I read a paper explaining that the Yari accounted for about 60% of the casualties in comparison to the 21% of kills with the swords. (data from 10th to 17th century).