Shu Ha Ri

go beyond the form

Today while training in Tachi waza with a group of students I thought that maybe the whole thing about Shu Ha Ri that Hatsumi Sensei is pushing these days may have always existed but that we were not ready to understand it.

We know that Shu is learning the form, that Ha is absorbing the form and Ri is destroying the form. But we all know also that Sensei used to say: “understand? good. Play.” Now can’t we understand that as “understanding the Shu, becoming good at the Ha level and destroying it by playing with the concept more than the initial form?

I will think a little more around that and come back to you.

be happy!


India 2010

Shiva Subramanian Shidôshi

Many seminars have been organized in India since my first post in 2008. Things are always improving with the inevitable changes due to life, men, and understandings but the dôjô is doing really great under Shiva (Shidôshi). I am proud to be one of the several Shihan helping them to grow within the Bujinkan system.

Soon they plan to open other dôjô in India and I am sure that they will make a success of this evolution. During my last three seminars, the group has been more and more dedicated and growing. Last December in Japan, India was widely represented with a first group of black belts.

During my last stays over there we have covered all the basics of the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku no Maki (5 days); then the basics of Tantô, Kunai, Shotô, Hanbô, Jo, Biken (sword), Bô, Yari, and Naginata (4 days). I think this is the first time that a new group is following the logical evolution of learning.

The basics have been studied so we can now begin the real study and follow the order imposed by Sôke with the yearly themes. Respectively since 1993 we studied: bô, Yari, Naginata, Biken, Jo, Shinden Fudô Ryû Taihen Jutsu, Kukishin Ryû Daken Taijutsu, Koto Ryû Koppô Jutsu, Gyokko Kosshi Jutsu, Takagi Yôshin Ryû Jû Taijutsu, Sanjigen no Sekai, Yûgen no Sekai, Kasumi no Hô, Roppô Kuji no Biken, Kuki Taisho, Menkyô Kaiden, Saino Konki, Rokkon Shôjô.

Next May we will study the full series of forms of Bô Jutsu from the Kukishin Ryû. I hope that 4 days will be enough…


Be like Seaweed in your training

We must train our basics to be like water; in fact we must become like seaweed. Seaweed under water is attached to the ground. Like some kind of water Tenchijin, we must become seaweed and sway without tension in the stream of life. Stop hugging hard onto things. Let go of your beliefs and mental structures and discover the true freedom of life. The Bujinkan is a tool that is to be used mainly out of the Dojo. 

Hatsumi Sensei explained it once: “training in the Dojo is only a few hours per week, life is 24 hours a day”. 

The more you “keep going”, the more likely you will reach this higher state of freedom you are looking for. 

Here is a poem called “Seaweed”, by D.H.Lawrence explaining it perfectly: 

Seaweed sways and sways and swirls

As if swaying were its form of stillness;

And it flushes against fierce rock

It slips over it as shadows do, without hurting itself


Bujinkan India: memories of a fantastic experience

Dear Buyu from India, I first want to deeply thank you for the profound sense of community I found here in Bangalore sharing my thoughts, interpretations and movements with you. I often give seminars around the world, but the quality of the depth of the commitment I encountered here, was really refreshing to me. And I want to thank you all for this as it is the promise of a successful future for the Bujinkan community of India.A Dojo is complex mix between a teacher and his students. If the teacher is evolving the students are improving, and a group of dedicated students evolving positively pushes the teacher to improve his skills even more. After such a small training time, you have achieved this mix better than in many Dojo I have been teaching to.Reading your comments about the seminar on the Shidoshikai forum, I found that many of you were expecting something different, maybe something including more pain. Pain is important in the learning phase of Budo but it is not the most important thing. Physical pain is an accepted consequence of the training but it is nothing compared to psychological pain. And maybe you have got a glimpse of that during these four days. This is the best lesson you could learn.

Even if our seminar was dedicated to Ninpo, the theme for 2008, many comments speak about how this seminar has (or is going to) improve your basics in Ukemi, Uke Nagashi and Sanshin no Kata. In one of the many late discussions I had, we came to the understanding that everything we do in the Bujinkan has to be easy if we want it to be natural. Water will always find the simplest path to the sea; this is the same with our Budo. If you cannot do a movement it is often because your thinking process is blocking the way as a dam would do it to a small river flow.

Please don’t stop, keep going you are heading towards what real Budo is. Your energy and willingness to improve is an example for all Bujinkan members all over the world, be proud of it. The waythe group  has been structured and taught  explains it but without your willingness to learn, nothing would have been achieved so beautifully.

Someone quoting me wrote: “Noise on the mats is pain outside”. It seems to have been the seminar’s motto. The Dojo is the place where you can make all the mistakes you need to get things correctly. As we explained it several times, you are allowed to make mistakes in the Dojo in order to, hopefully, avoid them in Jissen (true fight) and in Jissen (real life). The Bujinkan is teaching us to become real human beings, living a full and happy life.

After a week in India with you, I came to understand even better the power of what Hatsumi Sensei is teaching us, life. Life is what struck me while I was there. India is a boiling, fast expanding and blooming country that is going to be of major importance for the world in a very near future.

This dynamism is also present in your training and I honestly loved teaching your group. I hope there will be more other seminars like that to follow this first one. I can say that I learnt as much as you did. This is the best lesson of “Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo” I was ever given. Thank you all for this present.

I want to thank you all for your time and hospitality in Bangalore; for the many exchanges we have had during this week; and for making us feel at home. We feel richer after this trip than ever before.

Chukrya,

Arnaud Cousergue
Bujinkan Shihan