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.


Arnaud Cousergue
Bujinkan Shihan

32 trainings… and done!

Back at the hotel, doing my laundry and packing. I can’t remember much what was said on the trainings today. Something about conscious knowledge is 1 part and the rest that can not be understood or researched is 9 parts, we have to learn how to use these 10 parts, and one way I think is to become zero. My interpretation is that conscious knowledge plus 9 levels/parts is “kûji” which together becomes “jûji” or “shiki”. We also have nine schools and with Bujinkan it becomes 10. It was kind of difficult to understand what he was talking about because he also said during the training that you can not understand by just seeing, you need to feel it yourself to (even then it is difficult to understand without experience). Anyway maybe you can research more yourself, please feel free to e-mail me your results/thoughts :-)

Ganbatte kudasai!

30 trainings, one day left

Yesterday there was only 25-30 people at Soke’s class in Honbu, it was a long time ago I had more than a whole tatami mat for myself during a class with Soke in Honbu. The training was great as always, even more Santo Tonko no Kata with some crazy applications with hanbô and rokushakubô, let’s not talk about the shikomi-zue :-D .
OK, one more day of training, let’s see what happens the last day.

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

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?

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)