Takamatsu Sensei taught Hatsumi Sōke with 42 hands

At the training yesterday Sōke said that he had been taught by the 42 hands of Takamatsu Sensei. He was referring to 千手千眼観自在菩薩 Senju-sengen Kanjizai Bosatsu that had 1000 hands and 1000 eyes. The deity emphasizes the compassion that sees suffering (with 1000 eyes) and acts to relieve it (with 1000 hands).

千手観音Senju Kannon appears in the 虚空蔵院 Kokūzōin of the 胎蔵界曼荼羅 Taizōkai Mandara, with 27 faces and 42 main arms, while innumerable small arms fan out behind. Since it is difficult to portray one thousand arms, images usually show Senju with two principle arms in 合掌印 Gasshō-in (Sk: anjali mudra) in front of his chest and 40 arms, holding attributes and forming mudra, on the sides (altogether 42 arms, or shijūnihi 四十二臂). This number can be justified because each hand saves the beings of 25 worlds, and 40 times the 25 equals 1000.

Takamatsu Sensei died when Hatsumi Sōke was 42 years old. 42 years later we had a big Taikai in Japan to celebrate Takamatsu Sensei and starting a new cycle. In Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky because the numerals when pronounced separately—shi ni (four two)—sound like the word “death”.

Many cultures around the world recognise the number 42 in interesting ways.

There are 42 questions asked of persons making their journey through Death in the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.

42 is the number with which God creates the Universe in Kabbalistic tradition.

42 is also the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything according Douglas Adams in his science fiction book Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy.

Funny fact; in 1996 Cambridge astronomers said that Adams was right. Dr Richard Saunders, who led the research, sounded a trifle abashed by the result. “We have taken two measurements for the constant, and the average of them is, well, it’s 42.”

Sōke showed us antique small miniature weapons. He said it is important to appreciate the quality and details, and we should study them.

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文殊 MONJU – Bujinkan Theme 2018

文殊 MONJU (Guardian of the Law, Voice of the Law) is one of many meanings. Monju is considered the wisest of the Bodhisattva, and thus acts as the Voice (Expounder) of Buddhist Law.

Japanese sculptures of Monju often depict the deity sitting atop a roaring lion or shishi, which symbolizes the voice of Buddhist Law and the power of Buddhism to overcome all obstacles. Shishi are also commonly found guarding the entrance gate to shrines and temples. Monju typically holds the Sutra of Wisdom in the left hand and a sharp sword in the right, which Monju uses to cut through illusion and shed light on the unenlightened mind. In some artwork, Monju carries a lotus flower and sits atop a shishi (mythical lion).

Monju’s cult was introduced to Japan by Ennin 圓仁 (794-864 AD; also spelled 円仁), a Japanese monk who visited Wutaishan (a five-terraced mountain in China’s Shanxi Province that today is still a major center of the Monju cult) during his travels to China (838-847 AD).

Mañjuśrī is a bodhisattva associated with prajñā (insight) in Mahayana Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is also a yidam. His name means “Gentle Glory” in Sanskrit.[1] Mañjuśrī is also known by the fuller name of Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta,[2] literally “Mañjuśrī, Still a Youth” or, less literally, “Prince Mañjuśrī”.

A mantra commonly associated with Mañjuśrī is the following:

oṃ arapacana dhīḥ
The Arapacana is a syllabary consisting of forty-two letters, and is named after the first five letters: a, ra, pa, ca, na

A is a door to the insight that all dharmas are unproduced from the very beginning (ādya-anutpannatvād).
RA is a door to the insight that all dharmas are without dirt (rajas).
PA is a door to the insight that all dharmas have been expounded in the ultimate sense (paramārtha).
CA is a door to the insight that the decrease (cyavana) or rebirth of any dharma cannot be apprehended, because all dharmas do not decrease, nor are they reborn.
NA is a door to the insight that the names (i.e. nāma) of all dharmas have vanished; the essential nature behind names cannot be gained or lost.

Tibetan pronunciation is slightly different and so the Tibetan characters read: oṃ a ra pa tsa na dhīḥ (Tibetan: ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔, Wylie: om a ra pa tsa na d+hIH).[14] In Tibetan tradition, this mantra is believed to enhance wisdom and improve one’s skills in debating, memory, writing, and other literary abilities. “Dhīḥ” is the seed syllable of the mantra and is chanted with greater emphasis and also repeated a number of times as a decrescendo.

Bujinkan Keiko 2018
As far as the training goes, it is basically the same as previous years. A lot of Mūtō-dori against knife, sword and rokushakubō. Very often Sōke uses his fingers to “walk” across the hands, which finally captures a finger lock. He makes the attacker to forget he got a weapon in his hand and he just pick it out of the hand of the surprised Uke.

Even when it is Taijutsu, the concept of Mūtō-dori is the same principles used.

More about Monju.
More about Manjushri.

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三光稲荷 Sankō Inari

On the second training this year Sōke improved an old painting with a fox. He painted white hair on the Fox and added the kanji. Then he put it up on the left side of Shomen wall in Honbu Dōjō.

三光稲荷 SANKŌ INARI
(Three light rice load)

G00g1e translate isn’t much help. But I found interesting story on Wikipedia about Inari Ōkami is the Japanese kami of foxes, of fertility, rice, tea and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal kami of Shinto. In earlier Japan, Inari was also the patron of swordsmiths and merchants. Represented as male, female, or androgynous, Inari is sometimes seen as a collective of three or five individual kami. Inari appears to have been worshipped since the founding of a shrine at Inari Mountain in 711 AD, although some scholars believe that worship started in the late 5th century.

By the 16th century Inari had become the patron of blacksmiths and the protector of warriors, and worship of Inari spread across Japan in the [[Edo period]. Inari is a popular figure in both Shinto and Buddhist beliefs in Japan. More than one-third (32,000) of the Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to Inari. Modern corporations, such as cosmetic company Shiseido, continue to revere Inari as a patron kami, with shrines atop their corporate headquarters.


Inari and their fox spirits help the blacksmith Munechika forge the blade kogitsune-maru (Little Fox) in the late 10th century. This legend is the subject of the noh drama Sanjo Kokaji.

The fox and the wish-fulfilling jewel are prominent symbols of Inari. Other common elements in depictions of Inari, and sometimes of their kitsune, include a sickle, a sheaf or sack of rice, and a sword. Another belonging was their whip—although they were hardly known to use it, it was a powerful weapon that was used to burn people’s crops of rice.

Inari is a popular deity with shrines and Buddhist temples located throughout most of Japan. According to a 2007 report from Kokugakuin University, 2970 shrines are dedicated to Inari.

If you find one or usually many red Tori gates it is most likely a shrine dedicated to Inary deity.

So what does this mean for Bujinkan? I don’t know, it is an interesting part of Japanese culture. Maybe he just want us to look it up.

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Welcome to this page

Hello!

My name is Mats Hjelm and I have been training Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu under Masaaki Hatsumi Sōke for the past 35 years or so. Read more about me here.

All the time since I started training I’ve been keeping notes that progressively became manuals and then books. First they was for myself, then to my students and now I thought it is time to make it public.

So here is the first book coming, it is all about the basics, something I wish I had when I started training. Bujinkan is a huge system with many schools (ryū-ha (traditions)) and it would be impossible to cover everything in a book. Hatsumi Sōke published many books, videos and publications (I collected and have almost all of them). Every time I learned something new I added it to my own notes. The purpose of this book is to be a training guide, reference and help for everyone training in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, from beginners up to 5’th Dan.

What is covered in this book is

Etiquette and traditions that will help everyone to get comfortable in the Dōjō, from what are we saying in the starting and closing ceremony and what does it mean and why. What is the official uniform, how do I tie the belt so it looks like I’m a pro. How do I bow not looking like Karate Kid. Understanding the Rules of the Bujinkan. How to not look like a fool in front of others in the Dōjō and. And much more.

Techniques

The whole Ten-Chi-Jin Ryaku no maki which is the three levels of techniques most Bujinkan Dōjō use. There have been a few different versions through all the years. I have included all of them and rearranged some, and even added a few more techniques to make it more representative. For example there was only one Muto-dori technique (I added two more), there was only three seated techniques (I added two more). There is a concept of Kihon technique which is the basic way of doing a described technique, sometimes they added 1-5 Ura-Waza to each Kihon technique to add more examples. I added two Ura-waza to each Kihon Happy technique, and a few other techniques to give beter understanding to the techniques. This is not to be confused with Henka which is never written down in the Densho. Henka is more spontaneous techniques you do because you have to, it is like adjusting because what you started doing will not work. There are thousands Henka to each technique and pointless to even try to describe.

When and if the book is released I will add the full content list here.

But first I will show Hatsumi Sōke on my next trip in January 2018 what I’ve done and ask for his permission to release the book. I can understand if he says no, I’ve put 35 years into this book and maybe you don’t deserve to get everything so easy. Maybe it will trap you in my way of thinking and it is better if everyone evolve without too much influence (I don’t know). Anyway it is the correct way I think.

I’ll keep you updated here and on twitter.

Happy Training!

/Mats

Keiko#33 DOWN UNDER 2017 with MATS HJELM

  $19.99

Down Under 2017

  $19.99

Three video files, total playing time is 106 minutes. 5.7 Gb (H.264, AAC, 1280x720p)

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)
Dimensions: 1280×720
Codecs: H.264, AAC, Photo – JPEG, QuickTime Text
Duration: 106 min