空打ち Karauchi: Striking Emptiness

From Bujinkan Santa Monica by Michael

Michael Glenn Strikes Emptiness

Last night in my class one student said, “This is pretty basic.” I did a double take and said, “Really? You think so?” I told him that the kata was more advanced than it appeared.

We were studying 一文字 Ichimonji. This is a 無刀捕 mutōdori kata from 高木揚心流 Takagi Yoshin Ryū. And it does look simple. But mutōdori has so many levels.

One morning when Hatsumi Sensei taught this kata he said, 

You make him cut the air. This is mutōdori, like he’s practicing by himself and striking emptiness.

The question I posed to my students last night was, “How?” How do you get your opponent, ostensibly a competent swordsman, to just cut the air and miss you completely?

As an answer, I gave them three insights into advanced mutōdori that I received from Soke. If you are interested, I share these kind of tips for anyone who joins my mailing list, which you can do here: eepurl.com/d0w_r

First, give the enemy what he wants. He is seeking violence and destruction. Let him have it.

Offer him a target. If you try to evade, then you always take away the target. He will then try to reacquire a target. But it may not be one that you are prepared to defend. Give him what he wants, then let him strike emptiness.

In another class I had with Hatsumi Sensei, he did a mutōdori against Oguri Sensei. Soke asked Oguri to describe the feeling. He said he couldn’t get any clear focus on the target for his cut. He said he felt his own kamae collapse.

In response, Hatsumi Sensei said that this is not the movement of sport martial arts. It is a level above that. For Ninjutsu, Soke told us that techniques become “透明 tōmei,” or transparent.

Transparent technique means you have something that cannot be seen or countered. I suggested that my students not plan or decide on a technique before executing it. If you don’t know what technique you will do, your opponent cannot know either. It is difficult for your opponent to counter a technique that doesn’t yet exist.

He will strike blindly at emptiness...  At transparency...  At a Ninja who cannot be seen.

I finished our class with a third suggestion for mutōdori. It is related to 扞技扼 kangiyaku, a kiai which can be verbalized or expressed silently. This kiai calls the opponent to cut.

Hatsumi Sensei did it while holding a kodachi. His opponent tried to cut, but then he collapsed. Soke didn’t even need to hit him. He said,

Give the opponent the feeling to cut. Draw him in. Then your movement will disappear. Disappear from the opponent's perception.

We make him cut emptiness. 

When we finished class, the student who thought the kata looked simple now had a big smile. I could see that he was inspired by these ideas that I shared from my own experience with Hatsumi Sensei. I hope he can carry this forward in his own training and share it with future generations.

The Hidden Kūkan for Bujinkan 無刀捕 Mutōdori

From Bujinkan Santa Monica by Michael

山田 記央 photo by Michael Glenn
It was the normal chaos at the Bujinkan Honbu dojo. The training had just ended, and everyone rushed to get their photos with Hatsumi Sensei. I rushed to my notebook.

I did this because Soke finished the class with a huge surprise for his teaching of 無刀捕 mutōdori. He showed us 空間を作る kūkan o tsukuru, or how to create space. So I scribbled a note about the hidden location for this opening before that secret disappeared into the night.

Earlier that day, I had gone into Tokyo to visit Norio Yamada-san. He makes 江戸手描提灯 Edo Tegaki Chōchin, Edo style hand painted paper lanterns. He called to say my order was ready to pick up.

It never occurred to me that there could be a connection to Soke’s teaching later that night. Hatsumi Sensei said,
“You’re not evading, 空間  浮かす Kūkan ukasu, you’re floating the opponent in the space.”
If you’ve ever held one of these paper lanterns, they feel like you’ve caught light and air itself as it glows softly in the night.

Hatsumi Sensei catches swords like that. My training partner, Tezuka-san, swung a metal blade at Soke. And this is when my surprise arrived. Soke told us,
“Don’t do this with 刀意識 Tō ishiki.”
This means don’t put your mind or consciousness with the sword. Remember this is 無刀 mutō and the sword is nothingness. Instead create or open up the kūkan and float your opponent in it.

But where is this kūkan? It's the space in the opponent’s mind or consciousness. The physical space is only so big, but the kūkan in the mind is infinite. Control that space and you have already won. Tezuka-san said it feels like Hatsumi Sensei catches him in between thoughts.

Soke nodded and said,
“You have to know those spaces, those openings, those little cracks…”
When Hatsumi Sensei creates kūkan between your own thoughts and floats you in that empty space, you are very exposed. Anyone who has attacked Hatsumi Sensei might relate to that blanked out feeling. Whenever he asks me to describe it to the other students in the Honbu dojo, I fold up like a paper lantern.

Keiko#33 DOWN UNDER 2017 with MATS HJELM

From Budoshop by BUDOSHOP.SE

  $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

Fun’Iki, Control The Environment

From Shiro Kuma's Blog by kumafr

IMG_20170428_211146This year Mutō dori is about controlling Funiki, your environment.
During the class, Hatsumi sensei demonstrated it with Taijutsu, Tantō, Katana, and Naginata. Each time the Uke seemed lost and unable to get him. His main point today was that the weapon, or the lack of it, is not what truly matter. In fact, with or without a weapon, Sensei was moving very slowly, keeping a perfect distance with the opponent, who always ended up cutting, stabbing himself, or getting controlled. There was no fight, no opposition, Sensei’s movements were natural. From the outside, it looked like Uke was fighting alone.

Sensei demonstrated it with the Tantō, using a unique grip that let his Taijutsu play by itself.
You hold the knife reverse, hiding it under your forearm and use either the blade or the Kashira to get Uke naturally. (2)
The key, he said, is not to use the Tantō, and to let Uke cut himself in the process. Correcting a student he told her that thinking about cutting with the blade, created a Teko (3), a point of leverage and focus that the opponent can use against you. Sensei added that in the case of a small weapon, it had to be always hidden.
But when Uke finally sees it, the trick is to let Uke “think” the knife while Tori still ignores it and his mind is not trapped by it. Sensei added that when you want to cut or stab with your knife, you are creating a fixed point in your mind limiting your freedom of action.

With the Naginata; it was even more devastating. Sensei said that when using this weapon, your grip of the weapon should be loose and all the movements executed using Naname. (4)
My understanding is that the physical encounter is enough to cut the enemy, your body supporting the Naginata loosely on top of the forearm. Also, keeping the edge oriented at 45 degrees guarantees a cut when in close-combat. The cuts are done by walking the body around Uke. When he was demonstrating this, I had the feeling the Naginata was alive and moving by itself.

In a sword against sword encounter, he explained to move towards the attack, using the body to support the blade as a shield. With the weapons in contact use the joints to apply leverage. Grab the opponent’s sword and then slide your katana under his helmet.

Finally, in Taijutsu, Sensei reminded us to use our fingers as if playing the piano on Uke. Then one finger extended was often enough to overcome the adversary even when he was armed with a sword.

All these techniques that we did were practical applications of high-level Mutō Dori. Mutō Dori is entirely misunderstood. It is not what we learned at beginner’s level. Mutō Dori is done in every situation, with or without weapons. Because it is about controlling Fun’iki (1), the environment, the atmosphere.

When your mental presence is aware of everything and controls the space between and around you and the opponent, then defeat is never yours. (5) (6)

The essence of Mutō Dori is Fun’Iki, to control the environment naturally.

________________________
1. 雰囲気, Fun’iki or Fuinki, air, atmosphere, environment
2. Kashira 頭, the head/top of the weapon/hilt
3. 梃子, lever(age). Teko – lever, and Shiten – fulcrum are one the secrets of the Kukishin Ryū
4. Naname 斜め, diagonal, oblique
5. Sensei used the word Fudōshin (不動心) to express it. And many of his attackers today explained that they cannot get him because of his commanding presence.
6. 不動心, Fudōshin: a) imperturbability; steadfastness
b) cool head in an emergency; keeping one’s calm (e.g. during a fight)


[New DVD] Shinken Kata vol 8 with DEAN ROSTOHAR

From Budoshop by BUDOSHOP.SE

New Shinken Kata DVD with DEAN ROSTOHAR
Theme: YARI / NAGINATA / MUTODORI.

DVD in NTSC format available from BUDOSHOP.SE
for 269 SEK (Approximately 26 EUR / 38 USD

The theme of the seminar was traditional Japanese long Ninja weapons, Yari (spear) and Naginata (halberd). Kunren Shugyo in Japanese terminology represents the studying of training. Therefore the seminar participants have studied for two days, the ways, the principles, techniques and philosophy of combat with those traditional weapons we use in Bujinkan Ninjutsu.

The ways and techniques of fighting with long weapons are very important for understanding Taijutsu (unarmed combat), because this way we get to know our body and the possibilities of its use through combat techniques.

The techniques with Naginata were done on the first day of the seminar, while techniques with the Yari were done the second day. Also defence against several opponents, combinations with Naginata and sword, and unarmed defence against the Yari was taught.

Click here for more info

This seminar was organized in Zagreb, Croatia, on 23th and 24th of September 2006.

About the Instructor

Dean Shihan has a lot of experience from real fighting in the independence war of Croatia, and also from his time in the police force. He was born 1965 and started training Martial Arts at the age of 10. He have experience from many martial arts styles but he was not completely satisfied with them until he found the warrior art – Bujinkan Ninjutsu/Ninpo Taijutsu.

For his full resume, check out his websites.

http://www.bujinkan.hr

http://www.specwog.bujinkan.hr