Bojutsu vs Kenjutsu vs Bojutsu vs Kenjutsu…

From 8þ Kabutoshimen by admin


Cutting against his arm

This summer like most summers we train a lot more with long weapons since the dojo is too small to really use long weapons properly. This summer we train Bojutsu against Kenjutsu (long staff against sword). I think I teach and train a little different than most Bujinkan teachers out there, but I can’t really say maybe there is those who approach the training like I do. Let me explain.

Kote haneage followed by Haneage

Kote haneage followed by Haneage

First of all you learn how to use the staff, spinning and striking etc, this is mostly solo-training. Then you learn the Keiko Sabaki Kata (movement practice techniques) in my dojo we only practice one technique for the whole two hour class. Some students really have problems with coordination, others capture it quicker. In this first step I don’t mention distance, timing or anything except which strikes and blocks to make. This can also be solo-training and done alone against an imagined opponent.

Second I take the sword and we focus on how to handle the situation the best way with a sword. If he is attacking me with the staff I immediately counter him by stepping forward. I’m not gonna step backwards defending myself all the time, when he steps in to strike me in his preferred distance out of my reach; I boldly step in at the same time and block the staff and get even closer into my preferred distance so I can cut him with the sword. As I see it this is the only chance I have against a longer weapon, there is no point of running backwards.

Catching the staff and Tsuki

Catching the staff and Tsuki

Thirdly I take the staff again. I attack the kenjutsu-ka fully (not really, but almost) and make sure he does a good block, and as he block I don’t stay frozen or try to push harder on him. As I strike I’m already prepared for the next movement when he comes in and try to cut me, I move out to my distance and do the next strike.

Then I take the sword again and try to avoid being hit from this point in the technique, by blocking and countering again. I’m not really gonna give up or run away. If I can cut I will cut.

Then again I take the staff and try to deal with this really difficult opponent, I avoid his cut and counter him until the end of the technique where I make it impossible for him to do anything. Then the technique is finished without changing the sequences of the strikes, the only thing that is flexible is the distance and the timing. And this is where the true training comes in.

Then at the end of the class we record a short demo to video which will be available for download later. This is how we spend our two hour trainings at Kaigozan Dojo this summer.

No henka, no variations, true to the technique.

Kote haneage as he try to cut my left arm

Kote haneage as he try to cut my left arm

I always thought quality is better than quantity. It is amazing how cleverly these techniques is made up, it is so much more than executing the strikes rapidly against a rather passive opponent. If the opponent (sword-guy) is good and understand how to use the sword there is really not many options to change the technique and do something different, the possibility for henka becomes very narrow, what you can change is very small details. For me this is what henka means, you failed your initial technique and need to adapt because of miscalculation.

I know there are those out there only doing henka-training, but how do you do henka training only, henka of what? If you try to train yourself into intuition without basic foundation you are doing something I don’t understand. You weren’t born out from nowhere, someone did something very basic with someone and you was born. How do you henka anything into existence?

Victory ending of the technique

Victory ending of the technique

If anyone is interesting I’m doing three more one day Bojutsu mini-seminars this summer.

Happy Training!


The post Bojutsu vs Kenjutsu vs Bojutsu vs Kenjutsu… appeared first on 8þ Kabutoshimen.

Paris Taikai 2013

From Shiro Kuma's Weblog by kumafr

Memories: picture taken during one of the first Shi Tennô seminar organized by Steve Byrne in 2001 in Trinity College in Dublin.

Memories: picture taken during one of the first Shi Tennô seminar organized by Steve Byrne in 2001 in Trinity College in Dublin.

Watching the nice blue sky through the window, I began to think about the next Yûro Shitennô Paris Taikai next July in Paris.

This seminar have been going on for more than ten years and it has always been a pleasure to welcome you all in our dôjô.

Many of you are already familiar with this extraordinary seminar but I think it is time to explain its origin once again for those of you who aren’t.

Around the year 2003, I was on the phone with Pedro and we were speaking of the “good old days” when the Shi Tennô could meet twice a year for a joint seminar called “Shi Tennô Seminar” (see picture above). But at the turn of the century, these seminars were not organized anymore. Many reasons for that.

First of all, the financial risk of having the 4 Shi tennô for a two days seminar was too big. Second, since our beginning (the first Shi Tennô took place in 1993), many new high rank instructors arrived on the market and there were more seminars available. Today each weekend in a 500km radius, there are at least two or three seminars organized.

Also our personal seminars schedule being so full we had some difficulty putting up a common date together.

Over the phone, we decided to organize it ourselves and this is how the first Paris Taikai was created in 2003. It was such a success that I decided to continue organizing it year after year. This year is the 10th one!

But what is a Paris Taikai?

Until the year 2002, Hatsumi would come to Europe to give three days seminars, they were called Taikai. I attended over 30 Taikai since the first one organized by my friend Peter King. The Paris Taikai was meant to replace the absence of sensei in our countries.

When we decided to organize the Paris Taikai, Sensei approved the idea and called it: “Yûro Shi Tennô Taikai”. Yûro 融朗 means “brightness”but is also a pun with “europa” pronounced by Japanese “yuropa”. Basically this is the Taikai organized by the European Shi Tennô: Peter, Sven, Pedro, and me.

The Paris Taikai follows the same structure as the Taikai of the past where we used to train during three days. But this one is also different as we train in three different dôjô at the same time. Also the group of participants is divided into 4 groups: beginners, intermediates, advanced, shidôshi. We make sure that each group is about the same size.

The Bujinkan France teached in a facility that is made of three dôjô: 1 big dôjô (150 to 200 people) with mats and two smaller ones (around 60-80 m2), one with mats and one with wooden floor. Trainings are conducted in the three dôjô at the same time and each hour teachers and students are changing location.

Each hour one group is taught by one Shi Tennô in the two small dôjô, and two groups (always beginner-intermediate; or advanced-shidôshi) are taught by 2 Shi Tennô in the big dôjô. This is why whatever your technical level you will receive the teaching that you can understand. Many times when you are attending a seminar, the teacher has to teach a certain level. When he is teaching high level, beginners are lost, and conversely when he is teaching basics, the advanced practitioners are bored! This is not happening at the Paris Taikai.

This Taikai is also the chance to meet people from all over the world (there are around 15 to 20 countries attending) and to connect or reconnect with friends from everywhere.

When you register for the Taikai (which is limited to 150 participants) you get:

  • 3 full days of training (10am-5pm)
  • 3 meals regular or veggie (lunch time only)
  • Paris Taikai tee-shirt
  • Certificate of attendance
  • Goodbye drink on the last day
  • Free sleeping (Thursday to Monday) at the dôjô

Also do not forget that this event takes place right during the weekend of the French National day, and Paris is full of laughter, fireworks, drinking, dancing; and the weather is around 30° Celsius.

But if Paris is a nice city to visit in summer; if the techniques demonstrated are done by 4 of the more advanced students of Sensei; above all what you are getting out of such an event is hours of happiness and friendship, and for me this is the most important part of a Taikai. The techniques are always nice but the feeling of belonging to a community is even better. This seminar is Bujinkan at its best!

Places are limited and pre-booking is going very fast this year so if you are interested to join us, please follow the link below:

And if you do not come some other Bujinkan member will be happy.

Rokkon Shojo!