From Bujinkan Santa Monica by Michael
Who is teaching at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo?
The Japan training schedule is irregular and I am following my instincts rather than any set schedule. Peter Crocoll shared a story about Hatsumi Sensei using instinct to buy an antique jūmonji yari based on a feeling.
Furuta Sensei invited me to his class. He picked us up from the train station and we went to a high school gymnasium. We warmed up with a bit of rolling, sanshin, and 骨指基本三法 kosshi kihon sanpō. Then he went into the kata 乱勝 Ranshō from Takagi Yoshin Ryū. He did a deep dive with many themes from Hatsumi Sensei.
The next day, I got up early to have coffee with my friend, Craig Olson. He told me some funny Nagato Sensei stories. He also told me that Furuta-san would be helping out at the Honbu office today.
This piqued my interest because I had a lot of ranks and paperwork to be approved and recorded. Many things have changed in the Bujinkan office, and I had a lot of questions. Craig suggested that it would be too busy and I should not go. But I risked it, and I was the only one there.
Niigata-san has done a tremendous job organizing the Honbu office and the record books. With his and Furuta-san’s help, I was able to get all of my paperwork submitted properly with all of the correct kanji, dates, and yen amounts.
While waiting for the ink to dry, I went to lunch at the old Coco’s in Noda. The restaurant updated with a computerized reservation and order system. It even had robotic servers to bring the food to your table.
Then I stopped by the old tabi shop. It was nice to see it still open. I didn’t know if the elderly couple that ran it would survive the lack of tourism for 3 years over the pandemic. But the old man was as helpful and friendly as ever.
My luck continued when Paul Masse invited us to a special class at the Honbu dojo. He organized this training and got permission a while ago, not realizing that it was on Soke’s birthday. Paul seemed to think that was a good omen.
|Paul Masse shares a story at Bujinkan Honbu Dojo December 2022|
The dojo has been mostly closed. The Japan training schedule has been empty. Niigata said that this class was the biggest one held at the Honbu in a long time. Paul didn’t teach so much as share. We were all nostalgic and traded Soke tips and tricks with each other. It was a really good feeling and I am grateful to Paul for organizing this opportunity.
Paul also invited us to his house to meet with 根岸流 Negishi-ryū Shihan Kurosawa-san. If you’ve followed my Japan reports from the past, you know that I’ve studied bo shuriken with Kurosawa before. His methods really improved my own understanding of shuriken use.
|Kurosawa-san shares a variety of weapons|
Paul served some 焼酎 Shōchū with 麦茶 mugicha. Kurosawa-san shared a variety of hidden weapons and bo shuriken from a few different schools. He even showed some modern shuriken with a hollow shaft for improved aerodynamics. He told us that Kan Sensei’s son, 菅 祐寿 Kan Hirotoshi, helped to design these shuriken.
|根岸流 Negishi-ryū Shihan Kurosawa-san|
Kurosawa shared 3 different shuriken styles: 直打法 Choku dahō; 反転 hanten; and shutō. He also spoke about 柄飛ばし tsuka tobashi, where your own sword leaps into your hand during a shuriken throw to deliver a quick cut. I can’t wait to practice this!
If you would like to see this Bujinkan training video from Japan follow the link: Japan Report December 2022 Part 2