Archive for the 'Training in Japan' Category

Feb 22 2009

正中線 (Seichusen)

A friend and sempai of mine in Japan had been studying this concept recently.  He mentioned it in passing and was kind enough to offer me an explanation.  Sei chu sen translates as True Centre Line.  It is the centre line of the body or in the case of a kamae the line from the lead hand (weapon) to the centre of the spine.

I mention this just as a concept to research, I really have nothing much to say regarding this.  I won’t repeat the explanation I received without permission, especially seeing as how my sempai is new to this concept (at least in words) himself.  I am just happy that I have friends in Japan to pass this information to me while I am away.  So if he is reading, thanks.

If anyone has more information let me know.

No responses yet

Jan 23 2009

Becoming your own master

The topic of fitness and Budo has come up in the past few months so often that I wanted to write about it.  Everytime I wanted to I was caught in an infuriating (in my opinion) conversation, I do not like to write blog posts with my grey matter thus troubled.

With able body,
And unhindered reasoning,
True budo aspired.

I made this haiku for to explain what I have been told by Japanese shihan.  I wrote about it often in my posts.  The way that we are ridiculed by Japanese instructors because of our poor physical condition.  Besides not knowing the techniques needed to progress in our art, our bodies are in no shape to even preform the techniques of the Bujinkan.  We have quite the audacity trying to pass on our sloppy techniques to others.

I of course don’t want to get carried away and turn our classes into exercise classes but come on, we should know a bit about what we eat and effective ways to keep our bodies flexible and strong for the sake of taijutsu.  The techniques don’t require speed or strength but if we don’t take care of our bodies how can we hope to attain the most important technique from Hatsumi Sensei, being able to move like a 30 year old when we are 77?

Being able to do it your own way is not good enough either.  From conversations that I have had with the senior Japanese shihan, if you can’t do the kihon then why do you bother coming to see Hatsumi sensei?  As I have said before, one of them was astounded that he had a class who wanted to do the kihon so he gave us the gift of an hour worth of training on our tsuki (punch or thrust).  After that he told us that if we practised that every day for a year we could relearn the basics without habits.

In the haiku I mentioned that able body and unhindered reasoning.  There are very few people in the Bujinkan that I give a pass on technique.  Those few whom find themselves in a wheelchair or otherwise infirm I know can not do techniques as taught by the shihan.  Otherwise, it’s time to get to work lets get our bodies and movement right.

I look forward to the madness this post will cause.

2 responses so far

Nov 27 2008

Seeing the future and Miroku Bosatsu

Published by under Training in Japan

I thought I would mention it shortly.  Hatsumi Sensei was talking about the importance of being able to see the future.  Then he mentioned it was like Miroku Bosatsu.  To get the full context I would have to explain the reference but you don’t get those.  Because being abstract is so beautiful I will let you figure it out on your own.  That is unless I am asked nicely.

One response so far

Nov 25 2008

Still on Japan time (moving through the hips explained, kind of)

It’s 5 AM and I am starting to get tired.  I guess that’s what happens when you have nothing to do on a specific time line.  Because I am awake, I guess I should talk about moving through the hips.

Moving through the hips is something that I can not give physical instruction on how to do.  It is something that must be experienced.  It’s part of that whole “this art can not be taught” thing.  The only thing that I will mention is that a few people in the Bujinkan that I have met do this, fewer still explain it when they are teaching.

I guess it should have been self event, even to someone like me who is a bit slow on the uptake.  But never the less, if I can’t explain the movement, perhaps I can explain the benefit.

As I said in a previous post I got this from Noguchi Sensei.  In the past while observing this I had thought it was the use of his back muscles to generate this power, which may be part of it.  If you however recreate the movement you thing you are seeing using your hips instead you can create a response in the opponent which feels quite powerful even though they can tell you are not using your physical strength.

I have also experienced this while being twisted up by Oguri Sensei, it seems like he is using a lot of power, when his upper body is relaxed.  Lets be honest the man is in his late 60’s, I should be able to use my muscles and overpower him.  I have tried to be strong, it doesn’t make a difference.

Now if you are saying, “My favourite Japanese Shihan X does it too”, you’re at a 10 we need you at a 2.  I know that, but the first person to talk about moving through the hips to me directly was Oguri Sensei, the first one to explicitly show me to move through the hips was Noguchi Sensei which is why those two names were mentioned.

That’s all on this for now.  On a final note though, there is a Japanton seminar hosted by Calgary.  I have to drop a line for them since they are the only ones who will actually host me.

5 responses so far

Nov 18 2008

Good Training

Published by under Training in Japan

I am leaving Japan tomorrow.  I am sad to go.  I told Noguchi Sensei I was leaving and went to shake his hand, I got a hug instead.  I told Hatsumi Sensei I was leaving, he said good training and be safe (he told the other guy be safe, no mention of training).  Japan is great, I don’t want to leave but I will again.  Canada is my home and I don’t want to stay away for too long.

I look forward to the real world again, training with all of you at home.

Oh and Liz, I did not go bamboo.  This blog is still written in English after all (no matter how poor).

One response so far

Nov 14 2008

I am Improving?

Published by under Training in Japan

That’s what I was told on the Friday Night class.  I am not sure I believe that because Hatsumi Sensei’s comments can not be trusted.  (You are all doing good techniques but I am not teaching techniques.)  But I got a painting of a kama kiri and this picture.

What is Lubos doing there in the background?

Just one question, why is Lubos in the Background?

2 responses so far

Nov 13 2008

My faith in the techniques

There seems to be questions which many people have about if the techniques can work.  At first I though this was a fooling thing to be asking, but maybe not so much now.  If you have questions of if your techniques will work agaist someone bigger and stronger then either you have learnt the techniques wrong or your are being taught something other than Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.

Too many people seem to thing that the techniques that they are being taught are ineffective then look at them again.  Find someone who can do them against an opponent while using no strength.  Look for a good Shihan who has the solid technique and understanding of what Hatsumi Sensei and the Shihan are doing.  One who will correct you when you are doing something wrong.

If you can’t get someone who says “no” when you don’t get it, someone who will point you in the right direction you are in trouble.  These techniques, this feeling that Hatsumi Sensei is trying to pass on can save your life.

I was lucky enough to have teachers which built a foundation and desire to look at what is good and even question what I was being taught.  Then I was fortunate enough to go to Japan several times to continue my learning.  The information is out there sometimes it is hard to find bu you can get to it.

Your life is on the line, practice your well.

8 responses so far

Nov 11 2008

Encouragement or insult?

Published by under Training in Japan

Once again last night, Hatsumi Sensei said to us “Everyone must look at the Takamatsu DVD and see that I was not very good.  So don’t worry about your progress”.

If this was the first time he said it, I would pass it off as nothing.  Well no I wouldn’t but I would have kept it to myself.  We must improve.  As a whole we in the Bujinkan must improve.  On some fundamental level we give ourself the excuse that in time we will somehow get to a point where our techniques do not require force.  When will this be?  Will it just magically happen without training for that goal.  Esentially we were being compared to Hatsumi sensei in his early training with Takamatsu.  The problem is we have been training for years.  If we pay attention we should be getting better.

Anyhow I am sure Sensei was talking to everyone but me.

4 responses so far

Nov 08 2008

Oops, I forgot to be abstract

Published by under Training in Japan

Well I was in a sensei class and I made a mistake.  When asked to explain what a technique felt like I explained what happened in a non abstract fashion.  I should have gotten a page out of the arts playbook and made my answer more nebulous.  I guess the problem with my answer was it would make sense to people with my background.  Mechanically it was correct and many people said from what I described to what they saw it made sense.  But for those who are not connected to a solid understanding of mechanical things, this would not clarify anything.

Next time I will talk about animals and the earth moving around the sun and random nobel laureates<spelling corrected>.

11 responses so far

Nov 05 2008

Another Oguri Sensei Class

Published by under Training in Japan

For the last 3 Japan trips I have been able to go to Oguri Sensei’s Dojo to train.  This to me is a big deal because often you don’t go over the same material in a class as you do at a home dojo.  The advantage of training with Seno and Oguri when they decide to do basics is that they have seen the techniques over the last 40 plus years so they can give you a good sense of what basics were taught and why.  This is of course in no way taking away from the other instructors, however I have found many teachers going through material which is solid without explanation as to why.  This does not take away of course from the good material which they have to offer, it is as I said actions which are done because that is what they were taught.

We spent two hours going over tsuki and uke nagashi.  That’s right two hours.  It was fantastic.  I have much to work on and lots to share.  I look forward to it.

One response so far

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