Archive for May, 2008

May 30 2008

Doug Wilson stole my post!

Published by under Other Stuff

That’s right, Doug Wilson Bujinkan Shihan, or as I like to call him “Keeping It Real Doug” wrote a ‘What is Kihon’ post. That was posted over a week after my post on the subject. So now I am officially calling him out. I know you are a big TV star now but I will be keeping my eye out for you. If you are in North America or even if I have to wait for my next Japan trip I’ll give you what’s for. Keeping it Real Doug your blog will be closely monitored to insure that there is no repeat of such offenses.

Oh and for all my readers, be sure to visit Doug’s Blog for his post on Kihon, Doug has a unique insight into training in Japan.

No responses yet

May 19 2008

What is Kihon?

In training with Oguri Sensei and Seno Sensei, I had a chance to experience their kihon.  This should not be confused with the kihon happo, simply the karada no kihon.

This is the basic way to move your body.  This involves things like the required flexibility to perform proper techniques.  After working on a tuski method for half an hour, Seno sensei had me translate that ‘Once you can do this basic movement, you can start to relearn the techniques while eliminating your bad habits’.

It’s hard to translate that and not sound like a jerk.  Seno sensei let us know that our bodies were in no condition to be chasing after advanced techniques.  To move freely we need to have control over our bodies, a control that we as budo-ka should have.  In the bujinkan we always talk about the importance of self training, but we always seem at a loss as to how to do this.

If your ichimonji can not be held with your rear knee at 90 degrees (pi over 2 radians Jason) moving forward to extend a tsuki over the width of a tatami then you don’t have a body flexible enough for Seno Sensei’s kihon.  Oh and this is with your back erect up and down.

If you can’t start from shizen and squat all the way down without going onto your toes or bending your back from the erect position, you don’t have the calf flexibility to perform Oguri Sensei’s kihon.

This is fair, I don’t expect that everyone should be able to do this.  That said, if you can’t, perhaps it’s time that you do some personal body training to get ready for the waza of the Bujinkan.

2 responses so far

May 17 2008

Move like the Air

Published by under Training in Japan

Training with Soke of course had a theme last night.  It was move like the air.  This as per usual is quite ambiguous until you actually feel the techniques.

I had a chance to feel Hatsumi Sensei’s technique and it was recorded.  That means that I will be on the densho video 2 years from now.  Take that Scotty Chambers.

When Hatsumi Sensei is doing a technique on you, there is no point of reference.  He sets up the situation such that you will move into a technique without him applying it.  Anyhow, I can only bring the feeling back to Edmonton and try and transmit it as best I can.

3 responses so far

May 13 2008

Don’t use strength

Published by under Training in Japan

There is a misunderstanding in the Bujinkan that once you understand a principal and that your body has the proper mechanics that it is alright to add strength to a technique.  According to Hatsumi sensei this is incorrect.

To add strength to a properly working technique seems like a good thing to do, after all the technique is being applied how could adding strength be bad?

The reaction of your opponent is what makes adding strength bad.  This concept of Inyo which Sensei has been trying to have us understand requires that we not use strength.

Now I know that everyone will interperate Hatsumi sensei’s words to support their experience with Soke.  But I thought I would throw it out there anyhow.

No responses yet

May 12 2008

Famous faces

Published by under Training in Japan

When I am in Japan, I often get to meet some notable Bujinkan members.  Understand that I am not placing them above anyone else, it’s just that for various reason they have made an impact on the bujinkan.

For example, I had a chance to train with Mats Hjelm.  He had the second website on Bujinkan Budo taijutsu (yes the second ever) and the longest running.  I had a chance to train with him and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Anyhow, it’s a sensei class today, so I will hopefully start to put together some insight into what he is try to show us.

No responses yet

May 11 2008

When taking the Godan Test

Published by under Training in Japan

If you are going to take the Godan Test, this means that you understand the skills taught in the TenChiJin Ryaku no maki.  That does not mean it’s memorized, but you have the skills.  One of those skills is distancing against weapons.

If you don’t have the ability to sit in front of your tester without making them have to move back or them telling you to move forward, you have no business taking the test.  If you are trying for a 5th degree black belt but can’t understand a basic principal like distancing, do you really think you can fight?  If you can’t figure out where to sit, how did you get your shodan?

When I see this, it is sad that people are just pushing their students through the system.  Judans are supposed to be the quality control but instead they collect their money and hand out black belts.

I’m done now, if people in the bujinkan want to know how I do things differently they can come and visit.

No responses yet

May 11 2008

My search for candy

Published by under Other Stuff

So I promised my good friends in Edmonton some candy. A picture is included. I would like to tell them that I have found said candy. i am just trying to figure out how much to bring back to Edmonton. So you guys can relax mission accomplished.

One response so far

May 07 2008

Striking during techniques

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is supposed to be a free art, allowing for a certain amount of creativity.  When preforming techniques you will often see soke and the Japanese shihan adding extra strikes in the midst of preforming the technique.

The reason I bring this up is there is a benefit to us following that example, and also a danger.

If we add in strikes, it can allow us to cover a lack of understanding of the technique.  Basically we can hit the person and make the technique work although it is not correct.

On the other hand, if you do not practice throwing strikes during the technique, you end up forgetting that you have these weapons that you can use.  Your taijutsu becomes compartmentalized, and you get stuck in a grappling situation, or a striking situation, or a weapons situation.

So what’s a good balance?  I don’t know, I will need to work it out myself but I leave it to the post comments to help me out.

3 responses so far

May 05 2008

Taking Ukemi

Published by under Training in Japan

Hatsumi sensei has said on numerous occasions that taking ukemi is bad.  I believe that on at least a lower level, I am beginning to understand.  In our martial art, when you are receiving attacks (or making them) your purpose is to increase your options while limiting the options of your opponents.

In our art where you are trying to move past the techniques, you will want to move your body in a way to take your opponents space, while covering his weapons.  Likewise your opponent will try to keep their options open and should only take ukemi when it is the only option they have.

Understanding the battle that is taking place, one will realize that if you do not give your opponent a technique against which to fight/go with, they will not be able to take ukemi without adding their own energy.  It is at this point you can use their strength against them to have them destroy themselves.

I won’t even try to write up an example, just something to think about.  Anyhow, I am off to push clouds and listen to echoes of techniques.

One response so far

May 03 2008

Respond like an echo

Published by under Training in Japan

Just a short note on a Hatsumi sensei class.  We were preforming techniques, some from Togakure ryu, but not necessarily.  Sensei was stressing the importance of responding to the persons attack like an echo.  He said that if you did this it would not matter if the opponent retracted his attack or left it hanging out there.

I am still mulling over this in my head, so I have no answers for any of you.  If I come up with anything over the next day or so I will let you know through comments.

4 responses so far

Next »