Archive for the 'Training at Home' Category

May 10 2010


As many have noticed, and noted I have not posted in quite some time.  There is a simple explanation for this; I needed work.

I have been training so much over the past few years I forgot that sometimes you have to take care of other things in life.  Since I got a new career I needed to spend some time focusing on that.  But don’t worry I now have a handle on my new work and am getting ready for the next round of Japan.

Please look forward to more training with and posting by me.

Your life is on the line, Practise well.

No responses yet

Oct 19 2009

Your effort keeps me going

Published by under Training at Home

Running a martial arts class can be difficult.  It becomes very much more difficult when I don’t see effort put into training.

The skills that we are trying to teach can be frustrating from time to time.  I have had my share of failures in training.  We however are training an art of perseverance and this includes our training itself.  You must be able to put aside your doubts and train.

When you doubt your skills train.  When you lack confidence train.  When you feel uneasy train.  The skills that you can attain through training, no one can take away from you.

When I see you take control of your training it encourages me to help you progress that much more.

Your life is on the line, practise well.

One response so far

Aug 29 2009

Home study

Published by under Training at Home

I am often asked what to study at home.  When this question is posed, I often stick to the safe stand-by’s san shin, the koshi sanpo and ukemi.  These are good things to practise, but I have some advice which has helped my practise over the past year.

As I have discussed before in writing and conversations, the kata of the Bujinkan are difficult to train on your own.  The majority of the kata rely on facing an opponent.  You receive an attack respond to the attack and end up folding your opponent into a pretzel to finish them.  How can you possibly practise that by yourself?  The answer is visualization.

Using your visualization, you can create an opponent based on your experience.  With this opponent in mind it becomes possible to train your technique effectively even at home.  I challenge you to give it a try, you will be pleased with the results.

Your life is on the line, practise well.

3 responses so far

Aug 29 2009


Published by under Training at Home

In the martial arts there are few things as underrated as visualization.  I am not referring to crossing your legs into a full lotus whine saying ohm, though that in itself can be a good way to practise the concept.

This is a tool which athletes use, they set a clear goal, get a clear picture in their mind of accomplishing that goal then proceed with the physical action.

Recently we have been working on our tsuki (thrust, often refereed to as a punch), following the concept of visualization, you would go through some steps.  Let us assume you are practising with a heavy bag.

1.  I articulate a goal.  “I will move through kamae and send the heavy bag swinging while keeping my body relaxed so that I can throw a second attack if necessary.”

2.  Create a mental image of yourself accomplishing the goal.  “Take a moment ot see the tsuki being done and the desired result being accomplished.”

3.  Do the bloody technique.  “nuff said”

This is something which you should be doing with every technique while training.  It will make your home study easier, in some cases it is near impossible to effectively train Bujinkan technique without visualization.  I will get more into this when I write about self training.

One response so far

Aug 29 2009

Abandoning the other arts

Published by under Other Stuff,Training at Home

As those who train with me know, I have over the course of my short time in the martial arts tried many different styles.  Karate, Judo, Aikido, Jujitsu and Chen style tai chi to name a few.  There are even more that I have seen and not had a chance to try.  Unfortunately I have abandoned the other arts.

The Bujinkan consist of 9 schools and hundreds of of kata with ten’s of thousands of variations.  There is enough information to spend 9 lifetimes studying.  There is a depth of feeling and skill which I have yet to see reproduced in any other martial art, by any other martial artist besides Hatsumi Sensei.  There is a breadth of knowledge which has literally saved the life of students and myself.

When my life was on the line, it was saved by this Budo, as long as I have permission I will dedicate my martial arts training to the art of Hatsumi Sensei and his standard bearers.

Your life is on the line, practise well.

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Jul 05 2009

The road to Shodan

Published by under Training at Home

We have restarted our curriculum cycle.  As I have mentioned before we are going from 4th kyu to shodan.  This will be new to a lot of the students as it will be new to me teaching the material.  For the longest time I have been going over the lower level kyus (higher number kyus) to get the basic movements ingrained in (y)our bodies.  Now it is time to get the higher level concepts integrated in your movement.

Many of the techniques which you will study over the next few months are going to be techniques you have seen before, I will just spend a lot more time on the details of how these techniques work so that you can become creative with their application.

I will warn you in advance, in the Bujinkan Shodan is not a big deal.  In Japan as a whole shodan is not a big deal.  It literally means lower rank.  It is more of an indication of dedication rather than proficiency.  As soon as you forget that conversations like “That person does not deserve that rank” or “We have a more stringent grading than everyone else” come up.  This is not the correct approach.  As soon as you get the idea that because you are associated with a certain way of doing things gives you a sense of pride, you have lost the point.  The rank doesn’t matter as long as you can survive.

If you are in a fight and have a shodan under a stringent curriculum but still lose it means nothing.  What is important is that you learn the feeling that Hatsumi sensei is trying to convey.  Once you have that feeling everything else will fall into place.

Your life is on the line, train well.

5 responses so far

Jun 21 2009

An intelectual realization

Published by under Training at Home

In our budo, there is more than just the physical aspect of technique.  I am going to spend a little time talking about the mental aspect of our techniques.

Budo is a very unique activity which I feel must be associated with a intellectual realization.  Like music, art or mathematics; you can have the same groundwork with different results.  Through an exploration you will come to a moment where something will make sense and the task will become so easy you will wonder how you were having trouble with it before.

Two budo-ka of equal physical ability will not necessarily be even in skill.  This becomes apparent when you are dealing with multiple opponents.

With multiple opponents, you can not become attached to the techniques and skills which you have learnt in the past.  Sometimes you need to abandon your techniques half way.  Sometimes you have to take the initiative.  When you are at a disadvantage is when your skills are really shown.  You must be an artist, creative with your tools.  You need to know what to put in and even more importantly what to leave out.

This is a bit of a scatter brained Hatsumi-esque post but if you want more information on what I am getting at ask me.

Your life is on the line, train well.

One response so far

May 31 2009

Cut me some slack

Well I was going to post something on a new insight I found into the striking timings, but I am getting harrased about not posting.  So if you want a new post you will have to ask a question in the comment.  You know something that I have done or said in class about which you are unclear.  Anyhow I am done, those at class to day know who to thank for this.

3 responses so far

Apr 24 2009

What keeps you uninjured

Published by under Training at Home

In short doing what I say, and not doing what you feel in too much.

Let me explain, I will teach you skills you need to train in class and I will teach you techniques which you are able to preform and receive with your skill level.  I will also give instructions on how “hard” to train.  When I say slow down, it’s probably best to slow down.

So if you hear my voice raised ever, you have probably been doing something very wrong for a long time.  If I tell you to stop, I would suggest highly that you do that.  I will not have injuries in my classes on account of carelessness.  Next person to step out of line during a class I will deal with you on the spot.  I will not produce a dangerous nobody.

You have been warned.  Your life is on the line, train well.

3 responses so far

Apr 15 2009

Don’t fight Gravity, use Gravity to fight.

Published by under Training at Home

I feel that I should mention this, specifically for musha dori.

When you have musha dori (the lock) we often try to scoop up the opponents elbow.  To fight you they are using their muscles plus gravity.  If instead you drop your body while keeping your hands in place, you are using gravity against their muscles.  I hope you can understand without a visual.  I use musha dori because it’s easy to illustrate.  If you need a crude Anton Diagram I will give it to you.

If you can understand this method of movement you can use it in nearly all your techniques.  If you start to understand this the need for strength in your techniques will decrease significantly.  In fact I will argue that sometimes adding strength will be detrimental to your techniques.

Give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Your life is on the line, train well.

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