Archive for September, 2008

Sep 29 2008

Kamae, a moment in Time

Published by under Bujinkan Training Drills

    One of the most important drills that I have ever seen is a taihen jutsu drill taught to me by Bill Atkins.  What he does in this drill is he has one person attacking (unarmed or with a weapon) with simple attacks (no tricks to start) and the other person is moving from kamae to kamae avoiding the attacks.  It is simple to memorize all the kamae, but can you use them.  Do you know which kamae belongs where and when?  Do you understand the attitude that you need in each kamae to get an effect in your opponents kamae?  If not you need to start at the beginning.

    Take the gyoko ryu kamae (ichimonji, jumonji, hitcho and shizen).  Move from one kamae to the next.  Once your body understands the kamaes on a mechanical level it is time to move on to application.  Understand moving against attacks trying to get to a place where you are flanking your opponent.  What I mean by flanking your opponent is if you draw a circle around someone looking down from above, you can divide the circle into thirds.  The front third where they are strong.  The third starting to their right and the third going to the left (ending right behind them) where they are weaker.  Your goal is moving in kamae from the region where your opponent is strong to the one where they are weak.  Simple yes?  But wait there is more.  You want to move to a kamae at a range where you can bring all of your weapons to bear on your opponent.  What range do you need to throw kicks?  Punches?  Knees and Elbows?  What weapons can your opponent use to attack you?  What will it take to defend yourself from these attacks?  Can you move differently to prevent the possibility of being attacked like this.

    Until you understand this movement, you will not be free with your taijutsu.  Until you understand your distance, you are not doing the arts of the Bujinkan.  Please make sure you understand taihen jutsu the skills of changing your body (kamae).

    Your life is on the line, practice well.

No responses yet

Sep 24 2008

Lubos Pictures

Published by under Seminars

I have them.  We are still putting the DVD together so nothing on that front.  I will keep those who were there up to date on that.  I will probably sell them on the site for those who were not there.

Yeah Taijutsu

Yeah Taijutsu

No responses yet

Sep 23 2008

Back to work

Published by under Training at Home

Disclaimer: This is specifically about Sundays class so if you don’t get it, sorry.

I forgot on Sunday to mention some points that I want you to practise.  When you are throwing your tsuki you must keep the distance in mind.  I have now seen far too often students losing power because they are disregarding the distance and becoming disconnected in their kamae.

For now it is enough that you worry about having moving in kamae.  When you are a beginner it is easy to get caught up in trying to accomplish something.  If you just go move through the fundamentals of the technique it does not take much work at all.

No responses yet

Sep 21 2008

A Dedication to those from whom I’ve Learnt

Published by under Other Stuff,Training at Home

When I was going through school (up until the year I graduated) I was put in Piano lessons.  Classical piano lessons.  Although I hated going through and doing exams every year, I did not mind being able to read music and for the most part working my way through songs that I wanted to play.  It occurred to me after thousands of hours of practise that I could not make any of it up.  I was stuck playing music that others wrote, line by line without any variation.

I do not want that to be the Taijutsu of myself or any of my students.  Over the years I have seen many awesome practitioners with their own unique styles.  In Japan and throughout North America I have met people who have taught me many things for which I am thankful and respect.

As a dedication to them I will do my Taijutsu as a reaction to all of their movements good and bad.  I will take the feeling that they placed in my body through their techniques and use it to make carry on the traditions that Hatsumi Sensei is trying to pass on.  As a sign of respect I will not copy them movement by movement and turn our living art into a dead set of kata which must be done according to the scrolls.

Oh and I will relearn piano as well.

One response so far

Sep 16 2008

Japanton Round 7?

As many of you who know me know, I like to go to Japan for training.  That said if I have either Brian or Russ teach a few classes understand it is a direct result of my love for training in Japan.  I have some work which needs to get done for this trip to happen.  For the sake of my training and anyone who trains at the club I need to make it to Japan as often as I can.

In addition, Brain and Russ are both fine practitioners who take time to go to seminars and Japan when they can to improve their abilities.  Make sure not to miss their training if I am not at a class.  Missing it would be a mistake.

For those who are going to Japan with me the dates of October 22nd to November 17th are 95% certain.  I will begin looking for tickets so have your money ready.  Usually I can find something for around $1000 Canadian, it seems like this trip we will be looking more in the ballpark of $1200 Canadian.  I will keep you up to date on what I can find.

No responses yet

Sep 12 2008


Published by under Training at Home

The kanji of the title is TenSai.  It means genius, prodigy or someone with a natural gift.  I have heard this used in a martial arts to describe many people over the years. Gichin Funakoshi, Kyuzo Mifune and Morihei Ueshiba to name a few.

There is an idolization of men like these in their respective arts.  You will often here in the more ‘modern’ martial arts that no one is or will ever be as good as the founder.  They were a type of genius that we were lucky to witness and will never see again.  So as it follows the next generation is always weaker than the last (in a Japanese sense of strength not physical power).

The Bujinkan is not like that.  We are in a living art.  If one of those TenSai can accomplish in 1 day that which takes us a month, it doesn’t matter.  We stand on the shoulders of 34 recorded generations and over 1000 years pushing us forward.  If we use the strength that we have inherited from those people who have gone before us passed down teacher to student we can rely on their knowledge.

We don’t have to rely on our own natural ability; we don’t have to have the knack for the martial arts.  If you could just win as a natural fighter, there would be no need for the martial arts.  If every generation could never be as good as the last then in a few generations there would be no point in taking the martial art.  An art that holds those who have gone before in high regard is good, because you can use their experience to help you progress.  There must however be balance with the experience, which you receive and add to the martial art to help the next generation.

Oh and to get the training, you have to go see a true Genius of the martial arts, Hatsumi Sensei.  He will get you where you need to be.  No books, scrolls or DVDs will get you the knowledge you need; Sensei and those who actively train with him are the only sources for this knowledge of the Bujinkan arts.  There you go a post by request, you’re welcome.

No responses yet

Sep 09 2008

Lubos Pokorny Seminar Review

Published by under Seminars,Training at Home

In short it was awesome. The long explanation, I have a lot of work to do.

Lubos brings with him a unique feeling of Japan that I would challenge you to get from any other ‘non resident’. The control which he exhibits, his use of space and natural movement is incredible. The feeling of reality in his techniques is terrifying. Mastering what he has to show will raise your taijutsu to a new level.

For those of you who attended, please work on what he has shown so that we can try to keep that feeling and apply it from to our taijutsu. We were lucky enough to cover ukemi (receiving) right through to kenjutsu, bojutsu and tanto (sword skills, staff kills and knife work). I know there is some sharing that needs to take place for those who didn’t make it to the Thursday and Friday night classes. I will do my best to make it down to Calgary for some training in the next few weeks, that is if I am welcome.

Special shout out to Bujinkan Manitoba for supporting the seminar. There has already been some feedback on the seminar, but I look forward to hearing more from those who attended. Your feedback after all is what make me think that people might actually read what I have to say from time to time.

3 responses so far

Sep 08 2008

Attributes of a Budoka review

Published by under Media Review

As promised I will do a short book review.  I have hardly any time for reading, especially with the seminar that I just hosted.  Now that it is finished I have had a chance to collect my thoughts and re-read the book, I am ready to give my exalted opinion.

The Book is setup in such a way that it presents the attribute, gives the definition and the proceeds with advice and exercises to improve the attribute.  There for example is a section on mechanics.  It starts with a dictionary definition of mechanics, then explains the budo concept of mechanics and it’s importance.  Finally you are treated to what training you need to do to improve your mechanics.

This is so simple a concept but it was missing from the Bujinkan in book form.  Too often we as Bujinkan members hide behind the way things are done in Japan to realize that the training in Japan is to pass on as much information as possible.  It is our responsibility to actually find ways to train what we are shown.  This is a book that allows us to take proper responsibility for our actions and training.

A skill list, training drills and some of the old conditioning exercises as an added bonus.  I highly recommend this book, it is a short read and well worth the yen.

The cover of the book.
Despite the personal signed copy I can assure you my review was objective.
Despite the personal signed copy I can assure you my review was objective.

One response so far

Sep 05 2008

He’s Here!

Published by under Seminars,Training at Home

Yes Lubos is here.  With him he brought monstrous taijutsu.  Let me explain if I could by compareing Lubos to a certain Bearded shihan that I know.  When you are attacking this Bearded Shihan, it’s like you are attacking a Battleship with a slingshot (See top 10 giant movie monsters).  When you are attacking Lubos, it is like you are fighting a war of attrition and he is not.  You loose every weapon that you attack him with and never get it back.  There is an understanding of controlling the Kukan which is just unreal.

Let me put it another way.  Looking at Lubos do techniques is just like looking at Hatsumi Sensei without experiencing his feeling.  You would swear what he is doing is garbage.  It can’t be seen, only felt.  It is unfortnate that he is not better known around the world.  It is a real loss to Bujinkan budo taijutsu not having a teacher/practitioner of his caliber spreading this information.

Anyhow more on this seminar after I write that book review.  Which means this weekend I will read through the Kevin Book again and give you my opinion.

2 responses so far