Dai Komyo Sai 2008
Koyo ( Autumn leaves ) at Shimizu Koen
I have always been unable to attend the full three days of a Daikomyosai, but this year was different. This year was very different for many reasons. Firstly, the venue was a place that seemed unlikely to be a good place to hold such an event, yet I think everyone found that it was very refreshing and a unique experience. Among the many rustic colours of the Autumn leaves, the participants from more than twenty five countries moved with light footsteps on the damp ground. The venue was Shimizu Koen. Nestled under the wonderful colors and with the sun beaming light through the trees, everyone congregated in anticipation for Sokes arrival. We trod over softened leaves that hid our footprints and disguised our steps. The training area was beautifully wrapped in a cool air with little wind. It indeed felt the right place to practise the art of Ninpo. Soke arrived with the sun on his back. He walked through the trees with grace. With the leaves falling around him, he melted into the environment due to his rustic coloured fur coat. Soke is indeed a ninja.
The training commenced with the Kihon Happo. It has been said that Ninpo Taijutsu is based from the teachings of the Gyokko Ryu and Koto Ryu. Thus, it is extremely important to understand these arts to understand the art of Ninpo Taijutsu. We commenced training with Koshi Kihon Sanpo as demonstrated by Nagato Sensei and Senouh Sensei. We then moved to the Torite Goho. These were demonstrated by Noguichi Shihan, Senouh Shihan, Oguri Shihan and Nagato Shihan.
Ichimonji no kata, Hicho no kata, Jyumonji no kata,Ura Gyaku Dori, Omote Gyaku Dori, Omote Gyaku Tsuki, Musha Dori, Muso Dori.
Soke moved with ninpo banka no shizen taijutsu and freely made each waza transparent while utilizing the environment naturally to take the opponents fighting spirit. This is the ultimate power of the Ninja. One must be able to control the kukan and his opponent to the point where he turns the fight into nothing. Soke used the sun, leaves, trees, nuts, and reeds. He also discussed the understanding of Tenmon Chimon and using the wind and metsubushi in various ways.
The first day ended with darkness approaching and we moved silently from the training area ( from excaustion ) as ninja into the shadows of the trees. Our footsteps hidden by the damp and discoloured leaves carpeting the ground.
The second day commenced with Taihenjutsu. We performed the Taihenjutsu from the Gyokko Ryu and the Ukemi Gata from the Togakure Ryu. At all times we were encouraged to utilise our surroundings to maintain life. Sokes instruction was very unique and well suited to the training area. He helped us understand the feeling for mokuton, and freely becoming a part of nature to aid us in defence and conceal our movements. When performing taihenjutsu, we must move to a place that enables us to respond or counter attack from a position of safety. It seemed we were all just concentrating on avoiding the initial attack and not creating a strategy. An important note was that our training should be likened to martial strategy and also geijutsu ( artful ways ).
The second training day ended with Soke turning to the wonderful sun descending from the clear Autumn sky. With it’s rays penetrating through the trees onto the faces of the participants, Soke took the position of a standing gassho and roared
” Shikin Haramitsu Dai Komyo “.
The third day commenced with the Santo Tonko no Katas from the Togakure Ryu. The Shihan performed all these waza artfully and with mastery. They are all indeed meijin. Soke followed and mentioned among limitless other words of wisdom that we must move with the feeling of not trying to avoid, but with the feeling of disapearing or becoming transparent. This can only be mastered by letting go of the self.”
Senouh Shihan and Kobayashi San were asked to talk about there experience meeting Takamatsu Osensei when they were both teenagers. Their stories were very heartfelt, and as they reminisced, I felt that they truly were moved by their gift of meeting Osensei. Soke listened and was also compelled to comment on a few things such as when Takamatsu perfomed udeko in front of them and put a candle on the end of the needle in his arm. This was apprently a present to them all as a gift of good luck. Takamatsu was also a master of a particular sword ceremonial song and dance ritual and after Senouh and Kobayashi san completed an enbu he performed it. According to the translation, Takamatsu stated that Senouh was “very masculine” and Kobayashi san had “good form”. There was much more spoken, but I suggest you buy the Daikomyosai DVD to see and hear the great lessons passed on during those fantastic three days of Ninpo study.
There was a Bo-Shuriken throwing demonstration by Nagase Sensei and the Japanese Shihan also took four fourth dans through the gate of budo with the Sakki test. We also were instructed in Tai ho doki, te ho doki, Keri Gaeshi, and Onikudaki.
Soke also wanted to study the Go Gyo no Kata, however, time went quickly.
This Daikomyosai was the best Iv’e been too. It was a treat to see the Shihan and Soke pass on the Kihon. I’m sure those who are honest with themselves will agree that the foreigners have a long way to go. There is a lot of hardwork needed by everyone to increase our knowledge and skill level. We firstly must take full responsibility for ourselves and our own training. It was evident after we were shown a fundamental movement that people from the world over had never had formal, correct instruction in these basics. I personally think that people have not understood the balance between basics training and henka training. Students and instructors alike have not worked hard enough to develop strong basics to create a sound foundation to perform henka from. There are many missing links in peoples training. As buyu we need to be strict but supportive of each other to maintain the true path and uphold the traditions we have been so lucky to be allowed to study.
Soke closed the third day of teaching just moments before I felt droplets of rain on my face. Sokes timing was perfect.
It was a great three days of training, laughter, and discussion with many friends. I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience this Daikomyosai. As I have said, this page has been left intentially general to wet your appetite for the DVDs release next year.
Kogure san from Quest also mentioned that early next year a DVD will be released with footage of four Bujinkan enbu ( Noda Shi, Kikkoman, Togakushi, Fuse Benten ) . The DVD will also include a special movie featuring Takamatsu Sensei performing his special ceremonial sword ritual/dance. Everything will be narrated by Soke.