Fuse Benten Enbu
It was a beautiful day On October 12th. Members of the Bujinkan Dojo converged peacefully at a special place in the warmth of an early Autumn morning sun. Soke had accepted the invitation to present an 演武embu at the Fuse Benten Jinja in Kashiwa. The enbu was to help celebrate and mark the 1200th anniversary of the founding of the temple. It was an important event and the Bujinkan Dojo was honored to have had the opportunity to demonstrate true Japanese budo in the grounds of the Jinja.
The following is the running order for the Bujinkan Dojo performance.
Personally, I would like to thank the support and effort of everyone in my Enbu and wish them well in life and training. Many enbu failed to go to plan, but this is life. Or, as I said to Ted, “that’s showbiz!” The feeling of the day was one of unsteadiness. A friend of mine had decided to not perform in the enbu a few weeks before due to a strange feeling. I stated to Nagato sensei when I was helping him unload his car the morning of the enbu that the area had a feeling of restlessness. Nagato sensei also mentioned that the night before and morning of the enbu was plagued with interesting and annoying moments. Soke also decided to cut short his opening ritual due to a “feeling” I believe. Well, regardless of the interesting feelings, the enbu went ahead. Everyone performed well. Everyone skillfully “kept going” when choreographed movements etc, didn’t go to plan. This is just like training, and thus the concept of “banpen fugyo” proved a necessary philosophical virtue to assist those Bujinkan buyu performing. In fact, the enbu for me in many moments felt like a real fight. At times I couldn’t see. This is also like a real fight. My eyesight was impaired due to my costume. It was important for me to settle myself and move my body, feel the ground, listen to my fellow performers and anticipate their positions, distance and movements. The use of weapons also proved a safety issue for the performers and the audience. Understanding the stage environment was important. There was confusion at many times, but everyone adapted and changed freely. I think we can surely appreciate now that the training we receive in the dojo is in fact shinken gata, and is utilised in all areas of life, be it when performing, working, or travelling etc.
The photo above is a moment in my performance. My actual enbu name was Hensoujutsu, yet it was written on the running order sheet as Taijutsu. It seems my performance was obscured and disguised right from the beginning. It’s funny how kyojutsu works naturally for you. My intention was to create a dramatic enbu aimed at holding the audience in fascination while captivating them with”ninja magic”. Thanks to a day with very little wind, the metsubushi worked perfectly and concealed my change from Ronin to Oni Ninja as I had wished.
I believe the enbu was a fantastic learning experience that required the training we recieve in the dojo to be actually used. I don’t just mean the taijutsu, but tenmon chimon, kyojutsu, kurai dori, banpen fugyo, Hensojutsu, etc. I viewed it all as preparing for battle.
Soke seemed pleased with the enbu and was very complimentary.