Archive for October, 2010


Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2010 by Duncan Stewart


Yūgen 幽玄 is an important concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics. The exact translation of the word depends on the context. In the Chinese philosophical texts the term was taken from, yūgen meant “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious”. In the criticism of Japanese waka poetry, it was used to describe the subtle profundity of things that are only vaguely suggested by the poems, and was also the name of a style of poetry

Yugen suggests that beyond what can be said but is not an allusion to another world. It is about this world, this experience. All of these are portals to yugen:

“To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill. To wander on in a huge forest without thought of return. To stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands. To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds. And, subtle shadows of bamboo on bamboo.”  Zeami Motokiyo.

Zeami was the originator of the dramatic art form Noh Theatre and wrote the classic book on dramatic theory (Kadensho). He uses images of nature as a constant metaphor. For example, “snow in a silver bowl” represents “the Flower of Tranquility”. Yugen is said to mean “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe… and the sad beauty of human suffering”. It is used to refer to Zeami’s interpretation of “refined elegance” in the performance of Noh.


Geidō refers to the way of the traditional Japanese arts: NohkadōshodōSadō, and yakimono. All of these ways carry an ethical and aesthetic connotation and appreciate the process of creation. To introduce discipline into their training, Japanese warriors followed the example of the arts that systematized practice through prescribed forms called kata – think of the tea ceremony. Training in combat techniques incorporated the way of the arts (Geidō), practice in the arts themselves, and instilling aesthetic concepts (for example, yugen) and the philosophy of arts (geido ron). This led to combat techniques becoming known as the martial arts.

All of these arts are a form of tacit communication and we can, and do, respond to them by appreciation of this tacit dimension.

The phrase iki is generally used in Japanese culture to describe qualities that are aesthetically appealing and when applied to a person, what they do, or have, constitutes a high compliment. Iki is not found in nature. While similar to wabi-sabi in that it disregards perfection, iki is a broad term that encompasses various characteristics related to refinement with flair. The tasteful manifestation of sensuality can be iki. Etymologically, iki has a root that means pure and unadulterated. However, it also carries a connotation of having an appetite for life. Iki is never cute.

Aesthetics and Japan’s cultural identities

Because of its nature, Japanese aesthetics has a wider relevance than is usually accorded to aesthetics in the West. In her path making book, Eiko Ikegami reveals a complex history of social life in which aesthetic ideals become central to Japan’s cultural identities. She shows how networks in the performing arts, the tea ceremony, and poetry shaped tacit cultural practices and how politeness and politics are inseparable. She contends that what in Western cultures are normally scattered, like art and politics, have been, and are, distinctly integrated in Japan.

After the introduction of Western notions in Japan, Wabi Sabi aesthetics ideals have been re-examined with Western values, by both Japanese and non-Japanese. Therefore, recent interpretations of the aesthetics ideals inevitably reflect Judeo-Christian perspectives and Western philosophy. ( from Wikipedia ).

Soke recently mentioned that it is not good enough to just concentrate on Budo. In order to make correct desicians and generate a balanced outlook on living, we must study and experience many things. This is why he has asked people to learn dance and keenly follow artistic pursuits.

It is also through developing these differing avenues of learning that we build relationships with other wonderful people from various areas of life. We come to experience different viewpoints and develop a more “worldly knowledge”.

For those that just concentrate on the martial arts, they will develop in an unbalanced way. The Samurai of old were cultured individuals and undertook extensive training and mastered many skills in both the arts and literature. Soke wishes us to take up the pen and sword with equal determination while discovering the mysteries of the world and it`s inhabitants through the wonderful medium of art.

This is why he states that the mastery of Saino Kon Ki is to come to understand the life of a bugeisha. From there, we can discover the truth of Rokkon Shojo and live our lives happy to the soul while laughing everyday.

It is important that the 15th dans consider this carefully and understand that people of that level have a very serious responsibility for the future. We have to understand the martial heart and allow this to permeate from us to help our students and those who seek to tread the path of budo.

Soke also said that understanding the 5th dan test is the beginning to understanding the Amatsu Tatara. He stated that it is imperative for those wishing to study the Amatsu Tatara to firstly have legitimate qualifications in Medicine. It was also said that people should not be making money from it.

For those of us who are privleged to occasionally give the godan test, it is important to realise it is a new beginning and development process toward greater understanding. This process never ends.

The 15th dans must develop the knowledge ” to know ” if the student sitting the test is “ready”  ( in many aspects ) to recieve it. There are dangers involved on many levels. Therefore, the 15th dans must develop the ” sense of the 15th dan ” to understand this. To ensure this safety and the study of correct judgement, Soke has the 15th dans perform the test in his presence.

He wishes that from the many 15th dans in the world, that some will become masters. He also reminds students to learn from “good” 15th dans. This is the reality behind the Bujinkan ranks.

So, for those that believe they are “masters” now they have 15th dan, they need to think again.

Paul Masse – Budoka,Performer,Calligrapher,Painter,Potter,Linguist – Bugeisha.

Honour for Soke

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Soke pictured with a memento of the ” Wall of Honour ” unveiling ceremony at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Peter King attended the event on behalf of Soke.

Peter King –

“attended the unveiling ceremony of the Wall of Honor inscriptions at the Royal Society of Medicine yesterday. It was a fantastic ceremony and Hatsumi Sensei’s name joins an impressive list of medical greats including Dr Christian Barnard (who performed the 1st heart transplant operations). It was a very proud occaission and a fitting accolade for my teacher Hatsumi Sensei.”

Shugyou – Budo for Life ” Japan Training Clips”

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Kashiwa Shugyo Dojo

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Shimenawa orders for 2011

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

This is an offer to those who would like a new Shimenawa ( purification rope ) for the Kamidana at home or the dojo for 2011.

The Shimenawa in Japan are generally only available during this period prior to the New Year.

I will start to take pre-orders for Shimenawa now. When I purchase them after Christmas, I will send them to you as soon as possible.

Shimenawa ropes and are a common sight at Shinto shrines hanging from the torii shrine gate and above the entrance to the altar. These special ropes are also used with kamidana home altars. Shimenawa are made of rice straw which is twisted and braided before being bound with string. A wood or wire insert is often used to cause the shimenawa to preserve its shape. Japanese will commonly replace old shimenawa at the start of each year (shogatsu) and new shimenawa will normally be decorated with specially cut paper inserts. Shimenawa were in the past produced in the home by farmers using left over straw from the rice harvest.

Shimenawa (標縄・注連縄・七五三縄 , lit. “enclosing rope”) are lengths of braided rice straw rope used for ritual purification in the Shinto religion. They are often seen festooned with shide. A space bound by shimenawa often indicates a sacred or pure space, such as that of a shrine.

Shimenawa are said to act as a ward against evil spirits and are often set up at a ground-breaking ceremony before construction begins on a new building. Shimenawa may be found at Shinto shrines, torii gates, and sacred landmarks. They are also used to mark trees that are believed to be inhabited by spirits called Kodama. Cutting down these trees is thought to bring misfortune.

The Shimenawa are available in three ( 3 ) sizes from department stores. Small,medium and large. Large sizes are approximately 1 metre in length.

If you would like to order a shimenawa, please order from my Paypal Account.

Order Information

Small                6,000yen             ( approx. 50 cm-70 cm long )

Medium          8,000yen             ( approx. 80cm – 1 metres  long )

Large                10,000yen             ( approx. 1 – 1.2 metres long )


  • Add %10 of the total cost.”

  • We do not guarantee that the shimenawa will be allowed through customs/immigration in your country or state.
  • Please check with your quarantine laws before you purchase.
  • Shimenawa are sealed in plastic ( but not vacuum packed ).
  • No refunds.


  1. go to “”
  2. click on send money
  3. enter
  4. follow the payment prompts.
  5. Don`t forget to add your  full name and postal address.





Shurikenjutsu 手裏剣術

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

This is some recent Bo-Shuriken practice I did at the Hombu one evening.


Switzerland Buyu

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Ura ni wa Ura ga aru

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

I believe Soke mentioned something at training recently that resembled an old Japanese proverb.

Ura ni wa Ura ga aru.

“The reverse side has it`s reverse side.”

Sometime ago, I remember asking him to write a proverb for me while he was painting at the Hombu. It read:

Ke-bukai mono wa iro-bukai.

” A Hairy person is sexy.”

I wanted my wife to know she had made the right choice for her husband. Lol!

Soke smiled and, instead of writing the proverb, he painted the womans erogenous region with large amounts of hair!

Needless to say, everyone laughed!

This is Ninjutsu.

Nothing is as you believe it to be. There is always a reverse side to the reverse side.


Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Supporting Peter at his 25th Dojo Anniversary is London. September 2010.

A great turnout by people throughout the world to help celebrate.

Togakure ryu Ningu 忍具

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 by Duncan Stewart


Kyoketsu Shoge

Blog by Mark Brown – United Kingdom

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Bujinkan Ryūha 武神館 流派

Notes on some of the Bujinkan schools.

戸隠流忍法體術       Togakure Ryū Ninpō Taijutsu
玉虎流骨指術          Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu
虎倒流骨法術          Kotō Ryū Koppōjutsu
九鬼神流八法秘剣術 Kukishin Ryū Happō Bikenjutsu
神傳不動流打拳体術 Shinden Fudō Ryū Dakentaijutu
高木揚心流柔体術    Takagi Yōshin Ryū Jūtaijutsu
義鑑流骨法術          Gikan Ryū Koppōjutsu
玉心流忍法             Gyokushin Ryū Ninpō
雲隠流忍法             Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō

I am listing here the waza from several of the Bujinkan schools, those that we commonly study, for my own and others reference. I am not going to write explanations of the actual techniques, this is up to you the budoka to do for yourself in your own training.

Listed are the kanji, the transliteration and a translation. Due to the nature of martial arts, not all kanji are easily found in electronic form, often are not recognised by native speakers and may have a specific meaning in a budo context. The translations are based on my understanding of Japanese, various texts and dictionaries, training in Japan and ‘feeling’. As kanji are ideographic characters it is difficult to translate directly into English, along with spoken Japanese, where you will see different translators produce different translations – maybe a better word is ‘interpretation’.

A good source for the kanji in printed form is Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai, as long as you are aware of some of the typesetting errors. Also be aware that hand written forms are different from printed kanji.

As and when I feel the urge or discover something new I will update these pages or change them completely.

Reutlingen Bushinden Kai

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

” The most kissed girl in the world!” – Gottingen.

I caught the train from Gottingen to Stuttgart. It`s always interesting to catch trains in different countries. This particular train was clean,comfortable and quiet. A nice way to relax and enjoy the scenery.

I met Holger at the station and we travelled to his home in a village outside of Reutligen. I`d stayed there before and knew I would be warm, comfortable and well fed! I always look forward to Germany. It is in my blood. However, I always have to get back to my fitness and Japanese diet when I get home to loose the calories!

We trained at the dojo nearly everynight, except the night we went to the Oktoberfest in Stuttgart! Hic.

Holger has moved dojo and has found a very nice place with a great view. He shares the dojo with an Aikido practitioner. The dojo has an excellent feeling. Holger concentrates on the ” fundamental forms ” of the Bujinkan and trains extensively with Someya Sensei. Holger not only recieves good training in the waza of the particular schools but, returns to his own dojo and spends serious time and study in coming to understand and develop ability in the movements.

Influenced by this feeling of the dojo, we studied taijutsu from the Ten Chi Jin. It is obvious that we all perform the movements differently. There is no way we as individual human beings can perform the waza exactly as each other. Also, the manner in which we filter the waza and interpret the teachings differs alot too. As a result, it is important for me ( and I think many other teachers ) to make clear that the waza are individual interpretations of ones experiences. We may say that we learn from particular teachers in Japan but, we must be honest and not say ” this is the correct way”, especially in regards to waza. We may say it is the correct way as practised in XYZ dojo, however, to clearly state the way you do something is the only way, is dangerous for you.

Holger makes it clear that he studies from a particular teacher and attempts to absorb their teachings through his heart and body to the best of his ability. This cleary is shown in his movement. And, I truly believe that the greatest compliment when initially learning something for a teacher, is to move like them.

There must be a level of intensity to the training. However, it must remain controlled. People try to raise the intensity of the training and they loose their equilibrium. And, it just becomes “Childs Play”. Everything they learned or are trying to learn turns to nothing. They become lost. The intensity I speak of is a conviction and a focus. This is the ” Majime Asobu”. That is, we must play seriously like adults.

I think that the evolution of ones training in Shin Gi Tai Ichi is tested when one reaches 15th dan and, is asked to perform the test in front of Soke. One must have practised well to unify his/her spirit,technique and body in order to give the test. ( My jetlagged thoughts. )

There are people who are concerned if your foot is a particular angle or the like. What is important is, after training in the waza, to make them fit your own body. If you train well, then the structure is there to work with and break to adapt and keep you alive. The beginning is crucial to ones development. As with any foundation, if is is weak, we will eventually see it`s weaknesses as life and training continues. These thoughts could relate to the teachings of Shin Gi Tai.

In Nagold ( The Black Forest ). My mothers birthplace.

I have many weaknesses and am often very lazy at trying to overcome them. In fact, the more I train, the more I realise my lack of true ability. Ones ability is measured by his surroundings and life. This is an aspect of Saino Kon Ki. I feel very immature in life and only hope that my experiences and trusting in life will enable me to protect and keep my family healthy.

The Bushinden Kai in Reutlingen was a great two days. People from Austria and Switzerland also attended.

We moved forward with taijutsu and some ways to incorporate tachi into our training. The two days went very quickly and the training was very enjoyable. Thanks to all for their time and effort.

Also, a Big thank you to Holger and Raphaela for their friendship and hospitality. Two beautiful people who I am glad to have as good friends.

Bujinkan Enfield Dojo

Posted in Uncategorized on October 7, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

This dojo is highly recommended. The instructor has over two decades of teaching experience in the Bujinkan and offers a wealth of knowledge.

Gottingen Bushinden Kai

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2010 by Duncan Stewartöttingen

It was my third trip to Gottingen. Oliver has been so gracious to invite me on nearly a yearly basis to share my experiences with his dojo. He has a wonderful group of students and friends who share a love for the Bujinkan and learning. Oliver is an excellent teacher and this is evident with the loyalty from those in the dojo.

This trip was a wonderful trip for me. This year I had travelled a lot throughout the world. I was tired, but the German Hospitality kept me going.

Together with many friends, we enjoyed just relaxing together at home and around Gottingen. We visited some interesting aspects of Gottingen. While on a city guided tour I learned about the many Nobel prize recipients, University culture and famous individuals like the Grim Brothers.

The man who invented the concept of + and was also from Gottingen. His name was George Christophe.

We visited a 1000 year old castle, ate and drank traditional German food and beer and, listened to some great live music.

We also went Bow shooting one day.

Rene and Oliver incorporate their Taihenjutsu when shooting too. It was great fun.

There were over 60 people at the Bushinden Kai from Germany, The Netherlands, And the Czech Republic.

We concentrated on refining our movements through trying to become aware of the connections with the Kihon Happou and the Gogyo no Kata.

It is true. All our movements are derived from these kata. The more we train, the more we become aware of this. I find the more I train, the more intrigued I become with how natural these movements are. Everything we do in life makes use of these fundamentals. In saying this, I remember hearing Soke mention that he believed that he had learned more about life from the Kihon Happou than that of fighting.

I found myself realizing that my movements were becoming simpler. However, I`m not sure if they have gotten better! lol.

I attempted to hone in on walking and, using the natural structure of the body to produce power in basic skills such as Jodan and Gedan Uke, etc. The Gyokko Ryu is Koshijutsu. We are not only using the hands and feet to strike the weak points but, we are using the hips ( koshi ) to deliver them. The use of the hips means we are using the structure of our body to generate striking power. The hips are the center and form the core of our movements. To use the hips, it makes us concentrate on developing more flexible,relaxed bodies and limbs. We need lose shoulders to allow the hips to whip our strikes forward like a snapping chain.

I believe it is also very important not to change the training to suit your personal desires. Many people are devising new and improved methods. I disagree with these things. You are fighting against culture and tradition, battles and blood, the lives of those who went before you.

What we must do is train and naturally evolve with our environment. The training is to maintain a close connection with the traditions while being flexible and open enough to change with this new era.

I think people want to change the art too much. What is important is good training and correct repetition. With this repetition, the body and mind relaxes and becomes aware of the self. From there, we can discover important secrets needed for training with weapons, etc.

If we do not study the basic Bujinkan punch well, we will not develop good skill and understanding of the body to master the use of the spear,staff, sword or the like. Recently I watched the Saino Kon Ki Daikomyosai. I was uke for Soke at times and used the footage to also investigate my own training and habits. I was very unhappy with my punching. I commented this to Noguchi Sensei one day at class. Without pleasing my ego, he stated, ” Well, at least you are aware of what you feel you need to work on, many are not.”

In regards to punching, I see many people not punching well. When I see the Shitenno punching at Soke, they perform the ” Classic Bujinkan Punch”. Correct punching is necessary for future development and understanding of this art. We have to remember that this Art is based on weapon usage. This should be a hint.

I was approached by one student who had been practicing a dojo for three years. He said that he had never been taught how to punch. The instructor apparently told him that the body would know how to punch. I was amazed.

The training on Gottingen was great. It was fun to catch up with good friends and train together again. Together with Oliver, I spent good moments with Cavin,Mirek,Anthony,Perry,Lars,Rene,Ricardo and others during my stay. Thank you to also those that I have forgotten to mention here.

The second day of the training was great. It was also nice to meet with a man who had been training for over 25 years in the Bujinkan. When I first saw him train, it was evident that he had been training for a long time. He is a fourth dan and has never been to Japan. We all encouraged him to go to Japan for his godan test. When travelling, you meet interesting people of varied backgrounds and experiences. It is great to meet people of high quality. It really helps you keep a good perspective of your life and keep your training and thoughts real.

I`m looking forward to seeing everyone at Daikomyosai very soon.