Gottingen Bushinden Kai
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.