Archive for December, 2010

Kihon Happou by Soke

Posted in Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Kihon Happou

by Soke Hatsumi Masaaki

I have trained myself and instructed others in Kihon Happo and felt that those who have had previous training in Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kung Fu, and other fighting techniques tend to stay with those forms and have trouble learning Budo Taijutsu from a “blank slate.” The fighting forms stay with the student even though he starts the training of Budo Taijutsu. When do the previous learned techniques disappear? I think it is up to a person’s individual talent. The phenomenon is just like a dialect disappearing after one lives in a different part of the country.

No matter how hard one tries, he will never be a professional announcer if he speaks in dialect. The same can be said for Budo. I also studied various martial arts such as Judo, Karate, Aikido, old-style Budo, and Chinese Budo. In other words, until I encountered Takamatsu Sensei, I was a Budoka (martial artist) with many dialects. One day I began to wonder why and when did I lose those “dialects?” I realized that it was after I lost all my muscle tone after five years of illness.

Discovery of your own dialect is one way of improving Budo. When one reaches a certain degree of skill, he comes up against the “wall,” something he has trouble overcoming. This is the so-called dialect of Taijutsu.

I want to write about how to train yourself when you reach a higher rank during Budo training. I would like to use a Cat Competition as an example. I have had lots of experience in the competition because my wife served as judge of the World Cat Club and I was also vice chairman of the club.

Suppose five top cats are chosen out of hundreds of cats. All of them are wonderful and beautiful, but that alone cannot be judged. With no other way to judge which cat is more beautiful then another, the judges start to look for faults. The one with the most faults drops to fifth, the next, fourth, then third, and so on. The one with the least faults becomes Grand Champion.

Bugei is the same way. If one reaches to a higher rank, he need only eliminate his faults. It may sound easy, but eliminating faults is very difficult to accomplish, because we tend to think we are faultless. Faults can be translated into something different in Budo. They can be suki (unguarded points), or carelessness, presumption, arrogance, etc. they all become our fault. No fault, zero condition is the best. I am zero. I joke that the Soke has no Dan. Zero, no fault that is the target of Bufu Ikkan (living through the martial winds).



Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Ki 奇 as in Kiseki – miracle

Hon 翻 翻 こぼし 1: spilling; grumbling; 2: waste-water container (tea ceremony)

Ha 初 shodan – start begin

Pou 萌(萌え もえ) 1: sprouting; budding;

From Craig Olson –

Shindo 心动 说 Setsu

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

This is a quick English translation of an excellent piece written by Christian Petrocello on December 13th, 2010.

Shindo 心动 说 Setsu

Being in a high level in martial arts, at work or at a mass activity, it is sometimes an illusion that is double edged. Have many students or subordinates in the company can take to be a person who helps to grow and so does likewise, but also the power and fame can lead you to think that everything revolves around you.

Sometimes having a group of students who follow you as an idol or take courses and be recognized in many places, you can convert your ego in a center where you think everything revolves around your shape and things are done by your actions.Even be successful in work or in the dojo, does not necessarily mean that things are going well, sometimes luck is just temporary.

Development for many centuries the “geocentric” in which it was thought that the planets revolved in relation to land. This geocentric theory (Tendo Setsu) even existed, was developed and brought to light by Claudius Ptolemy in the second century. This was also the view of the universe from before in ancient civilizations like the Babylonians.

Antagonistically to the geocentric theory, a few centuries after the heliocentric theory (Chido Setsu), which had been given by the Greek Aristarchus of Samos, who was based on simple measures of distance between Earth and the Sun, determining a much larger to the Sun than the Earth. More than a millennium later, in the sixteenth century, the theory would be made, this time by Nicolaus Copernicus, one of the most influential astronomers of history.

Looking at the world of Budo, I feel that if people can not realize the degree of humility that allows them to know they are just another link in the history of the Bujinkan (I mean the history of the 9 schools), may fall into egocentric theory (Egoda setsu from my point of view) where they believe others revolve around egos. It’s good that everyone is important, as they are, but we should not deceive the importance comes from the practice time, grades achieved or the pampering and admiration received from Soke. For all that, may be an illusion to feed our ego that keeps us from the true essence of Budo.

I feel it is an easy and constructive way to participate in the classes in Japan to receive the teachings of Soke, the Japanese Shihan, Taikai travel to the other 15 give, and go with the spirit of learning, so we can begin to be to spin in harmony with other beings and have the spirit of Bujin center (sun). Perhaps this would see it as the theory of Chido (earthly way) where we can rotate in relation to coexistence.But sometimes it happens that even though it is participating, the mind does not make the correct observation.

Sometimes people rather than be trying to capture and learn the teachings of Soke, are seeing the color of your hair and prosecute if the Uke attacks is good or bad ukemi. There are also two options when you see other trainers or techniques show sharing his vision of Budo, you can see the mistakes and stay close with your geocentric view, or you can begin to discover the good things everyone has, and then develop a sense of translation and adaptability of the species in the coexistence of a community.

However, transcending aspects and Chido Tendo Setsu Setsu and in relation to the principles of the Ten Chi Jin no Maki Ryaku, we could make an association to look Jin (humanity) with the anthropocentric theory (Jindo Setsu) and Shindo theory Setsu (theocentric ) finding in the latter two basic values of a Bugeisha.

Desmond Morris, in his famous book “The Naked Ape”, writes about the impersonality of modern humanity. A impersonality increases with the number of people around, and that creates an imbalance in our mind, and make it increasingly difficult to be calm. Really quiet to think clearly. It is then true that religions believe in the human a cushion of ideas, so to speak, cushion the fall. But we must not forget that most of the wars in the world, from religions.

I feel that we human beings and especially a Bugeisha (student of martial arts) should be to develop their own potential with respect to its relationship to the world and people, but without forgetting the respect for Shindo Setsu, or divine theory.Not expressed in relation to the old “theocentric theory” half century where it was assumed that everything depended on God, but understand that we also depend largely on our abilities and free will. My feeling stressed, remember there is always something that transcends us as human beings. That which transcends us, is defined in dictionaries as “Divine”

Is that normal human beings and asks himself, not as individuals but as part of all, who we are and where we go, who is behind this whole scenario of the living, and what is their role in it. Well as humans developed an individual consciousness but also realized that there was something higher. A plain language of Swami Satyananda is this explanation lies in “In ancient times, when man lived close to nature, he moved with the spontaneity of natural behavior. His concepts of philosophy, God and morality were not the basic philosophy of society, nation or religion. Were more oriented toward personal evolution. Began to think about making a higher living standard and not a higher level of societal values. We must differentiate the two. Higher values of life are spirituality and higher values of a society governed a civilization and a nation. In today’s world there are many countries with high social standards, but with very low values of life. ”

Protect life, be your own life and enjoy life before they go out of our hands, is a beautiful skill. Difficult to remember every day for many, especially when things seem to be well and successful drunk. It happens that the value of life often come at critical times. Remember the transient in this world, is also to understand that everything changes, accept it is to grow wisely as a human being.

Bujinkan is a martial arts school, but above all a school of life. Members around the world live and learn from their own and other people’s experiences. Living in a community is difficult, fight an easy task, to protect is more complicated, but even more tricky it is to share while protecting and maintaining an open heart to receive.Even as I feel that all we should be in a learning Kamae and not just teachers.Kamae (position) is also learning Shoshin no kamae.

Cultivate human values and divine consciousness reminds me of the teachings of the Bujinkan as Ningensei (humanity) and Shin Shin Gan (divine eyes and heart.)Today I see the world from the perspective of the Ten Chi Jin, as I feel it has awakened in me the teachings of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi. The way I will show that there are people who still believe in their personal lives in the geocentric theory (Tendo Setsu 天 动 说), others in the heliocentric theory (Chido Setsu 地动 说), and others in the theory anthropocentric (Jindo Setsu 人 动 说) Perhaps only are levels of development and growth, because everything is temporary.

I feel that achieving the theory of the Heart (心动 说 Setsu Shindo) is of great value to the human in the way of a martial artist.心動説/

Yoroi Kumi Uchi

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

This is one of many photos taken by Sheila Haddad during the 2010 Daikomyosai. Photo and header presented with permission from Sheila.


Daikomyosai photos by Sheila Haddad

Posted in Uncategorized on December 14, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

奇 本 初 丰

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

From Craig Olson.

“Soke also wrote Kihon Happou the Tuesday before DKMS as”:

奇 – Ki – miracle
本 – Hon – essence
初 – Ha – begin/start ie: Shodan
丰 – Pou – grow/bountiful (for people)


Kihon Happou

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

Ki – Season/s

Hon – turnover,change,wave.

Ha – first, new.

Pou – crumble,die,demolish

No personal interpretation. Dictionary translation only.

Daikomyosai 2010

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

photo from Arnauds Blog

The first day begun with a moment of silence for the late Mark Hodel. We sat in gassho for him.

The morning began with Souke,Nagato and Noguchi Shihan demonstrating Yoroi kumiuchi with Yari and Tachi. Souke wore a Tokugawa Ieyasu Yoroi replica, and stated that that particular yoroi was designed to ” protect at any cost”.

It was asked that everyone consider this years theme when training and in particular address their training with the feeling of wearing yoroi.

The morning session  ( for me ) was an interesting and unique experience. I was asked to wear my yoroi earlier in the week. As soon as I was told this, I remembered hearing Souke say in 2004 ” understand that your yoroi will be destroyed “. My yoroi was older and I knew this was going to be so.

My spirit was taken. I was disorientated. In fact, my yoroi felt like it was rebelling against me and attacking my body and spirit. My own yoroi became metsubushi and my own downfall. I realised that all thoughts about Souke were removed when I was having various parts of my yoroi torn from my body, twisted and thrown against me to lock up my body and soul. Souke was there, yet he used my Yoroi to make himself invisible. As a result, it became even more frightening. I knew Souke was close, yet could not tell where he was positioned  or what he was doing. I could not see his weapons until I felt the blades on my throat,groin and neck. It was a completely debilitating experience that scared me ( literally ) for the whole day.

It became natural to change my ukemi. The way of falling is like Ryusui or crashing down like a wave of water and then rolling away like a cloud. One must adapt. Infact, I began to feel like a child again. I was having the feeling of rolling down hills and struggling to gain body control to stand myself up. This made it a very humbling experience. Souke made me feel like a child that was being scolded, yet told to stand to receive more punishment ( I hope this wasn`t really the case )

When you are incapable of controlling your ukemi, the yoroi can injure you. I also found that ( at times ) there was hesitation to fall before I could become aware of where my sword and yoroi was located on my body. I would then try to fall to “rock” myself back to a kneeling position.

I split my saya and bent my tachi while falling. I also lost parts from my Kabuto. Souke would then use them against me to stab or use as shuriken. Needless to say, my yoroi will need to be restored after this Daikomyosai. But, it was well worth the experience to be uke for him while studying Yoroi Kumiuchi!

Hombu Dojo Photo by Michael Waschak

Souke made a clear reference that the Bujinkan is not about “Japan” or only the study of Japanese budo. It is beyond borders and reaches directly toward the essence of humanity.We could refer to our budo as ” Sekai no Budo”  – World Budo or ” Jin no Budo ” – Budo of Humankind. We are studying life through the medium of the military arts. And, this by no means restricts us to pure combative training. In fact, souke stated that it has been said that once you know the 18 skills of budo, you can be called a budoka. However, he made quite clear that this was the base from where the true study of budo begins.

In hearing this, it can be understood that we must therefore perservere through the 18 skills to attain the foundation for the real study. There has to be a foundation to an art. This is related to the learning process called Shu Ha Ri.

At the commencement of the second half of the morning session, Souke had 15th dan from various countries explain their study for the past year and then demonstrate an aspect of this. It was very interesting to hear, in particular, law enforcement personnel explain their usage of Bujinkan budo within the world of real fighting, etc.

There were also many godan tests and Souke stopped at a time to mention that 3000 people had passed the test. He asked that this person ( the 3000th ) and the 3001st person remember this.

The second day commenced with a large group photo taken by Sheila Haddad. I usually avoid from being near the front. However, there was no escaping this time while wearing yoroi. As a result, Holger and myself were at the front and to the side of the Shihan and Souke, who were all wearing yoroi. It will be a wonderful memory for all those who attended. I really hope we see it in the Hombu one day soon.

Souke then proceeded to demonstrate tachi waza with Holger in Yoroi. It was a great beginning to the class.

Senouh, Nagato,Someya,and Noguchi were all wearing yoroi and, using myself and Holger as Uke, they took turns ( Sannindori ) while using Odachi,Yari,Kabuto wari, and Tachi. I will say that it was an incredible experience and I was more than happy to have my yoroi destroyed by Souke and the Shihan. In fact, it was not a concern of mine at all. The concern was to just be natural and respond in a balanced way while suited in yoroi. The Shihan exuded a strength and balance in character and body. Approaching them in armor, was a formidable experience. I could feel the warriorship from them. They are true budoka, and it was obvious that they had trained extensively in yoroi over the years.

Holger and I were then told by Souke to stand in Hira Ichimonji no Kamae and kiai before entering into Yoroi Kumiuchi! We were told not to attempt a technique, but also not to hold back and give in. There was NO uke and tori. We practised freely and did our best. It was a great experience for us.

It was important not to grasp for a technique. It is a battlefield, you have to survive. This is the feeling!

As a result, I remembered back to the feeling I receievd from Souke on the first day. He used my yoroi and made it fight against me. I was helpless. So, I attempted to move with this “pragmatic” sence and use anything at my disposal. I even stripped away my obi to attempt to bind him. It didn`t work.Lol. Many other things happened in the moment. It is the concept of  Ichi go Ichi e. This is crucial for fighting. You have one moment and one chance to make a difference and live or die.

Souke said that the way we trained was the way he wanted the 15th dan to train. Interesting.

After we had finished, the Shihan and Souke congratulated us and said that this Daikomyosai would be great memories for us. we agreed.

Souke also asked Senouh,Nagato, Noguchi,Pedro and Jack, to give their impressions or thoughts on the godan test. Pedro mentioned that many years ago that he was told by Souke to treat the test beginning as if you were ringing the bell at the jinja to awaken the gods and summon their assistance.

Noguchi mentioned that it is about Sakkijutsu and that the 15th dans must acquire ShinGiTai to truly grasp the manner in which to perform the test. The test is to give the 15th dan an experience to see if he/she has unified his body,mind and technique. It is a question of these three elements.

Nagato Shihan mentioned that you must believe that you are using a “real sword” an will cut him. The cut must be straight and true.

Jack mentioned that he wanted the receivers after passing to realise that the martial arts is about “life”. He said it is rather an oxymoron that we are learning to kill, yet strive to give life. The important thing is to understand it is about living and survival, not technique.

I was once told here in Japan that the test was actually an aspect of the “Mercy of a warrior” or an “Act of compassion”. Sending out Sakki is something a professional would not do. The actual sending of Sakki is a test of the jugodans ShinGiTai. That is, the unification of the spirit,technique and body. Giving “intention from Mu” and controlling the individual without touching them, is the highest level of budo. The role is for both parties to enter a state of Mu. So, one can look at the sending of intent as a warning that the sword is coming. By doing this, the jugodan is “trying to save” the reciever. It is thus an act of mercy.

As a result, we are told to seek a harmony with the reciever first. When this is achieved, we then break this harmony.

Next years theme will be Kihon Happou. Apparently Souke mentioned that he has changed the kanji. However, I didn`t hear anything more. It is very interesting to not that we are returning to the “root of budou”. After all these years of moving through the ryuha and the various weapons, we are now doing full circle and going back to the fundamentals. Well, we are either forming the kanji “wa”, and therefore completing an era of harmony, or we are going back to basics because noone can do them! Of course, we really don`t know until Souke personally tells us.

It is so important for us all to not forget ( in body and mind ) where our training comes from. There are people who leave the basics because they believe the structure or forms are not relevant anymore. Everyone is at a differing level of practice in their shugyou. But, the fact is, noone is beyond the basics.

On the last day, Souke asked the jugodans to comment about their feelings from the last three day Daikomyosai. My thoughts were that the expression of henka is teaching us the philosophy of Banpen Fugyou. If we can delve into various situations and learn from them, then we will be able to live life without surprise and therefore may realise this years theme – Rokkon Shoujo.

I also stated that I believed that the concept of Shu Ha Ri was prelevent in the evolution of the Bujinkan. If Souke had not entered the level of RI, then we may not have had the chance to experience this art. Ri, is to break with tradition and make everything transparent. The Bujinkan is now a “world budo”, not a Japanese budo.

An exceptional and very emotional highlight for the three days was the presence of some very impressive men. Brian from the United States has no legs and only one arm. He uses prosthetic limbs, however, he also trains without them. Everyone was amazed and moved by his ability  to move with his limbs and without them. His wonderfully heartfelt and honest words to the participants of the Taikai moved many to tears. He was awarded the Gold medal by Souke.

Steve from England is bound to a wheelchair. his teaching and demonstrations were exceptional. A great lesson for us all. He was able to control his distance while also using his wheelchair as a weapon and obstacle to control his opponent. Steve was also awarded the gold medal.

These men are ( in my eyes ) avatars of the Bujinkan heart. They have perserveared and endured through extreme hardships ( in all realms ) to continue living and pursuing life with passion and vigor. Bufu Ikkan.

Photo by Eduardo Hdz

The party was a great party. Souke was very happy. I was really happy to have the chance to perform on stage with Nagato Sensei. He said he had never sung in public with the Shihan or Souke in 30 years. It was his surprise to Souke. I think he did a great job and, everyone was pleasantly surprised!

The after party at hub was fun as well. Many great conversations and lots of drinking.It was great to meet again with so many wonderful buyu from around the world.

Everyone, good luck and the best in health and happiness for the New Year.



Posted in Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 by Duncan Stewart

天  – Ten

Heavens, sky, imperial.

動 – Dou


説 – setsu