Kihon Happou

Kihon Happou

Ki 奇 – 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 )  – sprouting


季 Ki – Season/s

翻 Hon – turnover,change,wave.

初 Ha – first, new.

崩 Pou – crumble,die,demolish

The recent turn of events in Japan has shown us the true, devastating and debilitating power of mother nature. Nature has now bestowed on us a threat that is man made – nuclear fallout. Maybe nature is teaching us to understand and value it more, while ensuring that we appreciate that man and his inventions can just as easily be turned against him.

If we look at the kanji as used by Soke, we can see a “connection” to the recent events here in Japan. Soke truly has the “mind and eyes of god.”

Soke has always mentioned to us that we must prepare to battle the “invisible”. We have come to now experience both the invisible force of nature and the potential spread of  “invisible” nuclear fallout. This is the last of the 5 weapons as told by Soke.

Soke also mentions that what are not considered weapons can be used against you at any time. We all are concerned about Nuclear reactors, but I think most people concern themselves with  nuclear missiles built for the purpose of war.

We now face a threat from something believed to be established for the betterment of human life. There is always a reverse side.

I`d like to add a post by Doug Wilson

Book of Five Weapons

By ariesbudo

Recently, Soke has been talking about the evolution of war and how the proper study of Budo requires being in touch with the current times and how we must adapt this to our training.  Recently, there have been several discussions between myself and Soke individually, as well as in public translation to the class regarding this aspect.  Other martial arts schools often do not take this larger view and remain focused on teaching form, which does not allow for the freedom to observe and perceive the possible dangers allowing the human innate sixth sense to operate naturally.

Soke reminded us of Miyamoto Musashi’s “Book of Five Rings” and how the 5 rings refer to the five elements of Chi, Sui, Ka, Fu and Ku.  Soke’s inspirational message is that although this refers to an attitude or feeling that a true Budoka must look at the reality of this and how it applies to war or fighting.   We must look at the five elements as the evolution of war, and in that essentially the evolution of weaponry.  True Budoka must look at the ultimate potential and must incorporate the use of weapons into training on a regular basis.  This goes beyond what one might consider a typical weapon as well.  Often the greatest surprise can come from something not commonly considered a weapon to be used as such.  A mindset aware of this possibility is what Soke often is teaching.  A mindset that anything is possible and therefore one should not be caught up in preconceived ideas or assumptions. (self)

In most cases, real fighting will evolve a weapon.  The intention can also be perceived as different as using a weapon most likely incorporates the intention of killing or at least causing direct physical harm.  This mindset is not an intention of submission or winning, it is an element of life or death and universally different.

The five stages (elements) of weapon evolution in Soke’s example are:

  • Ken
  • Tachi
  • Jyu (Gun)
  • Katana
  • Nuclear Weapon

Looking at each one of these we can see the evolution of attack as well as the associated defense and distances involved.  Although distance can be subjective, the basic idea is present.

In understanding the evolution of weapons we must also understand the evolution of the attack and focus our training according to the present possibility as well as maintain a connection to the past in order to have a complete and full understanding.

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu training should always be looking at the incorporation and use of weapons in the training and the various distances, aspects and possibilities associated.  Particularly the training of a 15th Dan should clearly incorporate this idea and be understood, and if not a regular teaching this aspect, should be pursing this in one’s personal training.  However, it should not be forgotten that it is the sign of lack of skill if one was to injure someone in training.  We must never become 無自覚(lack of awareness) but remain 無心 (nothingness of mind).

Each inspiration will have a unique impact on each person in their own training, I’m inspired to further seek to find applications in life outside of fighting.

We first should seek to live and then in the unfortunate event that one must fight to survive, we must fight.

I would like us to look at the Kihon Happou – the Bujinkan theme of the year. In light of recent events and potential changes resulting from man made and natural forces, we can possibly read further and understand more deeply the meaning and importance of the Kihon Happou.

If Kihon Happou is the base of the martial arts, it can be described as the base of maintaining and destroying life.  We can see the truth of nature in the Kihon Happou. We can see the power and it`s limitless variations.

” The body moves through space in a continuous series of living kamae. Now like a stream, now a deep broad river, now a flood…”

The more we train, the more we reveal the secrets to the truth and gain deeper and real understanding. It is with nintai and bufu ikkan that we can eventually come to see and understand with the body,mind and spirit, the kihon of the martial arts.

Takamatsu sensei said that the kihon happou is the root to all budo. Study and practise is one and the same. I don`t differentiate the two. Each movement, step, has the potential for the enlightenment we seek. We therefore must be mindful to practise with the correct heart – Bushi no kokoro.

We can see that “life” is the greatest dojo. The dojo helps us to become awakened to life and it`s dangers. This is one aspect of the 5th dan test. From there, we are told to grasp this feeling and live everyday with “bufu Ikkan” while developing Fudoushin. Fudoushin is crucial for us as martial artists to develop. If we cannot control ourselves, we cannot help others in times of danger.

The day before the earthquake, my son wanted to ride the “express train” to Tokyo. When we were walking down the steps of the station, I stopped. I felt a need to reconsider. My son was persistent, and so we continued. Half way, I looked up from my newspaper and had the same feeling. At the next stop we got off and returned home. There was no earthquake that day, yet it was the same time I had the “feeling” on the train that the earthquake hit the day after.

As the heart of budo is found within the study of the kihon, we must try to develop ourselves. Develop our base well to allow for buds to grow and sprout to reveal the miracles of following the laws of nature.

As we learn and experience one way, that way will eventually have to make way for a new way or wave of inspiration. Just as the seasons change, so too does the training and evolution of ones study and practise. Budo is coming to understand the very essence of living/life. We are studying the laws of nature. the study of the Kihon is to understand the way of nature and life and death.


The kihon is the beginning of understanding martial arts practise. It is also the end point of the training. It is the discovery of the point between life and death.

Just like the natural cycle of life and death. The numeral 8 is often turned to signify the idiom “infinite”. Not only does the kihon signify the study of unlimited and never ending possibilities, it teaches us that the life is but a cycle of constant change and eventual reincarnation. We can see the idiom as representing the whirlpool spiraling to signify the source of the earthquake epicentre. Kihon is the very source of life and death.

We are learning to accept the universal scheme and how to live within it`s realm ( kukan ) harmoniously ( bushi no wa ).

We try to harness natures gifts, but sometimes nature uses them against us.

We must search for that space to live, the space beyond life and death.

This is Bushido: knowing the fragility of everything and living in the truth of the moment.

I have decided to have my family come with me to France and Ireland next week. It is my feeling that we should move from the recent area and observe from a safe distance. Soke has often said that budo is about “distance”. In light of the possible threat that lingers over Japan, I wish my family to have a distance giving us the ability to make descisions from a safe angle and with enough time.

The theme of my Bushinden Kai will be the Kihon Happou. We will train in light of recent events and a manner to encourage maturity through our taijutsu training.

I look forward to seeing everyone soon. Stay well.

Bufu Ikkan

I`m sure the next piece by Soke on the Kihon Happou will be absorbed in a different light if considering the recent events here in Japan.

“Kihon Happou”

by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi”

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).”


8 Responses to “Kihon Happou”

  1. Thanks to both of you for your (always) insightful, thoughtful words concerning the Kihon, whilst taking into account the awesome destruction delivered to Japan these past two days. They are survival instructions in the face of unseen, unpredicted and unprecedented threats to our normal way of life. I am, as all who follow you are very grateful for regularly sharing your knowledge and advice for us travelling buyu. See you in a few weeks & months. Arigatou. 🙂

  2. LassiAleksi Says:

    Thank you Duncan for the inspiring words.

  3. Rick Owens Says:

    hi Duncan, glad to hear that you and your family are OK … as always, deepest thanks from the Canberra crew for your thoughts and ideas … your input and guidance is are tangible assets not only for our training but also for our development

    stay safe and all the best


  4. Thanks Duncan for this post. Important it is. Hope you will all stay well out there and hope to see you in April.

  5. C. Scarbrough Says:

    The theme for this year almost reads like a premonition in some ways.

  6. I just couldn’t leave your web site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual information a person provide in your visitors? Is gonna be back incessantly in order to check out new posts

  7. Hi Duncan Shihan,

    Many times I visit your blog to inspire me and learn more about Budo and Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Thanks to share with us your experiences, reflections, and understanding of Soke teachings. There are many blogs about martial arts and Bujinkan in Internet, but I believe this blog is one of the best about it. Many blogs transmits the knowledge, and it is very important, but in your blog we can get more. It has deep reflections and very important insights. For Brazilians like me, go to Japan frequently is hard, and this blog is a very important tool to stay “connected” to the best teachings. I hope to know you someday.

    bufu ikkan

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