Buyu & Embu
I have had and still have the pleasure of training and becoming friends with some very talented people ( Sainou ) while living in Japan.
Ted Lavarias moved to Japan for initially a years stay, but like most, fell in love with the sunday afternoon sessions at Starbucks and stayed for 3 years. Lol. Ted is an extremely gifted person. With natural talent accompanied by hard work and consistent training every week, Ted gained many skills, friendships and respect.
Ted’s Embu at Togakushi, Ayase and Fuse Benten in Kashiwa, all enlightened people to his abilities, guts, and passion for the martial arts. Ted’s love for ukemi resulted in his choreographed Taihenjutsu demonstration for the Fuse Benten Embu. Ted wished to respect the “old ways of training” and develop a performance that re-introduced the feeling of the ninja and ninpo taihenjutsu to those that neglect the importance of studying ukemi.
Ted’s embu was well recieved and impressed everyone, including Soke and the Shihan. As a result, Ted gained overnight respect and was ranked accordingly. Congratulations!
Embu are very important times for a budoka. Embu allow the budoka to study the realm of Art and Performance. This is necessary study for ninja – Geijutsu ( Artful ways ).
Important things to remember when preparing for Embu is that demonstrations are performances. The concept of Embu within the Bujinkan is to express the “life” of the martial arts through stories or scenario based confrontations. The Embu are therefore more appealing and capture the audiences attention. After all, everyone likes a good story!
Performing is an art form. To be able to distinguish normal training from Embu is extremely necessary. Soke has said that we must research many things prior to performing. For example: we must know the location, it’s significance within society, and if it holds any religous,political significance. We must also study the stage area, the surface, and areas surrounding the stage area for the safety of the performers and the audience. For example: Ted and myself every week for a month prior to the Fuse Embu went to the demonstration area and with permission practised and studied the area we were to perform on. We often did this at dusk and ended our practise in darkness. We wished to become closely aquainted with the area so we were were comfortable on perfomance day.
Another important point is to recognise WHO you are performing for. For me, I knew that the Fuse Embu was going to be a day for all the family. Therefore, we would have people both young and old present. I believe tuning your embu to appeal to a wide variety of people is very important. If the embu was infront of seated dignitaries, then I believe an Embu would hold a completetly different air about it.
During the practise for the Kikkoman Embu in 2004, Soke suggested that people watch Kabuki to gain a better appreciation of performance and Embu. As a result, I sat for 5 hours at the Kabuki-za and watched a play. The direction, kamae, and overall presence of the actors struck you. There was much to be learned from watching these professionals on stage. Soke during reherseals would then pass on teachings in regards to entering and departing the stage area, movement, angles, distance, kamae, and the projection of the self. It was excellent training.
Soke asks us all to have the heart of an artist. Embu helps us learn about artistry. We can learn to be the brush ( actor ) on the canvas ( stage ) to create a master piece ( embu ). This is Sanshin, Shin Gi Tai and Sainou Kon KI.
I am sure everyone has veiwed the performance as available on the “What is Embu” DVD from Quest. If not, please do.
Soke has said that he wished the next embu to be held in a” Grand ” venue especially designed for performances. This will set the standard. For those who are lucky enough to participate in this future Embu.