The Hara

hatsumi2

Soke uses his fingers in such a manner on the opponent that ones life is forgotten. I have alongside many other buyu experienced the devil’s claws of Soke. The pressure on ones body is intense and your ability to maintain equilibrium and sense of ones environment is diminished to a tunnel of darkness. Soke recently expressed that this feeling was caused by “Air pressure” or the “pressure of space”. As the theme of the year is KU, Soke holds us down with the pressure of the void.

After experiencing this either physicaly or visually, we are asked to go and experiment for ourselves. Many of us have but produced a feable attempt to create the same intensity demonstrated by Soke. For those who have studied Oriental therapies such as Shiatsu or Seitai, we can possibly use these modalities to better understand the penetrating pressure that Soke demonstrates so easily. In Shiatsu, the student practises tonification of the kyo areas of the body using the thumbs and four fingers. The proper usage of the digits on each hand is of the upmost importance when administering Shiatsu. The ability to penetrate deeply is from the concentrated focus of energy from your hara.  From this point, it is important to become rooted to the kyo, ( weak point ). From your hara with your extremities relaxed, you direct ones ki through the tsubo into the recipients body. In this case, the practitioner is attempting to deliver energy to the recipients weakened areas by providing concentrated and energised support. 

In the case of budo and the art of kyushojutsu or koshijutsu, we can see the deliverence of ki is of a martial sense and not that of a soothing attempt at restoring an individuals depleted essence. The kyusho are in fact Tsubo, yet the energy directed is delivered with debilitating intention. The art of “sedation” in a budo sense is slightly different isn’t it, lol.

meditation

The essence of approach is indeed similar in my eyes. The penetrating power of the fingers in Shiatsu comes not from the digits and wrists alone, but from the hara and the elbows. This is similar to budo isn’t it. I have once heard Soke mention that ” Budo is about the elbows “ and that the mark of an accomplished budoka is his skillfull use of elbows. Rikyu, the founder of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, also once said ” Don’t shake your tea wisk with your fingertips, but with your elbow. “

From those who have experienced Sokes Devilish digits on their faces,hands and fingers, it is a feeling of not being pinned or attacked by the finger/s alone, but by something greater, something far stronger, and deeply rooted.  It has been said that masters of kenjutsu hold their swords with their hara, yet beginners and amateurs hold their swords with tensed fingers and arms. I feel we can relate this to the blog quite well.

An interesting point Soke made in regard to Fudoushin was that the kanji for Fu is the same as the Fu in Fuji san. The point was that even though fudoushin refers to the “immovable spirirt/heart”, we still are very much alive and able to move freely. This is the same as Mount Fuji. We can see the symmetrical grace and it’s solid presence. However, we must remember that it is a volcano. Fuji san is alive and moving and able to change it’s shape very quickly. I feel that Sokes fingers are strengthened by his hara that permeates Fudoushin.

“The mind and heart are but two parts of the sanshin. The third part is the hara.” Hatsumi Soke.

As a result, it may be wise for us to concenrate on developing our hara. From there our body and spirit will strengthen from the inside to out, all the way to our fingertips.

Bufu Ikkan.

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