Soke has often mentioned tsunagaru. This translates as to be relatedto be connected , or  to be tied/bound together.


This connectedness is in uniform with the theme of nawa no kankaku.

Remaining connected to everything does not necessarily require one to be physically touching the object. The concept of maintaining a connection is one that comes from the power of the spirt, soul, and ones will.

We can see that in the animal kingdom, the mother often after fundamental life lessons, abandons ones children. This abandonment is generally temporary initially. It gives the young the chance to develop their life skills so they can eventually live and survive alone. The mother is never too far away, and if danger is lurking, she returns to their side.


We often see this in human relationships of various kinds. In the beginning, The physical connection ( umbilical cord ) is something that everyone enters this world with. Therefore, right from conception, we have a sence of connection and nawa no kankaku. This physical connection is cut away upon birth, but we then maintain our bond in other ways. We are nurtured and also fed from the breast. Our connection evolves continually.


This connection is sometimes severed. But, things are still connected in the grand scheme of things. We can never be completely seperated from others for as long as the spirit and soul continues. We can listen to Soke talking about that he still recieves teachings from Takamatsu Osensei. If you believe, than that is all you need.

The feeling of Soke in training is difficult as always to comprehend, especially after experiencing it. I laugh at those that never experience Sokes taijutsu and spirit directly and talk as if they know.  As Soke has said, it is only those who “feel” it directly that can understand. Use your eyes. sometimes they do tell the truth!   We must have the sences to discern who are the teachers that can give us the best understanding of Sokes budo. Good luck!


Soke has mentioned the feeling of tsunagaru or nawa no kankaku is similar to that of fishing. We will use Big Game fishing as an example.

There is a battle between man and fish. ( of which reminds me of Sokes affinity with the movie ” the old man and the sea.” ) Man leaves a line for the fish. The fish takes the bait, and becomes hooked. A test of skill begins.


The man knows that if he struggles with the fish, his line may break. Therefore, he allows the fish to run with the line. And, in a sence gives the fish a feeling of freedom. A sence that one has or can escape.The man allows this to occur. It is Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho. In saying this, the man must have strength to withstand and endure the hours of playing chess with the fish. However, it is knowing when and how to use the strength that is the most important. ( this is the same as budo ).

Giving his foe the feeling of freedom, the fish swims without concern for over-using his power or in what direction he swims. The man slowly but skillfully holds the fish to him with his superior spirit and reels in the line. He controls the pressure of the line as to reduce resistance and possible loss of direct connection. ( even if this direct connection is lost, they are still forever connected by the sea. )


The fish battles himself. He finds himself trapped against the side of the boat, but still able to swim,move,live. However, he feels restricted somehow and cannot escape. The fish is then gaffed, and the fight ends.

My way of describing this is bad. However, this is often the feeling I get when experiencing Soke’s taijutsu. You are bound by something greater than his physicality. It’s a feeling of being bound by his overpowering will/spirit/soul. In turn, you are mesmerised by your own confusion and thus unable to move. You then attempt to move, but it is movement based on confusion and thus is not effective.

Hombu with Soke

Soke then takes control of the space further and pins you to the earth with pain that envelops you. This pain makes everything dissapear around you. I’m the fish, and he is the fisherman. Guess who ends up on the plate!

After viewing an uke of Soke’s uncontrollably moving in pain under his control, I had a vision of a fish flapping for dear life on a jetty after it had been pulled from the sea. When Soke connects with us on the most painful level, we must truly look like a ” hooked fish out of water”. We jump around in pain, gasping for life. Soke just plays with us until he decides to end it.


Connecting is also about letting go. Soke often says it is fine to let your partner go. The fear from ” being allowed to escape ” is sometimes greater than not being allowed to. You become confused and more concerned. Why? Because you don’t understand why you have been let go. Thus, you become captured by your self and cannot see or sence the truth. ( it has a feeling that you are let go so you can be hunted for sport ). As you take ukemi or try to escape, you sence Soke close to you, but you don’t know where, or from what direction he is coming from. This is daunting and confusing. He has controlled the space. This space encompasses your body,spirit, and technique as one. He captures everything about you.


It can sometimes  feel  like running through a maze in a horror movie. You think the killer is behind you, but you turn a corner and there he is!

Or, that of being stuck in a spiders web. You sence something coming closer, but you cannot see everwhere and are helpless. Soke feels like he is enveloping you with a web of the soul. He holds you with one line of web, allowing you to try and escape. However, you realise that this is a trap, and find the more you move, the more you get entangled. He has trapped you with your own web of desire!


Maintaining the connection is to hold them with your spirit. The physical realm is but one part of it. This can be related ( connected ) to the godan test. It is not about the sword, but rather the connection of the two people involved. If the reciever can be moved by the connection, than the sword is just a formality to let the person know if they have failed or not. As Soke has said, the godan test can be performed with anything. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be performed with a tool/weapon at all!


The feeling of connectedness is something that we must try to understand in our daily lives. We must try to alsways maintain the connection with our good family and friends. Having a connection with our enemies is also important. Everytime they make a move against us, they create a life harder for themsevles and get tangled in our web of life!

The phrase ” keep your friends close, but enemies closer ” comes to mind.

Everything is connected.




One Response to “Tsunagaru”

  1. Hi Duncan

    Such a deep insight!!!

    Especially “Connecting is also about letting go” is so deep, because it it a universal law. If you really, really want something, the more you try to get it, the morte it slips away form you… The minute, you let go and just don’t care, it may and can come to you (connect with you). What you focus on, you will get more of…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: