The other day in class we we’re studying a gata in Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, in the Shizen Shigoku no Kata. The students were able to follow through the mechanics and form of the kata well, but had a comment: “It feels very odd how it’s done”. The answer was in the name of the […]
I have to confess: I haven’t been the best teacher. I rarely do the Sanshin in class. I figured it was super simple, and takes away the precious time we have in class from the “real training” where techniques are applied. Frankly, I thought it was a little boring and a bit redundant. Then I […]
As we mention in our article Shuhari, there is a Japanese philosophy to studying a craft. However, this philosophy describes the process of learning, but not necessarily gives direction. In this article we are going to tackle our opinion on progressing through Bujinkan Training. Building a Foundation in Bujinkan Training with Kata In the beginning […]
A student in class recently asked why I don’t say the entire Tadashi Kokoro no Kaisetsu. The answer was simple: I didn’t know it by heart. I also explained that I would be uncomfortable saying the phrase without knowing what it means. So I decided to find out what the entire poem meant, and to […]
Closing Thoughts This has been one of my best training trips ever, full of profound insight and realization. As always, it connects to the teachers here and Soke himself. Here is a few closing thoughts on the teachers, Soke and the art itself. The Teachers I’ll begin by saying that I think all the teachers […]
Today was quite a new experience. For a moment, I felt like I was part of the inner circle. Although I’m sure it’s not the case, it was a rare glimpse at the human side of the Sensei of Japan. Foreign Correspondence Enbu As I mentioned yesterday, Steve’s demo partner had to cancel at the […]
All this training is both catching up with me, and helping my movement. Although my legs are dying, I have a full day today. Shiraishi Sensei I had a bit of a light bulb in class today as I got a deeper understanding on Shiraishi Sensei’s method of foot work, spine work, hand work. As […]
Today is both Nagato and Soke. NHK is also filming so it should be quite a day. Nagato Sensei I was able to keep up with class and could replicate Nagato movement fairly well. Nagato gave us a little insight into what he was looking for in class. He came over and said “don’t do […]
Today was a beast of a day. I decided to call it “Hell Day” like “Hell Week” in the military. It was one of the most technical and exhausting training days I’ve ever had. But as much of a challenge it was it was also maybe the most rewarding. Ishizuka Sensei Based on multiple recommendations […]
More than half way through the trip and my brain is very full. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop. After all every class is a huge opportunity to learn more. Noguchi Sensei Class flew by. Noguchi Sensei worked us on the Gyokko Ryu Joryaku no Maki. I am very familiar with this scroll, […]
Today I got a late start. After celebrating Pablo’s promotion a late night business emergency kept me awake later than I wanted. So I ended up missing Furuta. I was pretty bummed but “shoganai na” (it can’t be helped). Nagato Sensei Third class and I really am finding a groove. There’s small details that make […]
Today was an exhausting but rewarding day, with several break through and realizations. Today was also a bit confusing. I have had conversations about “picking a teacher” with a couple of the students that have come here quite a bit. Brian Tritico said he was told he had to pick. Others have said they weren’t […]
Today is typically only a Soke class day, but I decided to try out a class from Rob Renner, a resident here, before going to Soke’s. I was mainly interested in it from working with Dan Hildebrand in Nagato Sensei’s class, and was impressed with his movement. He suggested I try a class at Rob’s. […]
Day 4 marked the first class for the remaining Shihan. It turned out to be a great yet humbling day. I also have made a new friend, Eita from Israel. We talked quite a bit about what was going on in Isreal and Judaism in general. It was very interesting as there was quite a […]
Day 3 offered a huge treat in Soke’s Class, but first we had Noguchi Sensei on the rotation. Noguchi Sensei Class revolved around Shinden Fudo Ryu, Shizenshogoku no Kata. With each technique, Noguchi Sensei did the usual of breaking techniques into peices through henka, emphasizing something here or there. I’m begin to notice some real […]
Saturday brings us to Day 2 on our training trip, and is typically the longest training day. Seno Sensei First up was Seno Sensei. Since he has the fewest classes at Hombu, he has always been an enigma. However, I’m starting to get a feel for him this time around. What is incredibly impressive is […]
The first day of training is in the books, and this trip started with a class by Noguchi Sensei followed by Soke’s class. The first day, and especially the first class, of a trip feels like shaking off the rust; it is a reminder of how much you need to pay attention and how much the […]
Unlike my May trip, I decided not to do daily posts about everything going on; it’s time consuming, and quite difficult – especially considering how many classes we did this trip. Rather, I’ll just do a quick recap, and share the juicy tidbits of what went on. Familiar Faces On this trip I got to […]
After a long night with friends I pack and head to my final class: Soke’s. Since I have a 5pm flight I decide to stay for only half the class – but what a half it was! Soke started by introducing a Historian from Iga. They then bring over a box and begin to go […]
Taking it easy today so I can spend some time with friends in Tokyo. How often can you hang out with friends 3000 miles away from home? As I boarded the train I ran into Saito on his way to Shiraishi Sensei’s class. We got to talk about the different training, and what we like […]
After another long night in Tokyo I hope the train home and prepare for class. Unfortunately I miss Shihan Darren’s class since the tank is running a bit on empty. It’s unfortunate since I really loved his class. So my first training is with Noguchi Sensei. It’s a small class which means even more hands […]
Today was very enlightening – and painful. Again today started with Nagato’s class. On the way I run into Daishihan Arnaud. We walk together and talk about training, and he asked what Nagato went over. Class time comes and he asks if I would like to train with him. “I would be honored.” He then […]
The day did not start off as planned. I wasn’t pleasantly surprised by my friends at my hotel in the morning. They had rented a Nissan GTR R34. If you’re into cars, especially tuning cars – that’s a big deal. Also, it’s a bit scary to drive a high performance car in a country that […]
Today was a tough day, and a slow day. I spent today getting a few errands done, like laundry, before heading to Ayase for Soke’s class. The beginning of class I felt like I was doing well. I was able to do the technique rather naturally. As the class progressed though it kind of fell […]
Another great day of training with great people. Went to training with Nagato Sensei. My training partner proved to be a fountain of knowledge: Dan was invaluable in helping me understand the depth of the techniques. I started off struggling with what Nagato was showing, but by the end of class I was starting to […]
Today was a monumental day – pun not intended. The day started with me just barely making it to Seno Sensei’s early class. Seno is one of the Japanese teachers that for some reason or another I never got to train with, but knew I should. Seno gave us ample time to work on each […]
Day 4 did not go as planned. It turned out to be a catch up on sleep day. Although there were 4 classes at Hombu, I was only able to make one, but it was a great class. It turned out that Someya Sensei couldn’t make class so it was covered by Shihan Steve Olsen. […]
Today was a pretty major. I saw Darren Sensei was teaching a class. Darren is huge; he something like 6’5″ and is built like the terminator. He is also super friendly and helped me get the class schedule. He lives in Japan, and I’ve seen him almost every trip here. So when I saw him […]
I’ve now had my second day of training in Japan, and my brain is already full. Like yesterday, the classes were Nagato and Noguchi. I kind of hit the wall in Nagato’s class and recovered in Noguchi. Nagato went over a technique from Takagi Yoshin Ryu. The technique itself is pretty straight forward, but as […]
So my first day of training is in the books. It’s interesting coming back to Japan as some things that were once so foreign become somewhat familiar. Due to some confusion I started the day by missing Shiraishi Sensei’s class – which was a real bummer. But I was able to attend both Nagato and […]
First thanks for our guests who came by, and congratulations to our newest member Gindora Reeves on joining the Todai Clan! Here is a break down on what we worked on today: Haibu Yori “Attacks from Behind” Yubi Kudaki “Finger Break” The important part of this technique is moving with the grab offline and striking […]
Something new I am going to do is to put up class notes on what we did to help you all review and see what you may have missed. For techniques that are published, I will add a link for reference. It won’t be exhaustive notes, just a cursory overview – SO ALWAYS TAKE YOUR […]
I heard a quote of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi saying “teach only 50% of what you know.” Without context, this might be viewed in a negative, as if something is being withheld to the detriment of the student. However, the reality is that in Japanese culture, it is to the benefit of the student. 50% Creates Strong […]
Nothing can replicate training in Japan; the immersion in the Japanese culture, the amount of training one squeezes into a trip, the practitioners your surrounded by – a few days changes your movement forever. The most important part of training in Japan is the opportunity to train under the best instructors in the world and […]
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi chose to call his dojo the “Bujinkan” in honor of his teacher, Takamatsu Toshitsugu, who taught him the 9 traditions we study to do this day. The term Bujin is more than just an honorific title, but also describes a philosophy and concept of Budo.
Few events are as a mind blowing, mystical, and life changing in Ninjutsu training as when the time comes for a student to pass the Sakki test to achieve Godan. It’s a rite of passage that culminates after a decade of studying our art. I came to a realization about the science about such a meta-physical type of event after passing mine in September of 2012.
But what is the Sakki test, and how does it work?
If you’ve ever taken a Martial Arts class at a Bujinkan Dojo, you’ve heard those three somewhat difficult Japanese words shouted at the beginning and end of class: Shiken Haramitsu Daikoumyo. These words have profound significance – but only if you understand what they mean (much less say them). Here we’re going to translate this Buddhist mantra, and the meaning behind one of the most often used phrases in Bujinkan training.
If you have ever trained in Japan, you have heard Soke talk quite a bit about the Kukan. Kukan roughly means “space” or “opening”. This can (and is) often be interpreted in a number of different ways. I find it easiest to think about it as “an opening where your opponent is vulnerable”. As simple as that sounds, it can be difficult to find that opening since it is so fluid.