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Ura & Omote - 1996 July



Benjamin Cole

This is a collection of quotations made by Masaaki Hatsumi-sensei during practice sessions at Ayase, as recorded in my training diary. Despite the current debate over the role of the Internet in the Bujinkan, Ben will continue to make this part of his diary available. If you truly look at what Hatsumi-sensei is saying, you will understand that these words (as with any printed, spoken, or otherwise) are to be used as a reference, nothing more. It is up to YOU to make the proper chioces in your life and in your training. My hope is that more and more Bujinkan practitioners will increase the intensity and frequency of their training as a result of this series. I also hope that these words will push people to do what they can to make it to Japan to train with the only one who truly understands this art. As for the quotes themselves, I try to remember the general flow of the training sessions when I record my thoughts, because, as Hatumi-sensei once said, "I teach from what I see around me." I have tried keep these quotes in essentially the same order as they were made during the training session, but naturally memory does play its tricks. These are my interpretations as to what Hatsumi-sensei was saying, based upon my feelings at the time. They should not be viewed as verbatim nor as "official." Words in parentheses are my comments, most of which are for clarification.

April 12 (Friday)
"Always observe your opponent carefully. You need to use the first seconds of every encounter to evaluate the length of their blade, the length of their arms, etc."

(To a foreign visitor trying to do a ken technique) "Your rhythm's off when doing that technique. Keep your rhythm. It is not TA. . . TA, TA. It's TA, TA, TA. It's imperative you control the rhythm."

"It doesn't matter how quickly you do it, just keep the same timing between moves. The human heart also normally beats at a steady rhythm. When you get excited, it becomes erratic. You must work toward this control (by achieving the immovable heart) so that when something exciting or dangerous happens (you and) your heart doesn't become erratic."

April 16 (Tuesday)
"There are many countries around the world, such as Israel, where the governments have officially recognized the Bujinkan. (In Israel, for example, all Bujinkan instructors are accredited/licensed by the government and Taijutsu has been incorporated into the physical education system.) "Women, especially, must learn Kenpo (the Law of the Sword) extremely well. For if they don't, in a real fight, they will hesitate and ball up, and not lash out with their true power."

"You gotta learn to cook with your swords." (as in: have such incredible control to make very precise cuts)

"The past, present, and future are all one."

April 19 (Friday)
"You can throw anything to distract your opponent: shuriken. . . metsubushi. . . a fart. (He gestures with his hand as if catching a fart and bringing it forward into his uke's face, then laughs. Yes, friends. This is our venerable teacher.)

"You are not just fighting one opponent. You are fighting the unknown."

April 23 (Tuesday)
"Until now the fifth dan test has been easy. Those who passed the test these last few years had it easy. I made it that way so that people all over the world could be exposed to the art. There is no need for that anymore. The time has come to teach true Budo Taijutsu -- fighting Budo Taijutsu."

"For this technique, you don't want the heart of a 'bushi' (fighter), you need a righteous heart."

"Don't have a fixed idea in your head (that you have to use this or that technique). Use everything you've learned until now."

"Most arts are limited. Kendo is only kendo. Judo is only judo. There's no freedom, so each has its own weaknesses that can be exploited."

"In Kendo, they use only the power of their arms, not their body."

"The reason why this technique is so fast is that you are not trying to cut them; you are throwing your sword into them. It is like using shuriken. Extend your arms."

"When drawing your sword by twisting your body in this way, be sure not to slice off your own ear."

"When drawing your sword, point your index finger. It will stop the sword exactly in front of you." (This keeps inertia of the sword from taking it off center. Try it. You'll be amazed how well it works. Kinda hurts your finger to have your tsuba hitting it, but it's better than dying, I always say.)

NOTE: Julio passed his godan test this day. I am sharing this most personal experience with you all because I feel what was said surrounding the test was insightful and may open a few eyes (no pun intended). Julio, congratulations. I am most proud of you.

Everyone was kneeling in a line, having just finished practice. Hatsumi-sensei called up Julio, who was now kneeling facing us all. (I was lucky enough to be sitting in the middle so I could observe closely.) I noticed that Julio kept his eyes open throughout his entire test. After it was over, I walked up to Noguchi-sensei and pointed out the eye thing to him, and commented that I had never seen anyone take the test with their eyes open. Noguchi-sensei said, "Yeah. Most people close their eyes. You need great concentration to have them open like that."

Later over dinner, I asked Julio why he had left his eyes open for the test. He replied, "I wanted *all* of my senses. With your eyes open you can see. You can smell. You can feel the floor under your legs. . . All of your senses are there, and then you enter the void (during the test when time seems to stop and the world becomes silent)."

His wife, Sheila, added, "Whenever I do things like this test, I want my eyes open, too. If your eyes are closed, your ears take over as the major sense ." (You become 'unbalanced' and trust one sense more than the others.)

Julio finished by saying, "When I was giving my name and address to Hatsumi- sensei later, Noguchi-sensei said to me, 'Your eyes are open. Good. You can see more.' " (I found this statement extremely poignant.)

The conversation moved on to interesting things Hatsumi-sensei has been saying as of late. Someone mentioned Hatsumi-sensei's April 19th statement concerning "fighting the unknown." Julio replied, "That's what the godan test IS. It's a battle with the unknown. You never know when he's going to hit you." Oh, but you did, Julio. Didn't you? Once again, congratulations on a job well done.

April 26 (Friday)
"Julio got his fifth dan the other day. He's been involved in martial arts for -- what is it -- 26 years? There are many such people who shine in the Bujinkan. Just something you all should remember. And should respect."

"People who cannot respect others for their good qualities -- people who only look at the bad in others -- are no good themselves. By looking at only the bad points, you open yourself up, and in a real encounter, will most probably be killed."

"This is a tachi move. Don't try to cut with the blade. Remember: it's curved. Just get it on their body and you will cut them as you pass by."

"See how different the movement is from Iado."

"You can do this move when riding on a horse, too. No need to swing it (you'll get tired more quickly, too) when you can just hold it still and have them be cut when you ride past them."

"When you are dealing with more than one opponent, you have to adjust yourself (your rolls, etc.) so you are in an advantageous position."

(When working on cartwheels) "Use the centrifugal force to whip around. The body's movement will help you to cut."

April 30 (Tuesday)
"The cuts on this technique are like ura shuto and omote shuto."

"This is for fifth dans, remember. If I taught this to beginners they would be hurting themselves badly."

"Use Taijutsu to do these sword techniques."

"If I were doing this (back breaking technique) for real, I would just break his back this way. Shiraishi-sensei has very good ukemi so he doesn't get hurt."

"This sword technique would be the same for a yari, bo, or naginata. They're all the same."

***Note: Hatsumi-sensei was gone on a trip to the Holland TaiKai and was thus unable to make any new additions to my diary for a while.***

May 21 (Tuesday)
"I just got back from the TaiKai and was quite impressed with the level of participation there. Over 500 people came during the three days. I was quite pleased with the level of training and the sense of community there."

"Fifteen people passed the go-dan test. (He didn't specify how many tried.) They really flew outta there. And I was going straight to the ground . . I did the test in front of some 50 or 60 instructors."

"It's important to learn how to draw in an unorthodox way. If you draw this way, they won't be able to see you doing so."

"Don't actually think about cutting them in this situation. You'll both end up attacking, blocking, and canceling each other out (kinda like a boxing match)."

(To a female) "Don't be frightened of using your focus. Women have a tendency to become timid in those situations. Finish every technique fully."

May 28 (Tuesday)
(Regarding a sword technique wherein you trap your opponent's arm in a chicken wing behind their back) "From here, you can lead them around and then slit their neck and wait till all the blood flows out. . . Then kill them like a chicken."

(Regarding a technique wherein you place the hilt of your sheathed sword in front of an incoming punch) "Don't worry about the technique. Don't forget the hand (let them punch your hilt) then get inside. From there you can do anything."

(Regarding a sword technique)"Don't try to cut them with this technique. Just hold them with your sword. Then move in and go to their throat."

(Regarding a drawing technique wherein you "throw your sword with your head") "If your Taijutsu is bad, you won't be able to do this technique."

"In a real confrontation, your life may depend on the choice of whether to extend your arms or keep them slightly bent. This is very important point."

(Regarding "throwing with the head" technique) "For this technique, don't use your hands to cut. (He used the word "te" which could also mean, "Don't use your technique to cut. If you use your hands (technique) your opponent can read your actions."

"The other day, Someya-sensei came with me (to the TaiKai, I believe). He had his hand all taped up (due to an injury), but he was able to do this technique. Because you're not using your hands to cut."

(The following five quotes (a-e) were made to several instructors concerning their attempts at "throwing the sword with the head," an extremely difficult move.)

a: "No good! Fine, you're cutting something, but it's too slow. You're dead. You're dead again."

b: "Too weak! . . . No! . . . Too weak! . . . The second cut is too slow. . . Again. . . Again. . . No, no good . . That's better. See you're getting it." (He was like a drill sergeant)

c: "Sloppy. You're overextending yourself. See."

d: "No! Your limbs are flying all over the place. . . Your "kuse" (bad habits ) are showing themselves with this technique. You see that, don't you?"

e: "Your bad habits become evident when you get a sword in your hands like this. And because you are teaching without addressing your own problems, your students will get your bad habits. I will tell you something. There are now five eleventh dans in Europe: Doron (Navon), Peter (King), Sveneric (Bogsaeter), Pedro (Fleitas), and Arnaud (Cousergue), but there is only one in Japan: Noguchi. I will be more and more strict with the conferring of such ranks from now on."

"Everything is basics."

"I admit that the Taijutsu being practiced abroad is getting better (while t hat of those in Japan has stagnated). I saw some of it at the TaiKai. I was very impressed."

May 31 (Friday)
(Before practice) "I brought pictures from the Tai Kai. The most important ones are up front." (Open's the album to two pages of pictures of genitalia piercings and bursts out laughing. The most striking was a penis stuck in a mousetrap. (Ouch!) Another is a photo of two men standing shoulder to shoulder covered in body tattoos with penis rings. I said, "What's that picture?" He smiles and says, "Tattoos!" He then points to the female piercings. One has a ring through each lip with a tiny lock locking them together. Another is a pubic shot with one of those little green plastic toy soldiers (a sniper laying down) on the woman's thigh. "He's a sharp shooter," he giggles. I turn to him and said, "You made it through customs very well with these." He laughed again, "No problem, I've got positives!" (Japan is REALLY strict when it comes to genitalia, esp. public hair, which until recently was illegal to show in photos.)

(Before practice) "The reason why there is some stagnation (in the Bujinkan) is that people look at the fifth dan as so important. They train hard, learning much, then as soon as they get a fifth dan, they rush off to start their own dojo. That's when their progress stagnates. They'd rather teach, than learn. That's why I keep training, keep trying to learn. . . That's why I don't teach."

(Before practice) "I'm getting old. All of my friends are dying off and I know my time is coming, too. Once I am gone, that's it."

(Before practice) "Takamatsu-sensei was training all the way to the end and I remember watching it coming."

(Before practice) "I got cut at the Tai Kai and one of my doctor friends said, 'Let me fix you up.' I told him I'd do it myself. . . I am a doctor after all.

(Before practice) "At the Spain Tai Kai (last year?), we went to this area to give the godan test. After about three people who should have passed failed, I sensed something was wrong. I did a kuji formation and then everything was fine. Well, someone thought that my statement that something was wrong was interesting and decided to look into it. It seems that fifty years ago (perhaps during the Franco purge) a whole bunch of people had been massacred at that exact spot. . . That is another reason why only I can give the godan test."

"Remember: As you get older, your ability to do some of these movements will deteriorate. Just look at me. (Yeah, right!) As well, your ability to attract women also deteriorates. Once again, look at me."

"There's an 85-year-old man in America who has taken the fifth-dan test several times. Some might think about doing it a little slower, or not cutting all the way down for him. But that would not be the fifth-dan test. I have to give equally regardless of age -- young or old."

(To a local practitioner during the throwing from the head tech.) "Don't use that sword. Go ahead, use mine."

(During the same technique) "Don't use inferior swords to practice this technique. You will be limited by the flaws of the weapon and will never truly get the point. That is why I bring in this sword every week. Try to get a weapon as close to a real one as possible."

(After teaching us the proper way to hold swords in Seigan and Dai Jodan) "These little things seem insignificant, but are actually very important. Please practice these."

"The sword is very difficult."

(To a local practitioner) "Your techniques may not be perfect, but you're always interesting."

(Regarding a defensive roll sword technique)"Don't think about trying to cut them. Think about rolling. If you think about cutting, your roll will be awkward. If you focus on rolling, you will have something to cut."

"This could also be used for knives or guns as well. Having your arm against your body like this is far more stable then having it be free."

"I am showing you show to strike in unconventional ways. Ways that your opponent can't see coming, nor prepare for."

"Be careful when you are using your head for such strikes, because the top of your head is the weakest part. Placing your fists (palm on head, knuckles up) on your head like this and striking works very well."

June 7 (Friday)
(After calling forward a foreign visitor) "This young man lost his foot by stepping on a land mine. He survived because he was able to do ukemi well."

"I'm teaching martial artists, not Mafia members (yakuza)."

"Many people have a misconception concerning ukemi. Don't feel that ukemi is a 'safe thing.' Many times, it is a very dangerous thing. You may land on glass or on a twig and really hurt yourself. There have been times when people have done ukemi to save themselves, only to kill themselves in the process . You must be aware of your surroundings at all times, and be able to avoid objects when you do your ukemi.'

"I'm not teaching a technique here, I'm teaching you foot movement (ashi sabaki) in the space provided (kukan)."

(Regarding throwing your daito) "Throw it in such a way that it cuts."

(Regarding throwing your daito) "Most people don't expect you to throw your daito (your long sword), so you can use that to your advantage. There used to be a school that focused on this technique. They would throw their daito, then fight with their shoto, which they were much more adept at. In all these years, I have never taught these techniques before. 'Why?' you may ask. Because I had to be able to kill my own students if they turned against me. . . There have been many examples of people within the same country turning on their teacher and killing them. Any good teacher will not teach everything they know. If you still have some secrets, you can defend yourself. The reason why I've decided to teach you all now is that I feel I have very little life left to live."

(Regarding a technique wherein you move in and grasp the hilt of the opponent's sheathed sword) "No, no, no. You've got to do it a little more erotically. Open your palm and lightly grab it like this. You're grabbing too hard."

(On what to do after grabbing their hilt) "You're not throwing them down with your arms, you're just walking. Your body throws them down naturally."

"In all these years, I have never taught the same thing twice."

"The Bujinkan is evolving nicely throughout the world. I urge you all to either attend the TaiKai or get a hold of the videos from the various TaiKai to see how the art is being practiced in other countries. Doing so will give you ideas on how to train."

June 11 (Tuesday) (On stabbing at a Dai Jodan strike from Seigan) "If you try to stab their hands, you'll miss. Don't aim. Just get it there."

"It's the use of energy (kiryoku) which will defeat your opponent. I once did this technique against Someya-sensei and he said when I moved against him, his leg wouldn't move. He ended up losing his balance as a result and he fell down. That is what you're training for."

"Don't try to cut their do. That's not cool looking. Everyone's always trying to do the same thing, cut the same place. Don't aim for them. Aim for their shadow. You'll be able to cut more, and more opponents if they're in the area."

"At night, the moon casts shadows much like the sun. By using those shadows, you can gain much information. You can tell where your opponents are and where they will attack you from. You can even tell time. Other arts don't teach this type of training; it is limited to the ninja."

"Don't think that any one technique is the end. There is no end. There is no perfect technique. Just when you think you've got them, you're dead because you didn't."

(After someone did a technique with the wrong spacing) "You're going to have to adjust to the lengths of the limbs involved -- both yours and your opponents. You might need to stay further away or get closer inside."

(For a three-on-one technique) "When using this technique be aware of the topography and geography of the area. Be aware of the trees, etc. (Forcing them against a tree is one way to keep them from escaping, for example.) It can be used with fire (conflagration) technique or with horses."

(For a three-on-one technique) "This is like hunting. One person takes the lead, they takes turns methodically, and in the end the victim is unable to escape and is dead."

(For a four-on-one technique) "This is the way of assassination. . . with four people."

(When drawing both swords to defend against multiple opponents) "Don't try to cut them with your daito. Rather, hit it with the flat of the shoto like this and 'use the tip as a shuriken, making it fly right into their eye.' "

(At the end when everyone has to show one move they learned that evening) "W hen you are sitting down and waiting, you must be prepared to react immediately. So your sitting also becomes training. You don't want your feet falling asleep, etc."

"If your feet do fall asleep, one thing you can do to get the feeling back is cut your foot/leg and allow the blood to flow. This will increase the flow of blood to that area and will speed the process of recuperating."

"Far too many martial arts today emphasize training to defeat only one opponent. That's a true shame. But by learning the flow that I'm teaching, you will be able to handle many opponents."

June 25 (Tuesday)
"I saw the finished tape of the Stratford TaiKai and was quite impressed. It was different from my videos and I recommend you all order copies directly from Peter (King)."

"As I've mentioned before, these next three years are going to be every important. So have been the previous three. Those who have not been training in this way over that period of time are. . . are like first graders having to learn everything from the beginning."

"If you didn't understand what I just said, get someone to translate for you." (But what if they didn't understand THAT statement, Sensei ?!?)

"This isn't kendo!!! Use your body."

"Try this technique with a bokken. Then try it with a metal sword. You'll find it has a much different feel with the metal blade. It lays down nicely for you. Then when you can, move on to a real sword, and once again you will find it has a different feel. You must be familiar with all the differences."

"Practitioners of things like Kendo are very limited because they only know only the shinai. They couldn't effectively use a sword."

"I have to point out these problems to people. There are tenth dans here and even more abroad. I have an obligation to tell them when they are lagging behind or not up to par. That's what a teacher must do. There are so many teachers who don't do so in so many martial arts, and their students are the ones who truly suffer for it."

"Shimura Takashi (in Kurosawa's film "Seven Samurai") had -- not a helmet -- but a headband holding a small disc of metal on his forehead. That is in case the sword successfully hits you when you're doing this technique (against someone attacking from Dai Jodan.) That would save you from certain death. There are so many possibilities."

"If you do something and it saves your life, it was good Taijutsu. In a real fight, you aren't worried about what's pretty."

"You must be able to use these techniques in real combat. There are battles raging every day around the world right now. Revolts, clashes with the military, etc. You must be able to survive through such adversity."

"Fifth dans and above should be doing these techniques with metal swords. . . Be extremely careful."

(Concerning getting your blade inside someone and then turning the blade and/or moving it around) "This technique is good for when you don't want to get all messy and have blood everywhere, because the damage is all internal."

(Same as above) "If you turn the blade -- like this -- the blade goes into the body between the ribs. Push it in from there, behind the breastbone. You can reach the heart from there, or push it out the ribs on the other side, or up here through the clavicle area." (Yikes!)

(Same as above) "These types of techniques are good for when you are in a cramped area, like when there are a lot of people around, and you can't swing your sword. Just tsuki straight in, then turn the sword and churn their innards for them."

"Ninja used to carry poison in the bottom of their saya (sheath). Then when their opponent would move in to strike them, they would just lightly strike their arm with the tip of their blade -- like this -- then move away. When the opponent came again, they would repeat the process. Eventually, the poison would build up enough to kill the attacker."

"It's been six months now into the sword. We will be spending a lot more time working with the various weapons, especially the mogito (metal swords). Please make sure to have a set of bokken, shinai, and metal swords."

Ben lives, trains, and sleeps in Japan. He very much enjoys hearing from people via email. He may be reached at <>


Sveneric Bogsaeter
submitted by Stan Skrabut
These words have been heard by many in Japan over the last few months. Many are shocked and confused. Let me try to explain sensei's meaning.

After one of his training sessions in Tokyo, he came to me and explained, starting with the words: "Play time is over," after showing us the importance of correct stances.

We trained with tools; one attacked with a shinai and one defended with two knives. Sensei showed how to block a cut from above and then he gave the shinai to Ishozuka sensei and the knives to a Japanese shihan. But the shihan didn't block correctly, so sensei went to him and showed him the right posture and said "Once again." But he still did the technique incorrectly and sensei said "Once again." Yet again he did it wrong and sensei took the shinai from Ishizuka and said to the man "Now you block" and hit him hard, fast and for real. The man still didn't do the correct blocking, so sensei hit again and again.

He was taught the "hard way"; he didn't block correctly and he knew that because sensei hit through his kamae and banged a hole in his head resulting in pain and blood. So sensei came and said "The play time is over. We have to show the real thing and show the power of the art."

I was looking at him and had to ask him if he meant that we should beat people and students up. The answer was no, but you have to be more observant on the correct things; you have to show the real ninjutsu. That gave me something to think about and while talking with Hatsumi sensei, Manaka, Ishizuka and the other shihans, I now understand it.

I notice that many people who train in ninjutsu live with a certain misunderstanding. They say "if this technique is not functioning I just change it to a henka" or "I can do what I like because ninjutsu is a free art." We look at sensei and see a person moving freely, improvising, flowing. . . and we try to copy him, forgetting that he's reached this level after 50 years of training. These people think they know the basics, know the kihon. But how can they think so. . . ?

There are a series of "techniques" in the different ryus named "kihon" or "no kata" which teach basics. These basics are taught, not as fighting techniques, but for our development. If the "techniques" in "KIHON" or "NO KATA" don't function, you should not do a henka or variation. If the technique doesn't function, it does not mean that the technique is wrong or not okay for you. It does mean, however, that your taijutsu or kamae is not correct. You must keep on practicing and training in the basics thousands and thousands of times until you really know them. Those basics are there for you to develop your taijutsu; to make you understand movements, timing, hardness and softness. This is absolutely necessary -- there is no way out of it.

And then, when your "KIHON" and "NO KATA" come naturally to your body, you can start to find and create henka out of the movements. Sensei says about "KIHON" and "NO KATA" that after godan "They will have their own face, but before that, no."

You and I are normal. We want to do all the things that Sensei teaches us. Sensei shows many special things, special movements, but he also says "What I can give you is the feeling. You have to study with other teachers to learn the techniques."

Do you really know your basics, do you really know the "katas?" From what does your "HENKA" spring from? How much is your own face, how much is there for you to learn, and for you to give to others? How far have you come in your enlightenment, in the understanding of taijutsu and what is what? Many questions, I know, but I also know they are necessary to ask yourself and for you to find out the answers. What is technique and what is feeling. How to combine those and when and why.

To be more critical of yourself, to be more correct in your postures is the hard way, along with not hurting others, not beating others up. Feeling is important and so is intuition. But the way to train and find that out is by going through thousand and thousands of hours of correct basics training. Therefore I wish you good luck with your basics and keep on going.

SvenEric Bogsater comes from Sweden and was awarded the grading of Judan, the second outside of Japan to be awarded this grading. He is currently living in Holland and often travels and gives training at various locations in the world. He may be reached through Stan Skrabut at: <>


Jeff M. Miller

This article is the 2nd part of an open response to a question that I encountered on America On-Line in the Martial Arts section's Ninjutsu forum. The question (paraphrased) was: "What are the 5-elements (earth, wind, water, wood and metal) about that I have seen mentioned in books on ninjutsu?

In this installment we will examine the second system of 5-elements imported from China and seen extensively in the ninja's escape and evasion, and higher strategy teachings.

Since writing the first part of this article, I have had the opportunity to go back on-line to see what others had written in response to the original question. I was not surprised to find that the subject had been "beaten to death" (imagine how I felt after having written an article about it both for Ura & Omote and my own Hannya newsletter!)

But, as always, instead of just answering the question, a political (i.e. right/wrong) crisis ensued for most of the input. And then the political views were answered and then. . . (geez!!!!!) Again, just as with the books often found on the subject matter, the responses to the question were of three major types:

1. Intelligent, well thought-out responses, regardless of the point of view, or level of understanding of the subject.

2. Justifications for either using the system or not using the system to teach the art -- as if the question were stated 'Why is it (not) used in teaching ninjutsu?"

3. "Sensei-says" responses that supposedly quote Hatsumi-sensei with saying this or that. (He probably did; you'll get no argument from me!) But don't forget that Sensei has also said that he lies to his students (is that the truth or a lie? and if it's a lie then he does and if it isn't. . .)

Anyway, the point of this article, as the first, is to explain the second of the two systems of five elements, that were originally condensed into one in the question. I will try to do this to the best of my knowledge and understanding.

The Gogyo '5-Elemental Transformations' theory is a Chinese system of explaining the growth, progression or destructive dissolution of energy in an ever-changing process. Where the Godai '5-Elemental Manifestations' symbolize and categorize "things" (i.e. solids, fluids, sexes, job titles, personalities, etc.) as they appear in the ever-growing and expanding universe, the gogyo "transformations" -- which are based on the Taoist concept of in and yo (yin/yang in Chinese), shows the development of, progression towards or blocking of energy in any "thing." Far from being contradictory theories, the godai and gogyo symbologies are in actuality mirror images of each other. In fact, in the Buddhist mind-sciences, the gogyo system can be seen as the sixth element (mind) transforming the godai into the rokudai.

The five elements of the gogyo are sui "water," moku "wood," ka "fire," do "earth." and kin "metal." The elements, unlike those of the godai have no real beginning or ending as such. They 'appear" to start where the observer first becomes aware of them and can be seen to progress in an unending series of cycles from there. The system has two parts. One, a productive, progressive 'growth' cycle; and an ura destructive, blocking or damming cycle.

The productive cycle of the gogyo, picking an arbitrary starting point, is as follows:

*Sui "Water" -- is energy in a pooling, collecting or sinking state. Unlike the godai element of the same name, the "water" element represents the coming together of all the necessary components that will allow growth to take place. As an example, we could take a look at the growth of a plant and see how the seed from which it comes is just one part of the whole process involved. But without the right soil conditions, moisture level, mineral content and balance, warmth, etc. the seed will not even begin to germinate.

* Moku "Wood" -- represents upward reaching new growth. As the elements of the "water" element come together and focus they take on a 'life' of their own that appears to be separate and distinct from it's base parts. In our example of the plant, we see it's stem or shoot break through the surface and begin to reach toward the sunlight which will feed and nourish it.

* Ka "Fire" -- also an element of the godai but used here in a different context. This symbol represents expanding or evaporating energy. Our plant opens up in full bloom as it comes to full maturity. However, by doing so, it exposes more of its self to the air allowing for more evaporation and moisture loss; thus leading naturally to the next element.

* DO "Earth" -- is the representation of energy in a condensing state. From the initial growing stage of the "water" level, and through the expansion phase of the "fire" state, the energy now begins to condense back in upon itself. As the plant continues to mature it begins to wither and dry out.

* KIN "Metal" -- represents energy in a 'hardening,' compacting state. Our plant continues to dry out until even the solid parts return to their mineral base forms and return to the soil from which they came. The moisture that the plant has been giving up as it dried, the solid matter returning to the soil for decomposition, the gasses given up during decomposition and so forth, all contribute and lead to the "water" element of the next cycle.

The elements are not, and should not be thought of as separate and distinct steps, but rather phases in a natural process. It is difficult to find an exact changing point from one to another, but each is seen as a gradual coming into being from the previous elements activity. The seasons (for those of you in the temperate zone!) make a good analogy for this process. In contrast to the man-made calendar that has divided the year into four roughly equal parts measuring ninety-tow to ninety-three days each, nature takes its own course in its gradual shifting from the new growth of Spring into the warmth and activity we all enjoy during Summer; which becomes the colors and beauty of Autumn (which is really the drying out of the vegetation) and the slowed activity as the days become progressively colder into the Winter months. As I said, man has constructed this 'reality' for convenience and then complains when Spring doesn't come on schedule!

The fifth 'season,' here represented by the "water" element can be seen to be the 'dog-days' of Spring. That 'unofficial" season when the ground is thawing, and the ice is melting and everything is preparing for the new growth to come.

This same cyclic progression can be seen in a defensive situation, and should be acted out by those wishing to prepare for a real situation. It can be viewed from either perspective; attacker's or defender's.

At the "metal" phase, the attacker is laying plans for the attack; the defender is operating in a mindful state instead of the sleep-walk living typical of the 'average' person.

The attacker moves into position readying his body for the attack -- gets mentally and emotionally set for what is about to happen; the defender becomes aware of a problem and also attempts to position him or herself for the easiest solution possible.

Next, the attacker launches the actual assault either with the first grab, punch or kick or by causing a 'scene' from which he can apply psycho-emotional pressure; the defender receives the initially attack -- hopefully with success! At last the fight is fully engages as each participant counters, evades, attacks, etc. in an attempt to win until finally the tempo dies down ("earth") as each loses energy until one is brought under control, and finally stopped ("metal").

While it takes a lot to explain, the actual timeline of events often takes less time than it took for you to read about it.

The system also has a 'destructive' or energy damming (NOT damning) cycle. The same elements are involved but are related to each other differently. Where the productive cycle shows the natural progression from one phase of energy to another, the destructive cycle shows how each type of energy can be used to block or destroy another and prevent the productive cycle from continuing. The elemental relativity of this cycle is:

earth, water, fire, metal, wood, earth

(**Note that I have listed "earth" twice to show the continuing cycle in the process and not as an additional element. Also note that arbitrarily chose "earth" as my starting point, but could have chosen any of the others instead.)

The logic of the flow can be seen in the obvious natural descriptions of the elements in that DO the "earth" dams-up and controls the flow of "water" SUI which, in turn, destroys KA the "fire" -- just as the cold water puts out a roaring fire. "Fire" destroys "metal" KIN, as the furnace turns the iron ore to soup; "metal" destroys "wood" as the saw cuts down the trees. Finally, MOKU the "wood" element then destroys "earth" -- just as the growth of plants and trees can be seen to move the earth, and even boulders, from their path.

The destructive cycle can also be seen as a guide for strategy in a battle if one understands the context of each element. Metal represents the planning stage and will naturally progress to the equipment gathering or preparation stage unless it is stopped by a full assault (Fire). The Water phase of preparation for battle will naturally lead to the invasion if not delayed or stopped by information which requires a return to the planning stage (earth). The initial invasions (wood) will progress effortlessly into the heat of battle if not stopped by better-laid plans (metal) by the opposing forces which cause an army to require more supplies and renewed preparation to continue. The fury of battle will wane and phase out (earth) as each side evaluates their previous strategy for any necessary changes unless it is forced to continue by a new assault (wood.)

This destructive cycle, which stops the progression of energy to its next phases (causing it to either return to the previous stage or skip to the following one), can also be seen with our plant.

This destructive cycle, which stops the progression of energy to its next phase (causing it to either return to the previous stage or skip to the following one), can also be seen with our plant. The seed, as pre-planned (karmic) potential represents the metal element. It will not progress to the growth state of its life if it does not get the moisture and nutrients needed because of draught ("earth" drying). The new shoot ("wood") will never bloom ("fire") if it encounters a gardener's blade ("metal") but will immediately move onto the drying out stage of the "earth" element. And so the process goes on.

The gogyo theory receives a great amount of attention in the practicing of the ninja arts (and is NOT limited to the Kasumi-an program!) The Goton-po escape and evasion strategies are categorized by these elements as are the teachings involving military strategy as shown above.

First, the Goton-po categories, and some of the skills comprising them, are:

* DOTON-Jutsu -- is the use of the terrain, ground, and geography to hide or escape from, thwart the activities of, or attack the enemy as he attempts to move through an area. Land navigation, reading the land, tracking, and the ability to operate various types of vehicles are some of the skills covered by applying this strategy.

* Kinton-Jutsu -- employs the use of metal and steel in the form of tools to assist with our strategy. Various weapons, both man-made and improvised, tools for gaining access to, and escaping from, barricaded structures, as well as equipment for climbing or perching on high natural or man-made structures are examples of skills suggested by the "Metal" element.

* Suiton-Jutsu -- covers the use of actual water sources for escape and evasion and attacking from a distance. Induced flooding, swimming skills for survival and stealth, water collection and purification in emergency situations, and construction and use of various water vehicles represent some of the skills here.

* Mokuton-Jutsu -- is the application of plants and other vegetation for survival, escape and evasion. Climbing skills (shotenjutsu), camouflage and concealment, use of plants for food, medicine, and poisons, rope-making, improvised shelters and carpentry skills all fall under the implied use of the "wood" element. * Katon-Jutsu -- is the heading for skills employing fire and explosives. Skills under this category include, but are not limited to, use of a wide range of firearms, improvised explosives, fire-building, and the reflection of sunlight as glare against an attacker's vision.

This Goton-po strategy is introduced to students of the Kasumi-an program early in training as a basis for optional outdoor wilderness survival training and is a necessary requirement for teacher certification.

The gogyo theory, as with the godai, regardless of whether or not they are a formal part of any particular school, remain valid and powerful tools in a ninja's arsenal; both for learning the material covered and application under stress. Coming to a deeper understanding of these theories still lie ahead past the given description here.

The final installment will cover both of the systems as mirrors of each other, their application in the realm of personal development and Enlightenment study, and their sister symbols in other philosophical systems often used in their study, by some, to enhance and understand the higher levels of the Ninja's lifeways.

Jeff Miller is a Licensed Private Investigator and Personal Protection Agent. He is the chief instructor of Miller's Martial Arts/Bujinkan Kuryu Dojo in Sunbury, PA. He has been training in the martial and meditative arts for 2/3 of his life with the last 11 years attempting to capture the "essence" of ninpo-taijutsu, under the guidance of Shihan Stephen K. Hayes. Mr. Miller is a firearms instructor and wilderness survival tactician and conducts seasonal seminars on the topics. He is the editor of the HANNYA ('Insight') newsletter for individuals interested in learning more about themselves and their art. He may be contacted at: <>.


Bo Munthe

In my 35 years of training in and studying the Martial Arts, I have found that the average martial artist does not have a great deal of interest in studying the historical part of the art in which he trains. However, people involved in ninpo-training tend to be the exception to this observation. These people make great efforts to find out about the philosophy and history of the art, the ninpo bugei and shinobi-philosophy.

The reason why I write about this problem is that, as I see it, having muscle and raw attitude are becoming more important than cultivating brain and spirit. If people avoid the most important thing in the world -- studying to be better human beings -- we will soon see worse things than the Ultimate Fighting Championship and other so called "tournaments."

For me, and most of my students, training in the warrior way is about how to act in a confrontation. However, life on a day to day basis is not about physical confrontations only; it is more about mental conflicts. One good way to master those conflicts is to learn the proper way of the warrior -- the peaceful spiritual way. To quote Jack Hoban, "When in doubt -- think!"

Our training in my dojo, Kuro Yama Kai, is about those important things -- how to develop man's deepest strength -- to become a Tatsujin, a complete person, through training in shogyu.

Bo Munthe is now teaching in his own dojo outside Stockholm, Bujinkan Bo Dojo, Kuro Yama Kai, Ibsengatan 9, S-161 59 Sweden. Tel/fax 46 8 877 420. The training in the dojo is Bujinkan budo taijutsu and ninpo goshinjitsu. He is working as a teacher in mental development, conflict-stress management and self-protection. He can be reached via e-mail at: <>


Ilan Gattegno

Teaching is one of the most difficult tasks we face in the Martial Arts. Only when a beginner demonstrates that he has learned something from us, then can we truly say, that we were his teachers. A teacher is measured by his students and only by them. At the first Tai-Kai outside Japan, in 1987, when four of us, students of Doron Navon from Israel, passed our 5th Dan tests, Hatsumi Sensei demonstrated very clearly, that the test was not our own but our teacher's. As we passed our tests Sensei said "Congratulations to Doron." To Doron and not us because Doron had proven himself by letting his students become independent and face the challenges he himself faced only a few years before.

I was with Doron in 1983 when he, Hajime-Gai-Jin, passed the test in the dojo in Saitama-ken. He reached the level of Homono-shidoshi (real teacher) after 8 years with Sensei and 9 more of practicing on his own. He felt he was ready to meet the challenge, as he saw the first five Shihans had done before him. And Sensei went out to celebrate that night. It was his celebration, proof to himself that he could train a true teacher that wasn't Japanese. Hatsumi-Sensei stressed throughout the following years that he was not a Japanese, but a man of the world, and he has been proving this statement ever since, going from one community to another to inspire thousands of students on four continents.

At every Tai-Kai that I attend I hear Sensei saying over and over that he is a bad teacher. He really means it and he sends aspiring students to learn from the teachers he appointed. In seminars he uses those teachers to demonstrate techniques, and to teach on his behalf. Whenever one of those teachers gets a spark of an idea Hatsumi Sensei does not hesitate and sends him in front of the crowd saying: "Teach!" and they do. These teachers, who are all students of Hatsumi Sensei, can convey some of the things to those less experienced who find Sensei's movements too perfect to understand.

Hatsumi Sensei knows very well that we cannot learn from masters -- but we can learn from clumsy people to whose mistakes we can relate, because humans learn from mistakes and not from perfection. Next to Hatsumi Sensei we are all very clumsy, we make many mistakes and as a result we can teach. He is not a teacher for everyone any more, because he has become the ultimate source of inspiration. Sensei uses his teachers as middlemen, as mediators, to convey his style. They might grasp some of it faster than others and help unveil more details of the perfect and unattainable picture.

It is not technique alone, it is not the flow on its own, it is the spirit behind everything that is discovered when we eliminate mistakes. Only teachers who are still students, who work hard and practice with other students can eventually make the new techniques an integral part of themselves. Then they can really become mediators, and teach for Sensei, letting him fulfill his role as an enlightening inspiration. And for such an inspiration it is worth traveling across the world time and time again.

Ilan Gattegno is a journalist, working as an editor in Yedioth Ahronoth Daily, and is a senior instruc tor in the Israeli Bujinkan dojo. He started practicing Ninjutsu with Doron Navon in 1974 and passed his 5th Dan test in 1987. He is married to Julia (Reynolds), the first Western woman to practice in Bujinkan Hombu dojo and the first Western woman to be awarded a black belt. They met at Tanemura Bujinkan Dojo in 1983 and now live, practice and teach in Tel Aviv, Israel. They can be reached by e-mail: <>


Ken Harding

Look through the ads for martial arts schools in any city's yellow pages and the thing that stands out the most are the pictures of little kids doing high kicks and statements like "improve your child's self-confidence" and "develop a can-do attitude in your child," etc. While these things are certainly important for children, let's not forget that ideas like this are important for many adults, too. I can see these things as an underlying need in many people at my dojo, and I'm sure it is no different everywhere else. That's because things like self esteem and confidence are rarely infused into us as young people, and as we grow older, the years of negative thoughts and self-denigration make it even more difficult for adults to gain self-mastery over their "inner demons."

While their are hundreds of 'positive mental attitude' books in the self-help sections of every bookstore, this talk will not be focused on them. I will reference the classical Japanese warriors and Chinese military masterminds to support the ideas of self mastery. A martial artist without mastery over self, no matter what the style, is only a pale imitation of the true warrior, usually turning to bullying, excess and cruelty, or shrinking down into feelings of insecurity, fear and timidity.

I think a strong command over one's self is what we are all searching for. Not many of us get into fights on a weekly basis. Some of us, who are security guards, bouncers or police officers do, but they are in the minority here. Most people want that inward strength, not only for dealing with physical confrontations, but in daily life. . . developing control in their jobs and personal relationships.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo, in the Hagakure (1716): "There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment. Everyone lets the present moment slip by, then looks for it as though he thought it were somewhere else. No one seems to have noticed this fact. But grasping this firmly, one must pile experience upon experience. And once one has come to this understanding he will be a different person from that point on, though he may not always bear it in mind.

When one understands this settling into single-mindedness well, his affairs will thin out. Loyalty is also contained within this single-mindedness."

The first step is examining your life. Like the small round mirror that sits on the kamiza, look at your reflection honestly. That is one of the hardest things you can do. Do you feel like an author, writing the chapters of your life, creating the situations around you that you desire? Have you written the outcome that you want? Are you living your life exactly as you want to? Or do you feel like a out-of-control character in a tragic novel that was written by somebody else? Do you say "why do these things always happen to me?" Does life seem like something that you have little or no control over? If you think so, either way, then that is a choice you have made. If you are miserable, you have chosen to be so. The same goes for if you are happy. It sounds strange to say that you have chosen to be unhappy, but people determine subconsciously their level of comfort in life, and make choices based on that level of comfort. Many things may happen to you in life. You cannot control external events and forces. What you can control is how you perceive and react to them.

"The way to experience ultimate happiness is to let go of all worries and regrets, and to know that being happy is the most satisfying of life's feelings. Knowing that disease and disaster are natural parts of life is the key to overcoming adversity with a calm and happy spirit. Happiness is waiting there in front of you. Only you can decide whether or not you choose to experience it." Toshitsugu Takamatsu, the 33rd Grandmaster.

One day recently a student came in to talk to me about a personal problem: controlling his anger. One statement he made was: "They make me so mad sometimes. . ." Listen to the language of that phrase. "They make me so mad." Who has the power here?

"Take the power away from them," I replied. "You have empowered them to control you. No one can make you angry. No one can make you sad, happy or anything else. You are the one who has control over your emotions."

You are not your emotions. You are the person who has the emotions. You are not your past experiences- you are the one who had those experiences. You are the one who can choose to learn from them. Those past experiences, whether they be childhood or other negative memories, may influence us, but they do not determine us. Live out of your imagination, not your memory. That is where you create the life you want for yourself.

Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military genius, said much the same thing 2000 years ago, applied to the attitude of military leadership:

"Good generals act in accord with events, not quick to anger, not subject to embarrassment. Their action and inaction are matters of strategy, and they cannot be pleased or angered."

That is one of the most powerful statements you can ever take to heart. Develop yourself to a point where you feel that you are the master of your feelings. No one can anger you. And just as no one can anger you, no one can make you happy. You are the only one who can do that. All you need is within you- you don't need to look outside for anyone or anything. Take responsibility for your own happiness. You aren't happy at your job? Aren't you doing what you absolutely love to do? Who's fault is that? Your boss? Co-workers? No. Do you dread Monday mornings? My Monday mornings are better than most people's Christmases. Not happy with your mate? Don't look at them. Look in the mirror. You cannot change someone else; the problem lies with you. These are strong questions and statements, but sometimes we need a slap in the face to wake us up.

I recently talked to a mother of a prospective student on the phone. She said that she was not interested in the self-defense aspects of martial arts for her son, but rather in the self confidence and self esteem areas. I told her that confidence and self esteem arise in a person of strong capabilities who has taken the control of their emotions away from other people and has given it back to themselves, and has mastered their actions in their daily lives. Confidence and a powerful self image are cultivated in a person who has put aside fear because they have real abilities in the combative arts.

"By experiencing the confrontation of danger, the transcendence of fear of injury or death, and a working knowledge of individual personal powers and limitations, the practitioner of Ninjutsu can gain the strength and invincibility that permit enjoyment of the flowers moving in the wind, appreciation of the love of others, and contentment with the presence of peace in society." Masaaki Hatsumi, Soke.

You can be a strong, confident, loving person, he is saying, through the study of methods of bringing pain and death to others. This is no more paradoxical than any other facet of our enigmatic art. The living example is Hatsumi Sensei himself. In the time I was fortunate enough to be in close contact with him, he was at complete ease, in absolute control over the world around him. If you have neglected this side of the training, maybe these words can help you in your own personal exploration of it.

Shidoshi Ken Harding, 7th dan, heads the Missouri Bujinkan Dojo in St. Louis. He received his rank and teaching certification in Japan directly from Grandmaster Hatsumi, and returns to Japan on a yearly basis to further his training from the true source of the art. He is the author of Shadow Words: Ninpo's Art of Kyojitsu Ten Kan Ho, and publishes the Shadowgram newsletter. He is a full time instructor and author who devotes his life to the study of Ninpo, as well as Japanese language and the philosophies of many cultures. He is a member of the Shidoshi-Kai (the official instructors organization of the Bujinkan), and enforces proper membership requirements as issued by the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo. He may be contacted via E-mail: <>


Alan Antopol

It is very easy to focus on achieving your next belt rank and thus away from improving your taijutsu. You may start to practice, almost exclusively, on what you imagine your instructor will ask you at the test. To compound this misguided focus, you start comparing yourself with others of similar rank. Depending on your mood and demeanor the following ideas may pop into your head:

1. Why are he and she 7th kyus and I'm only an 8th kyu, when I can do ganseki nage and omote gyaku better than her and can beat him up? . . . or

2. Why am I an 8th kyu when this 9th kyu does no-hands cartwheels silently and I sound like a sack of bricks dropping on a marble floor when I attempt even a front roll? . . . or

3. I must be too old for this. When my shidoshi-ho swings the shinai in a horizontal cut, the only way I don't get hit is if he brings up shellac and shavings from the floor. Yet my younger classmate soars over cuts aimed at his hip. . . or

4. I should be a higher rank. Some of my seniors can't get through the warm-ups without gasping and going out for water. I smile all the way though. (Hopefully you dan types in the audience are beyond this, but remember those bygone days of yesteryear)

I offer these antidotes to "belt tripping":

* Remember that the object is for you to improve overall.

* Remember taijutsu is not a competitive sport. Fights are not necessarily conducted in a well-lit venue with a good surface facing a single opponent with a referee to make sure that everything is fair. A tournament better fits that description.

* Your classmate may have been promoted as a ". . .means of challenging him to improve." (Ninja Secrets from the Grandmaster, Hatsumi and Hayes, Contemporary Books, Inc. 1987 p.19)

* The cartwheel specialist may have studied gymnastics for 10 years before she ever heard of Bujinkan Taijutsu. . . or

* One of your classmates may have a 38 inch jump and can jam a basketball. Folks like me need to remember that the object is to improve from going over an ankle high (or low) cut to going over one aimed at the knees. Do not use someone else's ability to magnify what you perceive you lack.

* There is no tenure in taijutsu. You may have practiced musha dori a great deal four months ago for your last test. If you've slacked off on this technique since then, you may have trouble using it now on a powerful partner. Analogously, you may have been a fine scuba diver five years ago, but without diving your skill will have attenuated greatly by this point.

* Keep training and, to use the words of the commercial, "Be all that you can be." Let rank come as a byproduct of your increasing skill.

By way of a postscript, I went to a seminar, recently, expecting to test for my next kyu. The seminar was great, but no belt testing was done. That was a good test of how well I take my own advice.

Alan Antopol has been training for two and a half years. He can be reached at <>.


Christopher Watson

After 3 years of semi-inactivity in the Bujinkan I started back to full time training this month. My 10th anniversary is Nov 11th and I've had some time to reflect back on what training USED to be like:

Well, back in my day sonny. . .

* There were only two dojos -- Steve's and Bud's! The rest of us found old smelly YMCA's, garages, rented space in shopping malls, and closets.

* Red Dawn was around the corner; the Russian Bear was poised to land in Nebraska and if you were a REAL ninja, you wore fatigues, so you could tell who the newbie or ninja wannabe was -- he came in a black gi.

* There was none of this [smile], "Welcome to the _______ school/club/dojo, we're glad to have you!" No way! Too many wannabe's -- you got the piss kicked out of you for 6 months before anybody learned your name, and it was a year before anybody SPOKE it!

* You know, I don't remember signing a waiver for training until '90 or so. . . You assumed it was gonna hurt BAD and didn't cry about it to some scum sucking bottom feeder with a tie. Training HURT, hurting was GOOD, and you learned by pain reinforcement. Techniques done poorly hurt, techniques done well hurt A LOT.

* A godan was SOMETHING -- you'd reached a semi-godhood status by getting out of the way of Hatsumi's sword. Not this godan-per-square-mile measurement we got now. NO-O-O, you had to really be good at your technique -- or you dislocated your shoulder or got knocked out. Yep, the Bad old days, when Godan were gods, and you crawled to your car after class and into your house.

Now where's my Flexall 454? . . . My knee brace? . . . Honey, have you seen my artificial arm?

Chris Watson has managed to salvage what's left of a formerly successful progression in Ninpo. Now married with children, he often contemplates on how to convince his employer to write off a trip to Japan as a business expense. A former student of Jack 'The Ripper' Hoban, Chris now resides and trains in the Richmond area and calls Shidoshi Scott Grenz's Sanrin Komichi Dojo, his home. His wife is still wondering where he moved to. He may be reached via e-mail at: <>.



In our diligent practice and study of ninpo taijutsu, we strive to achieve the level of a tatsujin -- a complete warrior in total harmony with mind and body. One technique that can greatly complement our "journey" is chi kung (pronounced "chee gung," meaning energy work/development).

Chi kung is an ancient Chinese practice of health promotion and development that dates back millennia. To better explain what it is, I must first dissect the word itself. Kung defines a method or procedure. Chi (which literally means "breath") is a little more esoteric. It defines the energy/life-force that surrounds and permeates all things in this universe (in physics, all things are scientifically proven to be a part of a vast energy field). In humans, its vast potential is dormant until one consciously develops it. This latency can materialize if one genuinely practices development. A parable to this is intelligence: one must attend school and study various ways of education before one can be express one's potential intelligence.

There is an old saying: "With chi, one can move mountains." I am not implying that if you are develop your chi, that you would possess the telekinetic ability to shake Mount Everest. What I am saying is that if you cultivate your chi, you will possess more energy ("life-force"). As a result, you can contribute more zest into your everyday life giving a glow to your daily activities. It can also aid in your psycho/ physiodynamics to motivate you to achieve your goals instead of just completing your daily routines.

One of the emphasized rewards of chi kung is health improvement. Whether we do taijutsu for self-defense, health maintenance, spiritual gains, and/or just to be a modern-day ninja warrior, chi kung health improvement techniques can help to catalyze this curriculum. With better stamina and vitality, we can put more effort and meaning in our experience to accelerate our training.

In the higher levels of chi kung (should you decide to stick with it), it can also facilitate the ninja's psychological/spiritual abilities. One of the more important criteria in our budo (ways of the warrior) is the development of environmental awareness. Since chi kung develops your life-force energy that includes your aura (which is your link to the environment), this will help improve your sense of your surroundings.

The original ninjas' intent was to be in tune with nature (the outside universe/macrocosm). Chi kung helps develop the human body (the inside universe/microcosm). Once harmony is reach with the two worlds, we are a step closer to reaching the level of tatsujin.

* * *A final note: Chi kung is not to be confused with tai chi chuan. Chi kung is the method to develop one's life-force/energy. Tai chi chuan is the internal martial art discipline that uses your chi for its power.* * *

The author of this article would like to remain anonymous. Comments or questions can be addressed to the editor at: <>.


Jon Merz

**** The sun burns high overhead as you finish the last in a series of kihon happo exercises. Sweat pours down your face and your breathing is labored under the burden of the oppressive heat. As you blink the salty tears away from your eyes, you consider your training and ask yourself the most important question you will ever face during your Bujinkan training:

Do I look as cool as I think I do? *****

Sorry, for those of you looking for another enlightened article written to teach you something, this isn't it. This is another wacky article written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Put aside your serious demeanors for a few minutes and come have a laugh or five.

Summer is once again upon us. Some of us have the luxury of training in air conditioned facilities with showers and can recount the exquisite pleasure of splashing Jean Nate after-bath splash on a fresh rug burn, while others train in more Spartan conditions with little ventilation and no towel boys. Either way, we all have to consider what summer training means: sweat. It's not just that sweat during the summer is different from any other kind of sweat, but it is. Summer sweat rolls down every little nook and crevice that you either never thought you had or ever tried to hide with some kind of belly wrap. Then it pools down somewhere south of the border and stings and chafes and makes you want to itch all those places mom warned you about back when you were in the first grade. Suddenly, it doesn't matter whether the ninth kyus see you doing the hiney shuffle, dammit, you gotta scratch!

Then there's the problem of gi removal. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I sweat it tends to stagnate around my waist line, which is fine. The problem occurs when I try to loosen my drawstring and find that it will not move. Hence the gi pants, which always get hotter just before you take them off, do not come off. The result is a hopping and jumping type of labored movement that resembles, I'm told, an ostrich in heat. Of course, this happens to be one of my life goals, being compared to a resident of the Serengeti under extreme sexual duress, but not in the dojo. Alas, dignified disrobing is a rarity in the summer.

Water consumption during the summer should be a high priority, after all, it's not every day you can watch it bleed through your pores almost as quickly as you suck it down. And you paid how much for the bottle of designer water? I've heard Evian means Idiote in French, but hey, I settle for tap water. Preferably with lots of lead.

Now if you happen to work out in a dojo that is less formal and people remove their gi tops during the hottest months of the year, please be sure to choose a T-shirt that shows taste. No one wants to see all the stops on the 1978 REO Speedwagon world tour or read about why Beavis has his finger up his nose. When I choose a T-shirt, I think of myself as doing the dojo a favor. Try to wear something that instills a little mushin in your fellow class participants. Favorites in this category might include anything quoted out of a Lyndon LaRouche pamphlet or a transcript from a Dan Quayle speech. Generally, if it's confusing, it's good. Those of you who are evil (who me?) will use this as a way to confuse your uke prior to slamming them.

Summertime has its own set of etiquette that no Bujinkan practitioner should ever forget. For example, always remember that it is impolite to drench your uke with your own sweat. Of course, it's nice of you to offer, but generally speaking, most folks have enough sweat of their own without you adding more to the swill. Try to towel off often. Also, when greedily sucking water from the nearest faucet, remember your goal is to replenish your stores of H2O, not be the first human to mate with a plumbing apparatus. Stop ramming your tongue down the rusty pipes and just drink the water instead. Finally, be sure that if you roll up your gi pants that they do not resemble gi shorts. However sexy you think your hairy calves are, not everyone feels the same.

When executing techniques, you will encounter what I affectionately refer to as "slippage." By this, of course, I mean the inevitable sliding of sweat-drenched flesh against sweat-drenched flesh. Whether your punch suddenly skids off your uke's face and careens into the nearest person or not, you will be bosom buddies with this phenomenon long before the leaves turn colors in late September. In your later years, you'll be able to recall with pleasure how easily you used ganseki nage on that one uke. Correct body movement, distancing, timing and alignment? Nope, just a little slippage. Hey, if it helps, how bad can it be?

Nothing matches the thrill of ending a class in the summertime. In the changing room you can see heft your drenched T-shirt and see "those ugly pounds just melting away magically!" And it is a magical experience, especially when you swoon and faint from not having replaced the three gallons of water you just lost.

So be sure to enjoy yourself this summer. It's a great time to get together, train real hard, toss body fluids all over each other and generally look like you've been training a lot harder than you actually have. Have fun, drink lots of water, and sweat baby, sweat.

Jon Merz, the exclusive originator of humorous bylines, currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts and is once again the featured spoons player in the Mister Green Jeans Revival Tour '96. When not consciously breathing, he spends most of his time trying to get into print and collecting large bruises from training. He has been training for a totally insignificant time period of five years under the guidance of Mark Davis and can be reached for his views on inter-species breeding techniques at <JOHN.MERZ@FMR.COM>.


(from the Ninjutsu FAQ by Kevin R. Gowen II; <>)

What do "nin-po ik-kan" and "shikin haramitsu dai komyo" mean?

"Nin-po ik-kan" means "The law of the ninja is our primary inspiration." "Shikin haramitsu dai komyo" means "Every experience is sacred, and may provide the key to the universal enlightenment we seek."

Why does Hatsumi call his organization the Bujinkan? Where did this term come from and what was it called before?

Hatsumi took the name Bujinkan (Establishment of the Divine Warrior) for his teacher Toshitsugu Takamatsu whom he felt embodied this principles. He speaks of doing techniques inspired by this 'bujin.' The name was created by Hatsumi and did not have any other name for his organization previous to this. He created the term when he started to form a society for the nourishment and dissemination of his teacher's knowledge and fighting systems.


(from the Scholar Warrior's Dictionary -- Japanese)




Peter Carlsson
Translated by Mats Hjelm
With the exception of the Hattori families, the Momochi and Fujibayashi families are the most well known ninja families from the Iga province. According to some sources, they also came from the Otomo Hosoto and Otomo families. It is said that the Momochi family ruled the southern part of Iga, the Hattori family the middle, and the Fujibayashi family the northern part. Momochi Sandayu was one of the most well known ninja jonin (leader) besides Hattori Hanzo.

Momochi Sandayu lived during the Tembun era (1542-1555) and was the soke (grandmaster, or family head) of Momochi Ryu, Koto Ryu and Gyokko Ryu. He was well known as a skillful ninja.

To hide his identity, he had no less than three different home's. One of them was in Ryugu Sanbonmatsu in the Yamato province, that was founded by the Daimyo Kitabatake Tomonori; the others in Hojiro Yamato and Takiguchi-Jo. He also had three different families which he alternated between. The place he mainly lived in during the 1570s seems to be Ryugu Sanbonmatsu, since he was considered to be one of the leading men in that village.

Some sources state that Momochi Sandayu and the third most famous ninja leader, Fujibayashi Nagato, where the same person. This could be confirmed under the premise that when Oda Nobunaga invaded Iga in 1581 there was no evidence that Nagato was active, but that Momochi was. Another reason for this assumption is that the Momochi family is not listed among the 45 leading ninja families in the Ninjutsu system.

One of Momochi Sandayu's homes at Takiguchi-Jo, close to Iga-Ueno, was burned down by Oda Nobunaga's invasion of Iga. Momochi successfully escaped with his men and stayed in Sanbonmatsu until the news of the assassination of Oda Nobunaga (on the 10th of June 1582) reached him. Sandayu Momochi probably died not long after the Iga invasion; his grave was found in the 1960s on the old family grounds near the Nabari village, at the foot of the Oka-One mountain, approximately 24 kilometers from Iga-Ueno. It was located on a hill near one of his homes.

Momochi Sandayu II inherited both Gyokko Ryu and Koto ryu during the Tensho era (1570 - 1592) from Momochi Sandayu. Who became the next Soke in Momochi Ryu is unknown. Gyokko Ryu and Koto Ryu where passed down to Momochi Tanba Yasumitsu in the Bunroku era (1596- 1615); he was also known as Tanba No Kami and master of the Ryugu castle. Momochi Taro Saemon, who was the master of the Ueno Shokudai castle in the Iga province, took over the Sokeship in the Genna era (1615-1624). After that time period, the two ryus left the Momochi family to wander their own separate ways in the Iga province.

Other well-known persons in the Momochi family were Momochi Jindayu Yasutatsu, Momochi Sannojo and Momochi Chuzaburo Yasumasu. That their methods were very effective was among many things proven. A kunoichi (female ninja) named Tanaka Sadako, was never revealed or discovered when she worked under disguise. The descendants of Momochi Sandayu are still living in one of his houses, but they no longer have any connection with the ninja tradition from Momochi Sandayu. All the remains and ninja tools where sold to museums and collectors about two or three generations ago.


The original text and research was done by Peter Carlsson who may be reached at: DATORTEK@SBBS.SE. Translation from Swedih to English was done by Mats Hjelm who may be contacted at HELMET@ALGONET.SE

This work is absolutely not to be taken as "true fact" since it is quite impossible to prove the Kuden. We would be happy for any kind of creative and serious research that you have found out, so if you have noticed some errors in this text or would like to point out something else worth noting please let us know so we could update and make this even more accurate. If possible, please try to back up your claims with some sort of verification or serious references.

A big problem when one does research about the history of ninja and the Bujinkan is that when one compares information in books about the subject with general acknowledged history in history books they often do not agree. This means that all information in circulation is to be considered as gossip until it can be compared and proven against general history. This includes the text above.

Some of the people we wish to thank for the sources are here listed in no particular order. . . Sveneric Bogsaeter * Perti Ruha * Stan Skrabut * Mariette V. D. Vliet * Charles Daniels * Bernadette V. D. Vliet * Stephen Turnbull * Ben Jones * Paul Richardson * HATSUMI Masaaki * Gothenburg ninposaellskap (and possibly many others)

For more information like this, get hooked to Internet and browse over to or phone ++46-8-985948 to MokoNoTora FidoNet BBS.

This translation is allowed to be posted electronically or printed as long as it is left unedited or changed in any way. It is not allowed to be reprinted in any way for commercial purposes without permission. Š MATS HJELM 1996


"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself."
-- Sam Levinson


Liz maryland

I listen to an upbeat, Top-40 radio station in the morning in order to start my day in good spirits. I have a workout tape, which I created by dubbing all my favorite songs, that motivates me to spend more time on the exercise bike, StairMaster or treadmill. I play the Mortal Kombat soundtrack when I punch my heavy bag at home.

Music has always been an integral part of my life. It motivates me, inspires me, transports me. Often, when I practice or work out to music, I give my best "performances." I identify with the lyrics, with the drum beat, with the chords. I can, and often do, become lost in the music, letting it move me from a different place from within myself.

At our dojo, we regularly play music in class to set the mood for a technique, to set the mood within the students. Recently, one instructor played the new "Mission Impossible" theme (very techno, very cool!) before an advanced throw class. All the students laughed when they realized what the song was. . . and went to work, bolstered by the implicit challenge in the song. We had to prove that no mission (Taki otoshi or Ushi mata) was impossible for us -- difficult, maybe; impossible, nah!

Music has also helped my friends make it through difficult times in training. I have a friend who listened to the soundtrack from Highlander before his shodan test to improve his mood and to help his focus. The lyrics of one song helped make a difference for him. Another friend of mine listened to old Bruce Springsteen to rev him up for an important rank test.

I listened to 10,000 Maniacs' remake of "Because the Night (Belongs to Lovers)" before my 3rd kyu test. I had identified something in the song which meant "doko" to me -- partially the way the music would weave back and forth -- and played the song when I practiced. Although my kata weren't as strong as I wanted them to be for this test, my bo work had improved because of the flow I had found in the song.

I encourage you to find music that supplements your training. It may be the theme song from Rocky that gets those punches stronger. It could be old Aerosmith or the Doors that helps your Ganseki Nage flow. Whatever it is, find something that has meaning to you and that helps you move and flow the way you want. If you're not comfortable sharing your musical selection with your training partner -- after all, if Weird Al Yankovic is what motivates you, you may want to keep THAT a secret -- then use it when you practice alone. "Shadow box" your kata to your music. Listen to the song and visualize the kata going the way you want. All of these are valid ways of incorporating music into your training.

Currently I'm listening to "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree. The lyrics have special meaning for me. In essence, they tell me what I have to do in order to make it through my next great challenge.

Excerpts from "You Gotta Be" Listen as your day unfolds Challenge what the future holds Try to keep your head up to the sky. . .

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser, You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger, You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together. . .

. . .The best part is danger staring you in the face.

With words like this motivating me, how can I back down?

That's it for this month, guys and gals! As always, please e-mail the authors with your support and recognition. Also, please e-mail me with any errors or adjustments to this newsletter (I have a feel ing that there are several in this month's edition).

See you next month!


This newsletter was started to connect budo/ninpo taijutsu practitioners from all backgrounds together. Ura & Omote's goal is to provide a forum where we can easily gather and disseminate information (both "obvious" and "hidden"), ask questions and, more importantly, get answers, and share experiences while living the art.
Ura & Omote will not be publishing any further unauthorized translations of Hatsumi Sensei's work. The edi tor will occasionally publish translations that have received a "stamp of approval" from Sensei. In order for you to learn more of Hatsumi Sensei's present attitude, the editor suggests that you continue your studies of nin jutsu by finding a legitimate ninjutsu teacher, using Hatsumi's Densho ("Sanmyaku") and his various books or videos, and by encountering him directly at Tai Kai. -- Liz maryland

* * *We (the publisher and authors) are not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury which may occur through reading or following any instructions in this newsletter. Remember, these are martial arts techniques which may result in injury or death. Find a proper instructor wherever possible. Please consult a physician be fore engaging in the exercises described herein. Keep in mind that all articles herein are of their author's opin ion/research and the publisher of this newsletter will not be held liable for any errors or misleading informa tion. If you need further information on any articles, or if you have questions for the authors, please contact them directly. If there is no E-mail address listed, please E-mail the editor and your request will be forwarded.* * *

Liz maryland is the editor of this newsletter. She is STILL a graphic designer by trade and an information gatherer by choice. She trains under the guidance of Jean-Pierre Seibel at New York Budo, the dojo where the men are men, and the women aren't. When not trying to perfect her technique ("One more time. That last one sucked." ". . .but, Liz, it's 11:30 and I want to GO HOME!" "Just one more; I can't end the night on a bad note! Please, one more time. . . I swear." "Stop teasing me. . . you said 'one more time' two hours ago!"), she spends most of her free time watching videos and giving blow-by-blow commentary a la Howard Cosell ("Ooooh, that's gotta hurt!", "Holy cow!") of old rank tests with her friends. Liz fully expects to burn and rot in the lowest circle of hell, but in the meantime she can be reached via e-mail at: <>.

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