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[ olvasnivaló » Ura & Omote - 1996 May ]

Ura & Omote - 1996 May


Content


QUOTATIONS FROM SOKE

Benjamin Cole

This is a collection of quotations made by Masaaki Hatsumi-sensei during practice sessions at Ayase starting Jan. 9, 1996, as recorded in my training diary. I try to remember the general flow of the training sessions when I record my thoughts, because, as Hatsumi sensei once said, "I teach from what I see around me." As such, 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, naturally, 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.


JAN. 9, TUESDAY

"Most sword practitioners try to use only the power of the sword. They don't try to use their own power. When the sword and the self become one, then you are doubly strong."

"It is important to find balance between too much "kime" and too much freedom. If you always stop to break everything down, then you lack spontaneity and fluidity. If you are too fluid, you are all over the place like a samurai movie (wasting energy, using too much space and making openings for your opponent to exploit)."

JAN. 23, TUESDAY

"Remember there is a difference between swords for practice and swords for battle. Always check practice blades for dullness. I once was doing a demo in Ireland. I checked the base of the blade (near the "tsuba") and it was dull, so I figured it was safe. I ended up cutting a two inch scar into his (Noguchi's) neck, which is still here today."

"After a year of training with swords, you will come to realize how limited some arts, such as iado and kendo are." (i.e. We are not set in certain patterns or uses of the sword. We can draw the weapon in innumerable ways, as well as strike, spin, draw, block, cut, strangle. etc.)

"Takamatsu-sensei used to say one thing repetitively: The heart of Taijutsu is important. And only through training will one polish that heart (like a gem) and understand true Taijutsu. That is why I ask that all those who are fifth dan or above to train with me. Or train with those who ARE training with me, not those that HAVE trained with me. Not the past, the present."

"Because of the multitudes of teachers out there, I can be more picky about whom I teach. I will be teaching only those with great hearts. Warrior hearts. And I hope that you all, when you return to your homelands, will teach only those with good hearts. That is my wish, and that is why I don't make some giant organization."

JAN. 30, TUESDAY

"There are people all over the world with very high ranks. There are also many other people who think that those people should not be those ranks. If you have a problem with someone, confront them."

"I think you will notice that anyone who says they understand this art, doesn't. There is just too much. Anyone, especially teachers, who thinks they know it all, will find themselves dead some day, because that overconfidence is a true weakness that will kill them. I personally consider myself zero."

"Remember that for every technique you think you can fall back on, there is a counter for it, or there are times when it cannot be used. When real battle comes, you must remember that some things will not be applicable. Don't think that any one technique is quintessential."

FEB. 6, TUESDAY

(Speaking of modern writers of novels) "I believe you are going to begin reading some different samurai stories in the near future. I had a group of people involved in the writing and publishing of "jidai-geki' (samurai movies, etc.). They trained with me for about three months and commented that their ideas of how weapons were actually used (back then) changed."

"Watching my teaching is like a watching a strip show. You watch and remember what you can, then go home and try it out (i.e. practice)." [He made this comment as he spent 15 minutes working on advanced lasso techniques, but didn't let us "play."]

FEB. 9, FRIDAY

"When you kill someone do it quickly and with as little pain as possible. That is the warrior heart. When we slaughter animals, for example, we don't want them to suffer needlessly. So goes it for humans."

"When fighting multiple opponents, leave weapons in your victims' bodies. That way you can later use them."

FEB. 16, FRIDAY

"Until now, I feel as if I have been playing with you. Well, I am sick of playing. I mentioned the other day at my talk about Takamatsu-sensei that men were made to cry and to die. And I meant it. If you are scared of death, please quit training. Because ultimately that is what you are training for. That's why you don't see any more kindergarten students around any more. (I didn't understand the connection. Maybe in reference to him having taught children before (?) Check on this, Ben.) It's time to start treating you like adults."

"It's important to know when you can kill and when you cannot. During war, it is okay to kill. Back in the feudal days of Japan, a great warrior (I forget his name) killed many people without retribution. But when times of peace came, he had to adjust his lifestyle. He couldn't keep on killing in the same way. If you kill in times of peace, you will be killed by the law. This ability to adjust is very important. If you don't change with the times, your training will be useless in times of need - when you need it most. That's what I hope to teach in the Bujinkan - to live in constant response to the changing environment around you."

"It's important everyone realize that there are plenty of things you cannot cut with a sword. (He said this following an anti-armor technique, insisting that we run a guy through rather than hack at him.) You can't cut the heart of a man with a "good" (righteous) heart."

FEB. 20, TUESDAY

"This is the era of martial arts. People who are afraid of putting their lives in danger, should quit. The Bujinkan already has enough people. It doesn't have to get any bigger. We have no need for such people. There are people all over the world who don't understand the heart of a warrior. People with bad hearts, I want to quit training or they will be forced out. Today, I brought a copy of the new tenets of the Bujinkan. Those who cannot or will not follow these principles must quit or be forced out."

"Humans have yet to dwell upon the consequences of their actions. People have yet to admit the bad that they do to nature, for example. Actually, most people spend their time finding fault in the actions of others, rather than their own."

"When drawing, always be moving. If you become static, you're easy to kill. Push your "saya" back to quicken your drawing technique. (We did drawing techniques, and then watched four people walk in a large circle. Hatsumi told them when to draw and occasionally told them to cover their back. This he compared with the psychological game one plays when facing an opponent, for you never know when your opponent will move.) You must be on your toes constantly, yet be relaxed."

"Don't overfocus on the sword when using it. Taijutsu is all around you; use it." (Meaning, for example, you may remove one hand from the hilt and punch your opponent, THEN cut your opponent down.)

"Don't try to cut (with your sword) or punch with your arms. Use the power of the universe surrounding you. (Referring to the group of European and American instructors who had just finished doing some excellent techniques.) Although their punching may look slow and weak, it is not the punch of just one person. If you can't harvest what your opponent is giving you, and combine that with the power from nature around you, then your punch will not be truly powerful."

FEB. 27, TUESDAY

(Referring to using a sword) "Sometime you don't want to cut them. You want to lay your blade on them. If they pull away, they cut themselves. This goes against all norms for using blades. In iado, for example, YOU must be the one to cut them. In iado, you can't just let them cut themselves, or cut them unconsciously. But in Ninpo, that is not so."

"There must be a balance of movement and non-movement. Once, in China, Takamatsu-sensei was attacked by a dog (on the shoulder/upper arm). He didn't move and when the dog released its bite to figure out what to do, he saw his opening and kicked it."

"I am not teaching techniques. I am teaching "nagare" (the flow). Anyone can perfect a technique, but to learn the flow - what you can't see - is most important. We must use the inertia our opponents gives us."

"Until now, the godan (fifth degree) test has been too easy. I am going to make it a real godan test. There are almost 600 godan around the world and almost half of them squeaked through. When I give the test, I will not stop the sword from hitting you. I will strike straight to the ground. It doesn't matter if you have the feeling and start to move. If you get it (and the sword were real), you'd be dead. But when you do finally pass, it shall be an accomplishment you can be proud of."

MARCH 1, FRIDAY

"The reason why I am doing technique after technique so quickly is that I am teaching you the flow, not the technique."

"Tie them up with your sword."

"You must move with your sword as though you don't have it."

"I am teaching you how to wield a sword when you are limbless." (concerning the forearm flip technique)

MARCH 22, FRIDAY

"As you can see, training is like cooking. Two people can have the exact same ingredients, but one is able to create something delicious, the other, something disgusting."

"When tired or carrying a weapon like an oar, carry it on your shoulder (like you would a shovel or ax) that way you don't get as tired."

"We shouldn't need ranks (dan) in the Bujinkan. Because everyone is consistently learning from everyone else."

(To a group of kyu and dan ranks from Europe, he said:) "I haven't had the opportunity to tell these things to those like the tenth dan teachers in Europe. I want you to go back to your home countries and tell them these things. Tell them they are wrong if they are not doing it this way." (You could see the look of horror on the faces of the people being told this. They definitely did NOT look forward to telling their instructors that they are wrong. We all do, even when we realize we should. Please remember that all teachers are students. It is difficult for us to remember that "dan ranks mean nothing in the Bujinkan." Look around, if you don't believe me. I know, I suck.

"This year is the year of the sword. I am teaching you "kempo" (the LAW of the sword). It was the predecessor to kenjutsu and kendo. Most martial arts people practice today were made in this century and thus are modern. Kempo is very old." (Please don't confuse this with Shorinji Kempo, American Kempo, or other such arts. The characters are "sword" and "law.")

APRIL 5, FRIDAY

"No more talk. I'm sick of people talking. Train."

"I am not standing here teaching from a book. I teach from what I see around me. From what you give me."

"Never stop moving. If you stop moving, you give your opponent openings and you may be killed. If you stop moving, what you are doing becomes merely a technique, not Taijutsu."

"Don't practice if you don't know what you're doing. It's better not to practice if that's the case. There are people everywhere who have been practicing for years, but they are merely reinforcing bad habits. Not practicing can actually be good for your Taijutsu. Thinking you know what you're doing when you don't can get you killed."

"I've grown tired of being nice. I'm going to start cracking down, making sure you do things over and over until you get them right. Please try to train with me whenever you can over the next two or three years. I will do my best to teach you what is right."

"When you are stabbing at the neck with the sword don't just stick it in. Stick it in and then pry it (using the point of entry as the fulcrum) so you can effectively cut (half their neck off)."

"You need to become the weapon. Use the characteristics of the weapon to your advantage. (i.e. Don't use a ken like a katana, because you wouldn't be using the speed and mobility of the ken.)


This is part of Ben's no longer secret Bujinkan diary, and was provided to friend and confidante Liz maryland in return for strange, long-distance, sexual favors. If she finds this worthy of Ura & Omote, you are reading it now. Ben lives, trains, and sleeps in Japan. He very much enjoys hearing from people via email. He may be reached at <6550827@tmail.toyota.co.jp>


A FEW WORDS ON THIS YEAR'S WEAPON

Andrew Young
Typed and submitted by Ken Harding February 12th, Chiba Japan
"Don't stop the sword, allow it to fly out of its saya. Let it fly towards your opponent; with your heart behind it, suppress your opponent's. Heart and intention. It's not just a matter of cutting, you know. . . that's butchery. Most arts nowadays teach you only how to be a butcher. It's the sharpness of the heart, not the blade, that counts."

Those words spoken by Soke on January 5th this year marked the start of this year's topic of training: the sword. Even now as I commence my daily training the feeling of that day rings in my heart as I step out into the winter cold to train. For those who plan on training with Hatsumi Sensei this year, I would like to take this opportunity to explain something of the feeling in what this year has to offer.

Firstly, the sword encompasses many kinds of bladed weapons: from the longer and heavier Otachi, tachi, daisho (katana and wakizashi- also respectfully known as daito and shoto), and the shorter tanto and kozuka, not to mention broadswords and other double edged weapons. During this year's training it is necessary to bring along a bokken of katana length and wakizashi length, and the longer bokuto - especially the shiai bokuto or wooden "match" swords which are a weapon in their own right. Most bokken or bokuto on the market are not strong enough for the kind of punishment Sensei expects. I should know - ten minutes into training and the first bokken casualty this year nearly took my eye out. When I blocked an attack from a shiai bokuto, four inches of wood flew past my face and I was weaponless for the rest of the session. I now use a Kashima Ryu shiai bokuto which vary in length but are generally 3 sun (about 10 cm) longer. The relevant measurements are:

On top of this you will need a blunt edged bladed weapon that is free from "nicks" and is not loose or rattling. Before training Sensei has stressed the need to make sure the 'meguki' or 'pin' is secure so that the hilt and blade do not part.

Since Hatsumi Sensei will often do the same technique with different length swords, it is necessary to have one of each - as distance is often the topic of what is being taught.

Of the eleven training sessions so far held this year, techniques using every aspect of the sword and saya have been demonstrated. Among these, how to tie the sageo to prevent the saya from coming loose and how to use it as a weapon while cutting, eventually tying up the opponent. As I mentioned earlier, the ability to cut with the sword is secondary compared to pinning and holding the opponent with your "kihaku" (spirit) and while executing a technique with this in mind you have the ability to spare a life, whilst cutting will only take a life.

Every second Sunday each month there is an 'invitation only' training session "for those who have trained enough with the bo, yari and naginata." The first session was held on February 11th. I was lucky enough to attend. During this training, Sensei mentioned that the correct attitude and spirit were necessary. February 11th marked the National Foundation Day which is a public holiday in Japan. Sensei remarked that this was a good day to start this monthly training and presented those present with a "soden" transmission from Soke. The theme of this training will be explained at a later date in Sanmyaku, as will Sensei's feeling on the sword. During this training Sensei was strict and direct in his methods of teaching in which I'll finish by quoting:

"I'm not teaching techniques so that you can go and teach them. Through my techniques I'm showing you where you are going wrong in your own training: what you're lacking, not understanding, and the direction in which your training should be going."

I wish everyone best wishes and future happiness through their budo.


Andrew Young, 8th dan, has been training in the Bujinkan since 1984, and living in Japan since 1988. If you wish to e-mail him, sent your communication to Ken Harding <shadowswrd@aol.com> and it will be forwarded.


A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE DOJO

David J. Bockman

It is odd how an event or idea will swirl around in my head for weeks or even months before it coalesces (amongst the malted hops and bong resin) into a workable or interesting topic for my fellow budoka's perusal. Believe it or not, this article started when I came up with the title first; I thought it was somehow amusing, and held it back until I was certain there was an actual point to my prattle.

Long before I ever entered a Bujinkan dojo, I held firm the belief that there were energies and other 'forces' at work not normally perceived by the majority. My first experience with such energy was during an acting exercise based on an element Constantin Stanislavski called 'rays of communion.' For those of you not familiar with his name, he was essentially the founder of modern 20th Century acting known as 'The Method'. He observed that human beings can communicate on a sub-verbal and sub-physical level. These 'rays of communion', while not readily perceived by a third party, add texture and nuance to an actor's performance and can enrich immeasurably the life of a play.

In this exercise I knelt opposite another actor (a stranger) and with hands behind my back, relaxed and visualized (beamed into her head, if you will) how I was about to bring my hand around to the front of my body - palm up or palm down. As I brought my hand around in a smooth motion, she brought hers around as well - time after time we were synchronous. We switched roles, and I was the recipient. Again, remarkably accurate results. I even did a series with my eyes shut; each time I was correct with my hand's position. I noticed that if I 'tried', or tensed in an effort to read her intentions, the success rate dropped to less than 50%. Only when I relaxed and dropped the need to succeed did I succeed! It was intoxicating - great vistas of possibilities appeared before me.

Years later, sitting in my dojo during a guided meditation exercise, I had a thunderous experience. I sat comfortably, breathing in and out in what I felt was a mindful state. Periodically Sensei would ring a bell, asking us to feel the sound of the bell's resonance, listen to it, taste the sound of the bell. Do not anticipate when the bell will ring next, he said. Simply live in the moment. When the bell rings, it rings.

During one such peal of sound, I felt something truly amazing and moving. Here I must rely on certain cliches you have no doubt read before when describing a mystical experience. As the waves of sound and energy pass through me, I felt my consciousness expand outward with them. I became truly aware of the bell, the bell's sound, the sound entering the walls, the walls, the parking lot outside, the sky above-- in an infinitely expanding circle I suddenly saw 'everything.' It was as if gauze curtains had parted from in front of my eyes, and that which was only dimly glimpsed before was crystalline clear. In that moment I became aware that everything, everyone, are all one. It was a unique moment. I shed a tear or two as I sat there-- the beauty and simplicity of it all!

Later I was to find out that I had for a moment perceived the Kongosatta nature of the Universe - the ultimate in essence, the core of truth at the heart of all things. I was told that one hopes to attain such a state 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A worthwhile goal.

Since that evening I have had 2 or 3 experiences that again reinforced my belief that good practice in Taijutsu along with meditation can magnify and clarify one's perceptions of the world around them.

As I drove to class one Saturday morning along a sparsely traveled highway, a car traveling at high speed passed me on the right and continued out of sight around a gentle right-hand curve. As clear as if I was sitting beside myself, I heard my voice (in my head) saying calmly, "You'd better slow down, because that car is going to wreck, and you will need the extra room to brake." As I rounded the corner, I saw that the car was approximately 200 feet in front of me, driving fine, if not still pretty fast. As I took my foot off the accelerator, suddenly it lurched to the left into the shoulder gravel, then, as the driver tried to gain control and get back onto the asphalt, he over-corrected and crossed directly in front of me, going into a 360 degree spin as he locked the brakes. He came to rest on the opposite shoulder about 50 feet behind me. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have collided with him had I not started the braking process when I did. With a thanks to the lineage I continued on.

Several months later as I walked along Lincoln Avenue here in Chicago I had my next spooky adventure. As I passed a favorite bookstore I happened to look down and saw a tiny pile of flaky rust particles to my left, next to the bookstores entrance. What happened next was most unusual. I suddenly had the sensation that I should not be where I was. With an absurd hop backwards I looked up to see an enormous section of tin siding come crashing down on the exact spot I had been standing - a chunk about 2 feet in diameter. It may not have killed me, but it certainly would have ruined the rest of my day.

Certainly I had visual clues as to what might happen - the pile of rust had fallen because, due to the high winds, that piece of siding had torn loose and flapped back and forth before falling. To a degree this could explain things. . . but the urgency I felt to 'not be there' was extraordinary.

I hope these experiences are received and digested in the manner in which they were related - in a spirit of goodwill, a need to share some of life's more bizarre experiences, and the hopes that others will spot consistencies with their own life's path.


David J. Bockman is a member of Actor's Equity, SAG/AFTRA, a certified Fight Director, and studies taijutsu at the Illinois Martial Arts Academy in Schaumberg, IL. He can be harangued on-line at <Flex123@aol.com>.


SPIRIT IN TRAINING

Jason M. Saner

Recently after reading the "Essence of Ninjutsu" by Soke Hatsumi and attending a Jack Hoban seminar, I have been thinking a lot about Kiaijutsu, and the effect it has on training. In his book, for those of you that haven't read it, Soke writes a lot about Kiaijutsu. In fact, he goes on to show, through numerous stories about Takamatsu, that he almost always used a KiAi. So it has gotten me thinking that Kiaijutsu, is an important part of Taijutsu. However I think it is an overlooked part, also, as it is not frequently used in the training.

Here are a few exercises I learned at a recent seminar that I thought I'd share with you, to see if in fact it makes a difference in your training (I know it has in mine.)

When striking the Kiai comes out sharp with a type of "EEP" sound, I have found that for some reasons this actually makes me hit harder, or perhaps focus my blows more.

When receiving the Kiai comes out softer like a "Toe" sound, this seems to make blows not hurt as much, and also seems to help draw the person into you.

When doing a throw or such the Kiai was a sound of a drawn out "OOOOOOOOooo", this seemed to help focus the throw.

Anyway these are just some of things I have been thinking of recently that add a different kind of spirit to the training. Give them a try and let me know what you think.


Jason Saner, has been training in Taijutsu for a year and half, in Reno, Nevada. He loves to talk about Taijutsu and hear stories from training so send him some at mailto:JSANER@SCS.UNR.EDU.


MOVIE REVIEW: NINJA VENGEANCE

Keith E. Weaver

Distributed by Columbia Tristar Home Video
Directed by: Karl R. Armstrong
Written by: Karl R. Armstrong
Produced by: Karl R. Armstrong
Starring: Craig Boyett, Janet K. Pawlak,
David Paul Lord
Featuring: Stephen K. Hayes

This movie was found by the author in a small video store in the Akron, OH. Upon viewing, it was obvious that more Bujinkan practitioners should be made aware of it.

PLOT

The movie is the story of a ninjutsu student who, while staying in a small, southern town for motorcycle repairs, witnesses the murder of a black law student by the local KKK, led by a corrupt sheriff. Finding himself blamed for the murderer, he tries to clear his name with the help of a local girl. His nemesis in this quest is the sheriff's son, also one of the KKK members and his father's deputy. Many fights ensue during the chase for the fugitive couple ultimately ending in the triumph of good over evil. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, it isn't!

First of all, the story is actually worse than any of the Roger Corman martial arts flicks in stores. The fight scenes, while using what appears to be Taijutsu are badly executed and poorly filmed. The main character (played by Boyett) is supposedly a shodan, but moves poorly. The acting, to put it bluntly, sucks. The sheriff's deputy uses Tae Kwon Do techniques to clean our hero's clock on a regular basis. The characters, though an attempt was made, are shallow and entirely unrealistic, spouting mumbo jumbo that the general public will not understand. Even the music, reminiscent of Deliverance is bad. However, the scene in which the Deputy address the local KKK is not to be missed. Overacting like this has not been seen in some time

The highlights of the film (if that means anything) are the appearances of Stephen K. Hayes as Boyett's instructor. The film opens with Hayes in randori against an unknown uke (best fights of the movie). A voice over, seemingly taken from Hayes' Village of the Cold Moon is dramatic and well spoken, but leaves an empty feeling when the film continues. Hayes gets a few opportunities to explain his view of ninjutsu and speaks very well for himself. Too bad it throws such a stark contrast to quality of the rest of the film.

This film is quite possibly the Plan Nine From Outer Space of martial arts flicks. If you can find it, it is a good film to watch with your training group after class with a few beers and some pizza. Be sure you watch it with other Taijutsu folks, though. No one else will understand why you are laughing so hard.


Keith Weaver welcomes others' comments on this flick and may be reached at: <ToraNoKage@aol.com>.


A MODERN FABLE FOR NINJA...

Courtland J. Elliot
or how an idea of kuji saved a throw
The Ganseki Brothers (Ganseki Nage/Osae/Otoshi) have always seemed to be a bit awkward for me to teach. Perhaps it is that I find myself so rarely in a position to use it/them that I seldom make use of them/it.

In the syllabus that I'm working with (structured by Stephen K. Hayes for himself & his friends and students in the Marishi-Kai), Ganseki is a requirement for 7th Kyu, wherein the student must exemplify the "Fire" element of the Go-Dai No Kata. For this level, the students have to be able to express powerful forward-directed movement and what some call (and I confess that I personally cringe a bit every time I hear it - perhaps it's a Canadian thing?) "aggressive" intention. The point being that they should look as if they're taking charge of a situation without any wavering, hesitation or need for evasive/defensive movement.

With the Ganseki Brothers, I've found that it was invariably hard for the students to get the right energy flowing after snuggling up into their partners arm & leg (to lock them up) - this "snuggling" being necessary to get into the correct position for the basic throw. Once they're ready to throw, the student has usually lost all of the initial flow & momentum needed to make this the great projection that it deservedly is.

Along comes last Thursday night and I'm running into the same brickwall, and the question comes up of "What is it supposed to be like?"

As a bit of an aside, I should mention that a good number of the folks training with me are (or have been) actors, artists, etc... and as such, I often try to relate things in terms of visual & verbal models that they can emulate in order to achieve success with a particular technique. This is (IMHO) kind of what the traditional Ninja Kuji were about and it is not far off of what some NLP techniques do today! END OF SEGUE.

The Bujin came by and slapped me upside the head which rattled loose the solution. This MAY seem unfamiliar to readers from Europe, Africa & parts of Asia (here I'm stepping out a limb because of not being very well traveled), but for those in the Americas and Japan (no I didn't forget OZ & NZ, I just don't know!) who've been exposed to Baseball, which will be most, an example offered itself up as a model.

The Big League umpires are trained to be VERRRY obvious in their expression of the BIG call, being SAFE/OUT, and I've seen on many occasions the call of "OUT" as being a turn towards the team bench and pointing with an extended arm shouting "Yerrrr OOUUTT!!"

Anyway, to conclude, and make an overly long story shorter, I had my students do exactly this once they've got their partner caught and, lo and behold, it really helped! Folks really flew in the direction of the "bench" and the added energy aided the Ukes in doing their rolling.

MORAL: Using an example drawn for common experience (or mythology) may help an instructor communicate an intangible to their students.

P.S.: I'd REALLY like to hear from any one out in the Cyberverse who has tried this kind of approach and what success you've had!


J. Courtland Elliott is one of those folks who have been around forever and still haven't figured it out. He started training with Stephen K. Hayes at the 1st Ninja Matsuri in 1981, and hasn't stopped evangelizing since. Currently holding back at Sandan (from SKH, Dr. Hatsumi, and having been offered it by Doron Navon), he is also well versed in other martial arts, most notably Jujutsu (Nidan from Harold Howard of UFC fame). He has become a WebHead and co-ordinates the Musashi Web for Travelers http://www.io.org/~jcebujin/musash.html, a resource for Martial Artists on the move. He can be reached at: <jcebujin@io.org>.


THE PHILOSOPHY OF SELF-DEFENSE

Thomas Aristarhos Kotziadimos

We all are actors. We live our lives making it all up along the way. We try to be all that we think other people want and expect us to be, and before we realize it, we are prisoners of our fake identity.

There are basically two ways in which we are to be imprisoned. First there is the fact that when ever we try to make ourselves look like what we think others expect to see, we simply prevent ourselves from doing the things we would otherwise like to do. For example, if your friends know you as a heavy drinker and they choose to ask you out to have a good time, you will most probably get drunk because you have an image to keep up. It doesn't matter if it doesn't have any sense to it; you will just tell yourself (on a sub-conscious level) that you enjoy what you are doing. The only way out of this is to confess to yourself how it is that you really want to live.

If we keep up these images and live with all kinds of unreal expectations we, sooner or later, begin to believe in them ourselves. This is the second way of imprisonment. It is more serious than the first one because it prevents us from seeing ourselves as we are. For example, consider a bully who thinks he is a real tough fighter. He makes up stories of himself beating people up, pushes weaker people around and when he becomes threatened by mortal danger he gets scared like a rabbit. That happens because on his sub-conscious level he has a much brighter picture of his abilities and skills. The role he has been playing simply alters his image in his mind... Until reality hits!

The way out of the second imprisonment is much harder but it begins from freeing yourself from the first imprisonment. After this your eyes open and you will be able to see your own abilities in more balanced manner.

It is only human to try to look a little more and a little better than you really are. This all derives (in my opinion) from some primal instincts, so one can not free oneself completely of this kind of "pro-social-acting." We simply need attention and positive feedback (the word "positive" is relative) from other individuals. By acting and adapting different kinds of roles in different social situations we try to gain some extra respect from other people. To fight this natural phenomenon too hard would be a waste of time and energy. Via practice we can develop an eye for this. Then we are able to find our real fears as well as the fears of others more easily.

We who practice arts of combat must be aware this. People can be guided by using their fears and by leading their assumptions on how you see them. By mastering this, one may be able to avoid threatening situations. However, it doesn't always work as we would like because the way the mind of man functions is extremely complex. This may lead us to a situation where the use of force is unavoidable.

When we are forced to use our skills against an assailant there are risks involved. We might get hurt or the other guy might get hurt. First thing to consider is that we get through with as little damage as possible. The faith of the assailant simply depends on our personal moral and ethics. The point which must be carefully judged is whether it is justified to cause physical harm to the person we think (or rather want to think) is possessing a threat against us. This is when we must have a clear and true understanding of our own skills as well as our motives, the motives being more important. We could be thinking something like: "This is a great opportunity to test my skills in real life and there isn't really any worry because I could beat this clown up even blindfolded." In a situation like this it is not necessary to harm the opponent badly. Force may be applied to secure our own safety but it should be left to that. Sometimes the things are different. Given all our practice and skills we still could be terribly frightened because someone is behaving aggressively towards us. We might even get so scared that all our limbs just freeze up and all we can do is to watch what will happen next and hope for the best. These are the situations we have been training for. It is then time to confess to oneself the presence of fear and see that we must take action to prevent a real threat. After all we've been training to be able to defend ourselves from serious attacks and not from those which we can deal by talking ourselves out. In this point it is all up to our ability to recognize our fears and to deal with them. Otherwise we may be led to a unnecessary use of the art of self-defense.

This is how I see the philosophy behind self-defense. Feel free to disagree. The reason I wrote this for is simply me wanting to appear as a wise and knowledgeable man.


Thomas trains in budo taijutsu and can be contacted at: tkotziad@maanantai.hit.fi for discussion on this piece.


HATTORI HANZO & HATTORI RYU

Peter Carlsson
Text and Research by Peter Carlsson Translated by Mats Hjelm
v1.0 last updated march 12th 1996

One of the most famous NINJA families in IGA was without doubt the HATTORI family. They came from both the OTOMO HOSOTO, a high member of one of the more important Japanese families, and from China. The OTOMO family was in duty at the royal family mainly because of his knowledge in warfare. The HATTORI sons was later allowed to build their own family lines.

According to some sources it was IGA HEINAZAEMON NO JO IENEAGA (the founder of KUMOGAKURE RYU) that gave the oldest son HATTORI HEITARO KOREYUKI the right to use the family name KAMIHATTORI. The middle son HATTORI HEIJIRO YASUYORI founded the NAKAHATTORI family name, and the youngest son HATTORI HEIJIRO YASUNORI founded the SHIMOHATTORI family name.

Each family had their own MON (shield), where the KAMIHATTORI MON was YAHAZU NIHON (two arrowheads), NAKAHATTORI MON was ICHITOMOE (a bow), and SHIMOHATTORI MON was YAGURUMA (eight arrowheads in a ring). That each family had their own MON points on the fact that they had the same rank as a SAMURAI. According to modern history books in Japan HATTORI HANZO was a SAMURAI from IGA. When ODA NOBUNAGA invaded IGA only 80 people from the three HATTORI families survived. They fled to different parts of Japan.

The KAMIHATTORI family escaped down to the NAGAOKA village in ECHIGO. The SHIMOHATTORI family received protection by the TOKUGAWA family in MIKAWA or by OCHI family in the TAKATORI village in the YAMATO province. NAKAHATTORI escaped up to the TAKANO mountains.

The most famous NINJA through history without doubt was HATTORI HANZO MASASHIGE (1541-1596). He was the son of HATTORI NAZO YASUNAGA, who through heritage was a vassal to the TOKUGAWA family, in this period TOKUGAWA was known as MATSUDAIRA. They belonged to the KAMIHATTORI family line, if they came from the HEITARO or CHIGACHI's family line is unknown.

HATTORI HANZO was practically raised with martial arts as his main occupation in life. In 1557 when HATTORI HANZO was sixteen years old he was in a battle for the first time in his life. It was a night when TOKUGAWA IEYASU attacked UZICHIJO in MIGAWA (the castle in UDO). He got his first reward because of his remarkable fighting skills in the battlefield. He got the nickname "Hanzo the ghost", and even TOKUGAWA recognized his skills. After that he was involved in the battle of ANAGAWA in 1570, and the battle at MIKATA GA HARA in 1572. Another nickname he got because of his skills was "Hanzo the devil".

The HATTORI family was not WATARI NINJA (NINJA that sold their service to the highest bid), they was faithful to TOKUGAWA. When ODA NOBUNAGA was murdered by AKECHI MITSUHIDE, TOKUGAWA was in a village close to OSAKA and was threatened by AKECHI's troops. TOKUGAWA then got assistance by HATTORI HANZO and TARO SHIRO, a KOGA NINJA. Together with 300 NINJA's they helped TOKUGAWA escape to OKAZAKIJO by using GOTON JUTSU (skills of hiding in the nature) and special techniques in how to advance safely.

HATTORI HANZO's many merits gave him big recognition and he was awarded the command over the HASSENSHI SAMURAI's. HATTORI HANZO died in battle the 4'th of december in 1596 when he had the command over a troop that would terrorize NINJA's from FUMA RYU in KANAGAWA. HANZO and his troops had followed the FUMA RYU NINJA's out on the sea in boats, but the FUMA NINJA's used underwater techniques to destroy the rudder on their boats. And when HANZO and his men jumped into the water to swim ashore the FUMA NINJA's had filled oil into the water and sat it on fire, they all died in the flames. HATTORI HANZO was succeeded by HATTORI IWAMI NO KAMI MASANARI.

The population in Japan still sings about HANZO in the areas around KAWAUCHI, he was also known as "The great lancer", a very strong warrior. It is not many that realize his connection to NINJUTSU, he was more known as a BUSHI (a SAMURAI) from IGA.

Under the rule of TOKUGAWA IMEITSU many NINJA did not like the way they was dishonored and treated. So they chose to prepare a revolt against HATTORI HANZO's ancestors who still was in the service of the SHOGUN. The revolt was known as "the incident at the SASA temple", the revolt was beaten by the SHOGUN's troops and the leaders was captured and executed. The revolt was the end of the HATTORI family's big era, they lost their status because of their lack of handling the situation.

Under the HATTORI family's great era, before ODA NOBUNAGA's invasion of IGA, there was many successful members of the HATTORI RYU family clan. Some of them was known as...

Hattori Gensuke
Hattori Denjiro
Hattori Denemon
Yamaoka Suketaro
Yamaguchi Suketaro
Hanchi Hansuke
Yamanaurchi Keitaro
Hattori Magohei
Hattori Naizo
Hattori Shinkuro
Yamaoka Ichinosuke
Yamanaka Kakubei
Iga Naruto
Sera Genroku
Hattori Shichikuro
Hattori Jinroku
Yamaoka Sobei
Yamaoka Jintaro
Fukunokami Teisainyudo
Akimoto Kassai
Otsuka Bansaku

As a conclusion on the HATTORI family clan, can be mentioned that ISHITANI MATSUTARO TAKAKAGE had an ancestor that was a CHUNIN (middleman) in HATTORI HANZO's NINJA clan. ISHITANI MATSUTARO TAKAKAGE was TAKAMATSU TOSHITSUGU's SENSEI, and TAKAMATSU TOSHITSUGU was the SENSEI to MASAAKI HATSUMI the 28'th SOKE in KUKISHINDEN RYU HAPPO HIKENJUTSU. ISHITANI died in the lapse of TAKAMATSU in the early 20'th century, TAKAMATSU died in 1972. HATSUMI is still alive and well as you probably already know.

Š MATS HJELM 1996 - Email: helmet@algonet.se

THE DISCLAIMER & END NOTES

The original Text and research was made by Peter Carlsson who may be reached at datortek@sbbs.se

Translation was made from Swedish to English by Mats Hjelm who may be contacted at helmet@algonet.se

This 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 a note please let us know so we could update and make this even more accurate. And if possible, please try to back up your claims with some sort of verification or serious references.

A big problem when one do reserch about the history of ninja and BUJINKAN is when one compare information in books about those subject with general acknowledged history in history books. This means that all information in circulation are 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 Stephen Turnbull
Perti Ruha Ben Jones
Stan Skrabut Paul Richardson
Mariette V. D. Vliet HATSUMI Masaaki
Charles Daniel Gothenburg ninposaellskap
Bernadette V. D. Vliet (and possibly many others)

For more information like this get hooked to Internet and browse over to http://www.algonet.se/~helmet or phone ++46-8-985948 to MokoNoTora FidoNet BBS.

This translation is allowed to be posted electronically or print- ed 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.


THOUGHT OF THE DAY

Hamilton Mabie

Don't be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind.


END NOTES

Liz Maryland

As a beginning student, I found myself working on the gross mechanics of movement. Being that the art was so new to me, much of my training time was spent on simply figuring out how to back up at 45 degrees or how to properly execute a forward stomp kick or a lunge punch. I originally learned how to do kata or waza in steps. For example: Step one, the attacker throws a punch and the defender shifts back and out at 45 degrees into an ichimonji no kamae. Step two, the defender strikes the punch using a circular defensive strike. Step three, the defender steps through with his rear leg and delivers a palm down (shuto) strike to the attacker's neck. And so on.

Looking back, I realize that there were very often points during the kata where the my movement completely stopped - leaving me open to be unbalanced or attacked. While I feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with learning simple "mechanics" this way, I am trying to train differently now. I don't train in this "stop and go" manner anymore. Sometimes, I do have to practice the steps of a new technique a few times "just to get it" but then I try to quickly move on to getting the technique to happen as effortlessly as I possibly can.

I've been working on making all the steps flow into each other so that the kata and movement are seamless - with each "step" smoothly transitioning into the other. In this manner, I'm learning to more effectively use my entire body to deliver strikes, etc. I've also learned how to better gauge what the attacker is doing and will, hopefully, develop a heightened sensitivity to my attacker's motion and momentum. Therefore, if for some reason an attacker decides to change his attack or direction, I will be prepared to let go of one technique - that will no longer work with the changed dynamic - and transition to something that will allow me to control the attacker or to defend myself from a new attack.

All of this seemed advanced to me as a beginner, but I have had a few "magic moments" where I sensed my partner moving and then with just a small step or turn sent him flying over my hip or knocked him flat out on his butt. Those few moments of pure and unadulterated flow have taught me as much about this art as the two years I spent learning to roll or all the practice sessions for ichimonji no kamae. Those "glimpses" of perfection are what keep me going and studying/training as hard as I do.

I encourage everyone to experiment with flow this month. Get your favorite uke and go slowly. Feel each other's bodies out. Do sensitivity exercises. One of my favorite exercises is similar to a Tai Chi push hands exercise: Face your partner and extend your arms. Your partner will do the same. Touching palms, one person will push and move his/her hands while the other responds by just going with it - seeing where the movement takes you. Close your eyes and let your senses be free.

Or pick a kata and practice it slowly, with your eyes closed. You may just surprise yourself!

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 feeling that there are several in this month's edition).

See you next month!

BACKGROUND

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.

HERE'S THE LEGALESE

Ura & Omote will not be publishing any further unauthorized translations of Hatsumi Sensei's work. The editor 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 ninjutsu 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 before engaging in the exercises described herein. Keep in mind that all articles herein are of their author's opinion/research and the publisher of this newsletter will not be held liable for any errors or misleading information. 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 a graphic designer by trade and an information gatherer by choice. She trains under the guidance of Jean-Pierre Seibel at New York Budo (Test Day is when?!?!?) where she spends most of her time these days practicing being invisible - without much success! When not avoiding Test Day, Liz can be found earning her frequent flier miles (via tomoe nagare and hanegoshi) with the guys. Liz maryland has no real social life to speak off and spends much of her time answering e-mail, avoiding her voice mail and throwing out her junk mail. She currently keeps sane by practicing with her shoge, doing cartwheels, bossing around her team members ("Didn't your mother have any children that lived?!?") and working out. Liz maryland can be reached at:<ashidome@usa.net>.
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