Gikan-ryū Koppōjutsu and my JapanTrip#48

On my last trip Noguchi Sensei surprised us by teaching Gikan-ryū Koppōjutsu. I think he just recently decided to start teaching this Ryū-ha. He said he learned the techniques from Hatsumi Sōke four years ago in a private session.

I have trained techniques that was claimed to be Gikan-ryū by western teachers before. I did not see any similarity what so ever, this was completely different.

There is 10 techniques in all, they don’t have any names. He showed us his notes and it was 3-4 pages with descriptions of the techniques. I attended two of the Gikan-ryū trainings he did in November this year. Fortunately I got to train all 10 techniques (I think?) with a lot of henka. It was a blast training with such good friends as Ari (Dai Shihan from Finland) and Philip (Dai Shihan from Denmark).

I’m not gonna give any descriptions here, but Noguchi Sensei said that the characteristics of this school is to attack the opponent from the side. Several techniques you hit his kidney. Many strikes was done with Ura-ken for example.

This inspired me to create a new page to the web site, click the button below.

Nagato Sensei on his first day as Shindenfudō-ryū Sōke

Earlier this year I heard that Ishizuka Sensei had been appointed as the new Sōke of Gyokkō-ryū. Now Nagato Sensei said that he had been appointed as the new Sōke of Shindenfudō-ryū. At the Buyukai I heard rumours about Noguchi Sensei was going to be the next Kotō-ryū Sōke (which now has been confirmed). No one has been appointed Sōke for Gikan-ryū yet, but I have my suspicions.

Sōke is now 88 years old

88 is an important number in Japanese, not only because it is a “double infinity”, but…. The eighty-eighth birthday is the occasion of beiju (米寿), “rice age”, because the Chinese character for rice, 米, looks like the characters for eight tens plus eight (八十八).

Hatsumi Sōke imitating Frank Sinatra, he looked so cool.

Hatsumi Sōke was in a good mood this trip. His knees are weak so he have trouble getting up and down on the floor so we do standing bow ins and outs in the training now.

Senō Sensei said a few years ago, he felt energised during Hatsumi Sōke’s birthday because there was so many familiar places coming and giving him good energy. I think Hatsumi Sōke feels the same way.

I have added several more pictures on the Kaigozan Dōjō Instagram page.

New Books and DVD
New Ninjatō DVD and Book. Also a relatively new Mutōdori Book now in the collection.

Takamatsu Sensei taught Hatsumi Sōke with 42 hands

At the training yesterday Sōke said that he had been taught by the 42 hands of Takamatsu Sensei. He was referring to 千手千眼観自在菩薩 Senju-sengen Kanjizai Bosatsu that had 1000 hands and 1000 eyes. The deity emphasizes the compassion that sees suffering (with 1000 eyes) and acts to relieve it (with 1000 hands).

千手観音Senju Kannon appears in the 虚空蔵院 Kokūzōin of the 胎蔵界曼荼羅 Taizōkai Mandara, with 27 faces and 42 main arms, while innumerable small arms fan out behind. Since it is difficult to portray one thousand arms, images usually show Senju with two principle arms in 合掌印 Gasshō-in (Sk: anjali mudra) in front of his chest and 40 arms, holding attributes and forming mudra, on the sides (altogether 42 arms, or shijūnihi 四十二臂). This number can be justified because each hand saves the beings of 25 worlds, and 40 times the 25 equals 1000.

Takamatsu Sensei died when Hatsumi Sōke was 42 years old. 42 years later we had a big Taikai in Japan to celebrate Takamatsu Sensei and starting a new cycle. In Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky because the numerals when pronounced separately—shi ni (four two)—sound like the word “death”.

Many cultures around the world recognise the number 42 in interesting ways.

There are 42 questions asked of persons making their journey through Death in the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.

42 is the number with which God creates the Universe in Kabbalistic tradition.

42 is also the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything according Douglas Adams in his science fiction book Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy.

Funny fact; in 1996 Cambridge astronomers said that Adams was right. Dr Richard Saunders, who led the research, sounded a trifle abashed by the result. “We have taken two measurements for the constant, and the average of them is, well, it’s 42.”

Sōke showed us antique small miniature weapons. He said it is important to appreciate the quality and details, and we should study them.

文殊 MONJU – Bujinkan Theme 2018

文殊 MONJU (Guardian of the Law, Voice of the Law) is one of many meanings. Monju is considered the wisest of the Bodhisattva, and thus acts as the Voice (Expounder) of Buddhist Law.

Japanese sculptures of Monju often depict the deity sitting atop a roaring lion or shishi, which symbolizes the voice of Buddhist Law and the power of Buddhism to overcome all obstacles. Shishi are also commonly found guarding the entrance gate to shrines and temples. Monju typically holds the Sutra of Wisdom in the left hand and a sharp sword in the right, which Monju uses to cut through illusion and shed light on the unenlightened mind. In some artwork, Monju carries a lotus flower and sits atop a shishi (mythical lion).

Monju’s cult was introduced to Japan by Ennin 圓仁 (794-864 AD; also spelled 円仁), a Japanese monk who visited Wutaishan (a five-terraced mountain in China’s Shanxi Province that today is still a major center of the Monju cult) during his travels to China (838-847 AD).

Mañjuśrī is a bodhisattva associated with prajñā (insight) in Mahayana Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is also a yidam. His name means “Gentle Glory” in Sanskrit.[1] Mañjuśrī is also known by the fuller name of Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta,[2] literally “Mañjuśrī, Still a Youth” or, less literally, “Prince Mañjuśrī”.

A mantra commonly associated with Mañjuśrī is the following:

oṃ arapacana dhīḥ
The Arapacana is a syllabary consisting of forty-two letters, and is named after the first five letters: a, ra, pa, ca, na

A is a door to the insight that all dharmas are unproduced from the very beginning (ādya-anutpannatvād).
RA is a door to the insight that all dharmas are without dirt (rajas).
PA is a door to the insight that all dharmas have been expounded in the ultimate sense (paramārtha).
CA is a door to the insight that the decrease (cyavana) or rebirth of any dharma cannot be apprehended, because all dharmas do not decrease, nor are they reborn.
NA is a door to the insight that the names (i.e. nāma) of all dharmas have vanished; the essential nature behind names cannot be gained or lost.

Tibetan pronunciation is slightly different and so the Tibetan characters read: oṃ a ra pa tsa na dhīḥ (Tibetan: ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔, Wylie: om a ra pa tsa na d+hIH).[14] In Tibetan tradition, this mantra is believed to enhance wisdom and improve one’s skills in debating, memory, writing, and other literary abilities. “Dhīḥ” is the seed syllable of the mantra and is chanted with greater emphasis and also repeated a number of times as a decrescendo.

Bujinkan Keiko 2018
As far as the training goes, it is basically the same as previous years. A lot of Mūtō-dori against knife, sword and rokushakubō. Very often Sōke uses his fingers to “walk” across the hands, which finally captures a finger lock. He makes the attacker to forget he got a weapon in his hand and he just pick it out of the hand of the surprised Uke.

Even when it is Taijutsu, the concept of Mūtō-dori is the same principles used.

More about Monju.
More about Manjushri.

三光稲荷 Sankō Inari

On the second training this year Sōke improved an old painting with a fox. He painted white hair on the Fox and added the kanji. Then he put it up on the left side of Shomen wall in Honbu Dōjō.

三光稲荷 SANKŌ INARI
(Three light rice load)

G00g1e translate isn’t much help. But I found interesting story on Wikipedia about Inari Ōkami is the Japanese kami of foxes, of fertility, rice, tea and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal kami of Shinto. In earlier Japan, Inari was also the patron of swordsmiths and merchants. Represented as male, female, or androgynous, Inari is sometimes seen as a collective of three or five individual kami. Inari appears to have been worshipped since the founding of a shrine at Inari Mountain in 711 AD, although some scholars believe that worship started in the late 5th century.

By the 16th century Inari had become the patron of blacksmiths and the protector of warriors, and worship of Inari spread across Japan in the [[Edo period]. Inari is a popular figure in both Shinto and Buddhist beliefs in Japan. More than one-third (32,000) of the Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to Inari. Modern corporations, such as cosmetic company Shiseido, continue to revere Inari as a patron kami, with shrines atop their corporate headquarters.


Inari and their fox spirits help the blacksmith Munechika forge the blade kogitsune-maru (Little Fox) in the late 10th century. This legend is the subject of the noh drama Sanjo Kokaji.

The fox and the wish-fulfilling jewel are prominent symbols of Inari. Other common elements in depictions of Inari, and sometimes of their kitsune, include a sickle, a sheaf or sack of rice, and a sword. Another belonging was their whip—although they were hardly known to use it, it was a powerful weapon that was used to burn people’s crops of rice.

Inari is a popular deity with shrines and Buddhist temples located throughout most of Japan. According to a 2007 report from Kokugakuin University, 2970 shrines are dedicated to Inari.

If you find one or usually many red Tori gates it is most likely a shrine dedicated to Inary deity.

So what does this mean for Bujinkan? I don’t know, it is an interesting part of Japanese culture. Maybe he just want us to look it up.