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.

(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.

横砂の器 Empty the cup

Sorry for not posting anything for a while. The trainings here in Japan is great, at least for those who have been training for a while. For beginners it might be hard and difficult. It is not said right out but I guess it’s expected that you know the basics well before you come to training in japan. There is plenty of good teachers everywhere, somewhere around 150 “true” master instructors in Bujinkan Dojo. You don’t need to go to Japan for good basic training if you are under 4’th dan!

Soke says that it is time for us to throw away the basics. He said we should throw away Sanshin no kata, Kihonhappo and everything else we know at the moment. This reminds me of a famous story about a zen master, I will quote the story from memory (so please don’t take it literally)…

Once an experienced samurai visited a zen master and said that he knew everything about the martial arts, but he have not yet reached enlightenment. So he is coming here for advice about how to reach it. The zen master offered him to sit down and have a cup of tea and talk about this. He put a cup on the table and started to pour into the cup. The cup was filled but the master kept pouring. The samurai said, can’t you see that the cup is already full?
The master said yes, and it is the same about you! You have to empty the cup (mind) before you can fill more into the cup. The samurai understood and later on finally reached enlightenment.

This is the meaning of 器 UTSUWA. It can mean a bowl, vessel or container. But it can also mean ability, capacity or caliber. When you have learnt all the basics and all the techniques there is the cup will be full. In order to pass beyond this stage you need to empty the 器. See other posts about the theme of this year and 才能魂器 (sainou kon ki / sainou tamashi utsuwa).

Everytime you go to training you should throw away everything you know, “empty the cup”. Then eagerly try to take everything in like a sponge with a playful and artistic kind of mind. This is the 極意 GOKUI essential point passed on through many generations in Gyokko-ryu that we study in Bujinkan Dojo. Keep the mind of a three year old kid that want to learn everything. Even if you think you know everything (see my previous essay) throw it away. The one who gives away everything has it all.

Keep this in mind when training. Also keep in mind that there is 20 years of 面 omote-training and then 20 years of 裏 ura-training. I might come to this in a later post.

緊縛 Year of the rope

The theme of this year is the rope. The rope can be used to describe many things…

The rope is flexible, it has no static form. It change form depending on circumstances. We should strive to be the same in our Taijutsu.

The rope can tie your weapons together, it can hold things together. When you use the rope for tying things together you should make the knot very easy to release, in a way that you quickly can release everything and free the rope. In Taijutsu, use the same principle. You can tie the opponent up, but you should be able to quickly get free. For example the ever so popular jujidori armlock from judo and MMA cage fighting is not it.

The rope can be used as a net, or linked to many things. Like the synapses in your brain, or cables between the internet routers. If you need to use a weapon in Taijutsu you know how to get it and use it without thinking. Because you already made a whole system where everything is the same. You don’t need to think because everything is already linked by the synapses.

Also you can psychologically tie up your opponent in Taijutsu as if you really had a rope in your hands. If you belive it strongly, do it as if you had an invisible rope. The opponent might feel trapped and confused… maybe!

Get more info from the web in shorter time…

then you can spend more time on training, I will explain it further down.

If you subscribe to our RSS Feeds, please change them to the following feed instead. You gain a lot more features, you can mark, share, e-mail and more, and it looks better to.
http://feedproxy.google.com/SuperfeedEN (English version)
http://feedproxy.google.com/SuperfeedSE (Swedish version)

Some of you might wonder what this RSS/Syndication and stuff means. Well read on…

Do you recognize yourself?
You are interested in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (I assume that since you you found this message), and spend quite a lot of time on internet going to different web sites searching for new postings. Some web sites is difficult to find the newest postings, you have to log in and after one or many clicks you find something you think you haven’t read, maybe you already read it? It is very easy to miss something interesting, because the lack of features on the web site (search function for example), or because the interesting stuff was posted on a website you don’t know about. Maybe this is why you google for new web sites. Maybe you stopped doing this because it takes too much time.

Well this is the old way, there is a much better way, it is called RSS (Really Simple Syndication), to put it simple is like subscribing to one or many newspapers. What you need is something that can read feeds (the news papers). I personally have a Google account and use the Google Reader. With that I can access all my feeds from any computer and phone (see the screen dumps below). I’m not bound to one computer to do this.

How it looks on my computer
How it looks on my computer
on the iPhone
on the iPhone

There is many other ways to do it, there is many different readers (Aggregators), I like the google one because I’m not dependent of which computer or device I must use. I can use any device with an internet connection and log in to my account (I mostly use the iPhone on the bus, subway or any time I chose). As you can see on the screen dumps I subscribe to several other feeds to. I only to go to the web site if the content I read interest me enough.

Note 1. It is completely up to the web master of the original feed if the content is web optimized (text formatting, pictures etc), and if the whole article can be read. We can only forward what we get, so don’t complain to us because you can only read the first five words on the Kutaki channel. Just click on the header link to go to the original web site if it interest you.

Note 2. We took the freedom to add small google ads at the bottom of each post. You will hardly notice them after a while. If you click on them you are sponsoring our web sites and work.

Note 3. In the subject header the [brackets] indicate what web site it originates from, our script remove the “www” and takes the first twelve or so characters up until the first “.”, when you opened the post the subject is always linked to the original posting.

My shared items

When I find something I think is good, I click “share” on my reader, then it will be posted here. You can also subscribe to my picks, articles that I have read and I think is good.
Note that there will be a lot of unrelated stuff (not only Bujinkan).

Join the Bujinkan SETI team!

Almost 10 years ago I joined the SETI by installing the “screensaver”. I discovered that you could create teams and work together. It was fun and exciting to see how we did together, then somehow I forgot about it until now. I went back to see if our team was active and to my surprise it still was! My account was still there, so I had to log in, download the new program and fire it up again and contribute to the Bujinkan SETI team.

On Wednesday November 19’th 2008 it was 2 active members, at top team no 3548,  723 recent credits (with a total of 424,647 credits) and ranked as 7,562. If you click on the links above you will see that we are climbing up rapidly.

I think it would be fun if you also joined the Bujinkan SETI team in search for extra terrestrial life. If you think this is silly, there is several other organisations you can help by lending your CPU when not in use to.

Click here for the official Bujinkan SETI web site http://kesshi.com/seti/

Please spread the word!