Riga seminar in February 2011

The past weekend I was invited by Juris from Bujinkan Kurokawa Dojo in Riga to teach a seminar on Sanshin no kata and Juttejutsu.

On Saturday I showed and explained the way I feel is the base for Sanshin no kata. First we did the traditional warm-up routine; doing the first technique five times on the right side, and then five times on the left side, and finally ten times alternately on right and left side. Then the same with all the other four techniques. Sanshin no kata consists of five simple techniques…

Sanshin no kata

三心の型 SANSHIN NO KATA

地 CHI (earth)
水 SUI (water)
火 KA (fire)
風 FŪ (wind)
空 KŪ (void)

In the early 1980’s there was a “guy” that had only been training a couple of years and interpreted these techniques with Buddhism and created his own philosophy around these techniques. He wrote many books on the subject, and almost everyone copied his idea. It was a very nice idea, but it was not the Sanshin no kata that Hatsumi Soke taught as many people believed at the time (and unfortunately still believes). Do not think of the elements too much. Just simply look at them as a way of counting, nothing else.

Some people talk about three different ways of doing these techniques and they also have a name (shoshin, gogyo, goshin). I have never been taught this by Hatsumi Soke or any one else of the Japanese Shihan, and I have never seen the source for this. So I’m not teaching this, but I think this also is a good idea. I think it is important to always look at things from three perspectives. For example left, right and middle. The way I taught on the seminar was the following.

The principle of capturing, strike and quickly capture again

Solo training, try to get the form correct and understand all movements, angles, timing, distance, technique, kamae and everything else. I heard that even the Japanese Shihan who have been training for 30-40 years still do this every day. So there is no reason for you to think that you have already learned it. I to still discover many things when doing the forms.

With a partner you will understand the the solo training forms better. The forms you do in solo training will never bee exactly the same when done with a partner, you need to adjust according the way your partner attacks. We did the base (as I see it!) with five different blocks and five different strikes, then moved on to applications and more direct response from natural posture.

Using weapons will increase the understanding even more. If you use a weapon try to keep to the ideas we learn from the forms. But small adjustments are done according the characteristics of the weapons used.

This 45 minute video from the seminar is available for instant download at BUDOSHOP.SE

十手術 JUTTEJUTSU

the JutteThe jutte or jitte (十手), literally meaning “ten-hand” (i.e., the weapon with the power of ten hands), is a specialized weapon. In Edo period Japan the jutte was a substitute for a badge and represented someone on official business and was carried by all levels of police officers including high ranking samurai police officials and low-rank samurai law enforcement officers (called okappiki or doshin). Other high ranking samurai officials carried a jutte as a badge of office, “aratame” or official inspectors including hotel, rice and grain inspectors carried a jutte.

On Sunday we did the six techniques from the old Hanbo, Tessen and Jutte book published by Hatsumi Soke in 1984 ca. It has six basic techniques, we did them all. In 2003 the Bujinkan theme was Kunai and Hatsumi Soke taught five of these techniques using a Kunai. The weapons are different so adjustments need to be made according the characteristics of these weapons.

落花 Rakka technique

We studied the following techniques with Jutte in mind (not Kunai), first the basic form and then variations and applications.

桐之一葉 KIRI NO HITOHA – falling paulowina leaf (arrival of autumn)
落花 RAKKA – falling blossoms
水鳥 MIZU-DORI – water bird / 五輪碎 GORIN KUDAKI – five rings crush
雷閃 RAI-SEN – flash of lightning
竜下 TATSUGE – inferior dragon
廻捕 MAWARIDORI – revolve and capture

The training both days seemed to be successful and everyone seemed happy about it. I sure had a good time both in the dojo and outside before, between and after the trainings. The first time I was in Latvia in 2002? I asked about traditional masks but I didn’t know so much about them that they understood what I meant. So after the training Juris surprised me with a mask I asked about nearly ten years ago.

The arrival of masked visitors

This practise is variously referred to as budēļi, čigāni “gypsies, going gypsying”, kaladnieki, ķekatas, maski “masks, going masking”, nabagi “the poor ones”, etc. Although this practise could occur at any time of the winter (between Mārtiņi and Meteņi ), it was particularly common on Christmas eve. It is strongly reminiscent of the tradition of mummers and mummering in Great Britain and Newfoundland.

Latvian “mummers” might dress up as animals (bears, horses, cranes) or as Death. They would go from house to house and were warmly greeted, as they were assumed to drive away evil spirits. They would arrive in groups in front of the house, and sing songs and dance. Then they would be invited in and fed with bacon buns (pīrāgi), butter, sausages, and given ale to drink. They made a special effort to disguise their voices and mannerisms, so that no one would be able to guess who each one was, but if a mummer was correctly identified, he or she would have to “unveil”, i.e. remove the cloth which was covering their face.

It is still common for children to be required to recite an appropriate verse before receipt of their presents (there are many).

Vai, lielie ziemas svētki,
Puiši trekni, zirgi vāji;
Puišiem alus, brandavīns
Zirgiem tukšas redelītes.

Oh my, Christmas time
The lads are fat, the horses lean;
The lads get beer and whiskey
But the hay racks are empty.

I’m happy about the whole seminar, and especially happy that people also came from the neighboring countries Estonia and Lithuania. I was asked to come back after summer, maybe in August. I’m already looking forward to it.

Thank you Juris and everyone who attended and made the seminar possible.

Happy training!

Click here for more pictures from the seminar.

大光明祭2009 才能魂器 (Daikomyousai 2009 – Sainoukonki)

Here is a trailer from the coming Daikomyousai 2009 DVD from Quest, yes that’s me in the picture behind the guy in glasses, and Duncan Stewart as the Uke for Soke.

最後の実戦忍者高松寿嗣より古武道9流派を受け継ぎ、古の技を今に伝える現代の武神・ 初見良昭。その初見宗家の誕生日にちなくで開催される年に一度のセミナーが、大光明祭 である。その教えを求めて世界中から集まった高弟たちに、初見自ら武神館武術の奥義を 伝授するセミナーが大光明祭である。3日間にわたり行われるその模様を完全収録。20 09年11月30日-12月2日・東京。

Here is a rough translation of the above. Three day Kobudo seminar held by Masaaki Hatsumi Soke, the successor of the last Ninja, Takamatsu Sensei. People from the whole world attended. Complete recording of all three days. November 30, 2009 Dec 2, Tokyo.

Review; Ninjutsu Shinken kata seminar with Dean Rostohar

CIMG1276In September 2009 Bujinkan Kaigōzan dōjō SSIF in Stockholm, Sweden hosted a seminar with Dean Rostohar, Shihan from Bujinkan Croatia.

First I would like to say thanks to Dean Rostohar for coming to us once again, this was the 4’th time we had him over here. Also special thanks to Davor, Hana and Ivica who travelled by car all the way from Croatia just to come here to train and assist their own teacher! Also big thanks to René coming from the Netherlands and Jukka coming from Finland. Also thanks to Tony for helping with transportation and stuff, and Johan for taking pictures and filming the seminar. Finally also thanks to the participants from Kaigozan Dojo, To Nan dojo, Solstaden Karlstad, Eskilstuna Bujinkan, Örebro Kampsportsförening and Berserk MMA.

This was a very good seminar where Dean taught and showed us many, many good and useful techniques and examples from his personal experience. First I felt quite ashamed that I couldn’t get more people interested enough to show up on the seminar. Then I felt pity for the fools that missed the chance to get really good training, what did you do this weekend that was so important? Seriously, I don’t want to hear all bad excuses, let’s leave it at that I’m sure you can convince me you had good reasons ;-).

CIMG1189As always Dean teach from his big heart, you who have been to his trainings know what I mean. The first day he did techniques based on the first technique Ichimonji from Kihon happo kata. But it was different than what he showed before, more realistic and useful. Although he never said that the basics is bad to know or practice, but the basics is basics to teach students a foundation to build up on. When you know the basics well you combine each basic movement to the situation, and it comes alive. You do what you have to do to benefit from the situation. He showed many different taijutsu techniques this weekend.

In the afternoon training Dean and his students from Croatia showed many interesting techniques and team tactics how to work in a group, everything from quickly climbing up over a wall, or in to a window. How to take out a guard and many other examples how to work as a team.

The second day Davor started by showing and teaching his excellent taihenjutsu skills, he did some of the best taihenjutsu moves I have ever seen. He was rolling smoothly and silently like a cat moves, very nice! Then Dean taught more taijutsu techniques from Kihon-happo. Then later on he showed us how to train up the sensitivity, and then he moved on to some sword techniques. Finally he showed and explained to us how to train while blindfolded.

CIMG1049The KGZ BUDO SHOP have many DVD’s with Dean Rostohar. This seminar DVD will be available for order in October 2009, shortly after there will be three more DVD’s with Dean released at KGZ BUDO SHOP. Here is a direct link to the Shinken Kata videos… https://www.budoshop.se/store/videos/dvd-bujinkan-budo-taijutsu/shinken-kata

Happy training!
Mats Hjelm (seminar organizer, dojo-cho at Kaigozan Dojo)

Mats seminar pictures

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Ninpo/Ninjutsu seminar update (next week)

JPNKanjo09-1-Tak-2 JPNKanjo09-1-Tak-15

Now it is less than a week until the Ninpo/Ninjutsu Seminar with Dean Rostohar. Here is some updates and news…

Dean is coming on Friday already, but we have no extra training planned. Dean is also bringing some of his top students with him this time, so I’m sure they will also help him with the teaching. This will be an exciting seminar, he will teach lot’s of stuff we usually don’t see in the trainings in a regular Bujinkan Dojo.

  • Place: We booked the dojo. We will be in Kaigozan Dojo on Sveavägen 130 in Stockholm city (here is the map).
  • Saturday training: We open the dojo after 10:00, the training start at 11:00 and finish at 18:00 with a longer lunch break.
  • Saturday evening: As usual we want everyone to join us for dinner at a local restaurant, if you don’t hear about this by e-mail we will inform you about it Saturday morning.
  • Sunday training: we start at 11:00 and finish around 15:00. We do not have a longer lunchbreak, so prepare yourself with something to eat during the short breaks.
  • Late people: if you haven’t signed up for the seminar do so immediately, or look at the web site first to see if there is places left before you come.
  • Seminar fee: One day training is 500 SEK, for both days 850 SEK. We suggest that you sign up and pay early next time to get the discount!
  • Seminar DVD: We will film this seminar and you can pre order the DVD for 200 SEK ( we will send it to your address when it is done) at the seminar, or you can buy it at the KGZ Budo Shop later… https://www.budoshop.se/store/

For more information about this seminar see this web site… http://kaigozan.se/seminars/2009-09-26/

Taikai Deutchland 2008

Taikai Deutchland 2008

Taikai Deutchland last weekend was a big success for Bujinkan in Germany, there was about 25 German 10th dans teaching, and in total there was 350 people, mostly from Germany. Holger Kunzmann and his staff did a great job to organize this event. Everyone I talked to was very pleased about this seminar, good for Germany and the Bujinkan! I will upload many, many pictures from this event later in May/June.

I will go to Japan tomorrow and right now I need to go to sleep. There might be some more blog news coming from Japan soon :-).