Put Your Heart & Soul into Consistent Training

En text tagen från Facebook. Var artikeln publicerades först är just nu höljd i dunkel, men vi hittade den på Facebook. Det finns fler artiklar från Sôke, som förhoppningsvis läggs upp här. Vi behöver bara hitta dem i våra gömmor.



In order to master any form of art, whether martial or aesthetic, consistent everyday training is crucial. It is well known that in the world of traditional Japanese Kabuki theater. The actors who portray female characters on stage (there are no actresses in Kabuki; male actors alone take all roles) maintain their feminine mannerisms even in daily life off stage.

What is the appropriate attitude for martial artists concerning consistent training? Bufu-Ikkan, or “consistent warrior living”, is my only advice. Naturally, this is all I can say no matter how the question is put to me – Do not give up. Keep going!


From my earliest years in the world of martial training, it was my goal to be truly good. In striving to attain that goal, I trained in the physical techniques three times as hard as a normal student. I devoted three times the normal mental effort in coming to a living understanding of the martial arts. I invested three times the normal amount of money that most students would spend in order to obtain the insights I needed. I trained fanatically and consistently and I became strong. As I found myself attaining the strength I had sought, however, I curiously enough came to discover a subtle new form of weakness in myself. I searched diligently for the roots of this suspicion of weakness. But I could never seem to get to the bottom of the question. I was truly at a loss. Nonetheless, I firmly believed in the validity of the teachings of the martial tradition behind my art, so I was sure that my continuing consistent training would eventually lead me to the enlightenment I sought. I just kept on training. I kept going.

One day, an invisible insidious enemy attacked, and I found myself struggling against a serious illness that had set in against my body. I knew in my heart that I faced a survival situation so dangerous that the outcome would literally be life or death. Simply standing up straight required a huge amount of energy. At times, my vision failed completely. I struggled to regain my health for five years. Sometimes, the demands were so great that I found myself thinking that death would be a much easier route than living.


In the depths of that dark period, I discovered that my previous strength, the vital and virile martial power that I worked so hard to cultivate, was indeed a false strength. My previous power depended entirely on my being in peak health. When my health began to decline, my power began to vanish with it. Power that is at best conditional or temporary is not true power at all. It is merely the illusion of power.

Despite my weakened condition, I kept going with my training in the warrior arts. I never quit. Slowly, I began to regain my health. Eventually I recovered from the illness that drained me so for five years of my life. Looking back on my period of illness and recovery, I came to realize that I had consistently kept at my training the whole way through, no matter what my condition, no matter how weak or drained I had felt.


From this experience, I learned the value of consistent training – adjusting the methods, pace, and focus to fit my body and mind no matter what the state of my mental and physical health. I now know that there is in consistent training a series of developmental stages appropriate for all the stages of life. There is an appropriate way to train when you are young and vigorous. There is an appropriate way to train as you enter the advanced years of your life. There is an appropriate way to train when you are ill, and there is an appropriate way to train when it seems that no training will fit. Even facing death at the close of life is a form of training; most people get caught between their fear of death and their hopes for immortality. Accepting the inevitability of death as something natural at that moment is a form of training for the warrior. Consistent training, ever fitting the goal to the means at hand, is the only way to cultivate the true strength that transcends all limitations.

Five years of struggling with illness led me to discard any concern with comparative values of what others would conventionally brand as strength as opposed to weakness, speed as opposed to slowness. In the grander scheme of things, from the higher divine levels of vision, the ultimate form of strength is a totally relative concept. I learned the power of “natural and fitting technique” a higher form of strength that transcends the conventional strength of raw physical power or even mental willpower that is so often the only thing taught in conventional martial arts schools.


In your training career, there may come a time when you find yourself frustrated and disgusted with what you feel to be your own dullness. You just can not get the techniques right. Your training just does not seem to go the way you want it to. I consider this slump period to be absolutely necessary for your own growth. Your sense of frustration and constriction leads you to the breakthrough you need for advancement. Like a snake that struggles to shed it’s skin so that it can grow larger, the martial artist too must pass these inevitable stages of molting for growth.

This moulting period can be a dangerous time for the unwary, however. Because of the frustration experienced in working through your current training barrier, no matter what it is, you can become an easy victim to the seductive allure of all the other martial technique systems that suddenly seem to appear to be so much more desirable or more glamorous than your own system. Just as one child is always more impressed with the toys of another child, it is a common weakness for students of our art to reach a point of “tough going” and then suddenly look to the other martial arts as a form of distraction. Anything and everything else suddenly looks so good.


Use your commitment to consistency to work through these difficult periods. Keep going. On the other hand, however, it is of course necessary to realize that not everyone is destined to be a master of this art. You have to know the difference between working through a difficult period as part of the growth process, and struggling pointlessly with a hopeless goal. If your feelings of frustration and constriction stretch out for ten years, it is perhaps wise to re-evaluate your commitments. Perhaps this is not the art for you after all.

Train from the beginning with a sincere heart directed by proper motivation. It is pointless to work at the martial arts with the mere intention of collecting as many techniques as possible. This form of consistent concentration of course lacks the counter balance of the power of observation. Training for experience without awareness will only produce a martial arts scholar – one who is no more than a walking technique catalog with no real heart.

By Masaaki Hatsumi Sensei

(Contributed by Shidoshi Mats Hjelm, Sweden for Ura & Omote Newsletter,  September 1995)

Grading Concepts

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Grading Concepts


Here are some of my views about ranking within the Bujinkan on a cold,windy and rainy winters day.

Soke is beyond the trivial concept of ranks. He has spoken about ranking in regards to sports and budo many times over the years.

In the Bujinkan, we have a concept called “Sakizuke”. This is the way Soke received his ranks from Takamatsu Sensei. It is my personal opinion that he respected Takamatsu and the Arts so much, that he clearly understood what was required of him and thus trained three times harder then anyone else. The problem with the new generation ( and mainly the gaijin ) is that we do not understand the concept to our bones and soul. We shy away from accepting a role model, teacher, and also becoming students, disciples etc. We fear we will loose our identity and individualism or, we look at this teacher/student dogma as cultish and refuse to accept anyone as a long term teacher. Being a true budo student is complicated yet very simple. Thus, we see very few out there with the balance of body,mind and spirit to enter the dojo under the tutelage of a teacher. Peoples egos are too big. We live in an era of “entitlement”. It is an era where trust is rare and people find it difficult to be told what to do.

Takamatsu Sensei apparently taught whoever showed an interest in his budo. It was important for the continuance of his budo to spread it throughout the land in a hope that one day, someone will make something of it. He was lucky, as Hatsumi Sensei came along and became his deshi. I believe Soke is doing the same. He is passing on his knowledge to anyone who shows an interest in his budo. He has mentioned that it is his hope that one day, some masters from all the thousands will emerge. The more it is spread, the more chance the art has of surviving and ensuring the health and protection of the people of the world.

The Bujinkan is more like an organism than an organization. Soke spreads the seeds and some die, some grow into weeds and die sooner than later or become a nuisance, some grow into small trees,shrubs,beautiful flowers, and large trees. Each inhabit a space for a period of time. Some longer than others. Some learn well and have the right heart to endure the hardships and teach what they have learned or spread more seeds for the future. Some just hibernate, some just die and wither away. This is nature. This is the Bujinkan.

The Bujinkan and nature is the same.

I believe Soke does not try to control mother nature, he rather accepts it and flows with it ( Shizen Gyoun Ryu Sui ). This is a far more powerful way of leadership – becoming one with mother nature. Soke allows what will be, to be. Of course, there must be intervention from man on occasions as we live in the realm of man. Yet, I believe Soke truly is attuned to the balance of Ten Chi Jin and lives in neither realm, but within the space of all three. Thus, he can rise above the trivial concept of ranking that his less than enlighten students ( us ) can comprehend. He leave us to fight and be concerned about these things for our own training,learning and life lessons. If we don`t understand, that is fine. Maybe we will when we are his age? Therefore, just look after your health and train to one day allow the teachings mature where the concept of “grades” is nothing more than “sowing the seeds”.

Soke is like a farmer, trying to nurture his crop so it can grow and then assist others in growth and finding a life. However, he is at the mercy of mother nature and as a result, some parts of the crop don`t survive or grow well. We are but rice, scattered by the martial wind to test our resolve as budding martial artists.

Some will get it, some won`t. Within this space is where we discover ourselves and what we need to learn to grow and survive.

The Bujinkan grades are based on heart. This heart is the heart of “keeping going”. Just talent or technique is not enough. We must have all three ( Sainou Kon KI ) to reach enlightenment ( Rokkon Shojou ). Therefore, I believe that grades are given to those that have shown perseverance and endurance over the years, even if they are not skilled. If they keep going, it is Sokes wish that ( maybe ) one day they will become skilled.

Really, we are just children. Here is one way I view some ranks/awards. You can also view from the perspective of Shu Ha Ri.

Mu kyu – yet to be thought of by your parents.Lol.

Shodan – sperm

Godan – born

Judan – puberty

Jugodan – 15yr old child ( in samurai culture considered a young adult free to enter life on his/her own ).

Shin Gi Tai Bufu Ikkan – Understands the unity of spirit/technique/Body through enduring years of hard training.

Yushuu – Adult ( in the midst of living, experiencing life, assisting others. )

Dai Shihan – Matured Adult ( experienced lifes trials and survived, leading through example in ShinGiTai, having lived a long life ).

Soke – Mu ( Zero or nothingness )

Just as with mother nature, there are problems,permutations,mutations,diseases,etc. We have this within the Bujinkan as well. Things do not always make sense and work out the way WE believe they should. There is something greater at work. If we believe we are in control, than we are sadly mistaken. Welcome to the workings of mother nature. Just when we think we know, we haven`t. Maybe this Gokui can help:

“If you think there is something, there isn`t. If you think there is nothing, there is”.

The world and those inhabiting it is forever changing and evolving in a tempering process that is infinite, beyond our life time of understanding. Therefore, it is important we try to develop a larger capacity ( utsuwa ) to accept or tolerate these times. I believe Soke has a huge capacity and therefore expresses it by calling himself a UFO. He rises above it all and on occasions, lands to fix things and/or take people for a ride of inspiration to a dimension showing what can be achieved with correct training in heart,body and soul.

Soke has said the Dojo is like a swimming pool and the students are learning to swim. He is the life saver but, he cannot dive in to save everyone, if he did, he would drown too. He therefore stands back and assists those who have the qualities of a budoka that can endure and stay afloat. It sounds harsh, but when you look at mother nature, she is harsh too. But, the training is fun isn`t it, even if we are drowning! So, it is also a lesson to live in the moment, learn to accept death, and die well. Lol. There are always two sides 😉

Those that rise in rank sooner than others, well… it is a test for everyone. It is a test for those that cannot accept it, and also for those who received the ranks. If both parties view ranking superficially and in a materialistic sense, no true understanding will evolve. They may continue training but, the depth of understanding of what they are doing may only ever reach skin or ego depth. They have succumb to desire, lack of maturity, and the unfortunate state of thinking in this modern world. The only way is to live in the Kukan ( space of life ).

We must also acknowledge that Soke respects those with “real world” experiences. These people are often ranked quickly out of respect, regardless of their actual dojo ability. Soke says that if these people have seen battle and survived, they understand budo. We have to remember that Soke never saw battle. According to Nagato Sensei, Soke felt for many years that he could not successfully pass on the feeling of Takamatsu Sensei as he had never killed anyone. Therefore, I believe Soke admires and respects those with similar qualities and gives them ranks/awards/status from sincere respect ( among other things ).

As a result, we see a wide variety of skill sets in the Bujinkan. Those that cannot or did not accept this manner of ranking have left the Bujinkan or cause problems. These people have their own strong ideas of what ranking should be like and cannot see beyond to Sokes teachings. If you are one of these people, it might be better that you leave the Bujinkan or, just shut up and train.

Any issue that arises is not Sokes problem. It is ours. If we cannot accept it, then we have to change it to appease our egos. If we were true students, we would learn to accept the teachings of our Soke. His life is testament to his teachings. Therefore, don`t follow your own way, follow the way laid by 2000 years of Budo transmission. Just as Soke has.

I hope that one day enough of us will mature to continue following Sokes transmissions in tune with the path of nature.

The tradition of the Bujinkan recognizes nature and the universality of all human life, and is aware of that which flows naturally between the two parts:

“The secret principle of Taijutsu is to know the foundations of peace.To study is the path to the immovable heart (fudoshin).”

To know that patience comes first.
To know that the path of Man comes from justice.
To renounce avarice, indolence, and obstinacy.
To recognize sadness and worry as natural,
and to seek the immovable heart.
To not stray from the path of loyalty,
and with a balance between the pen and the sword,
always delve deeper into the heart of Budo.

To follow this code is part of the dojo’ guidelines.

Meiji 23 (1890) Spring, Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu
Showa 33 (1958) March, Takamatsu Toshitsugu Uou
Hatsumi Masaaki Byakuryu


Regler i Hombu Dojo

Mark Lithgow fick i uppdrag att berätta lite om etikett för dojos i allmänhet, men Hombu Dojo i synnerhet.
Läs och begrunda!

Länken till Facebook där detta är kopierat:



“To all my Bujinkan friends:

I had a chat with Soke at his house last week regarding ‘dojo manners’, and he said that these things were important to pass on to all Bujinkan Dojo members. Today (Sunday May 10th, 2015), he had me stand up in front of the class to pass them on to the people present.

Dojo etiquette can vary from school to school, and even from dojo to dojo within one school such as the Bujinkan. It is often learned by simply watching other people who know better. Unfortunately, these days we have so many people coming through the new Honbu Dojo, and because most people are new to the place, they don’t have many good examples to watch in order to know how things should be done. I myself have often felt the need to intervene, and play ‘manners police’. I sometimes feel a little bad doing it, but on the other hand, this my home dojo. I am a member of this dojo, not a visitor, and I have been now for close to 3 decades. It is actually my ‘duty’ to instruct visitors in how to behave in my dojo.

When discussing this with Sensei, it soon became evident that he feels very strongly about etiquette. He may seem easy-going, but on the inside, he expects it and respects people that have good manners. He righty feels that it is not his place to teach or enforce etiquette. As the Soke, he should be able to just turn up at his dojo, teach, and leave. The general running of the dojo and the cleaning and maintenance should be done by others. That goes for things such as correct etiquette too. He said that the ’Shihan should handle this, and that because of my experience with dojo of other arts, I know how dojo SHOULD be treated’. Apparently, for that reason, I am the ‘perfect person to transmit it’. Smiley smile Something he said today, incidentally, when I went back to his house after training, was “How can we expect to be taken seriously by the Japanese martial arts world if our basic dojo etiquette is so lax?”

I spoke about three points in the dojo today on Soke’s request. More will probably come up, but I think that this is a good start. I also feel that I may have to repeat the announcement once in a while, until it reaches the point where there are enough examples for new visitors to learn from, and so that it grows into a real part of our dojo culture. They may seem very basic…. Indeed, they are common sense to many people. But from what I have seen in the dojo recently, they are not known by everyone, and they need to be addressed.

1) Bowing in and out of the dojo.
Bowing in and out of any dojo in Japan is just ‘common sense’. You’ll even see the custom practiced outside the dojo, in such places as supermarkets and department stores. Staff members, as they leave the shop floor on break or at the end of their shift, at the ‘staff only’ door, will often turn around and bow to the shop before walking through the door. I have to admit that I myself sometimes became a little lazy in the old Honbu Dojo, sometimes neglecting to bow. With the new dojo under construction, I mentioned this to Soke, telling him that although I had sometimes been lazy, I had made it a new rule for myself after the new dojo was opened. We had a long discussion about it then, which continued last week. For him, bowing as you enter the dojo is essential to showing respect to the dojo. To Sensei, even bowing twice would not be bad: once at the entrance to the building, and once more when walking into the dojo proper… onto the mats. After some discussion, however, he conceded that the main entrance one is optional, but bowing as one enters the main training area is essential. As you cross over the threshold, stop, pause, bow, pause again… then walk into the dojo. At that moment, you are leaving the outside world behind you, and getting into ‘training mode’. The same when leaving.. Stop and bow. Take a moment to reflect on the fact that you came out of there safely, and are about to go back out into the real world.

It is only necessary to do this once when entering and once when leaving. If you have to go out to your bag, or to use the restroom, you don’t need to bow each time. Just when switching between training mode and outside mode.

2) Shoes in the doorway.
This is based on a simple idea that ‘Inside is inside and outside is outside… and those two places are kept seperate’. When we are training in the dojo, we are wearing indoor footwear… usually tabi. Indoor tabi can have cloth or leather soles. Rubber-soled tabi, known as ‘jika tabi’ are for outdoor wear, and should never be worn in the dojo! Indoor footwear is for indoors, and outdoor footwear is for outdoors ONLY. The border is the wooden boards on the floor on the ‘genkan’ (entrance). The wooden boards are INDOORS. A few weeks ago, I arrived to find a bunch of shoes actually ON the boards! If you are wearing (indoor) tabi, don’t dirty the soles by going outside, and then tread that dirt back inside. If you want to sneak outside for a quick smoke, please put your shoes on! Again, once your tabi have been outside, please do not tread the dirt back in the dojo! And don’t step out of your shoes onto the (outside) floor, then step up. Step up directly from your shoes! The doorway in the new dojo is a little small, and sometimes you might have no choice but to take one step on the outside floor. It can’t be helped sometimes, but please try your best to avoid it.

3) The Shômen wall
The shômen (front) wall of the dojo contains the ‘kamiza’. The kamiza is regarded as a sacred part of the dojo and should be treated with respect. It is not a place for putting any personal effects. Nothing except the things that actually belong on it should be placed on the shelf. Under the kamiza in the new dojo is a kind of wooden-floored alcove. It is used as a little display area for statues etc., but it should be treated in the same way as the actual shelf on which the shrine sits. It is not a place for bags, drinks… and certainly not for people to walk, stand or sit in. Actually, the entire front wall is treated in the same way. In the new dojo, apart from the areas mentioned above, the remainder of the shômen wall is actually taken up with the training weapon storage closets, but even in the old dojo, where there was some space either side, the rule was that no personal effects should rest against the front wall. The side walls OK, but not on the front wall, which is regarded as an extension of the kamiza itself.

The above points were the ones mentioned today, but I would like to add a couple more – some things that I noticed today, which I feel warrant a mention.

Firstly, when a technique is being shown in the middle of the dojo, please be aware of your surroundings, and show some consideration to others who are also trying to see what is being shown. If you are right by the wall or there is nobody behind you, by all means remain standing. But if you take a little look over your shoulder and realise that people behind you may not be able to see properly, please duck down a little or kneel so they can see over you. Today, I was translating, so I usually try to get a little closer to Sensei. I am never standing at the back, but am usually kneeling at the front. Even so, I still had people standing right in front of me. A little consideration, please!

Secondly, if you’ve used dojo training weapons during training; rokushakubo, hanbo/fukuro shinai etc., please put them back where you got them after training. Someone always vacuums the floor after training (any volunteers to do that are always appreciated, by the way!). It is not their job but put away your weapons after training!

Anyway… I just wanted to let Facebook-land know the details of what was said in the Honbu Dojo today. Hopefully this also will help general etiquette awareness to people who may be visiting the Dojo in the future.”

Soke ber dig visa en teknik

Under många år har vi sett folk gå upp inför Soke för att visa en teknik.
På Soke’s begäran, givetvis.

Frågan är bara, har alla förstått vad dom ska visa?

Vi har diskuterat detta många gånger i dojon där jag tränar.
Frågan är om inte de flesta missat chansen under alla år, om att få sin taijutsu förbättrad eller rättad.

Vad Soke gör är att be vem som helst att visa en teknik, som han sedan korrigerar/förbättrar.
Soke måste ha blivit chockad första gångerna han såg detta.

Folk visar inte upp vare sig grunder eller skoltekniker, utan en egensnickrad taijutsu.
Dom har chansen att bli korrigerade av Bujinkans bästa och dom kastar bort möjligheten.

Min gissning är för att “imponera” på Soke eller visa hur “duktiga” dom är.
Precis som att vi kan visa honom nåt nytt om Bujinkan.

Här finns möjligheten att bli så mycket bättre. Att få djupare insikt om taijutsun, inom respektive skola.
Och folk missar chansen.

Vi började klura ut varför Soke gör detta när samtliga shihans blev beordrade att göra detsamma. Hur skulle vi göra nu då?

Visa vår nivå av Bujinkans alla tekniker, katas och rörelser.
Få dom rättade av Bujinkans bästa.
Bli duktiga.
Föra arvet vidare.
Lära ut mer korrekt till våra elever.

Detta var inte bara en chans till för oss, utan också en stor komplimang till de japanska shihans.
Vi tror Sōke tänkte så här:

“Ni (japanska shihans) kan Bujinkan nu, så ni kan korrigera alla tränande som kommer hit.
Få deras taijutsu att se bra ut, så dom inte skämmer ut oss.”

För skämmer ut oss gör vi alla lite till mans.
Se bara allt “spännande” som läggs ut på Youtube, även om det finns en hel del guldkorn också.

Skrivet av Urban, 15 Dan
Tränat sedan 1984

Hugga med svärd hos Someya Sensei

[Vi fortsätter ned att lägga upp aldre inlägg från vår gamla blog.
Ursprungligen upplagd: 19:e maj, 2006]

Det var ett tag sedan som jag skrev här på “Mats sida”, så nu kände jag att det var dags igen. Det har varit lite svårt att komma på ämnen och det är så fortfarande. Men jag tänkte helt enkelt bara skriva om ett minnesvärt träningspass i japan 2001. Jag och Urban skulle träna svärd med Someya-sensei och lära oss att hugga korrekt och riktigt. Om vi ville skulle vi även få hugga genom ihoprullade halmmattor. Jag och Urban cyklade iväg till Someya-senseis dojo som ligger någon kilometer från Nodas centrum. Someya-sensei har byggt en egen dojo på sin mark som är rätt stor och det är rejält högt i tak. Vi klev in, hälsade och bytte om i det lilla omklädningsrum som finns i dojon. Strax efter kom en ung tysk som även han hälsade och bytte om. Sedan kom “den spanska inkvisitationen” som vi lite skämtsamt kallade ett gäng spanjorer som var där och tränade samtidigt som oss. Totalt 12 stycken och deras ledare var en herre i 50-årsåldern och jag känner dessvärre inte till hans namn. Träningen börjar med att Someya-sensei går igenom grunderna för att hugga med svärd. Då jag och Urban är i dojon för tredje gången under denna resa så börjar vi hänga med och förstå principen någorlunda, att det är svärdet som ska göra jobbet samt en del andra tekniska detaljer som jag inte går in på här.

Efter ca halva träningspasset så bär en av Someya-senseis elever in en stor stålställning och ett antal ihoprullade halmmattor. Till historien hör att en sådan ihoprullad halmmatta ger samma känsla, när man huggen genom denna, som att hugga genom en hals. Someya-sensei fick frågan hur man kände till detta. Someya-sensei svarade på sitt sedvanliga lugna sätt, “Jag har ingen anledning att tvivla på den uppgiften”. Således gjorde inte vi det heller. Someya-sensei frågade var och en om de ville hugga. Den tyske unge mannen och spanjorerna svarade alla ja. Jag svarade Nej tack, men jag tittar gärna. Someya-sensei log stilla och sade att Hatsumi-sensei, vid det senaste passet i Honbu dojo, sagt att “Mats-san ska hugga på onsdag”. Så “Nej tack” var inte ett acceptabel svar varvid jag ändrade till “Naturligtvis”. Urban tackade nej och det accepterades (lucky guy).

När alla förberedelser var klara så berättade Someya-sensei att vi skulle hugga med hans egna svärd som vid inköp kostade ca 40 000:-. Stämningen i dojon började nu bli mer nervös. Inte roligt att eventuellt förstöra ett svärd värt så mycket pengar. Alla satt ned och en del började skruva på sig när de förstod vad som började stå spel. Someya-sensei frågade “Vem vill börja?”. Jag svarade direkt att det kan jag göra. Min filosofi är att är man först så finns inga prestationskrav från föregående utan man kan göra bort sig utan att det gör så mycket.

Someya-sensei lämnade över svärdet enligt den procedur som gäller vid överlämnande av svärd i japan. Jag tog svärdet och gjorde några övningshugg i luften. Jag fick ett eller ett par enkla tips av Someya-sensei och jag stegade fram till målet. 12 spanjorer, en tysk, en Urban och några japanska elever tittade alla på mig. Inget sa ett ord. Jag kunde höra hur mitt hjärta dunkade och jag började andas med magen för att lugna mig lite. Jag måttade svärdet mot halmmattan som stod rakt upp mot taket. Höjde svärdet och högg enligt de principer som Someya-sensei så tålmodigt visat oss. Jag höll mina armar raka och jag lät svärdet vara en förlängning av min kropp. Svärdet fick göra jobbet, helt enkelt. Svärdet gled genom den hårt ihoprullade mattan som om jag högg genom smör och den losshuggna biten for i backen. Someya-sensei sa “very good!” och jag kände en enorm känsla av tillfredställelse. “One more time!”. Så jag gjorde ett nytt hugg och återigen gled svärdet genom halmmattan. Två klarade försök av två möjliga. Underbart! Jag lämnade tillbaka svärdet till Someya-sensei som log.

“Ok, next” ropade Someya-sensei. Den spanska “ledaren” klev nu fram, tog svärdet och gjorde några provhugg. De såg inte så bra ut. Someya-sensei förklarade lugnt och sakligt att det behövs ingen styrka och det svärdet som ska göra jobbet. Spanjoren klev fram, siktade och högg för allt vad tygen håller. Smack! Svärdet fastnade mitt i halmmattan och satt fast. Ordentligt fast. Someya-sensei tog loss svärdet och tittade på det. Svärdet hade blivit krokigt. Ajajaj! Men Someya-sensei bara satte sig ned på knä och böjde tillbaka svärdet och lät den gode spanjoren prova igen. Med samma resultat.

Alla 12 spanjorerna misslyckades med att hugga genom dessa hårt ihoprullade halmmattor. Anledningen till det var att de “tog i”, de använde musklerna istället för att använda taijutsu. Den unge tysken klarade sina båda hugg. Han använde taijutsu och då gick det bra. Dessutom lyssnade han och tog till sig det Someya-sensei sade. Tyvärr var det ingen av våra spanska vänner som gjorde det. Det kan ha berott på att de var så många och de ville alla alldeles för mycket varvid deras teknik blev låst. Och till mitt försvar ska jag säga att jag hade ett träningspass mer än spanjorerna där jag tränat hugg. Det hjälpte naturligtvis.

Kontentan är dock, taijutsu, som vi Bujinkan ser det, är överlägsen styrka och därigenom mer effektiv då en svagare motståndare kan övervinna en fysiskt sett starkare motståndare. Den spanske ledare var en rejäl karl som förmodligen slagit mig i armbrytning även om jag fått använda båda händerna.

Det var det träningspass som jag kommer att minnas mest av alla tillsammans med det pass jag gjorde en förmiddag i Noda 1992 då jag klarade Go-Dantesten. Men det är en helt annan historia som kanske kommer på “Mats sida” vad det lider.

Så träna på, nöt taijutsu, låt hela kroppen arbeta, inte bara armarna, så kanske du en dag får chansen att träna svärd hos den gode Someya-sensei och även lyckas med ditt hugg.

Mats Brickman
Bujinkan Shidoshi, 10 Dan


Waza, eller tekniker, är ett av Bujinkans fundament. Men vad är waza inom Bujinkan? Kort, så är det ett antal förutbestämda tekniker. Varje ryu (skola) inom Bujinkan består av ett antal kata (tekniksamlingar), där varje kata innehåller ett antal waza.

I vår dojo tränar vi i stort sett alltid utifrån en eller flera waza på ett träningspass. Anledningen till detta är enkel. Waza är en nyckel till låset om Bujinkans “hemligheter”. Genom att träna dessa waza får vi förståelse av vår taijutsu, distans, timing och flow. Waza är ett perfekt verktyg att ha som träningens utgångspunkt.

Många waza har även förutbestämda varianter, s.k. henka. I de fall vi har sådana i våra tekniksamlingar tränar vi självfallet på dessa.

Men vi gör även “egna” varianter på waza, dvs vi utforskar wazans struktur och bryter ut den i delar, ändrar små saker och gör wazan till en levande “organism” som låter oss tänka och till slut kunna göra tekniker “utan att tänka”.

Att träna Bujinkan med enbart “fria tekniker” ser jag personligen inget större syfte med, det ger svag förståelse för kihon (grund) och risken för en slafsig taijutsu är stor. Och när det sker så blir det ännu värre med ett redskap i händerna.

Waza, både med och utan redskap, är ett viktigt instrument i vår träning. Det är det som ger struktur och förståelse för den art vi utövar. Att det dessutom är ett kulturellt bevarande är enbart en bonus.

Jag ser våra waza som melodier och när vi bryter oss låss från en waza är det jämförbart med de improvisationer som finns inom exempelvis jazzmusiken. Rytmen, melodin, flowet finns där, men man vet inte riktigt vad som händer.

Under alla mina år inom Bujinkan har jag samlat ihop en i stort sett komplett samling av all de waza som finns i takagi Yoshin Ryu, Kukishin Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, Koto Ryu, Gyokko Ryu samt Togakure Ryu. Jag tycker det är en fantastisk samling tekniker att ha som utgångspunkt i vår träning och de ger idéer och uppslag till nya och annorlunda moment i vår träning. Desto längre jag tränar, desto mer förstår jag av dessa waza och jag upptäcker hela tiden nya saker i dessa tekniker. Och så länge mina två lärare (shihans) i Japan utgår från dessa waza gör jag det. Bara att sitta ned med en kopp te och prata om dessa waza ger mer förståelse för vår art, dess ursprung och dess framtid.

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The ‘Kokoro’ of Kihon Happo

Kage No Ittō

When thinking about Kihon Happo, I feel I must start from the time, over 23 years ago when I was allowed to become a student. At the time I was a 17 year old high school student, with a strong interest in Judo, Kendo, Karate, Aikido and Shorinji Kempo. I was training in each of them. One day I dislocated my shoulder in Judo and went toSoke’s seikotsu clinic for treatment. That’s how it all started.



The training hall at that time was a small room with a plank floor. Whether hot or cold, we would all train together there as friends. There were day’s when someone would stomp through a plank in the floor and we would all stop to repair it before continuing.  From the senior students I learned Ichimonji no Kamae, Hicho no Kamae, Jumonji no Kamae and strange strikes and kicks and blocks that I had never seen before, and which I did not really understand. After some months I learned that these new techniques were Kihon Happo. How I wanted to learn some techniques, but Soke and the senior students applied blocks to me and threw me through the air. They made my body learn ukemi naturally, so my ukemi gradually became better – totally different from those in Aikido or Judo. So I could take my falls without pain on planks, concreate or gravel.



Soke talked to us about Budo both during and after training. Time and time again he told us ‘Ninjutsu is Taijutsu. Taijutsu begins with Kihon Happo and ends with Kihon Happo. If you get stuck for techniques, go back and redo Kihon Happo.’The most essential thing required of a martial artist is to have a Kokoro “heart” that is like the warm beautiful heart of a flower in peace and harmony, or alternatively the warm, beautiful heart of a flower with the upright, flexible character of a bamboo.I was young and often thought ‘Oh no not again,’ but as though reading my mind Soke would say, ‘Takamatsu Sensei used to tell me all of these things in the same way, and I would think ‘Uh oh, here he goes again !’, but later the fact that those words are really important pierced it’s way deep into my chest.’ Hearing these words, I felt them pierce my chest deeply too.


Kyoketsu Shōge

As timed passed, I sweated through the training, always’s cradled by Soke’s warm heart and got to teach those below me the basic Kihon Happo., like “Te Hodoki” untying the hands, in just the same way as I had been taught in my time. When considering how each of the techniques had been passed down this way for over 900 years, I could but wonder at the mystery of living Martial Arts.Eventually I came to have a dojo of my own, and students of my own and realised more and more how heavy a responsibility I held for my own basics. As you are all aware, many students came from abroad to train in the martial arts, but somehow the techniques lacked ‘bite’, and I realised this must be because they had not truly mastered the basics. I really sensed a need for everyone  to learn from the Shihan how each individual movement of the Kihon Happo gets linked into techniques, and then into Taijutsu, to build a stable form of movement with roots firmly implanted into the earth, combined with sharp biting branches.


Shitō Ken

Soke is a genius – as a painter, as an actor, and of course as a martial artist. His movements do not stop at where onlookers see them stop. The techniques flow on and on boundlessly, and so whenever you train yourself, copying the movements of this great flowing river, please watch Soke’s toes, fingertips, torso – in fact watch his whole body. He uses all of the Kihon Happo I have just metioned. If you just try to copy the flow of techniques without seeing this, your techniques will have no ‘bite’.When a baby starts to walk, he often falls over probably because of the unbalence between his head’s weight and the muscles of his body. The martial arts are the same. Just as a parent stretches out a helping hand to a baby, senior students stretch out to help their juniors, and both help and love each other. Love produces new things, raises new life.



It is said that Taijustu gives birth to miracles. And the first step of Taijutsu is Kihon Happo! As it was transmitted from Takamatsu Sensei to Hatsumi Sensei, and from Hatsumi Sensei to the Shidoshi throughout the world, with heavy responsibility to bring about world peace and help people to lead enjoyable lives. This responsibility may be heavy, but I feel it is also somehow enjoyable in itself. How about you?

By Tetsuji Ishizuka Sensei, from Tetzusan


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