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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Kihon Happo

I Tetsu följer vi alltid det tema som Hatsumi-sensei bestämmer i japan och jag tycker det är viktigt att göra det. I år är temat, som bekant, Kihon Happo och Shinden Fudo ryu iaijutsu. Anledningen till att det är Kihon Happo är för mig rätt självklart. Låt mig berätta en historia från ett av mina japanbesök. En ung kvinna (1 Dan) från ett land på Balkan, vi kallar henne X, bodde på samma ställe som oss

Vi tog med henne på en träning med en av våra favorit-shihans. Efter träningen frågade jag henne vad hon tyckte om träningen (som jag tyckte var mycket bra). Hennes svar var att den inte alls var bra. Jag blev förvånad och frågade varför? “Det var så mycket Kihon Happo”. Varför tror du att det var det? frågade jag X. “Vet inte!”. Förmodligen för att alla som var där inte kunde det, svarade jag. Jag tror och hoppas hon ändrade uppfattning efter att jag frågade henne om hon verkligen ansåg att hon kunde Kihon Happo. Jag såg att det startade en tankeprocess hos henne. Jag förklarade att jag som tränat mer än 20 år fortfarande lär mig nya saker om Kihon Happo.

Kihon Happo är dörren till det som kallas Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Möjligheterna till variation av dessa åtta tekniker är oändliga. Vad händer om du lägger en åtta på sidan? Du får tecknet för oändlighet. Intressant, eller hur?

När teknikerna i Kihon Happo börjar sitta hos en elev finns möjlighet att börja variera teknikerna. Jag menar, det finns väldigt många sätt att göra en ura gyaku eller en omote gyaku. Däri ligger tjusningen. Med Kihon Happo i ryggmärgen blir det lättare att träna, förstå och ta till sig de waza (tekniker) som finns i de kata (tekniksamlingar) som utgör de skolor (ryu) som Bujinkan vilar på.

Min nästa blog kommer handla om waza.


[En text från 2011]