Some recent conversations with Soke and  fellow budoka has inspired me to write the following post:

There seems to be some talk about our tradition and the various elements regarding what is effective, and what is not, blah-blah-blah.

Since I have never had any real combat experience, I may not be the right one to say, but I have had the honor and luck of training with several members of the Bujinkan that have actually experienced shinken.  So, what is the difference between shinken and conceptualizing?  I’m not sure, but I will go with my gut and say it is the mindset. 

What our Soke is teaching us is the mindset of shinken, and this is what is so valuable about this art.  Without this, one will not survive in shinken.  How does our Soke know?  Well his life was on the line when training with Takamatsu Sensei and he had the rare experience to taste what Takamatsu Sensei experienced. And that is exactly why so many with “real” experience flock to the Bujinkan, because what Hatsumi Soke learned from Takamatsu Sensei is real, and what he is passing on is real.

Now, of course I have never met Takamatsu Sensei, nor has any non Japanese member of the Bujinkan..  So, there is no connection whatsoever to Takamatsu sensei, except through our Soke, Hatsumi Soke.  So to side step the connection is to sever the connection and without the connection there is no tradition. Without the tradition, there is no reality.

In Japan there are various terms for the transmission of lineage and experience, and in this case, I think “Jikiden” is the best term that comes to mind.  Jikiden is best translated simply as direct transmission.  To use the western cliché, Blood, Sweat and Tears.  Meaning that, Hatsumi Soke experienced what Takamatsu sensei “really experienced through actually training with him consistently for more than a decade.

I have the utmost respect for Takamatsu Sensei and I have visions of what it might have been like to have had the lucky chance to have met the man, but I only have this vision thanks to Hatsumi Soke for passing on his experience.  Any vision anyone of us has had of Takamatsu sensei, has been facilitated via the jikden of our Soke.  

So I ask, what is all the fuss about Takamatsu den?  Well the reality for us is that there is no Takamatsu den, there is only Hatsumi den. But we are lucky that it is that, and not something else.

Let’s face it; what we are learning here is Hatsumi Ryu.  -There I finally said it- But it is true, and its great-don’t you think?

That is the uniqueness of the martial tradition, it is passed down from person to person and we are lucky to have that Jikiden of Takamatus Sensei from our Soke.

Hatsumi Soke is the one who trained for all those years; he is the one who experienced Takamatsu sensei’s reality, so I’m confused why some are confused.

To take this a step further, I will repeat what Hatsumi Soke often says “in martial tradition, Maki Mono really means nothing”.  Soke often tells us that the scrolls are lying.  Especially this year, he made that point in reference to the Kukishin scrolls and that they are written by demons, so how can we trust them?  Words are there, but they have no substance without the experience to relate. The Blood, Sweat and Tears is needed to decipher it all.

-This is martial tradition and it is jikiden-