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     More than a week has passed since the first day for training 2008 and more than that has passed since my last post. I want to thank all the supporters of the blog for their kind comments and support; I will continue to express my thoughts and experiences here in 2008.

This year is year of the Rat in Japan, and the Rat plays in to the concept of the Ninja or Ninjutsu.  This year we will study the concepts of Togakure Ryu and the mindset associated with Ninjutsu.  Soke also mentioned that Kukishin will also continue to some degree.

So what will we study in the year of the Ninja Rat?  Well, maybe that there is a thing such as truth and false hood and how that plays into our daily lives and training. For us in the Bujinkan, training is our daily lives.

Soke mentioned on the first day of training 2008 that Budo is a lifelong purist and to think that one has achieved a level in Budo or has “got it” has not.  Budo is not something that can be developed academically pursued or deemed as knowledge.  Budo is something that must be lived, experienced and absorbed via the senses.   If you think you have it, it will most likely work against you and what you see with your eyes will often deceive you. 

Soke often teaches this, and it is a lesson that many overlook.  What you often see and perceive to be the truth is often not the truth and in order to learn the truth, you must learn to look in a different way.  Additionally, there is focus on not showing what is the secret to the technique.  Just as a good magician does not show the trick, the Ninja does not reveal the technique.  What you see is not the technique.  What might appear as losing, would be winning and what might appear as right, may well be wrong. 

Therefore, in this year’s scroll (in the picture) Soke has written the words Menkyo Kaiden.  Normally the characters would be 免許皆, but Soke has used different characters for “Kyo”and “Kai” as 免虚怪伝. The “Kyo” is the kanji for Kyojitsu and “Kai” is for mysterious. 

Let the Year begin…