The book is out in some areas and the comments are coming in, and therefore I’m inspired to write this post in response to some of the comments and questions and unfortunate misconceptions.
To some, this book is a lifeline for training, hopefully answering all the questions about the secrets of Budo Taijutsu. However, if you put too much emphasis on this, you are not exercising what is taught by Soke. This book is only meant to be a reference to your training and I think most of us understand that.
In addressing the misconceptions, I will start with the San Shin No Kata which appears in the book differently than what the typical Bujinkan practitioner is socialized to expect.
Anyone with a years experience in the Bujinkan knows that the Sanshin is referred as Chi, Sui, Ka, Fu, Ku. It is what we are used to and comfortable with. So, of course it was translated this way and submitted to the editor as such, but ultimately has come out in the book as Chi, Mizu, Hi, Kaze and Ku. The more fixated Bujinkan Book critic will see this and immediately jump to the conclusion that is was miss translated. However, it is ridiculous to assume this and would be clearly evident of a lack of wisdom, experience or ignorance of Japan to think that this is the case. Some might think it was intentional…
To give an explanation, in Japanese language there are commonly two readings for a Character. The On Yomi and the Kun Yomi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanji The basic rule is that when a character stands alone, the Kun yomi is used. For example, in the case of water, the actual grammatically CORRECT reading would be “Mizu” and not “Sui”. So our version is incorrect, or is it?
In fact, if I’m not mistaken, in the Gorin Sho (often called Go Rin No Sho even though the “no” is not always not written but implied), the readings are as they appear in the book. However, the real point here is that we should NOT be surprised by this and jump to conclusions-a Ninja is never surprised, Banpenfugyyo. Soke, is always twisting the words and the meanings to make point in a moment. These are meant to be inspiration or a way to look at the duality of things and nothing more. The Editor was made aware of this and chose not to change it this time.
I will give you another example; Hatsumi Sensei chose the name “Bujinkan” for the name of the Dojo. These characters combined of “Bu” and “Shin” will be read by any Japanese person as BUSHIN and not BUJIN. BUJIN is decided by Soke and another example of his uniqueness.
This is also often seen with Japanese names, there is a logic with the reading of them, but it does not always apply. The rules are always broken.
To give a simple analogy, its like me the American going to the UK and asking for ketchup and not tomato sauce. I will get a funny look, but I will eventually get the tomato sauce. In the end, it still tastes like ketchup.
So don’t be surprised. I will go as far to say that those who are surprised by these things are the same who are attached to technique. It is not fixed. And the precious Bujinkan is not ruined Because of it.
Then there is the desho. What do they really say? Are they gramatially correct? Do they really spell out the waza step by step, or is there inconsistency and confusion? Use your imagination.
Maybe knowing a little more about the process of this book will help to shine some light on those misconceptions for those who are not familiar with the publishing business or process. The Editor has all the power and makes the ultimate decision. The translators are simply translators who are asked to translate what is in front of them. I said translate, not interpret, which is fundamentally a different practice. Also, this time around (unlike the Sword and Bo book) the translators were not given the opportunity to proofread the proof text. That was done by a professional proofreader with a high level of Japanese, working for Japan’s largest publishing house with over 100 years of history. And these guys are perfect. So, what you might see maybe the evil typo that seems to rear its ugly head no matter how many times you read it over. There are several of these typos that I have noticed and have been brought to the attention of the editor. They should be cleared up in the next printing.
Then there are the translation mistakes. Common and typical. We don’t claim to be perfect and are honestly quite happy with our achievement in imperfection. Surprising enough, we are focusing our time in Japan on training and not to become professional translators. Translation for the Bujinkan is done on a volunteer basis, if you haven’t already noticed.
So there is no surprise if you actually take the time to allow the truth to bloom without jumping to conclusions. “That which is hidden is the flower” In the Bujinkan, there are many hidden elements that require time to evolve.
What is taught in the Bujinkan is not always grounded and it takes the right mindset, maturity and self control to gain from what Soke puts out there. As I have stated numerous times, there is no shortcut and there is no ultimate truth. That must come from within.
The book is nice to have, but it won’t fix your Taijutsu, your heart or your spirit.
Bu Kaze Ikkan