The DKMS this year was a real success on many levels. The highlight of the training being that fact that we training entirely outside for first time in many years.
The combination of the years’ theme of Ninpo and the natural environment made things extremely realistic and was a breath of fresh air in our training.
Soke taught us how to use the environment including trees to control the opponents, using obstacles to escape and dry leaves as metsubushi. Many felt like they had returned to youth and were practicing climbing, running up trees during the breaks.
The weather was perfect and somehow Soke was able to create a miracle as all things seem to come together so smoothly. Potentially with the small space that we had allocated to us indoors and the chance that it could have rained the entire time, it could have been a disaster. If I was not a witness of Soke’s miracles so many times before, I would have believed it to be a miracle. The flower of the Bujinkan bloomed ever so bright on those three days.
We started off the training with the study of the Kihon Happo of Togakure Ryu. The basis of taijutsu in Ninpo is Gyokko Ryu and Koto Ryu. We went through the Kihon of Gyokko Ryu, starting off with Ichimonji and working with many variations of controlling the space.
The second day was focused on Taihenjutsu of Ninpo and we went through various waza including those of Tokagure Ryu and Gikan Ryu.
Sincere appreciation goes out to all those that acted as uke for Soke during the training, as the real battleground environment was a challenge in ukemi. Yabunaka san and Shiraishi Sensei, were driven into the dirt, mud and tress so many times, only their level of ukemi would have endured the 3 days.
In my opinion, the highlight of the seminar was the opportunity to hear the stories of meeting Takamatsu Sensei from Seno Sensei and Kobayashi san. Many of you may not know Kobayashi san as it has been so many years since he last trained. He was one of the few students of Soke that had the chance to meet Takamatsu Sensei. (Kobayashi san is now Assistant Director of Shimizu Koen the park were the event was held. Thanks to him for the arrangement) they both depicted how they were in fear of Takamatsu Sensei and how he seemed to look right through the both of them. The detailed descriptions of Takamatsu Sensei’s hands confirmed all the stories that we have heard.
Seno Sensei talked of the time that they were waiting on the second floor of Takamatsu Sensei’s house with Hatsumi Sensei and Kobayashi san and suddenly Hatsumi Sensei said, “He is here” and they looked around the room and saw nothing, then Takamatsu Sensei suddenly appeared. He had walked up the stairs so quietly and rotated into the door smoothly and quickly making it very difficult to see him. (There was some confusion in this story on the day of the explanation, but after discussion, this seems to be how things happened.)
Last but not least the party was very enjoyable and Soke invited many guests from his many engagements. We all enjoyed Soke’s singing, speeches and the chance to see Soke receive so many wonderful presents from the generous Bujinkan members.
There were many excellent speeches given at the party, but the one that stood out for me was the speech given by Jack Hoban. It seemed to tie together the message that Soke had given us throughout the year and in those three days. Without going in to too much detail, the main point was that you need to understand good and evil. If you put 300 participants from all around the world in one room as we did in those three days, and asked them to make peace, they would fight. But we put 300 participants into a room and told them to fight and they made peace.
Thanks to all for a wonderful and successful DKMS 2008