The Ireland seminar has come to a close and I feel that it was a great success. As usual, the atmosphere and people are second to none.
I truly feel that what they have created in Ireland is an excellent example to the global Bujinkan community.
Training for the sake of training. I want to thank Alex Meehan for his support and arrangement as well as Alan Butler, Glen MacNevin, and Marcus Dwyer for their support. It was also a treat to see Elias and his students who came all the way from Norway.
Please read the below comments on the seminar from a 9th kyu who has had several years experience in other martial arts. His comments are quite refreshing to see coming from someone with not such long history in the Bujinkan. I feel that it my intentions and message have been received.
- The first observation is to do with the way the teachings of the various ryuha of the Bujinkan are transmitted. Any instruction I’ve received in the past (especially in relation to classical jujutsu) has primarily come in the form of repeated drills and copious numbers of technique. After hours of training (months or even years) it would eventually sink in, and I would realize the principles that were being demonstrated. The reason I point this out is because of the unique teaching approach taken in Bujinkan. From my observations, I’ve noticed that the principles (which at times are difficult to grasp) are orally transmitted, followed by a demonstration in the form of a technique. The principles learned can then be played with in order to get a feel for them. So in comparison to what I’ve learned prior to Bujinkan I would say the majority of teaching strategies in martial arts are yo (yang), and Bujinkan is in (yin). In other words the Bujinkan teaching strategy goes to the heart of the art and moves outwards, whereas the majority of martial arts start on the outside and move inward. So, what principles did I learn?
- Controlling space. Using tai sabaki to fill the space around uke, or generate a vacuum for uke to fill.
- Balance disruption. Using Ukes balance points to maintain control, also using tai sabaki to displace uke’s balance.
- Concealing (invisibility). Concealing intent, also concealing weapons and ability!
- Flow. Keeping the flow of a technique is an essential element that allows the above principles to work.
- Illusion (false impression). ie. generating the impression of being close when in truth there is distance. Applied to kenjutsu I think it was demonstrated by giving the impression of being full when in reality you are empty (iaijutsu, the bo strikes at the drawing hand, the drawing hand releases the grip).
- Flexibility. Most notably in kobujutsu, using weapons as if they are nawa.
- Another major point Doug made was that there is always a reverse of a technique (which is the basics of combat and of movement). In and yo encompasses every principle of Bujutsu, from what I can see! One other thing that stands out in my mind is the idea of getting a sense of the air, or feeling your surroundings intuitively. I learned a lot and really enjoyed the seminar.
Looking forward to seeing everyone in the UK at both locations in a few days.