Recently, Soke has been talking about the evolution of war and how the proper study of Budo requires being in touch with the current times and how we must adapt this to our training.  Recently, there have been several discussions between myself and Soke individually, as well as in public translation to the class regarding this aspect.  Other martial arts schools often do not take this larger view and remain focused on teaching form, which does not allow for the freedom to observe and perceive the possible dangers allowing the human innate sixth sense to operate naturally.

Soke reminded us of Miyamoto Musashi’s “Book of Five Rings” and how the 5 rings refer to the five elements of Chi, Sui, Ka, Fu and Ku.  Soke’s inspirational message is that although this refers to an attitude or feeling that a true Budoka must look at the reality of this and how it applies to war or fighting.   We must look at the five elements as the evolution of war, and in that essentially the evolution of weaponry.  True Budoka must look at the ultimate potential and must incorporate the use of weapons into training on a regular basis.  This goes beyond what one might consider a typical weapon as well.  Often the greatest surprise can come from something not commonly considered a weapon to be used as such.  A mindset aware of this possibility is what Soke often is teaching.  A mindset that anything is possible and therefore one should not be caught up in preconceived ideas or assumptions. (self)

In most cases, real fighting will evolve a weapon.  The intention can also be perceived as different as using a weapon most likely incorporates the intention of killing or at least causing direct physical harm.  This mindset is not an intention of submission or winning, it is an element of life or death and universally different.

The five stages (elements) of weapon evolution in Soke’s example are:

  • Ken
  • Tachi
  • Jyu (Gun)
  • Katana
  • Nuclear Weapon

Looking at each one of these we can see the evolution of attack as well as the associated defense and distances involved.  Although distance can be subjective, the basic idea is present. 

In understanding the evolution of weapons we must also understand the evolution of the attack and focus our training according to the present possibility as well as maintain a connection to the past in order to have a complete and full understanding.

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu training should always be looking at the incorporation and use of weapons in the training and the various distances, aspects and possibilities associated.  Particularly the training of a 15th Dan should clearly incorporate this idea and be understood, and if not a regular teaching this aspect, should be pursing this in one’s personal training.  However, it should not be forgotten that it is the sign of lack of skill if one was to injure someone in training.  We must never become 無自覚(lack of awareness) but remain 無心 (nothingness of mind).

Each inspiration will have a unique impact on each person in their own training, I’m inspired to further seek to find applications in life outside of fighting.  

We first should seek to live and then in the unfortunate event that one must fight to survive, we must fight. 

 Bufu Ikkan―The martial path is a lonely one