This year’s Daikomyosai has come and gone as swiftly as Japan’s autumn.  The focus this year rested on a fluttering leaf falling in space resonating the connection of things taijutsu, yoroi kumi uchi and tachi.  The overall message shinning through the clouds as the divine connection of kami musubi.

The quality of training was excellent and Soke’s inspiration limitless as usual. The atmosphere was particularly honest with a strong sense of closeness amongst all members of the Bujinkan.  (“The children have grown”, as Soke softly spoke to me at one point during the demonstration of participants.) Standing out, there were some very impressive demonstrations of taijutsu from some extremely inspiring members of the Bujinkan and considering their physical status even more so. Well Done Brian and Steve-Your capabilities and even more so your hearts are truly inspiring.

We started the morning sessions with various examples of yoroi kumi uchi and were able to see firsthand how the armor can be both an asset and a hindrance.  Hats off to Duncan and Holtger for their brave demonstration of this aspect.  The level was both impressive and eye opening, bringing new meaning to the aspect of Shugyo.

If I reflect back on the training and the overall message, I feel that the most prevalent of the message was the very real lesson that was given on the aspect of the 5th Dan test.  The nature of this test is currently more focused on the level of the 15th Dan and the aspect of Shingitai that is associated with this connection.  Soke explained that this test is a very critical example of the completion of the martial capability in the coming together of both technique and spirit.  In giving this test, it is pertinent for the sitter of the test and the giver to come to a divine connection in an aspect of shobu between 15th Dan and 5th Dan.  In very simple terms, it is the responsibility of the sitter to clear the mind and allow for the push and combine that with taihenjustsu that evades harm or danger and it is the responsibility of the 15th Dan to give the Sakki or killing intent combined with a pure and just committed cut.

It seems that it continues to prove to be difficult to attain this connection consistently.  However, it was clear that we must strive to increase the consistency of this connection through training and understanding of this aspect with direction from the Shiteno.

In my experience, this was one of the first times that I have experienced the 5th Dan test which included direct critical instruction from the Shihan as well as including feedback on a real time basis.  A lesson for all that attended, whether sitting, cutting or observing.

As I have often said in previous posts and have experienced on several occasions, it is extremely difficult to execute what we have learned unless we train consistently and selflessly.

Next year, it has been stated that we are to focus on the aspect of Kihon Happo.  Not technique in my interpretation, but the capability of executing the basics of effective and just Budo on infinite levels.

Bufu Ikkan