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Re: My thoughts to help beginners
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Thanks for the clarification. Using the elements from my understanding is completely relevant to how you use your space (and the space of your opponent).

I'm not going to try and take the point of view of others in my dojo in regards to Hayes, however my own opinion seems to be shared by others in what few references to him have been made and that is generally the opinion which has been expressed by most practitioners of the art in my experience.

My instructor has been involved in the art for 2 or 3 decades as far as I know. He was introduced (to my knowledge) by Wayne Roy but I do know there's a negative history involving Roy and I'm not going to try and speculate, but I am aware my instructor was involved in some sort of agreement or something to do with maintaining loyalty and affiliation with Honbu dojo.

Posted on: 2009/4/24 10:20
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Re: My thoughts to help beginners
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You'll have to excuse my poor memory - what is the kukan? It's been a while since I've heard the term.


We use elements to change the 'feeling' of a technique. For example, when you're using earth the feeling is that you are immovable and your opponent is hitting a brick wall.

Surely I don't go to the only dojo in the world which uses elements to change the feeling of the technique? If nobody else is doing it then it seems to me that they're missing out on something quite significant.

That being said, it may be in some cases an unmentioned assumption. As long as the feeling is there, it ultimately doesn't matter what it's called.

Posted on: 2009/4/24 9:21
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Re: My thoughts to help beginners
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I've been training in the Bujinkan for 6 years.

In regards to the elements - have you not read History and Tradition? Soke himself explains the use of the elements in that particular book (which is unfortunately the only one I've read) although that being said it's been a while and I can't remember to what extent.

For some very generalised examples, moving through Ichimonji carries a water feel, Jumonji has an earth feel and I tend to associate Hicho with water.

I also realised, after thinking some more that I have not personally missed a training session except for once when I was so tired I could barely think, and that is the only class I have missed in about 3 years. So I suppose that particular point isn't really valid, I don't know what I was thinking about when I wrote it so let's just dismiss that one ;).

Posted on: 2009/4/24 8:00
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Re: My thoughts to help beginners
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I guess I wasn't able to express my thoughts correctly.

I agree with where you're coming from, but I think there are also circumstances where you're in a frame of mind where it would negatively affect training.

I think it's more of an extreme circumstance though, on a more spiritual level which I'm not at yet.

Obviously though, it's not a good idea to train when you're sick with something contagious for the sake of the health of others. Unless they're all hardcore and don't care about being sick ;).

Posted on: 2009/4/20 12:46
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My thoughts to help beginners
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Since my method of training involves making all of the mistakes and then taking days to months fixing them, I'm going to offer my advice to new to mid ranking kyu grade students.

Of course, the quality of kyu ranking students varies but I'm sure this advice will be useful to those whom know they need it. My approach is to the complete newbie, although I expect (and hope) that these principles are touched upon in your classes.

1. Use your WHOLE BODY for ALL of your movements. Behind an effective punch is not the arm muscles, but the entire weight of your body.

When you throw someone, you don't just yank on their arm and hope for the best. Rotate your whole body, if throwing over your shoulder get right into their space, stick your butt out and fling them over the top.

A good example is the oni-kudaki. Once you have 'engaged' the hand position, you can't just rotate the arm around and hope for the best. Drop your weight to bring the arm down, then bring your weight back up again to apply the rotation. Drop your weight again as you continue the rotation with your uke's elbow coming above his shoulder.

You should not at ANY point be wrestling or muscling your opponent. If what you're doing isn't effective, then change it, or soften the opponent with a strike to manipulate their body into a position which will allow you to move correctly.


2. Consider your elements and move through them where necessary. You don't have to lock into one element per technique. Your elements should adapt just like your posture adapts to the situation. You may start out working with wind, but need to change it to fire in order to be effective.


3. Think about the angles you're taking, the angles you're striking out, what sort of strike you're using, what you're targeting, whether you're creating impact with your strike, pushing through or both.

There are many different ways to approach things. A good example I use when training with new students is when working through the Hicho movements is to experiment with kicking into and below the ribs, groin crease, armpit and upper arm. Working with 'impacting' strikes, and pushing through with strikes to achieve different effects to develop an understanding of what you can do.


4. Choose your target and hit it!! My wife has bad knees, and a careless strike from someone took her out of training for a year. Apart from this, if you're targeting something you should be hitting it. If you don't hit the right target, quite often you'll get the wrong or an inappropriate effect.


5. Remember to breathe. You should not at any point be holding your breath. If you're striking you should be inhaling or exhaling depend on the element and the feel. Breathing forces you to relax. Relaxing is a cornerstone of Bujinkan training. You cannot relax if you hold your breath.


6. When you're uke, your strikes need to be effective and realistic. This means that if you throw a punch, or a kick, you need to be throwing that punch or kick the same way you would in a real life situation, but the SPEED needs to be scaled to be appropriate for training. Train with correct body motion at all times. Also, don't just fall over because your tori expects you to. Try and emulate reality as best as you can. If your tori is not training correctly, they need to be finding that the mistakes are preventing them from being effective, not that they're butchering things and getting away with it.


7. Forget about your rank. Don't even think about it. Rank is supposed to be an indicator to OTHER students about what they should expecting to receive from you in regards to quality of training. You should be more interested in learning and your own ability than about the colour of your belt. I struggle with this myself, but I am still completely aware of the fact that I am more interested in learning and improving than anything else.


8. Avoid training on mats as much as you can. Mats provide unrealistic training due to their composition. Train on grass or carpet if you need a soft surface. Hard floors are the best for developing your ukemi, but softer surfaces can be used when training with more aggressive throws, etc. Chances are, if you're out on the street and are confronted, you're walking on pavement - not a mat from the gym. You need to be competent in your environment. Put simply, harden up. Rain, hail, concrete, gravel, it shouldn't bother you. I train on some weekends at home with sticks and ants all over the lawn. You shouldn't let these things bother you. Don't be afraid of hard surfaces. I can dive roll from 3 feet onto a hard surface. The key is to start with baby steps, and I know that I've still got a lot more in me.


9. Don't go to the dojo to train if you feel like crap. You'll bring the energy level down and make the experience less effective for the other students. If you are keen to train, then fix your attitude and your energy. Stay positive and you won't have this problem. Make sure that when you attend the dojo you are making a positive contribution to the atmosphere, not bringing it down.


10. Stay guarded from your opponent. I make a habit of smacking my tori in the face when he's not guarded and taking me down. There is always a way to remain protected, whether it's with an angle, distance, an elbow, shoulder, knee, thigh, limb control, pain, etc. If I am ineffective when I'm training I expect to be hit as a reminder. I don't get hit very often anymore ;).


11. Don't stand still! Your postures are there to be MOVED THROUGH, not remain static! It is better for you to be moving in ultra slow motion than to stop and start at a moderate speed. The ultra slow motion continuous movement is more realistic than stopping and starting at full speed in the dojo. The ultra slow motion when translate to full speed continuous movement, whereas stopping and starting will only ever translate to stopping and starting.

That being said, sometimes it is appropriate when training to pause while you assess what targets you have available and to assess your posture, angle, distance, etc.



I'm sure there's more I could add, but this is the most significant stuff I could think up right now. There is always a LOT going on and there's a lot to work on.

Also, I know not everyone agrees with me about training on hard surfaces. I am aware some people have injuries which prevent them taking heavy falls, etc., and I'm also aware of people who have been injured by training on hard surfaces. This is due to carelessness or unfortunate circumstances. It is not the rule of thumb. I have taken many hard falls to the floor from various heights at all kinds of different angles as uke and got back up straight away to start again. Learn to roll and fall properly and it's likely you'll never have any problems. You should be practising rolling and falling on hard surfaces regardless, inside or outside of the dojo. They're not much use to you if you can only do them on grass or carpet, you should be 'graduating' yourself to wood, then concrete and gravel as soon as you're able to do so safely.

Posted on: 2009/4/17 11:47
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Re: Ninjutsu and Parkour
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Cool! I might see if I can find some of their stuff, see what it looks like when Bujinkan practitioners do it...

Posted on: 2008/2/25 7:14
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Re: What represents great Bujinkan taijutsu to you?
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That would be the right way to put it, making them see only as you want them to see! I do train in that way, I just didn't think to speak of it like that.

To clarify, you want to be invisible to your opponent when it is appropriate to be as such, and you want to present a target or show your face when it is appropriate for you to do so. It is all dependent on circumstances.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 13:12
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Re: Turn snapped Bokken into wooden Ninjato?
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Fair enough, thanks very much for the advice!

Posted on: 2008/2/15 13:06
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Turn snapped Bokken into wooden Ninjato?
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Hello,

I managed to snap the tip off my bokken, about 15-20cm of it.

I was just curious as to what the length of the ninjato was, and if it was a two-hand or one-hand handle design? The bokken is still in quite good condition and is actually quite straight without the tip.

The other option is to leave it as is, as it has got quite a nasty point on the end that would certainly make people think twice ;).

Posted on: 2008/2/15 8:12
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Re: What represents great Bujinkan taijutsu to you?
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I also agree with invisibility.

My mind tells me that to most aggressors who are unfamiliar with our style of combat, they would only experience falling and pain, without seeing or understanding why. One of the things I was taught early on by one of the senior students was to try and make sure they can't see you, by whatever means necessary. Of course technique is most important (until technique becomes instinct), but having the attitude of wanting to remain invisible to my opponent has definitely influenced my training.

Posted on: 2008/2/15 8:08
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