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Re: Questions part 2 :)
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I agree with all the comments above. This is between you and your individual Sensei and/or Shidoshi. Ultimately, the details of what you need to know or undertsand is under their guidance.

A favourite quote of mine from Nagato Sensei: "Those who think there is only one way to do something do not understand budo." I personally think that this applies to many other topics one could name as well.

Posted on: 2011/11/4 8:45
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The thing about talking about Bujinkan, and martial arts in general for that matter, is that the aspects you can clearly put into words are almost always basic in nature.
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Re: First class design?
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Darren,

I enjoyed your comments on this thread. One real life encounter is worth more than a thousand logical conclusions. Thanks for sharing.

Posted on: 2011/11/4 8:11
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Re: Interesting Article
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To me, the first two comments strike me as an insight into the Japanese concept of "Wa" via budo. Not wrong in any way, but I think it is worth noting that this runs through every corner of their society and daily life.

Shu ha ri is a common theme among Japanese budo and I'll bet it extends beyond that. I never heard Soke speak of it though, only the westerners, so I sometimes wonder what his perspective on it might be.

Posted on: 2011/11/4 6:56
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Re: Old Photo's by Arthur Tansley
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I like your take on this (Shimajiro) and agree. I think it is the same principle of timing that applies to any technique. Every technique can and will fail if the timing (among other things) is poor.

Posted on: 2011/1/9 8:55
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The thing about talking about Bujinkan, and martial arts in general for that matter, is that the aspects you can clearly put into words are almost always basic in nature.
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Re: Advice on my next step
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I can totally help you out.

I'm Canadian too, lived and trained in Japan for four years and know a good crowd of budo people who live in Ontario.

Send me a PM and let me know what town you live in.

The process is pretty simple though. Train train train,especially in basics, with someone who is still making trips to Japan to train with Soke. Don't be proud and think "I'm getting to good to be doing this basic stuff", as there's always something more you can find by doing variations of it no matter how good you get. But don't do ONLY basics either, because that's bad too.

Speaking of basics, you can get a lot out of working with the big weapons like bo and naginata. Their size has a way of amplifying your movements in a way that will show your inefficiencies.

As you're fifteen, you're in a great position. You have all sorts of options that will work for you. All of them involve doing well in school and doing lots of budo, and ideally taking lots of Japanese classes. That last one isn't a must but is highly recommended. Learning language gets harder and harder every year that you're alive. (Trust me on this!) It takes a lot of work, but with the right attitude that work can be enjoyable.

Have you looked into an exchange program? When I was in Japan there was this one young guy who lived there for about a year, who was 17. He was from Oregon and was staying with a family as part of the exchange program.

You might also look into going to university in Japan. Some of them have classes in English, but you can also focus on the language and then go into something that will turn into a great career after Japan, like business, technology of some kind, medicine or who knows. Certain types of education that you get in Japan can give you a huge advantage in life when you're older. If you choose to live in a city when you get back that is. Lots of room for westerners who speak Japanese properly, managing in Japanese locations of western companies and I would imagine there are similar positions managing in western locations of Japanese companies.

The route I took, which most people who live in Japan take, is going to university, getting the bachelor's degree (which qualifies us to get the visa that lets us work/live there for more than one year) and moving to Japan to teach English. It works, but the work is pretty boring and the working hours tend to be during the time that most of the classes are held.

But like I said, whatever route you choose, it will involve doing well in school and training a lot. You don't need to be a blackbelt to train in Japan, but you will get a lot more out of it if you get your black belt first. Having said that, there are a handful of gaijin living there who teach basics classes.

Posted on: 2009/7/26 9:54
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Re: Bujinkiden
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Sounds kind of suspicious to me, but I have a policy of checking things out before making a judgement.

After all, I thought ninjutsu was a joke until I went to a few classes, and then I was like "Holy crap! This stuff is amazing!"

Posted on: 2009/7/26 9:33
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Re: Serious Bujinkan training
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The whole world is a dojo. I highly highly recommend trying to apply the principles that you learn in the dojo in daily life as well as directly for the study of fighting.

Ever since I first started, I've been using the movements I learned in class for other things. In the beginning, it was a way to practice and internalize certain movements. Things like opening a door into and out of the buildings at my university by using my footwork and bodyweight instead of just my arms, or using the footwork and certain aspects of bojutsu while mopping the floor after a shift of working as a cook in a restaurant. That's where it started, it was very conscious at the time.

I still do think, but now it's more... automatic and subtle than it used to be. Much like my taijutsu. But now, my movments both inside and outside the dojo, as well as my way of positioning myself when I am around other people, or how I speak to different kinds of people in different situations, how I eat, sleep, think etc etc etc. are all tied into Bujinkan. This isn't to say that budo is all I think about or do everyday, but it is to say that it's IN everything I think and do.

This, plus two or three classes a week, plus plain old going over what basics you've been learning in class on the days when you don't have one (i.e. sanshin, jumonji no kata, hicho no kata, bojutsu, ukemi and so on) will make you one hell of a martial artist in a relatively short time. With a decent teacher and about 5 to 7 years of doing this sort of thing, you'll come real far.

Posted on: 2009/6/7 18:04
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Re: Bujinkan in everyday life
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Campsinger,

I've had quite a few experiences, most of them not so dramatic so they have fallen from memory. I too have had the odd tense situation where I would describe my handling of which the same as you, by keeping them confused and off balanced. (The ura and omote and the same thing.)

Since we're on the topic of cars, a while ago I was driving down the highway alone in my car and I suddenly felt like I was being told to "slow down". That was all it the message was. I did so even though I wasn't going that fast. A couple of seconds later some idiot who obviously had their mind on other things made a left turn crossing my lane. I still hit the brakes (and the horn) to avoid them but had I not slowed down there would have been no way for me to avoid nailing that car at highway speeds. Suffice to say it would have ruined my whole day.

There was also the time not so long ago when I was making a right turn from a parking lot out onto the same highway a little further up. Without describing all the details about the positioning of all the cars and the lanes, I'll just say that a truck that was turning into the parking lot was more than big enough to completely hide a vehicle that was behind it that was moving at full speed. At that moment I got the same feeling I get when a high level practitioner is attacking you with say, a hidden knife. There's no intention, but there's a certain... je ne sais quoi. My eyes and conscious mind had told me it was safe, but when my intuition speaks about things like that I listen closely.

One more, this one isn't mine though and it's not a sensing story, but an ukemi one. One of my students was rear ended so hard that his car was slammed into the car in front of him. He described his car as being an accordion and completely totalled. He sent me an email the next day with the subject line "thanks for chucking me!" because he felt that my throwing him around so much made him instintively tuck in his chin and move his body in such a way that he was able to get out of a totalled car that was more than old enough to not really have much in the way of safety features, without a scratch. Then he still had the presence of mind to go into verbal jutaijutsu (ie. get and give the right info in a way that prevents further problems and minimizes the current one) with the people from the other vehicles.

Posted on: 2009/6/7 17:43
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Re: The Rope and the Sword
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Shawn came up Vancouver way last week and did what I imagine was a similar seminar. So, I think I know where you're coming from.

The main thing about rope, and I don't think it matters what level you're at, is that is chaotic by nature. The result is that it is damn near impossible to make the same technique happen quite the same way twice in most cases. This is of course true for all (applicable)budo, but much more so for rope.

It really is a good weapon for developing a sense of "play" in your movements and improving your ability to have on the spot creative solutions to whatever situation you find yourself in. Again, this applies for all, but it's much more so with this kind of weapon.

As a teacher, I like to use it when I students get into to fixed of a routine in their movements or when I get the occasional one who has the attitude that they "know" what I'm trying to show them. Which is ridiculous since I don't even know what I just did half the time, unless we're just working on basics. (I'm fine with this, in case you're wondering, since that's what I see the masters doing in Japan. At least, that's my interpretation of what I see.)

Posted on: 2009/5/16 7:40
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Re: Inaction
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Mario,

That sounds like what I'm trying to describe actually. And yes, I'm not able to put it clearly into words either so I'm not gonna try. :)

Posted on: 2009/5/6 5:53
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