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Re: First Class
Kutaki Postmaster
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The first class I went to visit was in 1987. I remember being very impressed with the number of people training and the flash dojo. It was upstairs to a health club and was a beautiful studio – polished floors, walls covered with weapon’s rack, nice reception area and even video equipment set up. I watched a couple of times before I joined later (it was $70 a month so more than I could afford at first).

I joined in 1988 but when I started they had just moved from the old location to a factory unit. When I started I remember being taken aside to be taught how to roll but I could already roll reasonably well so I just joined the rest of the class. Can’t remember what we did after that though. The classes were based on the Ten Chi Jin and information was fed by fax from Japan and a couple of short trips to Japan made by the teachers there. Basically I think they did a pretty good job with what they had.

I moved to Japan in December 1990 but my first class was with Hatsumi-sensei (his second class for the year) in 1991. Ayase hadn’t been established yet so he was still travelling between different dojo I think. The class was about half Japanese to half foreign and there seemed a much greater separation between the two groups than you see today. Ishizuka-sensei started with us all doing Sanshin no kata in a circle which I was quite happy with because I had practiced this in Perth. After we separated into pairs to practice Sanshin. Hatsumi-sensei then came in and did jutte techniques for a while followed by a basic taijutsu kata. He was angry that many people didn’t have the flexibility to kick high enough so he had us all make a circle and stretch balistically to the count of one to ten in Japanese, English , French and Spanish. He talked about when he trained with Takamatsu-sensei how he had told him to leap as far as he could, then Takamatsu drew a live blade and put it on the mark where Hatsumi had landed and told him to try to get a bit further. Hatsumi-sensei said he then cleared the sword, he also said he wouldn’t use that training method with us because he lacked the ability to judge the student that Takamatsu-sensei had. He went on to say he only teaches things that he can do now, or could do in the past. At the end someone took the fifth dan test and someone whispered in my ear how lucky I was to be there on a night when he did the test (it was still rare to see on a normal training night).

The first time I taught was in 1995 when I had returned fro Japan but I don’t remember any specifics. I had one student who started with me at the park in front of my house who stayed for a couple of lessons then another joined who stayed with me till he left for Sydney a couple of years later. Like most returning from Japan I didn’t have much of an idea what to teach so I mostly used the book “Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu” as a guide. I went back to Japan in December 1995 and asked Hatsumi-sensei what I should be teaching and he asked me if I had the Gyokko Ryu video. I said yes and he told me to teach the basics from that but the most important thing to teach to people up to shodan was ukemi. He said unless the student learns good ukemi before shodan then he can’t practice more difficult things.


Posted on: 2011/8/1 16:47
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Re: First Class
Villager
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2003/2/2 17:26
From Abbotsford, BC Canada
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In the summer of 1983 I convinced my mother that a weekend seminar with a ninjutsu instructor was just the wholesome sort of activity her 15 year old son should engage in. The seminar in question was being hosted by "The Toronto Survivalist Association" and was being held a 4 hour drive from my home.

My mother drove me down and dropped me off in a university parking lot early on a Saturday morning. As I got out of her car a dilapidated cargo van pulled up and disgorged a half dozen dubious looking individuals in mismatched combination of tanktops, black ninja "outfits" and jungle camo. "Have fun!" my mother yelled as she drove off. I was a little concerned....

I need not have worried. They were a pretty good bunch. Some were possibly suffering varieties of mental illness but all were friendly and helpful. I remember doing a lot of work with kusari fundo and tanto, including striking targets with our ropes and cutting rolled up newspaper with live blades. We beat the crap out of each other, and had an amazing amount of fun. A lot of the training then was quite -different- from what it is now. I kept in contact with those guys for many years. Ed Brown became my first sensei, and I owe it to him to starting me on the path those many years ago.

Posted on: 2011/8/3 5:57
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Christopher Taylor
Bujinkan Taka-Seigi Dojo Abbotsford (BC) Canada
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Re: First Class
Active Kutakian
Joined:
2004/7/26 12:43
From Australia
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I'd been looking for a martial art on advice from my surgeon after giving up competitive sport. I was reading up on the Taoist migration from China at uni when a friend of mine gave me the Ten Chi to read - suggested that I would find it interesting...

...started with Dion Kalos shortly after: My overwhelming and lasting impression was a sense of honesty in the content and application of training.

I've never considered attempting to qualify to teach as I realized early on the level of commitment involved...

Great thread: thank-you!

PS - Also has deepened my appreciation of Australian hardwood timber floors

Posted on: 2011/8/4 8:00
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Re: First Class
Active Kutakian
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2010/9/5 23:36
From Savannah, GA
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It's so weird, sometimes we will be working on something and then Sensei will point out the kihon in the movements we are doing and it's like "Oh yeah, look at that, we're in ganseki!"

Then he will say something like, "Ok, so let's take a look at that again..." and then we are back into the kihon happo, like the first time I learned it but now from another perspective.

Some classes, feel just like my first class, and that intrigues me like nothing else.

Posted on: 2011/8/6 13:01
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"The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
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Re: First Class
Active Kutakian
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2010/9/5 23:36
From Savannah, GA
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I would think that an instructor would focus on ukemi for a students first class since they would not be able to handle techniques without knowing how to hit the ground properly. Yes/No?

Posted on: 2011/8/26 13:44
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"The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
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