Aquí publicamos una nota realizada por Akira Hino del Budo Institute, traducida al inglés por Garth Lynch
At first, since there are some people who don’t know about Bujinkan Soke Masaaki Hatsumi,
I will briefly introduce him.
Hatsumi-Soke started on the martial path in his youth.
Including a godan in Kodoukan zyudou (altogether having over ten dan ranks),
it seems that there were no rivals in his area.
But at 27 years of age, he met the late Takamatsu (heir–inheritor of many traditions: 33rd generation Soke, Togakure-ry・ninjutsu; Kotou ryu koppojutsu 14th generation Soke; Gyokko-ry・kosshijutsu 28th generation Soke; Takagi yoshin-ry・jyutaijutsu 16th generation Soke; Shinden Fud・ry・21st generation Soke; Kukishin-ry・happobikenjutsu 20th generation Soke; etc.), a “hidden master(kakureta keng・” and leader in the field (source: coyama Ryutar・Nihon Kengoden ), became his pupil for fifteen years, became the successor to various traditions and as the present head of nine schools, he gives his name as “Bujinkan kyuryuha happobiken Soke.
” He is praised by important groups in various countries. Along the same lines, he has mountains of letters of appreciation from the presidents of various countries and top-ranking military or national defense-related officers (you would really be surprised if you saw them all).
Last year he received the Sekai Bunka Kourousyo・(the award for meritorious service in society and culture).
At last Japan, through Hatsumi-S冖e, seems to have come to notice the magnificence of its own traditional martial arts and traditional culture.
This country really was slow to notice. Now I will introduce some anecdotes from my meeting with Hatsumi-sensei which appeared in the magazine Gekkan “Hiden” (Secret Teachings Monthly), appending them slightly.
MY ENCOUNTER WITH HATSUMI SOKE
My eyes were drawn to a man with a special sense of presence who was surrounded by forty or fifty people. That person was none other than Bujinkan Soke, Masaki Hatsumi, who has been in videos, books, and on television. Looking closely, I saw that most of the people in the crowd were foreigners, and that there were few Japanese.
“Pleased to meet you. I am Akira Hino.”
As I think about it, I recall that my image of this “Ninpo Grandmaster” from TV and magazines, since I had begun my research into traditional martial arts decades ago, was that of a ninja/man of mystery/superman.
At that time I came to the realization that there were so many foreigners because he had been going to foreign countries and diligently introducing Japanese martial arts.
In my time researching martial arts, or rather human means and talents, I had watched Hatsumi-Soke’s videos so much that the picture quality had changed, so involved was I in this research.
However, there is a point that unless you actually see it, see an actual [live] demonstration that there are parts you won’t understand.
that is the “sen no sen” (taking initiative) of delving into the techniques of martial arts.
I have a hypothesis that martial artists who have excelled, or that is to say those who are called masters have a point in common–they can take “sen no sen” (taking initiative or reading the opponent’s intention).
That is, they have the technique of ‘waiting sufficiently between the operation of the opponent’s will to attack and the commitment to the actual attack.’ In regards to that point, one unfortunately cannot measure the minute mental reactions of a master just with video.
This becomes even more true the more one becomes a master.
On that note, I had been waiting many years for the chance to somehow or other meet Hatsumi-Soke, and I had finally made this a reality.
IN THE MIDST OF FLOWING WITHOUT HESITATION
Practice starts with Hatsumi-Soke demonstrating how something should be done.
I am told that this year’s theme is jyo.・(cane).
I understand that in Bujinkan training, a theme is chosen for each year and then thoroughly ‘wrestled with’ throughout the year.
This is a practice where everyone has a soft handmade jyo・so as not to cause injury, for the purpose of reliably attacking to the spot which Soke is indicating (not stopping an inch short–“sun-dome”). The way of using the jyo・is not in the manner of ‘kata’ which conform to traditional forms, but is something very modern and moreover something that corresponds to real fighting.
In other words, they don’t just go through each kata one after another, but start from, for example, when the opponent punches .
. . how does one move one’s body? From there, many ways of using the jyo・ or not using the jyo・ unfold. And, finally, one follows through until one’s opponent is in a state where he can’t move.
So this is the way of fighting of a soldier–practicing how one should move depending on a real situation.
Hatsumi-Soke explains a certain flow and everyone practices it.
To the extent that one can, one moves from that flow to other developments, giving an overall feeling much like practicing a jazz improvisation. In that, I saw another reason that this training was accepted by foreigners.
Hatsumi Soke’s Bujinkan Budo・is put together from forms where one would put on armor and fight in the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period), before the occurrence of many so-called ryuha(schools) of martial arts.
But I was surprised at how modern and sharp their way of fighting and moving is, that it doesn’t give the feeling of a bygone era.
One fact about fighting or the essence of martial arts is that even though eras may change and time may pass, it is still the giving and taking of life.
During that time, human [physiological/psychological] framework and means have not changed, so I understand that it is appropriate even in modern times. Another surprising thing is that during its [years of] history, the way of fighting hasn’t become bizarrely formalized, lost its teeth, or, by rationalization, spoiled its essence of ‘giving and taking life’; that it has been inherited as a way of real fighting.
In all of Hatsumi-Soke’s movements, without a doubt, the elements of traditional Japanese martial arts have been inherited unbroken, and even more than that, it would not be an exaggeration to call him a ‘living encyclopedia of budo’The myriad treasures of the martial arts which are packed inside Hatsumi-Soke’s person are not just his–they are a cultural legacy of the Japanese people. How is he carrying on that legacy without distorting it? I deeply feel that this problem is the grave responsibility of not only the students of the Bujinkan but also of people who research the martial arts.
As a matter of course, Hatsumi-Soke’s demonstrations are without a hint of strain or waste[d effort], and he scathingly blows his opponents away.
At every point in his demos, Soke’s image as a practitioner and as the inheritor of traditional martial arts is concealed, where the “tactics which stick to the movement of the opponent’s mind [or spirit]”, add up.
In a given demo, Soke shows something a few times and explains some points.
After that, the students begin to practice.
Without the opponent sensing it, using the jyo・to attack his shin, inside the shin, eye, instep, using “taihenjutsu”where the movement of one’s body weight becomes the weapon–in all of this, “after leading the opponent’s senses, you can ‘let him have it.'” So to his opponent, it looks as if he suddenly appears and disappears, and one’s senses are completely disturbed.
So Hatsumi-Soke covers the opponent’s attack and falls in line with the opponent’s movement at the instant he tries to counterattack, and then Soke moves to his own attack. He controls even his opponent’s so-called ‘unconscious reactions.’
That is what he calls ‘kyojitsu no tenkan’ (the interchange of truth and falsehood).
Not every movement has the speed of Western sports–in that sense his movements appear very calm. They are quiet, Japanese-like movements, like the spectacle of water flowing in a river at different depths–here calmly, there powerfully; or moving freely and wildly like leaves falling from a tree branch and yielding to the currents of the wind.
TECHNIQUES DON’T MATTER!
Hatsumi, during one demo, was sitting by my side and telling me various important ‘episodes’ in the martial arts. “In a real fight, you have to be two moves (or techniques) ahead.
Techniques don’t matter–if your intuition isn’t working, you will be killed!” Upon saying this, he broke off in his speech and it was a while before the next word came out. Of course, these hastily spoken words did not literally mean, “techniques don’t matter.
” Because Hatsumi-Soke has assimilated such ‘techniques’ into his body to the degree that the motions of his body are about the same as when drinking a beer at dinner, it is even more a matter of intuition [for him].
This is the same that can be felt in real time when he is teaching men of combat in foreign countries.
“In some foreign countries, a man might be urinating without a care. If you’re fooled by that, he might attack you with a weapon.
They hide it in their pants, see? What else will detect that besides intuition?” His thought stopped for a while. Such things can’t be imagined without actually experiencing them.
Sure enough, how many Japanese martial artists have thought about such things? Truly, this is indescribable as anything other than a living martial art.
IT’S ALL RIGHT IF YOU CAN’T DO IT–YOU’LL JUST DIE, THAT’S ALL
Watching practice, the genuine problem, that Hatsumi-Soke’s techniques may not be picked up by anyone, was running around in my head.
So, aware of the rudeness of the question, I asked, “since these techniques are difficult even for Japanese, and too difficult for foreigners, won’t your art come to a dead end?”
Soke said, “That’s all right. If they can’t do the techniques,they’ll just die is all; besides, the most important points can’t be taught by words–one must acquire them on one’s own.
” Hatsumi-Soke’s words draw keenly near to the bare essence of things.
There is power just in the way he says obvious things in an obvious way, without ornamentation. “If you can’t do it you’ll just die is all,” may seem natural or obvious, and it is–the thing we are dealing with here is not the lessons taught to a child. Moreover, to those who think of martial arts only in their head, only in terms of the dojo or of matches governed by rules, and who hear Soke’s words only, they may sound simply like a violent anachronism.
To start with, the essence of martial arts is about the giving and taking of life.
Because of that, various methods (in other words, “techniques”, are born and those “techniques” seek to unite the body and the mind or spirit, and are tied in essence and substance to the state of “shinshin ichijo” (oneness of body and mind). Those things must be realistic techniques which human beings can realize, not “words.” From that standpoint, Hatsumi-Soke’s words are the essence of martial arts as well as being the words that resound with the most consideration for the purpose of acquiring techniques.
Again, the acquisition of techniques is not just in their careful and considerate explanation, but is decided by the attitude and determination of the person learning them.
These are words that make it clear who is learning and who is teaching, as if by really turning modern one-way pedagogy upside down.
They are also the substance of inquiring into the problem of human consciousness which can be stated, “what is learning?” Really, the foundation for the attitude of learning is not to start from the one teaching to prepare strict teaching material; it is also for the one learning to use free will to self-determine one’s teacher.
Hence, it is to inquire of the proper attitude, in other words the self-consciousness of the one learning.
LEARNING FROM ZENTAI (THE WHOLE BODY, THE WHOLE THING)
When I asked Hatsumi-Soke, “When you first went to learn from the late Takamatsu, what was the first thing you learned? For example, footwork or how to punch?” He said, “the whole body (zentai), everything.” My head got so warm, that I knew my brain was working 100% to be able to explain the structure of those words. It must be so–no matter how much an element of martial arts is analyzed, and you try to pick one out and learn it, that one thing (element) is the whole of martial arts, and the essence follows. In other words, nowhere does it depart from the point that the essence of martial arts is, “life hangs in the balance.” Again, to work only on a part is not martial arts–and so it is impossible to learn [one element] as martial art. I can not imagine what (specifically) Hatsumi-Soke learned from the late Takamatsu, but it must have been the essential qualities of the martial arts and the sort of training that he could feel with his body at the level of ‘actual feeling’ (jikkan).
In other words, it must have been something frightening which shook up Hatsumi-Soke’s life, rather than logic, argument, or “swimming on mats.” Otherwise I don’t thing his first words would have been,
“techniques are useless; intuition is everything.”Actually, in the word “zentai” [meaning ‘the whole body’ or ‘the whole thing’] there is one more element–the whole of the late Takamatsu’s human being. In other words, his way of thinking, his words and nuances, his everyday conduct and demeanor. Because even in such non-everyday technical pursuits as the martial arts, one’s whole being is expressed.
That is, the late Takamatsu’s bearing and words were built from the martial arts and are wisdom from real combat–each ‘cell’ of his being is martial art. And there, just now, we start to see the attitude of the learner as discussed previously.
What they are learning is martial arts, but also it is unmistakably the entire ‘human history’ of the teacher.
If that cannot be understood in its entirety, then the parts will not become clear.
So as a matter of course, one must observe the teacher’s whole (everyday life) and from there discover the path with which one finds one’s way to the martial arts. Hatsumi-Soke must have been able to continue the work from the ten some-odd years he was visiting the late Takamatsu.
One thing that surprised me when watching forty or fifty students was that no one was practicing selfishly by doing their own thing.
Moreover, I didn’t notice any of the arrogant-looking people which one is usually liable to find in the various martial arts systems.
When I asked Hatsumi-Soke, “why don’t you have any selfish, arrogant students?”
he replied, “fortunately they soon quit–they disturb the mood [of the training] and don’t learn anything.
” Hatsumi-Soke himself says that when he first met the late Takamatsu, [he thought],
“This is it! There’s no one but this man,” and intuitively chose his teacher. He says,
“Because I had made my decision, I obediently received everything. that’s how I became who I am.
anyway, obedience was the basis for everything.” Well, this is a reasonable answer.
One should throw away everything and learn obediently because one has made a determination of will–surely this is the ‘rule of right’ for the purpose of learning something.
Surely if there were even one human being in the dojo to disturb the atmosphere, the entire consciousness would become diffuse and without a direction to be chosen, the practice would not improve.
In that meaning as well, the pithy words “fortunately, they soon quit,” take a decisive measure.
Hatsumi Soke demonstrates things a few times.
The students stare hard at these ‘E-class difficulty level’ demonstrations which are only given a few times. At the word “play,” everyone works on what was shown. They move on to the next one whether the students can do it or not. It seems that the same ‘technique’ is not done twice. At first glance it may seem to be a haphazard method of practice, but it is not. The pupils are absorbing it admirably.That may be because everyone is a blackbelt, but it is not so simple as that.Actually, the repetition of this polishes the pupils’ powers of concentration and observation to the utmost.
In that sense it is an extremely rational method of practice, and an extremely useful skill development.
Since they were beginners, the blackbelt students have, from the necessity of wanting to internalize Soke’s demonstrations which are only shown a few times, begun to internalize the skills just mentioned.
The key word they have thus obtained is none other than”obedience” (sunao).
UP TO THREE DRINKS
After training, Hatsumi-Soke invited me to eat. At the place where we dined, he said to me, “Please, ask me anything.” But with the contents of the training and the things that he had told me churning in my head like a cement mixer, I didn’t know what was what.
It was all I could do to say, “thank you very much.” Hatsumi-Soke can also handle his liquor.
Slowly sipping the sake poured for me by Hatsumi-Soke, I put my head in order. Soke quickly emptied his cup as if he were drinking water. “You seem to be a strong drinker,”
“Because I will only drink three glasses.”
After finishing three glasses, he said to the wait staff, “That’s enough for me.”
That’s really splendid self-control.
Without this thorough self-control, he would not be a true budoka (martial artist).
And he couldn’t go to other countries.
With different countries, all of the customs are different.
With in those, if you can’t always create the best conditions, then you can’t adjust easily.
That is not something that can be accomplished in a day.
It stretches the imagination how many problems have been ‘imposed on’ Hatsumi-Soke up to today.
Hatsumi-Soke captures the whole of daily life as the martial path (budo).
Each of Hatsumi-Soke’s cells is bud・
In the few hours that I spent with him, he didn’t show a moment’s weakness.
Etiquette, words, bearing, consideration: if any of these is lacking, it makes one a second-rate human being, and disqualifies one from being a budoka.
The martial arts which were received from the late Takamatsu–they were passed down unbroken to Hatsumi-Soke.
When we parted and I asked, “Would you kindly allow me to write about today’s events?” he replied playfully, “just make me sound cool.” Hatsumi-Soke’s warmth and greatness as a human being
surrounded me. . .
MEETING AGAIN WITH HATSUMI SOKE
Last year, upon being allowed to view Hatsumi-Soke’s training, I came to firmly believe that parts of the essential qualities of the traditional Japanese martial arts which I had personally studied were not mistaken.
Moreover, with the numerous ‘techniques’ of Hatsumi-Soke, who is admired by fighters around the world, unfolding before my eyes, I was able to perceive anew the subtlety and difficulty of the traditional Japanese martial arts, and came away after all this time with the feeling of how difficult it is to universalize and systematize the ‘techniques’ of these arts. Most of the members of Hatsumi-Soke’s dojo are from foreign countries.
yet they are endeavoring to catch the subtle movements of Hatsumi-Soke and the martial arts way of thinking which are a part of Japanese culture difficult even for Japanese–I was completely overwhelmed by their enthusiasm.
While listening to Hatsumi-Soke talk, I secretly wondered if he wouldn’t perform some of his techniques on an outsider like me.
No matter from how nearby I saw the training, I couldn’t actually feel and understand how he internalized such #1 important intrinsic human structural points as, when facing Soke “how did he appear,” “when in contact with him, what was the ‘kinesthetic feeling’, how did my senses work or how were they made to work,” “how did it affect my inner feelings,” etc.
Unless one understands these important points, then no matter how much physical training one does, one will become an imitator [looking like the real thing but actually totally different], and after all will never depart from the stage of ‘human wave warfare’ which is a mere extension of children’s quarreling. That being the case, one will lose to someone who has surpassed physique and muscular strength, and fail to grow past the scheme of ‘growing weak (declining) as one ages.’ One will turn the state of mastery that one should be aiming for into and impracticable, armchair theory.
In other words, if this is the case, then by experiencing Hatsumi-Soke’s training, and working hard to get the actual feeling, one will be able to compose training with that [mastery] as a final objective.
TO GET THE ACTUAL FEELING FROM HATSUMI SOKE
For a long time, I watched for an opportunity, but excessive anxiety is bad for you, so I dared to give Hatsumi-Soke a telephone call.
Upon doing so, contrary to my expectation, he very simply agreed to give me the honor of meeting with him.
The reason I emphasize, “very simply” is that in Hatsumi-Soke’s eyes I am not just a person researching martial arts, but actually come searching for the secrets of the techniques for which he had given his passion and received and inherited from Takamatsu-sensei.
In other words, to put it in old-fashioned terms, I am something of a spy come to steal his techniques.
The fact that despite all of that, he beckoned me inside [his circle] without any hesitation, illuminates the greatness of Hatsumi-Soke’s generosity and his magnanimity.
At first, he showed me the video of the seminar he had given in Africa with men of combat from around the world.
Seeing how the ways of using the knife and pistol from these various countries so different from country to country; to say more, seeing the ethnic differences in the methods for killing, I was instantly petrified by the reality of the world in which Hatsumi-Soke was involved, and at the reality of the martial arts themselves.
While it’s unkind to the men of combat whom the Grandmaster was training with, I couldn’t help but laugh at Hatsumi-Soke’s techniques with which he neatly dispensed with them as if they were puppets, whether with knife or pistol.
Also, I would even smile at the fighters on the video whose bodies were folded, who themselves didn’t understand how they had been folded.
To be rude to Hatsumi-Soke, one wonders if he hasn’t overstated his age when he says that he is 70 years old.
Of course because about half of those years have been spent going to foreign countries and spreading the gospel of the splendor of traditional Japanese martial arts, it is not ordinary youthfulness, but rather his life is offered as proof of truly “growing strong with age.”
THE TEACHING OF “TO STAY IN ONE PLACE IS DEATH; TO NOT STAY IS LIFE”
While Hatsumi, in the video, was lecturing that “the thumb is very important,” I asked, “what does that mean?” Soke said, “stick out your hand,” and the instant he took my hand, a sharp pain ran through my right thumb and without thinking, I yelled out.
At that, Hatsumi laughed, “Mr. Hino, pain is proof that you’re alive . . . in martial arts, if you show a weakness your opponent will attack you by taking advantage of that.
” In the same vein, to cause pain is merely for show (a claptrap) and not the essential quality of the martial arts–because the main point is to somehow kill the opponent.
Then, seemingly amused, he took another part of my arm, saying, “If it’s just pain we’re talking about, there are places that hurt everywhere,” and applied power to the spot.
It was a more terrible sharp pain that before, and it pierced throughout my body.
“Hatsumi-sensei, excuse my abrupt question, but when you became a student of your teacher Takamatsu-sensei, didn’t you say ‘ouch, that hurts’ when you received Takamatsu-sensei’s ‘baptism’?” “Of course I screamed out, and Takamatsu-sensei scolded me, ‘Mr. Hatsumi, when something hurts it’s proof that you’re alive. And never stop moving when you feel pain.
‘ He really was a kind instructor.”
“I don’t think the reader will understand the profundity of the words which Takamatsu-sensei told to Hatsumi-sensei, “Never stop moving when you feel pain.
” Hidden inside these words lies the wisdom which Takamatsu-sensei found his way to by going through real combat.
This is a concept of the techniques which the remaining masters throughout the history of the martial arts found their way to, that is the lesson of, “to worry about trifles is fatal.
” In martial arts terms, we say, “to stay in one place is death; to not stay is life,” but in the part where Takamatsu-sensei put in his own words (“never stop moving when you feel pain” = “when immersed in pain, if there is any ‘worrying about trifles’ then immediately deal with something else; if when you yell out in pain there is any ‘worrying about trifles’ then do something) it is not an unrealistic armchair theory, but accumulated by combat.
In other words, while this goes without saying, it shows that he is undoubtedly a true martial artist. And they are words that make apparent the whole extent of Hatsumi-Soke’s (who inherited those words) state of living (without worrying about trifles).
EXPERIENCING HATSUMI’S MARTIAL ARTS FOR THE FIRST TIME
After we ate lunch I was introduced to the dojo.
Well, among these details, I suppose the reader must imagine, “what type are Hatsumi-Soke’s techniques?” Perhaps you would think that, since they are of the quality to lead the world’s men of combat around by the nose, then they must involve pain like karate or jujutsu, and control the opponent by capturing them in locks and so on.
Taken in by the chilling atmosphere of the dojo, I momentarily hesitated to set foot inside.
“Mr. Hino, please come in,” the Grandmaster said, guiding me in. “Thank you,” I said, bowing and entering the dojo.
“Mr. Hino, what would you like to do? Sword? Staff? What ever you like, any questions you have I will answer with my body, so please speak up.”
“Well then how about sword to start with?”
“Yes, yes,” the Grandmaster casually took two bokuto (wooden swords) and gave one to me.
“Come at me however you like, from wher ever you like.”
“Yes, sir,” I replied, and as soon as I adopted a posture pointed straight at his eyes (seigan), I attempted the quickest attack possible, a thrust to the neck.
In an instant, I unwittingly stopped my movement, as the Grandmaster’s bokuto had been placed on the spine of my bokuto.
“What are you going to do?” Laughing, he had placed his body directly to the side of my posture.
He was in a place that put him, fro my perspective, endlessly far away, and from his perspective I was as close as could be.
I couldn’t move at all–in an instant he had taken me by surprise.
Without a moment’s delay, he had placed his bokuto at the nape of my neck and stepped on my foot.
I don’t know which on I reacted to, but I reacted to one, and saying “ah!” my senses momentarily came to a halt.
In that moment, my only way out was to lose my balance backwards, with my immobilized foot as a fulcrum.
The Grandmaster, not allowing me to escape my unbalanced position, skillfully used his knee to place his body weight on me from above, and continuing, while I was writhing to escape from the pressure, he put his weight on my other foot.
This is the state of ‘being folded.’
This is the process of being folded.
The sense of touch of the master who is active in traveling around the world–that sense of touch turned out to be “by soft contact without pain, taking the senses by surprise.
” He kindly trained with me in one more technique using bokuto, and about three empty-handed techniques.
THE REALIZATION OF THE PLANS FOR NEXT TIME
“How was it–was it a feeling [sense of touch] that you’ve come across before, Mr. Hino?”
“No, I haven’t come across it before–most people more or less twist and take you down or lock you up with physical strength–this is really the first time I’ve felt a sense of touch like yours.
” After a while, the Grandmaster kindly said to me, “this is a Japanese martial art.
I think you understand, don’t you?” “Yes,” I replied, and then inside my head the previous events were going around like a video replay, and it didn’t occur to me to speak any more words.
While I was soaking in that feeling, Hatsumi-Soke asked me, “By the way Mr. Hino, where did you learn those movements?” “They were all self-taught.”
“That’s marvelous, I myself follow in Takamatsu-sensei’s shadow, but until now I’ve never played around with someone who receives my techniques the way you do.
It’s like you were my shadow.
That’s not flattery–this really was fun for me as well.”
“Thank you very much.
” At the Grandmaster’s words, along with firming my belief that at least the direction my research has taken is not mistaken, I was moved with the humanity of the Grandmaster, devoid of petty worries or calculations of advantages and disadvantages.
“Mr. Hino, to receive techniques (uke wo toru) is a very difficult thing–even Takamatsu-sensei often told me, ‘Mr. Hatsumi, to receive techniques is to take a person in, to take in their whole being–in other words, if a person’s capacity for generosity and courage are not great, they will not be able to do it.
‘ An uke who selfishly tries to escape is not an uke.
I can’t explain it in words, but I think you understand, Mr. Hino.”
“Yes, I understand . . . I know it’s abrupt, but I have a request for you. Would you allow me to make public to the world the essential parts of your ‘technique’ which I have just had a taste of–in other words the ‘secret teachings’ (hiden) in the true meaning of the word?” “Ah, that’s fine–if it’s you who’s doing it, I think there won’t be any mistakes.
Please, go ahead.” “Thank you very much.
I will get to work on it right away.
” Among such details, my plans for the next time were realized.
Really Hatsumi-Soke’s ‘technique’ or ‘art’ (waza) admired by modern men of combat from around the world, is traditional Japanese martial art which can be boasted to the world, passed down unbroken from the warring states period, from the heir Takamatsu to Hatsumi-Soke.
However, no matter how many things I introduce as ‘Hatsumi Bujutsu’ (Hatsumi’s martial arts), such as the actual use of the sword or staff, or footwork, those will only be parts of the martial arts, just developments and not the essential qualities.
In other words, no matter how many developments, like leaves and branches (techniques which are visible motions), that you arrange–because these unimportant details change infinitely based on circumstances–you will not arrive at the essence of Hatsumi Bujutsu.
Consequently, you cannot find, from within Hatsumi Bujutsu, “what is traditional Japanese martial art,” nor can you carry on the tradition.
Thus each person cannot make those ‘developments’ his own. The most fundamental things, which we will here refer to as ‘hiden’ (secret teachings), are not the developments of Hatsumi Bujutsu, but the “reciprocal relationship between, the way of thinking and words which serve as a guide for feeling; and the concrete movements,” of Hatsumi-Soke, who himself creates the aforementioned developments.
Because of that it is even more true that one can grow as a human being, like Hatsumi-Soke grows ever day, by learning those things and synchronizing them with ones everyday way of life.
In other words, they are life’s ‘secret teachings.
‘ One of those things is traditional culture, the traditional Japanese culture of martial arts which is admired by the world in the present through Hatsumi-Soke.
THE COMMON POINT OF THE DEEP SECRETS OF THE HISTORICAL MASTERS AND HATSUMI-SOKE IS IN THE ‘BRUSH PRESSURE’
In the following days, the editorial staff prepared cameras and visited the Grandmaster’s home.
“Mr. Hino, have you seen the scroll(s) of Shosaku Chiba?” At that it had suddenly become a treasure viewing.
“No, I haven’t.” “I have various scrolls and old texts, you know,” he said, and made his student bring out a rather large trunk.
“This is it.” It was a scroll called “Hokushin Ittory,” laid out with many pictures of forms, and signed by someone at the end, “Shusaku Chiba.
” My eyes became glued to the pictures in the scroll.
At the time it was written, they didn’t have today’s printing technology, but fortunately someone left their ‘gokui’ (deep thoughts or secrets) in the form of a scroll written by hand.
To put it another way, the pictures themselves are not the deep secrets, the master(y) is the “brush pressure (hitsuatsu, the precise and varying pressure applied to an ink brush by a writer or artist),” the lines which the pictures indicate.
As a whole, they look as if they had been drawn by a micro-point drafting pen; the lines pulled uniformly by a fine brush, the lines in which you can’t see a break or change in consciousness, the softness of the hand which allows the expression of such a height of delicacy, elbow control, posture, uninterrupted concentration, one can see in the whole picture a state in which one must draw skillfully without a bored thought, an exquisite balance with the blank areas of the paper.
Admiring those pictures, when I turned my eyes to the Grandmaster it was suddenly time to drink tea.
In the way he held the teacup, I saw a softness in his hand, an allocation of energy using no brute force against the teacup, the beautiful hand of a master.
The reader may be wondering why I am making such a big deal out of something like drinking tea, but one thing is equivalent to all things (ichiji ga manji, one thing equals ten thousand things).
In other words, it is the fact that all factors are contained within just one action, the “observing eyes – one thing equals all things” (kansatsugan – ichiji ga manji) which can detect things and is the most important weapon.
Human beings, in front of others for instance, when choosing words and actions carefully can do so properly in their own way, but being careful does not work with unintentional actions and words.
That is to say, unconscious actions and words come out.
Consequently, the fact that a human being’s real elements can be seen in his unconscious actions, in martial arts terms it is ‘kyo’ (emptiness), a part of ‘suki,’ (openings).
To catch those [openings] , is connected with seeing through the opponent. Seeing from that point of view, at that time, I saw that Hatsumi-Soke (who is the real thing) had no strain in the way he casually held his teacup, and his hands and fingertips have no injuries.
In other words, I started to see that he was using an extremely rational application of physical strength, and that he didn’t train himself by violently using all of his physical might.
To put it concretely, say the teacup weighs 300 grams.
He was unconsciously controlling his hand, fingertips, elbow, and shoulder to a level of strength to match the weight.
This delicate fingertip control is also an essential quality of Hatsumi-Soke’s concrete ‘techniques.’ Without that delicacy, he wouldn’t have been able to ‘fold’ the men of combat and I myself wouldn’t have had the same feeling of being ‘folded.’ Overall, I would declare that the concrete physical control of the
Grandmaster’s ‘technique’ is, “thinking not of being unpleasant to the opponent; balanced with the opponent’s power.”
I challenged Hatsumi-Soke with that opinion.
The Grandmaster said to me, “That’s marvelous. Leave it to you, Mr. Hino–no one else would have noticed that,” so I was able to confirm that my way of thinking had not been mistaken.Here I have arranged an introduction to Hatsumi-Soke’s ‘technique,’ but next time, since I have received his permission, I would like to draw out the ‘hiden’ (secret teachings) from my experiences as his training partner, and to make them public.