Hatsumi Soke’s new Budō no Gokui book

The Essence of Budo: The Secret Teachings of the Grandmaster The new book Budō no Gokui by Hatsumi Soke is available for pre-order now for only $23.60, it will be shipped in the end of June.

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd (May 1, 2011)

ISBN-10: 4770031076

ISBN-13: 978-4770031075

In a quick hirameki of what is to come in this book (without giving too much away) is the artistic look at the bigger picture of the mindset of Hatsumi Soke in his interpretation of the Pinnacle of Martial Arts. The message to Bujinkan practitioners will be standardly consistent as ever, if you are of the “Keep Going” tribe in the sense that the secret to martial arts can be found in…

Doug Wilson (one of the translators of this book)

Budo transcends simple combat techniques to ultimately attain a world of peace. Budo includes an array of martial arts developed in Japan, among them Aikido, Judo, Karatedo, Kyudo, and Kendo. In this book, grandmaster Hatsumi explores the essence of Budo, and demonstrates a range of important techniques relating to this essence. The author also reveals secret techniques and the hidden principles of the martial arts, and elucidates the words of his master, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, on Budo and life. Including some three hundred beautiful pictures depicting the author demonstrating his techniques, and around one hundred pictures of rare works of calligraphy, illustrations, and hidden documents on the martial arts and their role in Japanese culture, this book will be relevant and insightful to practitioners of all martial traditions including Judo, Aikido, Karatedo, Kendo, Kenjutsu, Jujutsu, Iaijutsu, and other various fighting sports.

About the Author

Masaaki Hatsumi was born in 1931. After progressing through various martial arts, he found his life’s mentor, Takamatsu Toshitsugu, and studied under him for the next fifteen years, becoming the 34th Grandmaster of Togakure-ryu Ninjutsu and eight other arts, which he unified into the Bujinkan system. While travelling the world, teaching thousands of individual students as well as law enforcement agencies, he received numerous accolades from politicians and spiritual leaders of many nationalities.

Click here for more of my recommended Bujinkan book!s

大光明祭2009 才能魂器 (Daikomyousai 2009 – Sainoukonki)

Here is a trailer from the coming Daikomyousai 2009 DVD from Quest, yes that’s me in the picture behind the guy in glasses, and Duncan Stewart as the Uke for Soke.

最後の実戦忍者高松寿嗣より古武道9流派を受け継ぎ、古の技を今に伝える現代の武神・ 初見良昭。その初見宗家の誕生日にちなくで開催される年に一度のセミナーが、大光明祭 である。その教えを求めて世界中から集まった高弟たちに、初見自ら武神館武術の奥義を 伝授するセミナーが大光明祭である。3日間にわたり行われるその模様を完全収録。20 09年11月30日-12月2日・東京。

Here is a rough translation of the above. Three day Kobudo seminar held by Masaaki Hatsumi Soke, the successor of the last Ninja, Takamatsu Sensei. People from the whole world attended. Complete recording of all three days. November 30, 2009 Dec 2, Tokyo.

27 trainings… and a couple of stories from trainings in the past

Two days ago it was snowing and cold (9C in Honbu), yesterday it was warmer but very windy (almost 20C in Honbu). Yesterday one of the Shihan told us about training in the old days when they trained in Hatsumi Soke’s chiropractic office, it was only 8 tatami big full of stuff that they had to carry outside before training. They were usually 10 people training, so they had to be careful when moving not to break the glass window (the door to was glass I think he said). During one training Soke wanted to test one student for the Godan test, he used a Shinai but twice in a row the student failed. So Soke went outside and came back with a real sword and said to the student that he would kill him (if he didn’t move). Soke raised the sword and brought out his ki-power, and all the lights went out. That is how strong his ki was in those days. I’m sure he is stronger today, but he uses no more than necessary, just like taijutsu, no more power than necessary. The Shihan also continued talking about that Soke never showed the same technique twice, and that he never told anyone what to do, and that we are lucky today because Soke do show the same technique a couple of times and let us know when we are doing things wrong and try to help us.

Another Shihan also told us about training in the old days and said that Takamatsu Sensei never ever praised Hatsumi Soke even once during his 15 years of training with Takamatsu Sensei. He did however praise soke for his paintings, but not for his budo. One day Takamatsu Sensei told Hatsumi Soke that he does not need to come back, he thought that he sucked so bad that Takamatsu Sensei finally had given up. But in reality Hatsumi Soke had been taught everything Takamatsu Sensei knew, and he had been appointed the next Soke for our nine schools in Bujinkan.
The Shihan continued saying that today Hatsumi Soke praises everyone (maybe too much). When someone is doing something on the mat Soke says it was good, when it really was not so good (I know this from experience!). This is also Kyôjitsu I think, Soke is teaching us that nothing is necessarily the way it seems or looks.
The same Shihan also said that if we do exactly what Soke tells us to do we will be ok. “Do as the old man tell you to do”, this means also your parents or grand parents, they know a lot of things from experience, and usually knows what they are talking about. So if we do what Soke and the seniors tells us we will be ok. If we don’t believe in Soke and do what he tells us to do, maybe we don’t really belong in the Bujinkan.

I would like to thank Chris who translated from what the Shihan told us. I must also say that what I’ve written here above is a mix between my own thoughts and from what I remember, both the translations and the body language from the Shihan etc. I hope I got the essence of what they wanted to tell us right, not necessarily word for word.

21 trainings, less people here now?

Seems like a couple of groups left Japan now, yesterday (Monday) we was just six people on both Shihan classes. But there will probably come other bigger groups soon? The weather has been quite cold the whole trip, yesterday I looked at the thermometer in Honbu and it was 13 C, it has been that cold the whole time I been there.

Today there was no class (in Honbu at least) during the day so I’ve been sleeping the whole day, and listened to new albums by The Toy Dolls (special Japanese versions not sold overseas). Oh I also found a black tatami mat in Kashiwa that will fit perfect in my newly decorated bedroom.

Soon I will head over to the class with Soke in Ayase.

“tuesday night is bash night this is what they say
we are gonna dig the groove, we’ve waited all day
we wear trendy trousers with belts a mile too long
we are gonna catch the bus into town
we are boogie on down…”

(lyrics from Dig that groove by The Toy Dolls)

My first training with Soke this year

So I’m at the hotel going to bed soon after my first training with Hatsumi sôke this year. Soke was in good spirit as usual. Two basic techniques from Santo Tonko kata was covered, first one being when someone grab the collar from behind. Soke’s kept uke on the toes most of the time by moving before he could get a good grip, it was like he had eyes in the back of his head. He said that we shouldn’t worry if we fail or not, and referring to the poem; “if you think it is there it is not, and if you think it is not there, it is”.

There was around 30-40 people training in Ayase. I think it went pretty well with the techniques and feeling. We trained with Ninja-to, Senban, Shuko and Kyoketsu-shoge, or I should say we tried to, since we didn’t have any weapons to train with. My luggage got stuck in Zurich, I also almost got stuck to, I had to run between the flight connections because the flight from Stockholm was one hour late. But I had three seats on the flight all by myself, so after lunch/dinner I put myself horizontally and sleept until breakfast.

Well, now is bedtime, I should try to rest for tomorrows two trainings. Oh I also got myself a new Tokaido keikogi and belt, so now I look good.