Bujinkan Training Theme for 2011 is Kihon Happô

The New Year is arriving soon whether we are ready or not. Do make it your best ever.

The Bujinkan Training Theme for 2011 is Kihon Happô. But although the word “Kihon” is said and heard with the same pronunciation as the word Kihon (basics, fundamentals) that we already know (or should know) in our training Soke has uniquely written the kanji for Kihon to create a play on the words giving it a very different and special meaning.

He writes Ki with the kanji for season and with hon uses the kanji for reverse. Meaning Reverse of the season or Season reverse?

Only he really knows what is in surprise for us as we cycle into the next year. But I will venture out and give you some insights to think about until then.

I find that his special naming the recent dvd releases very interesting and entertain just how it applies to his teachings and perhaps our new theme. Did you notice that in the release of his last Kuden Hombu dojo teachings he has uniquely divided the quarters of year into season themes.

For the 2005 Gyokko Ryu Kuden Series they are uniquely divided as followed.

January – February – March is listed as Spring
April –May – June is listed as Summer
July – August – Sept is listed as Autumn
Oct – Nov – Dec is listed as Winter

When this series first came out I contacted Soke and the Quest Co. as I thought perhaps this was a mistake on the dvd. From them I learned that in Samurai times that this was the way the Japanese seasons were and that Soke was relating these teachings to the Samurai times. While confusing to many people I found this very interesting and unique for Soke to do the titles this way, especially since on my last trip to Japan he told me that one must study the very nature of nature itself.

Then last month when the new 2006 Shinden Fudo Ryu Kuden series arrived it had a totally different coding for the same seasons!

January – February – March is listed as Joy
April –May – June is listed as Anger
July – August – Sept is listed as Compassion
Oct – Nov – Dec is listed as Humor

As you can see there seems to be something interesting developing here. I have yet been able to free the time to view the dvds to see if there was some clue on them to explain his naming the seasons this way.

And now for 2011 we have a Kihon Happo theme with the Kihon kanji written as what we would translate as Season Reverse, as Soke said it.

In realizing the use of the seasons on his Hombu dvd teachings and the new 2011 season theme and our study of nature I can’t help but feel that there is a relationship here that I should pay attention too. All things are connected aren’t they?

Will we be studying the relationship of our own nature, our emotions and how that relates to our budo? Will we be studying how to better our foundations? How to reverse the cycle?

He did state at the recent Daikomyosai that we are not studying Japanese Budo but “Jin no Budo ” – Budo of Humankind” and that the foundation of the 18 skills of Budo must be learned before you can be called a Budoka. He also made it quite clear that this was the foundation from where real budo begins. Are we at a new beginning?

Kihon (reverse of the season) implies the beginning of a new cycle or even possibly an era. Life and budo are always changing. To be a master of life you must be a master of change. A favorite quote that Soke Hatsumi taught me many times is Banpen Fugyou “Thousand changes – never surprised”. So if we remain in harmony with our nature and natures nature we will not be surprised by what life brings.

Soke did not define the word Happo. Happo can mean “8 ways or 8 directions” or even “infinite ways”. In the Bujinkan we have had yearly training themes of Juppo (ten) Sessho and of Roppo (six) Kuji and Happo (eight) Biken in the past. So perhaps there is more to examine in his use of this term as well when combined with the new Kihon version.

So the true meaning of next year’s theme will be discovered only through training when Soke starts teaching next year. I will write more about the theme after Soke Hatsumi has better defined the new theme publically during his training at the first of the year. And after I have had the opportunity to attend his Japan classes early next year. 

I do know that good foundations in yourself and your taijutsu present infinite possibilities so you can better reverse the season of change in all encounters. Now that was a mouthful.

I believe (and I could be wrong) is that we are now cycling back to the season/foundation of our roots in the budo arts we practice after going through the various schools and weapons over the last several years. The question remains as to whether we are to move forward in advancing our understanding of what foundations are or does or Soke see the need for us to better the core foundations of ourselves in taijutsu.

Before knowing of his theme I got a strong urge to go back the roots of my training in this art by hosting and “All Things Ninja” Theme at my March IBDA Tai Kai. I really missed the early days training of the Ninja. It is what got me (and many others) started in this art and if you are paying attention to the world news lately we all may need more than just basic survival skills soon.

Maybe I was tuning in to him and maybe not but we are going to explore this part of the arts again this year in addition to what lessons that he will share with us. Hope you can join us at the Tai Kai or another training.

Have a Happy new year of training.

All the best,

Richard Van Donk, Shidoshi

P.S. Make sure to leave your comments and any insights below.


  1. curtistucker says:

    Fist thing Happy New Year to all, Shidoshi Van Donk,This is a great BLOG, I spent most of oct,training at the Hombu dojo in japan,thank you for the training dvd’s you made,I was not in the dark,while training there. Soke made me a scrolls saying,BANPEN FUGYOU the same thing you talk about in this blog,I train with all the shihan@soke every day i was there,I hope to go back soon,and hope to meet you some day.

    CURT T

  2. curtistucker says:

    This is a great blog,Thank you for your insight on everything.

    CURT T

  3. richard says:

    It is Awesome to hear that you made it to train with Soke in Japan. I am happy that I was able to help you along the way.

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