TRAINING THEME FOR 2011
The New Year is
arriving soon whether we are ready or not. Do make it your best ever.
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
writes Ki with the kanji for ‘season’
and with hon uses the kanji for ‘reverse’.
Meaning Reverse of the season or Season reverse?
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
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.
the 2005 Gyokko Ryu Kuden Series they are uniquely divided as followed.
– February – March is listed as Spring
–May - June is listed as Summer
– August – Sept is listed as Autumn
– Nov – Dec is listed as Winter
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.
last month when the new 2006 Shinden Fudo Ryu Kuden series arrived it
had a totally different coding for the same seasons!
– February – March is listed as Joy
–May - June is listed as Anger
– August – Sept is listed as Compassion
– Nov – Dec is listed as Humor
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
(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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Have a Happy new
year of training.
All the best,
Van Donk, Shidoshi
P.S. Make sure
to leave your comments and any insights below.
BUJINKAN TRAINING THEME FOR 2010
theme for 2010 is "Rokkon Shoujou ()"
which basically means “Purification of the 6 senses” and is said
to be used in Shugendo practices.
Hatsumi has announced the that the use of the Tachi will reveal many things
in our quest to realize the 6 purifications.
Tachi is to be the main weapon for 2010.
been using this Full Force Sword from United Cutlery and really love it.
We should have these in stock at www.NinjutsuStore.com soon.
is the year of the Tiger (beginning Feb 14- Valentine’s day).
For us at IBDA it will also be studying Koto Ryu Koppojutsu ()….
Knocking Down the Tiger School.
More to come
as the year unfolds.
TRAINING THEME FOR 2009
is No theme. Soke basically said that we where not good enough with the sword
yet to continue on a new theme so practice everything especially your taijutsu
and exploration of using the sword with your taijutsu this year. Realize that
no theme can also mean " limitless or unlimited". The year of the
OX can mean perserverance and strength. So do what you have to do to become
strong in you budo and life.
has also indicated that you should study the rope in addition to the sword.
As the year progresses
is an article from Shihan Mark Lithgow, who lives in Japan and translates for
Soke Hatsumi in his dojo.
Today (12-7-08), Soke
talked about 3 things which are important for a martial artist. These
3 things may be thought of as a kind of 'Sanshin'. He said that these
things were going to become a bit of a theme for next year.
1) Sainou (Ability/talent)
2) Kokoro (Heart)
3) Utsuwa (Capacity)While the first 2 are quite clear, the third one
deserves a little attention and clarification.
The main meaning of the word 'utsuwa', its first definition in the dictionary,
is 'container/receptacle/vessel'. A secondary meaning, however, is concerning
a person's capacity or potential. My dictionary has the examples of:
"Utsuwa no ookii." (a person of high caliber).
"Daitouryou ni naru utsuwa dewa nai." (He [doesn't have what it takes
/ isn't cut out] to be president. / He is not of presidential caliber [stature])So
utsuwa can mean 'caliber', to have 'potential', basically to have the
But if we look at the basic meaning again - 'container', we can take it in an
interesting direction. Fish, plants etc. will only grow to the size of
the container which they are in. Their growth is limited by the size of
their container. Humans too have a 'limit' to their potential. If
their utsuwa is small, they can never grow bigger than its limits.
Having a large utsuwa/capacity is maybe what Soke is trying to say.
So, ability, heart and a capacity for growth is important for a martial
artist. That is how I interpret what he was talking about today.
TRAINING THEME FOR 2008
Door Tradition, Stealth Methods"
Taijutsu / Ninja Biken)
Soke Hatsumi just announced at the 2007 Daikomyosai that we
would be studying the school of Togakure Ryu in 2008. A focus
will be on Tonsogata-the art of escaping, using the natural
elements to hide and stealth concealment , Ninpo skills
and Ninja Biken Sword, Ninjatou, Semban shuriken, Shuko, a Kyoketsu-shoge,
and a Kusari. This will be a fun year of training.
He mentioned that we will be returning to the roots of the Ninjutsu
teachings. Please note that concealment of your weaknesses from
yourself needs to be over come. Learn your balance and your
inner nature this year.
He also said many times that this was going to be the year of
the Jugodan. Now this can take on many meanings - one of which
is the year of maturity for the Bujinkan. In Japan and others
cultures the age of 15 (USA it is usually 16) is a year of passage
from boy to young man. At age 15 your are still a little pure
from world experience and yet eager to grow up and to explore
the world as a young adult. The Bujinkan has reached the level
of Jugodan. Be a role model example for others to follow just
a someone who has a Judogan level rank in the Bujinkan should
Soke Hatsumi and I highly encourage everyone to build a strong
Bujinkan community, speak only with good purpose about everyone
(even if you do not understand their nature or follow the way
that they approach the art), train with those that you can,
make new friends at every chance, enjoy your training, and be
the best you can be while enjoying the lessons learned.
the Ninja Vault for more detailed information on Togakure Ryu.
following Study materials may help you better understand this
TOGAKURE RYU NINPO TAIJUTSU Video by Soke Hatsumi
Hide Is The Defense' this video covers Metsubushi (Blinding
powders)- how to make and use them and Tonsogata- the art of
Escaping, using Stealth movement and using the natural elements
to hide. Among techniques shown are using Shuko (Hand claws)
vs. Swords, One arm grab defenses, What to do if grabbed from
behind, Ukemi-gata used in combat form (Shinken-Gata) and lots
of sword defenses against one, two, or even multiple attackers.
Shuriken- demonstration of how to throw at one attacker or at
many. Somersaults! Watch a demonstration of the Sakkijutsu-5th
degree test. Exciting! Japanese narration by Soke Hatsumi with
English Subtitles #SPA-5505 Save big!! Japan price $70 - Our
Regular price $39.95 TOGAKURE
NINPO TAIJUTSU Holiday Special $34.95
NINJA WEAPONS BASICS - VOL. 1 DVD
Aspects, Postures and Strikes of the Hanbo, Tanto, Kusari Fundo,
Shuriken, Teppan, Rokushaku Bo, & Naginata. Weapons are
fun to train with! The Ninja used many weapons, both traditional
and exotic so we share with you some of both. We start with
the most commonly known Ninja weapons and share with you what
they are, how they are used, postures to hold them in, and how
to strike with them. This tape is made for you to practice along
with and learn the correct weapon postures by name and then
how to strike with them. Here is your opportunity to learn the
aspects, postures and striking methods of 7 popular Ninja weapons
that are used in Bujinkan Ninjutsu training. Until now there
was nowhere you could get all this information in one place,
especially on one reference video. Taught by Shihan Van Donk
and Linda Van Donk. 1 hour Item #AB 511 NINJA
WEAPONS BASICS - VOL. 1
NINJA WEAPONS BASICS - VOL. 2 DVD
Aspects, Postures and Strikes of the Sword, Jutte, Shuko, KyoketsuShoge,
Yari, Gun & Kunai. Weapons are fun to train with! The Ninja
used many weapons, both traditional and exotic so we share with
you some of both. We start with the most commonly known Ninja
weapons and share with you what they are, how they are used,
postures to hold them in, and how to strike with them. This
tape is made for you to practice along with and learn the correct
weapon postures by name and then how to strike with them. With
Vol. 2 you can add another 7 of the more popular Ninja weapons
to your training arsenal. Until now there was nowhere you could
get all this information in one place especially on one reference
video. Taught by Shihan Van Donk and Shidoshi Linda Van Donk.
1 hour Item #AB 512 $39.95
WEAPONS BASICS - VOL. 2
NINPO ZUKAN Book
Period of Japan was when the weapons of Ninjutsu where used
the most and their uses and history are explained in this book.
This was one of Soke Hatsumi's first books (Green Book) published
in 1978 and out of print for many years. Offered here is a Professional
English translation with 107 typed pages interlaced with Japanese
Kanji. Very, very interesting on the history of Togakure Ryu,
obscure weapons and the warring states of Japan. No Photos.
Great Book. (Price reflects translation costs) 109 pages #TR-103
HIDDEN WEAPONS and SHURIKEN TECHNIQUES DVD
Kakushi Buki Shurikenjutsu (Hidden Weapons Shuriken Techniques)
In this DVD Soke Hatsumi has released rare footage on several
ninjutsu hidden weapons such as the Shuko, Kyoketsu Shoge, Kusarifundo,
Senban Shuriken, and many more exotic ones. Learning how to
use the element of surprise in defense will take your training
to a new level. Official release is July 20th, 2004 but we have
in stock now. 50 minutes on region-free DVD.#SPD7009 Japan Price
$59.95 our low price is $49.95
WEAPONS and SHURIKEN TECHNIQUES
TRAINING THEME FOR 2007
(Bo, Ken and Taijutsu)"
Hatsumi just announced at the Daikomyosai that we would be studying
the school of Kukishin Ryu in 2007. We will carry on the study
of using the sword (ken), adding Bojutsu, use in armour and
dakentaijutsu wazas. Kukishinden dakentaijustu wazas will be
studied in detail unarmed and armed, without armour and with
armor and of course the henka and lessons contained within the
waza itself. Be aware of your demons. Learn how to tame them
and to use them in combat to win.
TRAINING THEME FOR 2006
"Nature" through the school of
Fudo Ryu (Ken and Taijutsu)"
Hatsumi just announced that we would be studying "Nature"
this year through the school of Shinden Fudo Ryu. We will carry
on the study of using the sword (ken) in actual combat through
the understanding of the Shinden Fudo Ryu teachings and wazas.
Sandan study Manual contains examples of all of the Shinden
Fudo Ryu wazas and aspects of this school. It is not said whether
the the daketaijutsu or the jutaijutsu school will be focused
on or both. The last year that we studied this school was in
1998 so you will find the 1998
Daikomyosai dvd and the 1998
USA Tai Kai videos to be a help. And of course Soke Hatsumi's
Fudo Ryu video shares some of the schools wazas. More on
this theme of nature later as the year develops and Soke reveals
Van Donk (Judan Menkyo)- Japan 12/5/05
TRAINING THEME FOR 2005
"Gyokko-ryu Happo Biken, Bo and Ken"
is said that we will be training in the aspects of the Rokushakubo
And Sword in all their relationships together with the taijutsu
from Gyokko Ryu. Of course Soke Hatsumi will bring his unique
teachings to this training. The understanding of how this works
in armour will also be a part of the training as it was so wonderfully
presented at the 2004 Daikomyosai. I am sure that refreshing
yourself with the Gyokko no bojutsu training that we did in
1993 (See 1993 Daikomyosai videos for great training) and the
2001 Budo No Fusi training (now on DVD) on Gyokko Ryu will help
you this year. Practice using the BO against the sword that
you just learned this year and using the bo and the sword in
your training. We will update you with more information on this
theme as Soke begins the 2005 training.
Van Donk - Japan 12/2/04
TRAINING THEME FOR 2004
Jutaijutsu, Roppo Kuji
Budo no Kiso (budo fundamentals)
This is going to be FUN... Why? Cause I love Sword training!
First of all Soke Hatsumi says everyone needs soft daisho (long
and short sword) and Kenjutsu Obi (Sword belt). In the 2nd half
of this year Soke is focusing on the training of the Tachi -
Longer battlefield sword. We are testing several possible training
swords and will offer them to those who need them soon.
IS DAISHO JUTAIJUTSU?
Daisho refers to using two swords, one long sword and one shorter
sword. We have done much training with daisho in the past (especially
Jutaijutsu basically means "Grappling methods" that
can contain of striking, as well as throwing techniques. The
jutaijustu fighting approach is to bring the uke to the ground
with the grappling, strike and/or to throw them in such a way
that the impact from the fall is done in such a way that they
cannot recover and they are damaged more by the fall than by
the strike itself. You take away all their possibilities for
is different that in dakentaijutsu where the fighting action
is more to strike the opponent directly in ways that are so
damaging to them that they cannot continue the fight whether
it is because they hit and thrown or more likely that they just
fall down from the brutal striking.
Now that that is clear (hehehee), we have no real idea on what
Soke Hatsumi will come up with on HIS definition of what doing
Jutaijutsu with Daisho (two swords) will mean. Now I could write
an whole article on what I think it might be but it probably
wouldn't be that. So my advice is train with two swords and
play with the ideas a bit. Soke has stressed that for his training
you will need soft padded daisho. That is a big clue that someone
is going to get hit and that there will be some interesting
training coming up.
IS ROPPO KUJI?
refers to the 6 ways to cut with a sword in this context. You
could say north, west, east, south and up and down are the directions
to cut. It can also mean the 5 elements as in the Godai and
san shin which is Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and Void (space)
PLUS one. The plus one is the most important it is the 6th Ring
(Musashi wrote about the 5 rings). The 6th ring put forth by
Soke Hatsumi has been translated as Knowledge or Consciousness
that permiates the other 5 rings and without them they cannot
exist. Study this idea in your training this year. What is the
consicousness involved in your techinique and in your life.
IS BUDO NO KISO?
no Kiso means understanding budo fundamentals. At the end of
last years tai kai Soke mentioned to us that this was also part
of this years theme as there is much more to be learned about
the basic fundamentals of Budo. We are all still trying to catch
his basics. He also said that Juppo Sesso (last years theme)
continues through all training.
I am expecting some reports from friends in Japan on this years
theme and when I get some more info I will pass along what I
Also, I will be in Japan in April and will give my own thoughts
on the training when I get back or you are welcome to join me
for this Journey.
Until then....... I am practicing drawing and cutting daily
with an Iaido blade. And every other day I am practicing drawing
padded weapons as they come out of the obi (belt) different.
We are practicing daishosabaki and countering various sword
cuts from opponents and grappling in every way we can think
off. Do remember that your padded weapons have a cutting edge
so grabbing the blade is NOT smart practice (even if it will
seem to help you win). Most of all have a good time while you
Richard Van Donk, Judan*****