Monday, April 25, 2016

Know the difference

Here is a post from Mark Lighgow, shared on Phil Legare's website. I want to comment early on this. San Shin is one of the foundation kata of the Bujinkan, and I have noticed myself how few people understand it or how to do it correctly. Also, the last paragraphs, about Soke messing with people is very important. He does this quite often I've noticed. He will say something almost absurd and people take it as gospel truth. I've talked about this in class before, it is important to use common sense when training, especially with Soke. Just like any martial art, there are bad teachers in the Bujinkan, and Hatsumi kind of uses these absurdities to help weed out the crap. He once said, "Students deserve the teachers they get." Meaning, if you can't tell a good teacher from a bad teacher as a student, you deserve what you end up with. In our dojo, I as the Sensei, strive to constantly learn from Soke and the master teachers under him to always only teach quality martial arts in the dojo and leave the garbage for others to play in. My past martial arts experiences and my nearly two decades in the Bujinkan serve me well to know the good from the bad.
From Mark Lithgow:
“Really good training with Hatsumi sensei today!
I really liked how Phillip started the class before Sensei came. He spoke of how several people mentioned at the recent memorial event about the importance of kihon, and started the class with the Sanshin no Kata. He counted us through it, 10 times each technique, much like many of the classes in Japan in the past used to be started. The speed he counted was pretty much a standard speed that we always used to warm up to. I was a little shocked to look around the dojo and see how much trouble many people had keeping up. Several people were just standing, looking around with confused expressions.
Much of what Sensei taught today involved being ‘solid’ and strong. He likes to say “Don’t use power”, but people can take him a little too literally sometimes. What he is really saying is “Don’t use unnecessary power… Don’t use power all the time, but you always have to have (structural) strength”.
Near the end of class, after we’d been doing some sword stuff, he did a kind of chiburi technique, then, with a mischievous look on his face, licked the blade. He talked about knowing the difference in taste between male and female blood. He then went on to say that on a battlefield, you had to be able to recognise the smell of male and female blood. I translated that to the class, and after a short pause, he turned to me, with a big smile, and said “Of course I’m messing with you!”
“Don’t believe everything I say!” he said. “Believe half of what I say, but use your own judgement too!” As an example, he said that he might say “Don’t worry! This sword isn’t sharp… It’s just a training sword!” But really, it IS sharp, and you are in danger. Even though he tells you something, you have to make the final call yourself!”