ARTICLES In English Language

Kokoro no Jutsu

The Gokui of Ten Chi Jin

The purpose of Budō

Kihōn Happō & Yin Yang

 

 

Kokoro no Jutsu

by Kostas Kanakis - Bujinkan Yūshū Shihan

 

 

 

NINJUTSU. Everyday many of us talk about it and its possible „deeper“ meaning. But let’s consider this question seriously. Most of us know that, when talking about NINJUTSU, we are actually talking about Budo Taijutsu, but despite this the term NINJUTSU is used more often and in many ways. So let’s take this common term in order to see what we are actually talking about.

 

For many people NINJUTSU is an opportunity of learning a way of self-defense. Many others regard NINJUTSU as a mysterious art with a lot of hidden aspects which they want to explore. To explore the deeper meaning of NINJUTSU we have to take the two characters or kanji: NIN and JUTSU.

 

NIN in the usual translation has the meaning of ENDURANCE. Taking the two characters which make up the character NIN we get the translation of SWORD and HEART, but what does this translation really mean ?

JUTSU is usually translated as ART. But what is the deeper meaning?

 

At first let΄s take the character NIN.

If we train our art just as a kind of self-defense, we will remain at the surface of our art and won’t be able to discover the true "KOKORO | Heart".

But what we have to learn is to see, to feel, to understand and to practice with our whole heart. We have to develop this understanding if we want to take further steps in our art. If we make progress in the development of this understanding we are able to develop our personality as well.

 

Heart and mind have to work together and in harmony. When thinking about something, we subconsciously affect our heart so that we are able to feel something. When feeling something with our heart, we affect or mind so that we are able to think about something or not (has anyone ever forgotten his first love??). This kind of inner team-work affects our body as well. In other words: we are able to move, to think and to feel with a clear consciousness.

 

We have to polish our heart that it gets the shine and purity of a sword, and by this our mind is sharpened as well so that we can think in a clearer way. This interaction of heart and mind enables the body to move with a greater efficiency. The other point is that a pure heart can better face the exterior influences and our mind won’t get affected that easily.

So we can say that the development of our heart develops our mind as well, and both together develop our spirit. The term NIN can, as we have seen, also be translated as pure heart or sharp and open mind (to develop an effective and open spirit as well). By means of the interaction of all these factors and their influence on the sub consciousness the personality develops on a mental level.

 

Now let’s turn to the character JUTSU | Art.

But what is art actually ??

 

For a better interpretation we will take the example of a professional painter. At the beginning he gets familiar with the variety of colors and learns how they can be combined. Then he takes the brush and tries to draw his first lines and outlines, and then he gives color to his work. This takes years of study and development. After some years the painter has developed its own form and stile, and now he can start to create his own paintings. Because of his development he livens his own paintings up. Due to his personality the process of painting has gained a new development, a new quality. Now the painter has become a part of his art.

 

In a martial art it is quite the same. We get familiar with basic elements via Kihon Happo, fill this learned Kihon up with Henka in order to liven up the Kihon - Forms and at the same time we add color with our developed Taijutsu movements. By the combination of these learning-processes we develop our Taijutsu and also our personality on a physical level.

 

By the interaction of heart, mind (NIN - spirit) and Taijutsu (JUTSU - body) we develop our individual personality and become due to this a part of our art.

 

忍術 NINJUTSU is not just a way of self-defense. NINJUTSU is an art, which develops a human being into a human BEING.

 

 



BuFuSui Ikkan

 

 

 

The Gokui of Ten Chi Jin

by Kostas Kanakis - Bujinkan Yūshū Shihan

 

 

The Gokui is the essential teaching or spiritual awakening.

 

 

Hatsumi Sensei writes: "...keep control of bad end evil, follow a righteous path, this is the essence of training. From here, spiritual awakening is born. This spiritual awakening in Budo is called "secret of Budo" or "Gokui"...."

 

However, how does develop this "spiritual awakening"?

 

Well, an evolution has always a beginning, as each life can only arise with the birth. Therefore, we will try to take a look, at this development in the Budo, by the nature of the TEN CHI JIN

 

TEN means: Heaven, universe, the mental, the beginning.

 

CHI means: Earth, materially, the understandable, the transformation, to build up.

 

JIN means: Human, nature, individual, somewhat alive, the development.

 

In the phase of development of the human, the sensory organs stands on primary place, because the baby begins to hear and to feel already before the birth. By the "action" of the sensory organs the unborn can already communicate very early with the mother.

 

I.e. before the baby can move at all, it can develop by its senses a kind of communication. Aren’t the human senses parts of our spirit?

 

Thus, the Mother Nature sets the mental building on first place, so that the human / individual can understand first, before he / it can act. That is the natural instinct.

 

The BEGINNING in Budo, which is represented by the TEN, stands also in primary place and is of extreme importance. This is the beginning and the initial understanding. The old proverb " learn first to stand before you learn to walk" is in my opinion, for the development within the TEN, very accurate.

 

The second stage, the CHI or the transformation, can be equated with the physical development. Here one learns to move and adapt. By the physical development one becomes more mobile and flexible. By the element of the earth one learns to stand more stably on his legs and thus to control better his body.

 

From the universal development of the heaven and the transformation on earth, a living individual comes into existence. In this case a human being. JIN.

 

The evolvement of the human nature is the result of the cooperating between mental maturity and physical adjustment. Only by this cooperating, humans can become humans and thus to a particle of the origin. To the TEN CHI JIN  By the Gokui of the TEN CHI JIN  we have the possibility to attain the Gokui of the Budo.

 

Hatsumi Sensei writes: "The Gokui (essential teachings) are elusive; the Gokui look easy to grasp but can actually be very difficult to understand. The feeling is just like that of being a jellyfish floating in the ocean. The same can be said about the Satori (enlightenment) of the martial ways. It would be most appropriate to float about in the common world."

 

 


BuFuSui Ikkan

 

 

The purpose of Budō

by Kostas Kanakis - Bujinkan Yūshū Shihan

 

 

 

Most of us have asked that question, either in an open discussion or just inside their mind. Everyone who takes part in the training of a martial art will ask himself from a certain point of time, why he is studying just this martial art. The beginner will ask this question more often than the advanced student, but in time even the advanced one will make his life hard with his doubts.

 

In the early years of martial arts people hardly ever thought about such things. It was simply not necessary to do so, because those people had to fight simply in order to survive. It was the law of war. They learned certain techniques which had been selected and were sent to the battlefield in order to serve their master, as a matter of life and death. Not just the techniques were decisive but the mental state of the warrior played an important role as well.

 

The mental aspects always played an essential role in the martial arts. Since the ancient martial arts were influenced by esoteric teachings like Buddhism and Shintoism, it was inevitable that you had to have a look at these mental teachings. They were embedded in the sub consciousness and became later on the essential heart of the teachings of all martial arts.

 

One wants to know:

 

Why we do have to fight or even to kill anyway ?

 

This became the essential question of all martial arts.

 

 

In order to give an answer to such a question one has to occupy oneself with other teachings so that we can better understand some things of importance. For example it is said that „The secret of martial art is the secret of Zen“.

 

The secret is to guide his mind in an essential way. But how can you do this? In one chapter of a text of the Kyushin-Ryu the following is said: „The true technique of the body has to be the substance of the mind himself. The substance is the mind. One may not look at the body of his opponent, but rather has to direct one’s own mind. There is no opponent. The mind is formless, but he can take shape sometimes - this is like Zazen.“

 

The training of martial arts shall not only be regarded as a physical development, even though nowadays most people only concentrate on competitions or the pure learning of techniques. In the early years it was different because it was simply a matter of survival, and in the end it depended on bare intuition. Thus the physical, technical and mental strength was and is closely connected, but the ability of concentration (the mental strength) has to come first.

 

The tension of the body, the technical ability and the mental intuition have to be brought together and have to become one. Action and consciousness have to form an integrated whole. Than you are in KU or in the emptiness. This is the true Way of Budo.

 

You have to learn to ACCEPT your life and death completely. Even if the body dies, the mind has to remain upright. In the face of life AND of death the mind has to remain calm. Due to this having control of the unity of body and mind means controlling life and death. The great sword-master Miyamoto Musashi gave up his life of fighting as well in order to find an answer to the essential question: „How could one die...???“

 

The martial arts are neither sports nor a game nor a simple way of passing the time. There is a deeper meaning in them, the MEANING OF LIFE in general and thus the meaning of death, because both are inextricably linked with each other. This is BUDO. The TRUE WAY OF BUDO is neither competition nor dispute - he is beyond life and death and beyond victory and defeat.

 

And what does this mean for our daily training??

 

Well, at the beginning one practices again and again techniques (waza) and forms (kata) in order to lay the foundations.

In time you „become aware“ of these techniques and forms, you „get used“ to them. During this period you are always thinking and considering; due to this you always are in contact with your „awareness of the self“. When we use our mind in this way, our behavior and our actions will be slow and hesitating. Questions will rise, the mind will become tired and our consciousness will be like a flame in the wind.

 

You can compare this beginning with the learning of a musical instrument. Later on you are able to play without any consideration, which means that after years of training you do no longer stick to your awareness of the self but you play in a natural way. With this „non - awareness“ you are now able to create something new. The same goes for our everyday life and for our training as well. But you may never forget the beginning; otherwise our mind will become exhausted and because of this we will loose our concentration. The reasons are a much too strong egoism and a lack of effort. By this way we run the risk of leaving our course.

 

An essential aspect of BUDO is to find the immediate unity with the authentic truth of the universe. It is important for your personal way of thinking to transcend the „awareness of the self“, and not only with your mind. You have to „think“ with your entire body. In general we regard the life of the body and the life of the universe as two separate unities. But actually our life is not limited to our „physical“ life but it is in a constant exchange with the life of the universe. To understand this mutual dependence or relation means to understand KU. Practicing KU at the same time means to look for the greatest truth, for universal love.

 

This emptiness, KU, has infinite energy which we are able to receive only if our life is in harmony with the life of the universe. The greatest teaching of martial arts. The greatest teaching of Ninpo.

 

THIS PURPOSE SERVES THE TRAINING IN MARTIAL ARTS !!

 

 

BuFuSui Ikkan

 

 

Kihōn Happō & Yin Yang

by Kostas Kanakis - Bujinkan Yūshū Shihan

 

 

 

In our daily training the Kihon Happo is an important component for the study of Budo Taijutsu and its importance is constantly referred.

 

How does the Kihon Happo behave, however, if we add other aspects e.g. those of the Yin and Yang?

 

One of the two characters (kanji) of which the Kihon Happo consists is the KI , and one of his meanings in this connection is „basic".

In addition, KI means also „energy, spirit, soul". The human life energy which is also known as QI. In the universal existence there is the positive QI and naturally that negative QI as well. The Yin Yang QI.

 

The energy state in the body is called by Japanese physiotherapist as Kyo and Jitsu (what for a coincidence may you wonder!) and is to the Yin and Yang very similar, whereby the Kyo - Yin and the Jitsu - Yang is.

 

A balanced energy state meant also a balanced Yin and Yang and this leads to the fact that body and spirit are in a condition of unity. If the energy state is disturbed, then the physician looks for the causes around these, to eliminate them.

 

In the study of the Budo Taijutsu it behaves similarly.

 

If one attend the training with joy and with positive attitude, then also the spirit and body will be develop continuously further and thereby one will be in a balanced stage of the training.

 

If the training is attended, however, without joy and if this is unbalanced, then one must look for the cause at his roots. Thus one turns back to the basics (Sanshin and Kihon Happo) to strengthen and to „cure" these again, in order to bring the own Yin and Yang back in the equilibrium.

 

By the flow of the universal QI through the 12 main Meridians the entire body is filled out with the life energy, which holds the human in an existential balance.

Also in the Budo Taijutsu, by the flow of the Sanshin no Kata and Kihon Happo from one into another, will be obtained a unity which represents a evenly balance for our training. The Yin and Yang of Budo Taijutsu.

 

If we would classify e.g. the forms of the Sanshin no Kata and Kihon Happo as energy centres, then we could assign a form to each main Meridian.

 

Sanshin (3) x Kihon Happo (8) = 24 forms

 

12 for the Yin meridian and 12 for the Yang meridian.

 

Are all energy centers (Sanshin no Kata and Kihon Happo) in balance, the development in the Essence of the Budo Taijutsu will be also in harmony, balanced and flexible.

 

The Yin Yang QI behaves in the whole like a magnet with its two poles, whereby one cannot exist without the other one.

 

If we now transfer this aspect to our training and we take e.g. the Jiryoku (the magnetic repelling and attracting) as starting point in such a way, we can attract or repel (like a magnet). We must put, however, these two contrasts in balance, so that the rhythm will remain the same.

In a technique e.g. we can implement the attack and the counter attack in the same rhythm so that both will flow from one to into another. Evenly like the Yin and Yang.

 

By the study of the Yin and Yang we penetrate into ranges, beyond the contrasts. Thank you Hatsumi Sensei, for your lessons!!

 

** The wind carries the tenets of the Budo further and lets it flow like the water through the generations **

 


BuFuSui Ikkan

© by BKD Budōkai Media & Yūshū Shihan Kostas Kanakis | 1992 - 20xx |  info at bujinkanbudokai.eu