Trust Your Instincts 2

Trust your Instincts 2

Recently, I was discussing passing the godan (Sakki) test way back in 1996 with a close friend and student of mine, and I had to reflect upon how most people do not utilize their instincts in everyday situations. (Note: Passing the Godan test audio and PDF are up in lesson 2 for members to download)

The Sakki test is just that a test of detecting and reacting to that feeling of a killing force,  almost a true method to see if an individual will and can trust his instincts. Now this is not only found within the martial arts but in amny other disciplines as well. It is well documented and discussed how Special Forces operators often related that the just “felt” or “Knew” something was wrong or was about to happen, and acted upon it immediately. Even within the realm of sports, a football receiver knew that he had to be in the right location for the perfect catch. What you don’t think it applies to business as well? How about Donald Trump, he is often quoted as telling people he just followed his gut instinct on a business deal.

(In a special bonus added to the members lessons there is material on how to help coax and develop the beginnings of this ninja instinct that needs to be heightened in your training.)

Another Japanese word that is strongly tied to hara or haragei is zanshin. Zanshin is an -awareness that precedes the imminent attack that haragei warns you of. A martial artist should be in the condition of zanshin before and after a technique.

In the world today there is definitely an amount of unrest. Even in places that seem stable on the outside, there is always the potential for possible chaos and instability. Soke Hatsumi recently spoke about the fact that within our art, awareness is a big part of what we do and what we are trying to cultivate. This skill allows a ninjutsu practitioner to see beyond the surface, so that you are aware of the potential for possible problems before they are manifested visiblely.

This concept is called Banpen Fugyo (“a thousand changes, no surprise”). Although all around you the world  is constantly, your awareness and a trust in your instincts, honed through practice to the point that nothing is surprising and that  you are not surprised when something happens to you. As a ninja, you  have developed an awareness that lets you see things as they develop, as a progression of where things are now, to where they potentially could be.

Just a few points to consider in your training and development, in the members lessons are several courses on how to continue to develop your awareness and instincts to high levels.

Bufu Ikkan

Trust your Instincts

The other day I was free running through the deep woods surrounding my home, when I had gut feeling to move sideward’s, which luckily I did, as a very large tree limb landed right where I had been running before! After finishing my run, I had to reflect back on that Gut Instinct that allowed me not to be hit, and how it links to many aspects in our daily life that people overlook each day.

We all have a natural “gut” instinct, but the important thing to know is how to develop, and learn to trust it. Too many people have stopped trusting their instincts, they have cut off a natural sense that we are all born and evolved with.  Nobody can explain exactly how or why instinct works, but there are times when we get a gut feeling about what we should or should not do although we can’t put a finger on the exact reasons, but we feel it in the pit of our stomach and innately know that something is up.

In the Japanese warrior arts the center of the body is known as the “hara” and Koryu arts focus practitioners through meditation practices that concentrate on a location around this point (just below your navel). (ex: below)

“Do not fix your mind on the attitude your rival assumes not have it riveted on your own attitude or your own sword. Instead, fix your mind on your saika-tanden (hara) and do not think either dealing a blow at your opponent or of the latter dealing a blow at you. Cast aside all specific designs and rush to attack the moment you see your enemy in the act of brandishing his sword overhead.”

Yamaoka Tesshu – founder Itto Shoden Muto Ryu

As another interesting corollary point, recently I was reading that scientists are now  postulating that there are nerve cells in the gut that are connected to the intuitive part of the brain, modern science and ancient warrior training comes together!

When I get a “feeling” that something is wrong or right I feel it in my gut, how about you? Whether in business, meeting a new person, driving, or even walking in the mall, I trust my initial instinct and do not try to logically explain it away, as many non trained individuals do.

In modern day Japan, a person will be accepted by others or shunned, in business and personally, by their gut feelings towards you. This is a normal and accepted way of life. The Japanese people as a whole really believe that what they feel about you is true, without reservations. In Japanese this feeling is called “haragei.” Haragei literally means “belly-art”, but normally it is translated as a gut feeling, intuition, or pre-perception.

Soke Hatsumi has spoken about the concept of hara and related the “hara” to the old days idea that the samurai arts were arts of the hara. Soke has spoken about how it is with your stomach that you digest food, and absorbs the nutrients. These nutrients are utilized for the growth of your body, this is one form of nourishment, and how we should use our hara to nourish ourselves in another way.

Sensei explained how people relate to the world by either intellectualizing or emotionalizing, reacting in an emotional state, and that those two combinations are not necessarily bad. He said that it’s good that people analyze some things, but for a martial artist we have to go one step further. The third step is to use the hara.

More to come in part 2!!!

Bufu Ikkan

Daily Advance

Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skillful than yesterday, more skillful than today. This is never-ending.” – taken from the Hagakure

Way back in 1996!!

I recently had another birthday!! Each year I look forward to each birthday as a time to reflect upon what have I learned during the intervening time between birthdays. I will say this past year has been a packed learning experience. I started off with deep winter snow camping and survival shelter building, progressed to learning from many notable martial artists from around the globe, voraciously read and practice self improvement, technical development, as well as many hours in the back yard shooting range. This

doesn’t even scratch the surface but the list isn’t what matters, it is the daily advance that matters.

Each day we awake as equals, with the same amount of time given to each of us. It is how we use this time to advance ourselves, or not, that truly makes the difference in surviving or thriving, poor or rich, good or great at the things we choose to take on.

So tomorrow my Ninjutsu friends, get up and go gather intelligence on a new subject and  put yourself in the daily advance!

Bufu Ikkan

From the Basenshukai

From the Basenshukai

“When entering an enemy camp on a dangerous mission, your heart must be as hard, cold and sharp as the blade of a sword. If the heart is soft and weak, whenever the enemy confronts you, panic result and the mission fails.”

Each day when you or I wake up we have a choice to build the “enduring heart” that ninjutsu stands for. Each day we will face obstacles, issues, petty arguments, put downs, political ploys, work or family power plays etc. it doesn’t matter, each must be dealt with utilizing an enduring heart. Practice patience, knowing that from each moment your decisions will come from a view that very few are able to or trained to comprehend. Within Seishin (pur e heart) you are able to make none judgmental decisions not based on emotions but from a view that encompasses many view points and information sources.

A lesson for you to practice, tomorrow when you are faced with an obstacle, problem or difficult situation, take a moment, sit down and write out 3 possible options that could give you different outcomes or paths to take. By starting this lesson off early in your training you are beginning a path that will help advance your training not only in the martial arts but in your life as a whole.

Bufu Ikkan

Choho

Within the skills of Ninjutsu, there is one area that often becomes overlooked in one’s training, and that is Choho (intelligence gathering).  Why is this still relevant today even if you are not an aspiring CIA agent? Well, intelligence gathering allows one to make a reasonable decision based upon sources of information.  So what is relevant in your life that you need to make decisions on every day? Car or home purchase? Financial planning? Martial arts training? Career movement?

Whatever it is there are several manners in which to go about your information gathering, in member lesson #4 we will be exploring  historical foundations from the Togakure ryu, how to establish various sources of information, and methods to collect data from surprising sources etc.

More to come!

Bufu Ikkan

Training Today

Training Today,

As I went about my daily training today, I secluded myself and began to focus on Seishin (loosely translated Pure heart or pure spirit) How was I to go about this?

Meditation under a cold waterfall? Spend years as a hermit in a cave?

What??

Well, this is where I came to. I remembered Soke Hatsumi speaking one day that  “Budo is Meditation”, and it hit me, Seishin is a combination of endurance and humility, brought about through hard core training. One of the secrets in all training but especially in Ninjutsu is to NEVER GIVE UP!  Soke is fond of saying “Keep Going” and that is a secret, every day chipping away, learning new things, pulling away the weak spots. Seishin is to me is an embodiment of enduring the harsh training and being humbled by it as well.

As I finished my makiwara training and moved on to shoten no jutsu, then to my trail run. I finished and was humbled as my muscles were shaking and I was physically exhausted.

Just another day in training!

Gambatte

“Bushigokorro wo motte totosho no nasu

“The Warrior’s heart is precious, and Essential”

Now,What the hell does that mean?? As I sat and was working on the next set of lessons, I reflected back on how many students and training partners I have had over the years and how few still remain in practice. It is true a Warrior’s Heart is precious, it drives us when we feel like not training or giving up on a task, even sick or hurt you must go on.

As I started to construct this website and the lessons it is going to contain, I felt overwhelmed! With my home and family life, a very busy work life, how was I to make it happen and launch on Labor Day weekend?

It came to me as I was training outside one evening, A Warrior’s Heart!

Don’t give up, no matter the adversity, drive through and come out the other side.

Like Nike says “Just Do It!”

Moving On!

Hey to all of you emailing your thoughts and ideas on upcoming lessons, and the feedback on the 1st lesson,

yes I read the emails, and thank you for the inputs!! I didn’t realize how many people would start pinging me with ideas and critiques…..

I am working on new videos but I have to teach the basics first so that everyone has the same understanding as we move together on our learning journey, as well more Esoteric information is in Lessons 2, 3, and 4, but also a look back to the traditions that spawned many of the modern tactics and strategies of Ninjutsu and the Samurai.

More to come!

Bufu Ikkan

We are Live!!

Hey everyone,

Thanks for all the support, emails and calls regarding the 1st lesson! There are a few bugs to work out with some of the software, but all this will be cleared up shortly. Lot’s more lessons being finalized for the next several lessons, so join now!

Bufu Ikkan

Sensei Steve