When begin to discuss the philosophy of “to break” one needs to understand your art deeply. Here is where I find many people lose track of the purpose of a technique. The purpose is to teach a principle that applies to a specific attack situation (kata). The purpose of varying from the technique (henka) is to expand upon your understanding, and application of a technique or principle.
To break away, is the step, which begins to internalize the nature of Ninjutsu. Too many beginners want to start with all the fancy variations that Instructors teach or demonstrate, but yet how can they, if they do not have a proper understanding of the fundamental of their art? This applies to both the physical combat methods, or the strategies and esoteric knowledge that is contained within ninjutsu.
As an example, when I was learning lock picking on a basic master lock, I was at times frustrated as I
could not open the lock immediately, yet with hours of practice, I could eventually open the lock in less than a few seconds, but I had not yet broken away from the basic skills. So, I decided to challenge myself with my Yale door lock I had purchased awhile back for practice. Within a minute or so I was able to apply my skills and open the lock! I had moved from the basics of one lock
and broken off to a new and different feel and type, yet I was still grounded in the fundamentals of the art.
As you continue to develop their will be many walls or obstacles put in front of a student testing your greater understanding of Ninjutsu principles and practice. Here are some words of wisdom that were passed to Soke Hatsumi from Takamatsu Sensei,
“As for walls, think of them as being made out of ice. If you are a man who possesses a warm heart of natural justice, Hatsumi, hitting a wall will be no problem. Walls made of ice will just melt!”
Remember – first preserve, then break and diversify, but stay grounded in the fundamentals.
Sensei Steve L.