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Class Notes – New Year Budo

January 4, 2013

After an exciting quarter, doing 3 months of kenjutsu, we finally went back to the unarmed techniques. Some new people joined us in the class along the way, so I am glad to be able to focus on the foundational movements of Bujinkan Taijutsu. Yes!!

Warm-up exercises:

  1. Front and back bends
  2. Side bends
  3. Waist turners – work on starting the movement from your hip flexors. That will give you the most benefit from this exercise.
  4. Kneeling Back Bends
  5. Hindu Push-up Stretches – if you can do the push-ups, that is great! If not, just holding the two positions will help to build up your arm strength.

Ukemi (Page 9 of your notes)

We worked on後方廻転 (Koho Kaiten) – the Back roll, and 前方回転 – (Zenpo Kaiten) – the Forward roll. If you don’t feel confident with them you can practice on your own on soft ground, like the padded ground in most playgrounds in Singapore.  To get the core movement of both rolls, you can start them lying totally flat on the ground.

Sanshin No Kata (Page 14 of your notes)

We are still working on 地の型 Chi no Kata, as it trains us in some of our foundational kamae (stances) and movement. This is the one when we step almost straight back while raising one hand to the opponent’s eyes, then step forward and swing our hand with three fingers held firmly together to the opponent’s solar plexus. You can take notes on it on page 15 of your notes. Write down there the pointers I bring up with you in class.

Watch out for your heels (in line), knees (in line with your feet) and spine (straightened)!

We also did a variation of it: Yokuto, when your opponent grabs you and you swing your fist with thumb-joint sticking up (骨法拳 Koppō Ken, page 13) to hit your opponent under the chin. You then kick and palm your opponent on the face (蝦蛄拳 Shako Ken, page 12) while stepping forward with the other side.

Key point: Don’t step forward and then Shako Ken the opponent. You will only have arm-strength behind that. Do both together. That is how you will get power. The movement is the one we practiced in the Palm-The-Wall exercise (which you can note down on page 6 of your notes).

Ura Gyaku

This is one of the Kihon Happo, listed on page 19. Take down notes there.

The formal version starts differently from what we did in class. I’ll show that to you soon, but for now we start from Yokuto, with the Koppō Ken and the kick. Instead of putting the foot next to the other, as we did before, now draw the base of the triangle as you capture the hand and twist while using your other hand to straighten the elbow. Hold the arms firm as you complete the triangle, then shift your weight forward to push into the opponent.

This is where the triangle-step exercise (one you should jot down in page 6) comes in!

Key points:

Complete the triangle before you shift your weight forward. If you step in with your weight on the front leg immediately, you may be moving your body into danger if you haven’t taken the opponent’s balance yet.

Twisting of the hand MUST coordinate with drawing the base of the triangle. Think of moving your elbow and the hip together. Keep your elbow down as much as you can, it gives you more structure and power in your twist.

The triangle step is to put yourself at an angle to your opponent’s line of balance (formed by the two heels). When you push into the opponent at such an angle, he or she cannot fight back. They have to step, twist, roll or be dumped onto the ground. If you didn’t draw the base of the triangle correctly and end up pushing into your opponent’s line of balance, your opponent may still be strong and can spring a nasty surprise on you.

Remember the demo in class?

Final Thoughts:

Over these three months we will be working concurrently on the Sanshin no Kata and grappling techniques from the Kihon Happo. The Sanshin no Kata will help condition your body for the rest of Bujinkan Taijutsu, so those movements are very foundational. Ura Gyaku may make you feel a little overwhelmed at trying to get it right. It took me at least a year before I started to get Ura Gyaku right. So if it takes you a year to get it right, that means you are about as good as I am…

So have fun with jotting down notes in your student book and working on what we did in the last lesson!


俊傑 (Shunketsu)


From → bujinkan

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