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Class Notes 02 Nov 2017

November 21, 2017

Fu No Kata

Because of the beginners that just recently joined my class, I decided to revisit the sanshin no kata and kihon happo again. The challenge is to ensure that every student, senior or beginner, gets appropriate material to work on. Every student should be exposed to AND allowed to work on material that gives them some challenge. And they should be able to rise up to that level of challenge, at least by the end of the lesson.

Easy? Of course not! I won’t say that I succeed in doing that most of the time, but I know I have a better chance of getting there if I at least try…

Outline:

1) Fu No Kata (basic form) – Opponent attacks with gedan tsuki, we do gedan uke and gedan boshiken to attack the opponent’s balance.

Very Important: this kata is NOT for combat application. I already showed you all in class why this version is not practical for combat. It is a teaching tool, isolating this use of boshiken so that you can study it better.

2) Fu No Kata (two boshiken) – instead of stepping in with a gedan boshiken, we use a jodan boshiken instead. When the opponent blocks this we do gedan boshiken with the other hand.

Again, the goal is attacking the opponent’s balance.

3) Huko – against a front kick, we move either to the outside of the kick with gedan uke and go down on one knee to boshiken somewhere important, or we move to the outside of the kick with gedan uke, use a fudoken in the same style as the gedan boshiken in our basic form, and then kick his supporting leg with our rear leg.

This is essentially Fu No Kata used on a front kick rather than a gedan tsuki.

4) Yui Gyaku (Takagi Yoshin Ryu) – against a right Jodan Tsuki, we jodan uke with our left, attack opponent’s face with either fudoken or shakoken, attack his nearest leg with ko uchi gari. Remember to tap his guarding arm with your right hand first. This will trigger him to block your next strike, and then you can proceed to sweep the leg.

Notice that this is quite similar to Fu No Kata done with a jodan boshiken, except that we use a ko uchi gari rather than yet another boshiken.

Important note:

I showed two variations of this kata, both of which made the ko uchi gari easier to do. Both variations involved changing the angle we approach the opponent. The basic form angles exactly in between both variations. Why did I teach that instead of one of the two variations?

Hatsumi Soke’s Bujinkan Taijutsu is a henka-based martial art. It places less emphasis on the mastery of a perfect, idealized version of a kata or technique, and more emphasis on the practitioner being able to adapt the principles of the techniques to an ever changing and shifting combat situation. Knowing that, I taught the version that gives the most room for adaptation and change.

If I taught one of the henka first, it is harder for my students to see the other henka as related to the same technique. My basic form allowed them to understand both possibilities and go into either one if they thought it was appropriate.

Generally, I will teach a kihon kata (basic form) version that has more elements rather than less, because it is easier to leave stuff out of a technique in combat rather than to add stuff in. It should have a larger range of motion, as full a range as possible, because it is easier to contract a movement in combat rather than to expand it. The applications should be general rather than specific, because it is easier to move from the general to specific rather than vice versa.

The problem with this approach is that it takes a much longer time to give a student results. That is just how things are. If people want usable results within a shorter frame of time, Bujinkan Ninjutsu is just not suitable for them. They should go take 6-9 months of Krav Maga lessons instead. Bujinkan Ninjutsu is more an art for art’s sake, for people who have the interest to sustain them for a few years of study.

By the way, I can afford to tell potential students that. I don’t have crazy dojo rentals to cover, nor do I teach for the sake of paying for my sons’ education. I can afford to be honest to people, to tell them what this art truly involves, rather than selling them pipe dreams for the sake of grabbing their hard-earned money. Some day I might just do a post calling out marketing and advertising practices I disagree with. We see how that goes?

Conclusion:

I have been pondering the issue of transmission a lot recently. My responsibility as a martial arts instructor is not only to create skilled practitioners but also to raise up competent teachers. That is why I am going back to posting my class notes (so my students can use them to teach if necessary) and why I explain more of my thought process and planning here in this post.

Hopefully this will inspire and help other Bujinkan teachers to teach Hatsumi Soke’s Taijutsu the best we know to!

 

Junjie 俊傑
(Shunketsu)
Bujinkan Ninjutsu
Singapore

 

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