During my last seminar I had the opportunity to speak with a group of beginners students about the importance of the ten chi jin ryaku no maki and they really had no clue about it. One even told me that ” this is the first time he heard about it”. And he was already 6th kyû!
As teachers, this is our responsability to give the beginners the necessary basics so that their bujinkan path is successful. Many teachers never received the basics either but they were given high ranks. And when they began teaching their own students they duplicated the teachings they had received from their original instructor. Everyone is sincere but the results for the beginners are not good.
During the DKMS 2008 Hatsumi sensei insisted to the people attending the seminar that they focus on teaching the basics of the ten chi jin for the year 2009 as “many bujinkan students have never been exposed to the basics”. We are now in July 2010 and the students I meet in my seminars still do not know the fundamental techniques of the bujinkan.
Teachers: please teach the basics to your students, not the ones you think are the basics but the ones that were exposed by Hatsumi sensei back in 1983 in his first technical book: “togakure ryû ninpô taijutsu“. This book in Japanese was then translated into English (and greatly modified) in 1987. This should be the core of your teaching to the kyû belts.
The bujinkan is a fantastic system not because of its name but because it is the answer to actual fighting. It is not about strength or violence it is about footwork and simple body mechanics. Learn them and improve your skills dramatically!
In my next summer camp I will have written exams again every day so that the participants will know the names and content of the various sets of techniques included into the ten chin jin ryaku no maki. If there is no study there is no knowledge.
If you are a students remember that your teacher is the one guiding you on the bujinkan path but at the end of the day YOU are the one walking the path. Remember that you train for yourself for your own good and that no one is higher than you as we are all human beings. Get the knowledge you need where you an find it. respect your teacher for what he is giving you but please be pro-active and do not wait to receive the knowledge, as sensei used to say: “steal the knowledge where it is!”
Summer is a good moment to think back about our yearly achievements and to make new plans for the new season of training beginning in September. Please add “basics” in your plans.
Have a happy summer in the spirit of rokkon shôjô.