Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Tea With The Master

After training on Saturday evenings we would all head over to the tea-house across the street from the dojo. A dozen or so of us around one of the tables in the back room, listening to the stories of the master.

Once we all had something to drink, the conversation was often a continuation regarding the lessons just shared in class. The martial arts are physical arts, and while there are philosophical, spiritual, and mental aspects of ninpo, these are manifested through the physical and physical movement.

It’s not that the master didn’t answer question in class, in the moment of training if a physical correction was needed, but much of class was a transmission of silence. If we had two hours to train, then those two hours should be spend physically training. Debate, discussion, and questions of an intellectual nature are better served outside of class, which is how we often found ourselves at the tea house.

As we sat around the master, it was interesting to see who sat where and who positioned themselves in which seat at the table. Newer students would sit either wherever or as close to the master as they could. Senior students would often it to the right side or depending on which table was free in the back, the most tactical place next to the master. Those of us in the middle of the dojo would often wait to be seated by the master or one of the senior students.

Once any continued questions from class were satisfied that is when the training from the past and the soon to be future would be imagined. Newer students would use this time to bring up questions for the master that would make them look good, or even better, questions that were not questions but further statements regarding their martial excellence and prowess. More senior students would just let the master talk without interruption once a question was asked, especially when the master got that look in his eye. Traveling back to year ago, the early days of the training, conversations with other masters, one this got started one didn’t want to interrupt it.

Yet there were other things to observe that were also part of the training, in that when one part of training ended, that in the dojo, the training outside of the dojo began. Maybe around mid kyu level students would begin to notice, certainly by the lower dan levels one would be aware.

Aware of being in the presence of the master, and the real *training* was in the application of the art outside of the dojo. The dojo has the appearance of being a scary place for those who do not understand the martial arts, for those who have not been initiated into the movement. Mistakes in movement in the dojo are just that, mistakes where one gets another chance to do it again, or a correction and adjustment from the master. The dojo was the place where if one got hit hard and a bit winded, the senior students would help you back up. The dojo was the safest place one could be in this world in that given amount of time, a place of love and compassion where the master was trying to help you see and move.

Outside of the dojo, things are different, in that moment all one has is the taijutsu they have perfected through training and trial. Yet as we walked to the tea house, as the master answered questions and interacted, and as we walked back to the dojo, this was another special form of training with the master for those who could see it.

How did the master conduct himself? How did he navigate and with what taijutsu movement did he use walking around, interacting and dealing with people. In this setting, how did the master demonstrate distance, timing, and rhythm?

A transmission of ninpo inside the dojo and outside the dojo.

Ninpo Ikkan

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The aim of the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo (school of the life giving sword) is to understand nature and the movement of being zero through taijutsu- martial ways of using the body. The school exists to create and transmit this feeling and method through the experience of isshi soden.

Located in Westchester New York, the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo is a martial arts training group founded in 2005 with the aim of coming together as martial arts friends to study the Japanese martial arts of Masaaki Hatsumi through the movement lessons of the Bujinkan Dojo.

Training is supervised by Fred Feddeck who has been studying Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu since 1993.

Classes are held on Saturday Mornings from 9-11 AM at a local park in Yonkers New York easily accessible by car, train, and bus. Additional training times are held for workshops and seminars each quarter.

Questions, feedback, and inquiries may be directed to the group here: bujinkanshinmyoken@gmail.com.

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This mailing list is used to provide updates regarding upcoming seminars and workshops, along with meeting times for our once a month martial arts meetup to discuss and explore various topics in our training.

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 email contact: bujinkanshinmyoken@gmail.com