Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Manriki Gusari - Ninja Weighted Chain in UAE

Would you like to Learn the art of using ancient ninja weighted chain - the Manriki Gusari (萬力鏈) aka the Kusari-fundo (鎖分銅)

If your answer is YES then you are in luck as For the First time in the UAE we have a seminar on the Ninja weighed chain by Bujinkan Dai Shihan Arnaud Cousergue - 15th Dan Black Belt!

Join the Event Page and confirm your attendance or else just message us on our facebook page.  Dont forget to follow us on the Bujinkan UAE Official Instagram 
Dont miss it - its happening for the first time in the UAE!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Let your training be ALIVE!!

It is important to occasionally remind oneself why we train in The Martial arts, and what it actually means to us. Besides the usual suspect answers of self-development, creating balance, building stamina, being fearless, slowing things down, having situational awareness etc. etc., when you go deep inside and ask ourselves this question you might be surprised with the answers you find.

In one such recent introspection it dawned to me (again) that The Martial Arts are present in everything we do. At a certain point in your study, your practice stops being a hobby and transitions to become a passion. From there it further evolves to a lifestyle of a way of living. I now know for sure that The Martial Arts can permeate in all aspects and movements in my daily life. In every step I take, in the way I sit, in the way I eat, in the way I walk, in the way I wash dishes, clean the house, walk the dog, in the way I talk to my colleagues, bosses, my wife, in the way I drive, in the way I sleep!! In everything I do, there are ways I can apply everything I am learning on the mats. In every action there is efficiency to find. In every thought there is effectiveness to be found.

Being a martial artiste is like being a priest or a religious man. He doesn’t pray only when he goes to temple or church or mosque. He has dedicated every moment of his life to god. Every action he does is prayer. If your training is limited to the 2 days that you visit the dojo, then perhaps you aren’t really a complete martial artiste. What you do becomes “fitness” or a “hobby” or perhaps even “sports” if you don’t carry it with you everywhere in life.

This 2016, my wish for you, no matter what martial arts you train in, is to carry your art with you into your life. The Martial arts are a deep study, and it is not mere knowledge that you can get by reading a book. You will create true awareness based on your life experiences.

In the New Year permit your relationship with your practice to go deeper. 
Let your training be alive and let it be continuous.
 Allow The martial arts to take over your life and see the true meaning of training. 

Carry your martial art with you everywhere and make 2016 count!
Happy new year! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bujinkan Ninjutsu Basics Seminar in Dubai, UAE

Its the month of March, and the longer days are here again. Its springtime - the time of awakening and rejuvenation – time when the flowers bloom, trees bud, ideas sprout and the little self within longs for revival. It's time for you to germinate as well. An excuse to march on and rise up, because you are an explorer and a warrior. 

The Big Seminar with Dai-Shihan Arnaud Cousergue is Confirmed. He is a 15th Dan Shihan and  also has black-belts in Judo and karate and other martial arts. He is also a trained commander of the United Nations peace keeping force. He also holds the Menkyo Kaiden in Fûgyô Happô Biken  and Menkyo Kaiden in Tachi Waza and is a Bearer of  DaiShihan, Shingitai and the Shi Tennô Diplomas

The Semianr is on the 3rd and 4th of April 2015 in Dubai. Please note down the following information and block them off in your calender. 

Make sure you book your spot at the earliest to avail of the early bird offer

"Should you desire the great tranquility, prepare to sweat" ~ Hakuin

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bujinkan UAE Top 10

December is the traditional time when everyone looks back over the year and reflects on what actually happened and what it all means. This is when you take stock of how the year went by, and you make decisions to better it next year. Its a time of celebration and festivity and a season to let the old move out and new move in. This is time when you reflect and instrospect, on your life, and living in general.
This is also the time when every media publication and outlet will publish their top 10 lists, each in their own field. So keeping with the spirit, I have tried to list out a top 10 this year for Bujinkan UAE. If you have a few top moments of 2014, please share it with me below as a comment.

These are my favorite moments from 2014.

#10 - We started regular classes again at KO Gym in Dubai Marina in June. As you already know now we have classes every Wed & Sat at 8pm.

Training at KO Gym, Dubai Marina
 #9 - Our Friday classes lead by Shidoshi Juan Pablo at the Shangri-la Hotel in Abu Dhabi have been on full swing. This is by the beach and really a fantastic venue to have classes.

Training by the beach in Abu Dhabi
#8 - Our new Website was launched thanks to Fred who did a great job on it. if you havent checked it out its http://www.bujinkan.ae. Thanks to the website and social media we now have a strong presence in the international Bujinkan Community and had a few visiting shidoshi and black belts during the year. We can expect more buyu and high ranks from around the world stop by Dubai in the years to come.

Happy faces after class at KO Gym, Dubai Marina
#7 - A whole bunch of new Buyu have joined us this year and we are really happy now with the spirit and energy that the classes have. A few buyu have left the country and we are sad about that but know we cant do anything since change is the only constant and Dubai is never really a permanent home for expats.  

Visiting Shihans / Shidoshi
#6 - Our Facebook Bujinkan UAE Group and FB Page have seen more activity than ever before. New members, posts from others, etc make it a really vibrant social community. We are also slowly growing on meetup.com. This is the best place to be updated on upcoming events. www.meetup.com/Bujinkan-UAE

Shihan Arnaud class.
#5 - In March we had a demonstration at the Maraya Cultural centre and a good year of succesful Bujinkan Socials. Our last one in December had around a dozen of us meeting up. Its a good way to unwind and talk non-budo stuff and just chill and relax. We went to the Belgian Cafe in Tecom and had lots of fun. We hope to have more in 2015, and hope you can attend. 

Maraya Japanese Cultural Centre.
 #4 - This year was great for Bujinkan UAE for grades. Hassan (who is now in Qatar) passed his Sakki Exam in Japan earlier this year. It was conducted by a Japanese shihan and was awarded the Menkyo Shidhoshi Diploma and his Godan (5th Dan) by Soke. He will soon start teaching in Doha.
Fred was awarded his Shodan (1st Dan) Black Belt by Shihan Marcelo and now holds the title Shidoshi Ho.
Shidoshi Juan Pablo was recommended for his 7th Dan this year and will receive the diploma shortly.
I was recommended for my Godan Test by Dai Shihan Nagato Sensei (and Shiraishi Sensei) in November during my trip to Japan and subsequently passed my Sakki test and awarded my Shidoshi Menkyo by Soke. A lot of buyu have gone from MuKyu to grades this year and that includes Ben, Rami, Ahmed(sr.), Kathy, Leila, Rym, Adam, Sabrina, Irshad, Marcel, Joyal, Ahmed (jr.), Maria Napoli, Anton and a few others. This is great news for Bujinkan UAE as it shows constant growth and that comes with traning. We wish 2015 brings in more grades and ranks, and most impotantly more knowledge.

Grading at Safa Park
 #3 - We had an extremely succesful 2 day seminar organised by Shidoshi Juan Pablo. It was a seminar with Shihan Marcelo from Argentina. This was by the beach and covered Taijutsu and Sword fighting basics. We had a strong attendance of 30 people and are really thankful to all the buyu who could make it. We can expect a repeat seminar in 2015.

Seminar with Shihan Marcelo
 #2 - Our First seminar of the year was with Dai Shihan Arnaud Cousergue. It was in April this year and was well received by everyone. We had around 35 people who attended this 2-day seminar. We also got considerable PR coverage in the UAE for this seminar. Dai Shihan Arnaud will be joining us in April 2015 once again for a "Kihon Happo" (基本八法型), seminar and it well be yet another fantastic training opportunity for all of us.

Seminar with Shihan Arnaud Cousergue
 #1 - The highlight for me personally of 2014 was my trip to Japan and training opportunity with all the top Shihan at the Hombu Dojo. Of course, it so happened that I got my shidoshi diploma after I passed my Sakki test but the connections I forged made the trip more worthwhile. Japan in itself is a fantastic destination to visit and being able to train with the likes of Japanese Dai-Shihan's Nagato, Noguchi, Shiraishi and Seno and Gaijin Dai-Shihans like Arnaud, Lubos, Petrocello and others... that made it really memorable. I thirst to go back there and to keep connections alive. I cant wait to go there again. Perhaps you can join me??

Happy new year from BUJINKAN UAE
December is also the time when you make resoltions for what you want to do and be in 2015. We intend to immerse ourselves in training in 2015; its going to be a great year for Bujinkan UAE. This will include a team trip to japan in June. (And maybe a second one in December) We hope you are able to join us for traning soon and hope you are our co-passengers in this journey of self-discovery.
On that note, we wish you a very Happy New Year and sincerely hope all your dreams for 2015 come true. Dont forget “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” The more comfortable you get with being uncomfortable, the faster you will grow. The year of the sheep should remind you to not be like one.
I wish you plenty of moving forward and lots of progress in 2015.
Happy New year! :)
Stay Happy Train Hard
Gambatte Kudasai

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bujinkan Shidōshi 士道師 Menkyo & the Sakki 殺気 Test!

Wow. What a buzz. I have some great news to share with you!!!
I was awarded my Godan Shidōshi 士道師 Menkyo (5th Dan instructor Black Belt diploma) 2 weeks ago in Japan at the Hombu dojo. You are given this grade when you pass the only organization-wide (world wide) official test of the Bujinkan system!  
The test is populary known as the Sakki 殺気 Test and its taken me 2 weeks to digest what actually happened and be able to somewhat articulate it. It's a milestone achievement for me in the martial arts, a sort of culmination of a journey, though I think the fun had just begun. Read on to know why it is so special.

Main Shinden at the Hombu Dojo in Noda, Chiba.
Traning in Japan
As you might have read, I had the good fortune to spend some time traning in Japan. During this time, I attended classes with some of the top Japanese Shihan and Soke. These included Dai Shihans like Nagato, Noguchi, Seno and Shirashi. I also attended classes by Shihan Arnaud and Shihan Lubos. My training partners varied in rank and nationaly and were from all around the world - Brazil, Russia, Spain, Australia, Argentina, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and many other countres.
I must admit I learnt different things from all of them. Of course I did manage to squeeze in some touristy activities and even a visit to kyoto and photos from there are on my facebook group and page.

With Shiraishi Sensei
With Shihan Darren and his team

So after around 10 days of classes I was recommended by Shiarishi Sensei for my Sakki test. I politely agreed but decided to hide when the opportunity came. I wasnt sure I was ready. You see the thing is In order to attain fifth dan (godan), fourth dan practitioners must submit to a Sakki (or godan) test before the Sōke Masaaki Hatsumi to establish that they are able to sense the presence of danger and evade it, which is considered a fundamental survival skill. The test involves not using any of your regular senses and sensing danger with the feeling of Sakki.

 I always wanted to a perfect Godan test (if there's a such a thing). I wanted to roll away in the nick of time, not too early and obviously not too late, I wanted to roll away to the appropriate distance - not too far so that I cant feel any more of the energy, not to close so as to not be hit / cut by a second horizontal sword swing. Ive seen many tests where the test taker just drops their head and doesnt roll away. Ive seen people just move their body slightly or half heartedly. Im not saying they were wrong, but I wanted a perfect Sakki Test.
With Dai Shihan Noguchi Sensei
After a class with Shihan Lubos
I started training in the Bujinkan after listening to the Sakki test experience of my teacher Shiva Subramanium. Its kind of ironic now, when I think back about it, and it feels good to know that I have reached this level too.

The Sakki Test
As I said earlier, this is the only organization-wide official test in the Bujinkan! After passing this test, a practitioner is considered to be under the protection of the Bujin, or Guiding Spirits, and is entitled to for a teaching license (shidōshi menkyo).

With Dai Shihan Nagato Sensei

Sakki (殺気) in general means “intent to kill”. Sakkijutsu (殺気術) is the ability to sense the thoughts and intentions of an attacker that arise from their conscious or subconscious mind. Before the attack comes the ability to sense Sakki allowing one to evade an attack or plot against you in life. So its quiet a bit of pressure on a young mans soul to give this test

.After a few more days of training at the Hombu Dojo, Dai Shihan Nagato Sensei (in the photo to the left) asked me what my Dan rank was was. I sheepishly told him and then he asked me who my teacher was. Right after that he asked Dai Shihan Arnaud to promote me to my Yondan (4th Dan) in itself a high compliment. He subsequently announced that he was recommeding me to take the Sakki test the "next day". More pressure please!

Yes the NEXT DAY!
No time to prepare, no time to decide, just 24 hours of anxious energy and wondering wether I would pass or not.  I know that fear is a dream killer. But I had decided to retain the positive anxiety to help me stay buzzed before the test.

The Godan Shinsha ( 5th Dan examination ) which is also known as Sakki Test, “Sakki” 殺気 which means “kill intention”, that is the exam to feel the murderous intent of the opponent. Sakki can be loosely translated as intuition or 6th sense or connection to the universe. This test can only be done in Japan in the presence of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi (picture ...below)

With Soke right after my Sakki Test.
The Test itself
This is a sword test where the one taking the test sits down on the floor and is cut/hit from behind without any warning. If you escape (roll away or something) just before the cut, then you pass.

None of your regular senses can really be used. You cant hear or see the person behind you. Even if you think of hearing the cut and moving away, you will probably be too late. Of course No taste, smell or touch! You roll away when the sword is swung at you because of the pure feeling of incoming danger that you sense. The test is done traditionally in front of Soke and when you pass you wait for him to say "Hai Ok!"
So I knelt and decided that I don’t care if I get hit.
I calmed myself and said I know I can do this but even if I cant it doesnt matter.
I get ready for it and say to myself "Ok hit me. Im ready" 
Suddently, I felt this urgency to move.. like something was pushing me from behind. Like something was about to come crashing down on my head. I decided to trust that feeling and so I rolled away.
Then I hear Soke saying "HAI OK".
I realised I had been swung at from behind.
Then the applause came thundering, and everyone was staring at me with a gleam in their eye and wide smiles.
I was releived it was over Phew!
I was Happy! :)

Why Did I move?
I'd like to think im well endowed with the power of logic and can have a scientific bent of mind. Yet I find it really impossible difficult to explain what I felt, and why I felt it when I felt it. I do believe in life energy and the inter connectedness of everything and this test for me was an expression of something more complex.
I had a few shihans compliment me on my precise timing and good distance and I am glad I could give a "good" Sakki test. I guess not being bothered about the outcome helped get into a state of calm and experience Zero no chikara ゼロ の 力 or 無 の 力, or the power of Zero.

Sakki 殺気
I'd like to beleive everyone has this sense of Sakki. Animals especially manifest this and people who have already had a sense of their own death by either being in a life threatening situation or an accident know this. People who've faced death, held someone's hand when they passed, witnessed someone being killed, been in the vicinity where a murder took place, etc., already know what the "feeling" feels like. No Bujinkan training or sakki test required. Traning in the Bujinkan helps you understand this feeling and this test just brings you close enough to know to save yourself. Its a deep gut felt instinct asking you to move and I'd like to beleive that training helps you to "not" ignore it.

There are no secrets here. Just hard Training. Training helps you listen to that feeling inside your gut and to not ignore it.  Training helps you to really learn to throw away the self and the ego to be completely in the moment and this is what I allows you pass the godan test.

One goal of our training that allows you to put oneself in a state of 無心, mushin (no intention, no thinking). When you enter this state of nothingness, you begin to move freely and naturally in time with unseen forces that co-exist all around us. All of us agree that our thoughts have speed. Passing this test requires us to be in a state of no thoughts. This ability marks the beginning and entrance into the world of true martial arts training and is cultivated by constant and continous training.

Soke's Budô is formless and always comes from a state of Mushin. This is what gives it tremendous power and this generates creativity. There are no predecided actions and no preconceived notions and absolutely no intention. Even for me, this is a very high level concept and not easy to grasp and I have read that not so many Bujinkan practitioners can even fathom the idea. Needless to say, the only way I see forward to reach this state of continous mushin is traning.

Can we become pure beings by letting go of all conditioning and only listening to pure intention and feeling? Can we find happiness in this purity? And I know for sure that right and continous training is the easiest path to this goal

Being happy and traning Hard
 I thank my teacher Dai Shihan Arnaud for conducting my Sakki test (I will post sometime in the future about Giving a Sakki Test) and Dai Shihan Nagato & Shiraishi Sensei's for recommending my godan test. And thanks to Shiva Subramanian for introducing me to the art and hand holding me through my journey. I am eternally grateful.

Here are some nice posts about the Sakki Test if you want to know more
Post by Dai Shihan Arnaud about the Sakki Test
A great post about the Godan Test from Bujinkan Dojo Genova

So what do you think about the Sakki test? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

En No Kirinai - Keeping connections alive.

In less than 10 hours I board a flight to Tokyo, Japan to clock some hours of training and to enrich my connections. The last time I was there was 2010, and I was awarded my Shodan. The trip was really memorable and I still hold the fondest recollections of my time here. I wanted to travel at least once in a year, but 2011 was the year of the saddening events in Japan, 2012 - I moved to Dubai, 2013 had me settling into a new job and this new country, and finally in 2014 I am glad that able to make it to Japan.  I hope to train with Sôke and all the Japanese Shihans while I am there
Soke walking into DaiKomyoSai 2010
I mention the word "connection" as a reason for going to Japan, since I feel that should be the main motivation for anyone to go to Japan to train, allow me to explain.

One of the concepts of 2009 was en no kirinai, or "do not severe the connection". That was the year I seriously started my journey (though my first class was in 2008) with the Bujinkan. It seems befetting that I blog about connections before I head to Japan again.

En No KiriNai
Being Connected
Being connected is a basic human tendancy and its also one of the core principles of our martial system. Remaining connected to things does not necessarily require one to be physically touching the object or person. The concept of maintaining a connection is one that comes from the power of the spirt, soul, and ones will.
With My teacher Shiva Subramanium www.buj.in
Many people train in the Bujinkan without a connection with the source. When I mean the source I talk about Sôke, the Japanese Shihan and the Hombu Dojo and training in Japan in general. I remember how my teacher Shiva, used to go 3 times a year and my Shihan Arnaud Cousergue has been going 3 times a year for around the last 25years (more than 70 times ) to train directly under Sôke Masaaki Hatsumi.
Noguchi Sensei with Bujinkan India

The feeling of Sôke in training is difficult as always to comprehend, especially after experiencing it. I feel those that never experience Sôkes taijutsu and spirit directly miss out on something. Through him I am even connected to hundreds of buyu around the world. The same goes for training with the Japanese Shihan. Its important to keep the connection.

Of course I might not understand or comprehend what Sôke, however even the top most Shihans will admit to is that very few people understands what Hatsumi-Sensei is doing.  The important thing is to stay connected!
With Sôke. Keeping the connection
Sometimes, this connection can seem to be severed. We might not realise though that things are still connected in the grand scheme of things. We can never be completely seperated from others for as long as the spirit and soul continues. Sôke talks about how he still receives messages, instructions and teachings from Toshitsugu Takamatsu Sensei. Belief is all you need, to keep the connection alive

And one of the ways is to keep training, and to go and watch and train under the source. This will help you maintain a feeling of connected-ness.

I will update my trip on my facebook, instagram , Social page and twitter. Feel free to stay connected! :)

Hombu Dojo - Dec 2010

I highly recommend anyone seriously interested in our martial arts system to visit Japan, if not more, at least once. And do it soon. Time is flying.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ninjas can disappear! - Ninjutsu Myth #382

In this new series I'd like to call "Ninjutsu Myths", I plan to address various questions posed to me by my students who train with me. Some of the questions are so common, and many end up asking me the same questions, I actually wonder if people really come to train in Bujinkan Ninjutsu for self development or because they were influenced by cartoons, movies and pop culture.

Many of my students have asked me if Ninja's can disappear and if I can teach them to become invisible. (usually its not a "if" its a "when", as in "when can we learn to become invisible"). My usual answer is something funny or irrelevant but I thought I'd take this opportunity to elaborate.

Ninjas Can disappear or turn invisible at will.
Practitioners of ninjutsu can neither disappear nor turn invisible. Yes all of us would like to know the skills to disappear in a puff of black smoke when confronted by an enemy (or a bad boss, ex girlfriend, present wife etc), but the reality is far from there.
This fantasy seems to have originated because of the the following Taijutsu principles 

1. Be Patient
One of the core tenets of our martial art is being able to be patient. Timing, Distancing and Angling being the most important components for good taijutsu, the principle of being patient and moving at the last instant is one of our basic concepts. (Kotsu)
You wait for the opponent to make a move and only react to him when he is totally committed to the attack and cannot change it even if he wants to. This enables one to trap the opponent using his/her momentum and intent to attack. The outcome of successfully executing this principle is that the opponent feels that you literally “disappear” from the line of attack and end up being present elsewhere.

2. Overwhelm the senses
As a follow-up to the above principle, we learn to strike in multiple number of locations, this prevents the opponent from being able to perceive your next move and planning his next action
The opponent now is on the back foot has no idea where you are and his senses are numbed to perceiving your position. You "disappear" in his mind since he is now solely focused on surviving.

3. Distracting &a then Getting Away
This myth probably also came about because of our basic philosophy of avoidance of conflict. The first rule the Ninjas followed (to safeguard their lives and survive) was to get away. If a ninja could avoid fighting, he would.
In order to achieve this goal, he might have needed to create a diversion of some kind, such as throwing shuriken, setting off a smoke bomb or throwing sand in the opponent’s eyes. By the time the opponent recovered from the distraction, the ninja would be gone. There is no magic involved here – just common sense.
We use distraction in our movement, form and techniques on a regular basis. We disappear yes, but only after distracting.

3. Destruction of the Ego
At an esoteric level, perhaps our martial art is all about realising that in the vast scheme of things you are but a mere spectator. To become aware of our littleness and to to simultaneously realize that everyone else has the same potential as you, is perhaps one way to destroy your ego. The Bujinkan is an art of humility. We are reminded often to place virtue before vice, values before vanity and principles before personalities. Training in the Bujinkan helps you become a true Martial artiste by destroying you ego. In very simple terms, picking fights is ego driven, going for trophies is ego driven, you get the idea. The bujinkan stays away from these and concentrates on self development

So perhaps when they said the "Ninjutsu teaches you how to disappear", maybe then meant that "Ninjutsu teaches you how to let your ego disappear".
When the ego disappears, the real self surfaces. Perhaps we train really to help our ego to disappear and be more real?

So if you ask me casually in class, I'd probably say yes. But if you want to know how, you'd probably have to train. There is no other secret to mastery of ninjutsu, there is no magic in ninjutsu, other than hard training.

So would you like to come to class sometime soon and learn how to disappear??
Train hard, Stay Happy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ninjutsu Sword Fighting Seminar in the UAE

Bujinkan UAE brings yet an another fantastic opportunity to train with a 15th Dan Top class Shihan. This time its a Ninjutsu (Budo Taijutsu) Sword fighting Seminar in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Coming?