Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Black Belt Hoax!!

So here‘s how I felt,
Today when I got the black belt!
I realised that there is a way,
to get what you want anytime any day!

The secret & the trick is to first want IT
& then go after it - without any BULL**IT
then know ur strengths & weaknesses & become aware
get connected, get moving and practice your fare!!

Believe it & You can become one of the Gods
You can get the power to conquer all odds
all you need to do is believe...
and like I did - your dreams you will achieve

so from today take a "panga" with life
make your passion your wife
flying, dreaming perceiving right & being free

every obstacle becomes a victory!!

It hardly feels like yesterday since I started training and started this Blog. And today I blog from Japan. This afternoon at the DKMS Shihan Arnaud Cousergue walked upto me and asked me IF I was feeling ridiculous wearing a green belt among hundreds of black belts from around the world. Before I could gather my wits to give him an answer he had handed me a blackbelt and the Indian Buyu were clapping and photographs were being taken....

Actually Im still in a state of shock - even though I knew its time for me to get my black belt. Im in shock becuase it came as a surprise even though i was expecting it. I am in shock because I feel I deserve it, but dont know If I am worthy of it. I guess like my 9th Kyu Grade now I will have to deserve it!

For all of you spoilt by the commercialization of Martial Arts - Frankly a Black Belt is NO big deal. Its a hoax actually. Whats important is that you understand the unlimited potential inside you and endeavour to discover the keys to unlock that. Its a Hoax that a world plays on our minds to make us think we have reached somewhere. Its a trick seniors play on juniors to make them believe in something and aim at something. It is what most art practicioners use to make you help make them rich!
Trust me - the whole concept of a black belt is flim flam - its a joke played on the gullible. The black belt is in your head. Imagine if one could free themselves of the options of a limited goal. The possibilities are limitless once this kind of free thinking is achived.

Today I was given my black belt. But i believe Today is the day I AM accepted as a student. Today is when I will start learning. Till now I was learning how to learn - and now I am ready, perhaps.

The trick is to not want success - or failure. Its to just be and keep doing things. Try to focus on your training, there is no substitute for that. The more time, mind and energy you devote into that - the faster you will see results. 1
Afterall showing up is winning half the battle! SO today - Decide to be present - in your present. Become aware of the moment and Enjoy it. AND JUST SHOW UP!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Henka - Change

Its been long since Ive posted here. Everyone said after the Shinken Gata (6th Kyu level) your opinion of Budo changes, and thereby life itself changes. Around the same time (after my shinken gata) someone also told me the best way to grow in Budo is "SHUT UP AND TRAIN". I guess I did take this too seriously! :)

This December I head to Japan,  and soon I might even have my black belt (Have been given my 4th Kyu a couple of months ago). I fear all my Kyu experiences will fade away and I wont remember anything. And so Ive promised myself to devote at least 1 blog per week sharing my growth in the path of Budo with the world, with you. 

Over the last 3 months we (Bujinkan India Dojo) have had the privilege of being visited a International Shihans including Arnaud Cousergue, Darren Horvath. and Robin Doenicke seminar. All these Shihans have opened my eyes to the possibility of us being able to control our lives. If you dive into and fully explore the idea that we create our own reality, you discover that it logically follows that this means we create or choose our own life and death experiences.Training in Budo Taijutsu gives you a practical platform to test out those experiences.

These Shihans have also opened my eyes to the true meaning of the techniques taught by the Bujinkan. And the answer lies in the fact that there are NO techniques. No form. Only variations.
In fact every technique is henka waza, as you have to adapt it to size, speed and quality of uke.

It isnt a coincidence that my Martial name (everyone is free to choose one) is "henka"

Today I truly feel the power of the Martial arts that I'm training, Today I realize that training isn't life, but Life is training. I feel martial arts consuming me. I feel it absorbing itself into every aspect of my life. I feel change seeping through my every pore.
I feel Henka Change is the only constant, its the signal for rebirth and its the egg of the phoenix!

Wish you Happy Changing too! :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Being One - through Shinken Gata

Yesterday I graded for my 6th Kyu. The grading involved a test called the "Shinken Gata". The matrix of meanings that the words "shin" and "ken" can have are innumerable. But some basic ones could mean - spirit, soul, heart, self, truth, real etc.

Shin can be written using different
kanji characters
真, "true" , 伸, "extend" , 新, "new" , 心, "heart", 晋, "advance" 信, "belief" , 進, "progress" , 慎, "humility", 紳, "gentleman"

Ken could mean Sword, fist, weapon among many other things. The dictionary definition of Shinken Gata could be "Real Combat Movement/training"

I have previously spoken about the lack of hitting, no violence and non existence of a sport like sparring situation in this martial art! Yesterday's grading was the anti thesis of all the conditioning I had in my head about the art. This form is as real as REAL can be and yesterday I WAS in a real fight with 6 black belts... and more with "Myself".

I was thrown around, hit, smashed, poked. I even have war bruises, poke marks and blod clots as proof!
No Im not saying the form propagates violence - but I also realised the only way to understand nonviolence is to truly study violence. Kind of like discovering motion in stillness.

Shinken Gata
is used as a way of sharing
the seriousness with which we are to approach the art. Shinken Gata is a real-life application of the moves we learn with the physical and spiritual consequences associated with taking such encounters seriously. This idea of "one encounter, one chance" (ichi-go, ichi-e) is what separates all budô (martial ways) from sports or mere exercise.

When your body tires and has no energy left, you wonder where to go. People speak of a certain "inner inspiration" and "mind over matter" - last evening I felt it.

I realised training in a martial art form is all about being able to be in this "Zone". And staying there!
After my Shinken Gata yesterday Ive learnt that the body has its own thinking and is only infinitely connected to the world and the surroundings through the mind.

Once you acheive this "one"-ness your body will automatically move - without help from your mind. There is no thinking involved. Just the pure essence of feeling.

Once you let this connection control you, you derive energy from everything and everybody around you letting you be calm and composed while actually exerting tremendous physical energy. These connections are omnipresent and are easy to tap. All it needs is a certain "letting go".

Ive always prided myself on being articulate but the feeling of oneness that you achieve after the "shinken gata" cannot be described in words. Like most things in life the only way is to experience it. in the DOJO or Outside.

Ive realised that tiredness or fatigue is a state of mind and pain is in your head. If you take your thinking out of the situation and your mind out of the equation then your Taijutsu becomes Shinken Gata.
I also surprised myself a few times and on reflection am still wondering how I did those things. Now my next aim is to achieve this "natural movement" one-ness more often and perhaps even bring it to REAL Life applications

After reading this I hope you are inspired to find new meanings for "being one"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ninjaan Turns One

Its been a year since I started Training in Ninjutsu. Over the last year life has changed terribly. I am not too sure if my Life is affecting my training at the Dojo or its the other way round, but I definitely feel different! Read my First Blog Post on Ninjutsu Here

The biggest learning for me over the last year is reconfirmation of the fact that there are NO Coincidences! Nothing happens by Chance! Everything has a Reason and these reasons are invariably
controlled by Intentions.

Ive always believed in being able to control what happens to one - and Ninjustu just helps you understand it and train it. I might confuse you with this next line - but we truly train to not know - thereby knowing. We train to let go - there by gaining control. We train motion thereby achieving stillness. Ironic? Yes!

This art form reconfirms my belief -
Life is like a football. It goes where you kick it! (World Cup is on now as I write this btw)

The Bujinkan - besides being a banner head for all the Ninjutsu ryuha (schools) is a community for with powerful intentions. We believe in the power of intentions. It might sound like something from a "Laws Of Attraction book" but is much more than that!

Ive seen magic happen over the last year and This magic is what keeps me attracted to this art form.
Having met have lots of other martial artistes, fighters and sport fighting practitioners, People keep asking me why practitioners don't get involved in mixed martial arts tournaments?

After all, if the Ninja are the cream of the crop
(some claim us to be) and at the top of the martial arts food chain, why aren't they "taking it to the ring?"

While it would appear, from several different perspectives, that ninjutsu - the art of the ninja - is..

  1. Just another martial art among the many martial systems out there, and...
  2. No different from mma since ninja mix striking, kicking, grappling, etc.

The truth is that there is much more to the art of Ninjutsu than meets the eye. Read here where I try to explain what i mean!

Here are a few of the differences between Ninja training and mixed martial arts:

  • The ninja are first and foremost warriors. They are protectors - not fighters.
  • The first skill to be developed by a ninja is seishin teki kyoyo, "spiritual refinement" - not competitiveness and a sense of sportsmanship and fair play.
  • The ninja is a no-limits person. The rules inherent in a sport competition-based system run counter to the strategies and philosophy of ninjutsu.
  • The Ninja balances the lessons and tools for producing results in combat with those that achieve success in society. A true ninja would never use something like sport aggression to make a name for him or herself.

  • Add to this the techniques, tactics, strategies, and weapons of the ninja - all designed for one purpose - winning - quickly, easily, and completely. To a ninja, fighting - if conflict cannot be avoided - always comes as a last resort. Not as a means of entertainment and ego-gratification.

    This isn't the list that most people expect when it comes to see what Ninjutsu has that MMA, or any other martial art, doesn't. But then, authentic ninja training isn't what most people expect either!

    Ive been here for a year, Ive been training all my life!

    Welcome to My world! - hope some magic touches you! :)

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    The Art of story telling!

    We just finished an intensive 2 day "Bo Jutsu" (Stick Fighting) seminar.
    We were extremely happy to have 15dan Shihan Shihan Arnaud Cousergue come down to Bangalore dojo to hold another seminar - and this time on one of the most important weapons of Buki Waza (weapon training)

    To me the last two days were an intensive course in "Story Telling".
    Ninjutsu's main teaching can be summarized as the ability to convince your opponent that he has lost. Now this happens only if the practitioner himself has the conviction that he is victorious. Winning is a relative term, and so is Loss. Once you understand there is actually no victory or loss you have conquered the fight! Its only about surviving! And the best way to survive is to tell stories.

    Takamatsu Sensei with the Bo

    The traditional definition of Storytelling is an ability of events, thoughts with improvisation or embellishment. The medium differs from person to person. For me Ninjutsu helps tell stories and the Bo is the perfect medium for the narrative.

    The seminar taught us to tell stories. To use the bo as a sheild, as a rope, as a sword, as a spear and even as a bo itself. The seminar covered some elemental, fundamental points of the bo staff.

    Historically the Staff was the one of the most important weapons in the ninja's arsenal. It is generally around 6 feet long, made of hard wood or bamboo. In most cases it was hollow. The reason for the hollow was another trick of the ninja trade. By flicking the bow with great speed, the ninja could launch a poison tipped dart or small knife out of the open end of the staff, often catching the opponent off guard.

    The great thing about the bo is that it CAN be found in real life, taking on the guise of various everyday implements. You can find it in brooms, pool cues, thin branches, mops, etc.

    Although the bo staff is a versatile and commonly found weapon, let’s face it – it’s a big stick. You can paint it, and sprinkle it with kanji-adorned mystisism, but it’s still a big stick. And even this weapon - being a big stick has its basic Principles (Kotsu)

    • Use the maximum distance of the bo (hold the ends)
    • Keep at least one elbow close to the body
    • hold the bo lightly so it can slide
    • When holding in hira no kamae - ur hands are on ur thighs - hold it with a smaller grip so u can get
    • Always keep hands closer to the centre so its well balanced
    • Always strike (tsuki) with the tip of the bo - not the sides.
    • Remember angles of the bo and use it to maximum impact
    Bo staff spinning (Bofuri) was one of the first things we learnt when studying bo staff, personally it’s certainly one of the more impressive techniques. Its also called Long Staff Rolling Shield - and Like with all elements of Bo Jutsu, you’ve got to start off slow and practice hard.

    At this juncture I’d like to remind you that you have to mentally separate the acrobatic and tricking aspects of the bo from the applicable and self defense aspects.

    The spins and tosses get pushed to the wayside exceptionally quick when trying to use the Bo as a weapon rather than a tool for entertainment.

    This seminar taught me that , if one can master distancing and timing along with simple thrusts, pokes, and quick strikes, you’ll be on your way to learning the traditional nature of the weapon!

    And remember no matter how much you read about martial arts online There is also kuden; things taught personally from teacher to student, so please find a good teacher and study with him/her.

    Happy Storytelling! :)

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Seminar Time!

    So its time for a some intensive ninjutsu training this time its through a Bo-Jutsu seminar!
    Bōjutsu 棒術, can be translated into Staff Warfare and is the art of using a stick or a staff (Bo)

    The history of the "Kukishin-Bo" dates back to the days of the warrior Kurando - who while fighting with a spear had the sharp end cut off by his opponents swords. He therefore devised techniques with the use of the stick - and managed to fight off the swordsmen.

    Staffs are probably of the earliest weapons used by mankind. Basic techniques include swinging, hitting, slashing, stabbing. Others involve using the staff as lever to vault or as a shield during to hand strikes or arsenal warfare.
    The Ninja Turtle u see above - Donatello also was a master of the "Bo"!
    I would see the main principle of Bojutsu is using momentum of the spins to strike. Bōjutsu in the Bujinkan is one of the core weapons of training.

    Even though the poster is self explanatory (and really cool if u ask me) here are the details for the blind ones!
    Seminar Dates - 15th, 16th of May, 22nd, 23rd of May (4Days)
    Time - 9am to 5:30pm
    Venue - Nani Arena, Sona Towers, Millers Road

    Lemme know if you want me to book a seat for you. Shihan Arnaud Cousergue a 15th Dan master will cover all techniques with the Kukishin Bo starting from the basics all the way to advanced use of the weapon.

    This is something I have really been looking forward to. Hopefully after this seminar i'll be able to tell ya'll the story of the master of the twirling staff... muhahahahaa *evil laugh echoing*

    Monday, April 26, 2010

    To be Majicked

    Isnt it strange how spending just a little time with certain people can change your perspective completely. The Last sunday was such an experience for me. The seminar by Shihan Darren Horvath. from Australia was anything short of mind altering. Now think of it this way. the fact that you are reading this now - Is it a coincidence? Is it an Accident? Or Is it Providence?

    And will leave a comment? Will you to know more about my art form? Was it planned or did it just happen?
    His constant assisted self introspection leading question and contagious calming is something that one has to be wary of. I say wary because he had us charmed by the end of his session. Its almost like we were controlled by imaginary strings and he was the puppet master. At the end of the seminar all of us were truly Magicked.

    Looking back now, I realize how powerful training in Budo is. In Darren's own words "All I have to do is make you feel something. I can create a feeling in you". This art actually to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the natural
    Within nature we can discern universal principles that are common to all life in its myriad shapes and forms. Seeking to discover the essence and origin of these principles leads to an acknowledgment of the simple yet profound truth that we all participate in a shared existence on our planet, itself participating in the context of the universe at large.
    Maybe this is what the Buddha meant when he said - "I alone am Exalted"

    Or when Lord Krishna Said "Follow me for the truth"
    Or when Jesus said - "I am the One"

    Equipped with this truth, i know that I truly dont know and i feel magicked! And I know that i can elicit the same reaction in things and people around me. I figured this art is about realising that Its not real and its not a lie - its just! You are what you decide to be. False Evidence appears real and then creates fear.


    I realized Ninjutsu Its about creating a picture it in your mind, and then being aware of point at which you become what you think you are. When you arrive - you are done. This art teaches you to Pierce to the other side And then Keep Going. Bufu Ikkan
    Budo to me is the extension of our life, enlightenment of our daily lives and the fulfillment of our mission in life, and Darrens Seminar made me realize something yet again. So I leave you with a few questions

    is the Kanji for Magic and Anji in japanse means "To be Majicked" Ironic Eh? That it has to match with my name?

    Are there accidents? Are there coincidences? Or is it all providence? Do you control your destiny? Or does your destiny control you? Does destiny exist at all? Do you create the ? Is your future already created?

    Darren also pointed out "Sensei" said that "One Has to be centripetal"
    And when you do - you might have some answers!

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Be Zen, My Friend

    In stillness, enlightenment comes easily.
    Take a moment to be still,
    And embrace the tranquility.

    Wisdom as a reflection upon a still lake.
    Be Zen, My friend

    Introducing The Brand new Bujinkan India Website.
    Check it out ----> http://www.buj.in/

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    The OZ connection!

    After my announcement as the Brand and Tourism Ambassador for India by Tourism Queensland Australia, there seems to be more and more OZ connections sprouting up in my life.

    The most recent to be the announcement of a seminar by one of Australias most Eminent Martial Artistes - Shihan Darren Horvath. Shihan Darren is one of the highest ranked representatives of Bujinkan. He
    is a 15th Dan Shihan (Master Instructor) of the Bujinkan tradition, as taught by the Grand Master Masaaki Hatsumi. To get more information about Darren, you can go here.

    I had written about the previous seminar and I reiterate - To watch one of the best Martial Artistes in the world show you the ropes, is a privilege and opportunity doesn't knock often.

    Seminar Details
    When : 28th of March 2010 Seminar starts at 9am and go to approximately 12pm
    : Bujinkan India Dojo (Vasanthnagar, Bangalore)

    • Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu
    • Weapons Training
    Main Instructor : Shihan Darren Horvath (From France) Note :- Classes are held in a non-competitive atmosphere. You do not have to be an existing student to attend; beginners and new students are welcome.

    Darren will be the First OZ ninja that I meet! :) And Train Under

    Ninjutsu is a complete and efficient martial art, proven on the field. Complete because, in addition to the hand-to-hand combat, I always appreciate the fact that I can train with the sword, the stick, the knife and lots of other weapons.
    Efficient? To be convinced of this, it is enough to see that the Indian Police, the American Army instructors, the FBI, numerous other fighting groups are using the Ninjutsu techniques.
    It is reassuring to know that, in a real situation, we’ll be able to provide an adapted response and come out of it with the least harm possible.

    This sunday I look forward to furthering my skills and gaining more knowledge.
    This Seminar looks to be extremely appealing. And Im sure Darren is super fun - after all he's an OZ right? 

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Hiding in the Shadows!

    So its the first day of the year and everyone around me is making resolutions. I never really have looked at new years as a time to make a resolution, but things change.. and things are changing. So I have a deep wish today. I have a resolution for 2010!
    That wish is to learn to Hide in the Shadows

    All of us have heard of martial arts stories of Shadow Warriors and an unattended shadow was also thought by some cultures to be similar to that of a ghost. I've always been fascinated by the Shadow. And this year I aspire to become it!

    Besides the Literal meaning of hiding in the shadows - which Ninja's are supposed to be famous for, this wish has a deeper spiritual meaning. Let me explain

    You know when you can tell someone has entered the room even though there is no sound? Its the “inner flame” of that person that attracts your attention. This Flame is something which everyone has. By learning how to control this flame you learn how to control your self and reach the pinnacles of awareness. Wikipedia describes "A shadow" as area where direct light a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object.
    At a physical level It is very possible to pass through a field of vision and not be spotted if your movements are quick and uninterrupted. At this stage the spiritual self also becomes muted and almost intention-less thereby avoiding conflict. Being in the shadow of your opponent makes it tough for him to attack you. And the shadow keeps moving so you have to be dynamic enough to be in the shadow. Maybe this is the true meaning of the shinto concept of Naka-ima or "being in the moment"

    I know that Ninjas believed in making themselves one with their surrounding spirits and environment to control this inner flame. They could dim it or brighten it as they wished.
    Since most of my Job and workspace - Events, Live shows, Radio, Stand up Comedy, EmCeeing includes being completely in the Lime Light... this form helps me define another side to my personality. A side that loves being hidden, undercover and almost incognito! In the Shadows!

    Training in traditional martial arts, whether for the acquisition of power or self-perfection, is a long drawn Process. Last year I often found myself pushed in directions that I wasn't sure I wanted to go. And this year i predict there's going to be more of those times. Over last year ive discovered more things about my physical, physiological and spiritual self than all my life put together. Training Taijutsu the Bujinkan way is taking me in many directions!

    One of those directions for sure is to become a better martial artiste by understanding the true self. By controlling my inner flame and not giving away intention, by understanding the true meaning of Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo! This year I hope to realize that
    the avoidance of conflict is the easiest way to overcome one's adversary.