Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shingin Budō - Bujinkan Theme for 2014

As you already might know, Every year our Soke - Dr Masaaki Hatsumi sets a new theme for our training in the Bujinkan. Last year (year of the snake) it was the Tsurugi

The theme of this year, the year of the horse, seems to be
Shingin Budō 神韻武導 .
 Here is the breakdown of the Kanji (Japanese Characters)
神  - shin/kami: God
韻 - in/un/hibiki: to rhyme, sound
(神韻: Shingin (/Shinin): exceptional artistry of words, poetry or literature
武 - bu/mu/takedakeshi: martial
導 - means to lead and michibiku 導 means to guide
武導: budō - same pronunciation as 武道 budō: which means martial art or the martial way
The meaning of shingin is exceptional artistry, and budō is budō, the martial way. This is just a simple definition. The theme is still subject to interepretations and will evolve through the year when our understanding becomes deeper of the concept.
(Do note - Japanese Kanji is such that its open to multiple interpretation and the same sounding word can be written with different kanji and have different meanings in Japanese.)
This is a picture of Shingin budō 神韻武導 scroll drawn by soke.. it is displayed at the Honbu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan

The chinese believe the horse to be symbol of perseverance. The symbolism is also associated with the qualies of speed, high class and being warm-hearted. This year and the Horse Imagery should remind us to improve ourselves constantly 
And to improve you have to take the guidance of your seniors in this art. Ask your teacher and their teacher and perhaps even Soke for his interpretation of theme of the year. Persevere till you find your answer. And afterall the "Nin" in Ninjutsu does stand for perseverance. Stick to your training plan, endure the pain, proceed at a good pace and you will soon gallop like a horse.
A tool that Hatsumi sensei has given us is the kihon happo - the basiscs of Bujinkan. At the end of the day, the basics are the path to your freedom and one cannot be truly free if you are not steadfast on your path. 
That said I have to conclude by admitting that the trick to actually finding the true meaning of things is to train. Hope to see you on the mat soon.
Train hard. Stay happy.