Fudōza 不動座

By Pertti Ruha

The common thread in our education continues to go straight through the second overall concept of the Bujinkan Dojo Shinden Kihon Kata scripture (aka. Tenchijin no maki), under the section Ku Kamae, is Fudōza.

Fudō means unflinching, but here it refers to Fudō Myoō, all mountain priests (yamabushi and shugenja) patron. Since many of Bujinkan’s nine schools have a connection to Shugendō and mikkyō Buddhism is not at all surprising that different concepts of the world is also used by us.
Fudō Myoō is Dainichi Nyorai personified. Fudō Myoō converts anger into salvation; have a ferocious gaze as Fudō Myoō strive to scare people into accepting Dainichi Buddha‘s teachings. He keeps Kurikara (a demon subjegating double-edged sword with a three-point handle; 倶利伽羅) in his right hand. It represents wisdom that cuts through ignorance.

This sword is another way to personalize Fudō Myoō and is then called for Kurikara Fudō. Yet another name for the sword is “Hōken” (Treasured Sword; 宝剣) and also appears in the title of our 16 body weapons (Hōken juroppō; 宝拳十六法) and a third name is Fudō ken (Fudō’s sword; 不動剣) that can be compared to the body Fist, Fudō ken (不動拳). Kurikara symbolizes vigor  [jap: ki 氣] that is concentrated by Gasshō and developed through our exercises and it manifests Fudō Myoō in our movements and techniques and destroys delusions and obsessions. The sword represents the separation force and determination needed in combat. This leads to a single mind which gives us the ability to burn up all the obstacles to freedom. In his left hand he holds a rope to catch and bind demons with. Often illustrated Fudō even with all sentient third eye. He’s sitting down because he is “steadfast in his faith.”

Apparently Fudōza not only a physical structure for struggle and exercise. It is thus as much about mental attitude and physical status.
Fudōza have the state of mind Fudōshin grafted, which remains indifferent to everything and everyone. It is a spirit that is unwavering and free from ego and desires. Fudōshin is molded in a form or in a place without flowing rivers.
Fudōshin henka (Variations; 変化) is done freely and spontaneously, and conversely, our henka makes our state of mind unwaveringly.

Masaaki Hatsumi sitting in Anza (安座), also considered a form of Fudoza.

Hira no kamae is required if we are to begin to learn Taijutsu (body skills; 体術) which also forms the basis for taijutsu (unit formation; 隊術), but Fudōshin is required for us to at all be able to learn taijutsu (core essence of skills; 體術) .
If we relate Fudōshin to battle; when many opponents surround us and our state of mind is disturbed and begins to move, then we will be invaded by our opponents and we are lost.
We can then only see the opposing outer shape, and may not know their intentions (with Shoshin ).
With an unwavering mind , calm, like the water that reflects the moon, then we can act in Juppō sesshō; with “skillful Means” (Gihō; 技法, or Hōhō; 方法).

With Fudōshin we handle the first opponent and throwing away all traces of him are ready to receive the next. Henka is free and liberal although we have many opponents.
Without impeding the flow, without throwing shade, using nature’s principles, we become “Shizen gyōun ryusui.” (Spontaneity of floating clouds and flowing water; 自然行雲流水)
When a person moves with force, he creates an internal friction and loses himself. If he forces himself to stand still, he is obstinate and rigid, and can not spontaneously act on anything. When you can not catch a movement spontaneously or do henka freely, it is a sign of immaturity.

Let think of the movement or immobility; Do not think of stopping the mind or controlling the thoughts; tsuke iri (infiltrate; 付入) without form and taihi (retreat; 体飛) without trace; be one with the surroundings; with an unconcerned but resolute heart; free from distracting thoughts.

The physical structure of Fudōza is simple; sitting on the left heel, and has the right sole of the foot on the left thigh and falls down in a free relaxed muscle network of iliopsoas. In traditional Chinese martial arts is called to “sit in the kua“. In other words, Fudōza is part of all our kamae; we must always “sit” in all nine Kamae. Variations of this include:

  • Kiza 起座 sit cross-legged
  • Seiza 正座 formal sitting on both heels
  • Fukko 伏虎 the crouching tiger, etc.

Movements of Fudōza and its variants are characterized by a rising lightness, that ballet dancers call “balloon”, but that is also part of our shōtenjutsu (Ascension Techniques; 昇天術).
Shōtenjutsu usually refers to the techniques for lightly running over obstacles such as trees and walls, but it also relates to methods for getting across a human or to just get up off the floor without effort. Movements from Fudōza can for example be done with shikkō (Performance; 執行) which is a traditional Japanese way of moving on the floor, usually to face-ranking individuals at court. In addition, there are several ninjutsu techniques low-profile movement and iai nuki (Sword drawing; 居合抜) techniques with both the sword and the knife that can be used from and to fudōza.

Kaiten (rolling; 回転) are also performed from fudōza and its variants, with or without weapons in the hands, and form the basis for any rollovers from standing, walking and running.

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