Roppo 六法

The term Roppo is complex and there are several different ways to interpret it according to the context. It occurs within Kukishin-ryu jojutsu, juttejutsu and dakentaijutsu, among other things. In Japanese, you can write it in two ways: 六方 or 六法. The first character stands for the number six, while the other can be interpreted as a trend or method, but have many more interpretations.

Kabuki stage with hanamichi left
Kabuki stage with hanamichi on the left.

According to Hatsumi Sensei, Roppo is a way to prevent and to take Kukan (empty space; 空間), six methods to support, like roppo training in the Kabuki theater.
In Kabuki roppo originally used as a term for how to make an entrance on stage, but also came later including how to make the exit at Hanamichi-time.
The term is likely from the strutting gait (tanzen roppo; 丹前六法) as the Edo period snobs had when they strutted between the different tea houses in the pleasure quarters.

There are several different ways to make an entrance and exit. With “tobi roppo” (six methods of leaping; 飛六法) the actor gesticulates with his hands while he bounces along Hanamichi.Kitsune roppo” (moving like a fox in six directions; 狐六法) is when the actor leaves the stage sideways with a slightly hunched body, or “roppo o fumu” (六法ヲ踏) when he vigorously stamped with the feet.
One way to interpret Roppo could be the different ways we move to take possession of the Kukan.

Six degrees of freedom
Six degrees of freedom.

The term can also be derived from the purification ceremony for future priests in mikkyo Buddhism when invoking heaven, earth, east, west, north and south.

The interpretation can be paired with the directions we can move, in our six degrees of freedom. This interpretation may mean that we always should relate to the ambient forces in such a way that we can stop or even to retreat movement and thus constantly in mastery of Kukan.

gogyo-five-phases
Gogyo – fire hitting metal hitting wood, hitting the ground, hitting the water, and finally strikes fire

A third way to look at Roppo is like the ‘six laws of nature “and with them is meant the five phases – Gogyo (five phases; 五行) – and awareness of them – Shiki (consciousness; 識). It’s about positioning oneself in the Kukan in such a way that I can always beat the opponent.What game with rock-paper-scissors. This is too complex to describe here, and must be seen as something that can only be transferred during our lessons, called “Kuden”.

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