It’s been a long time coming, but we have finally finished the transcription and notation of Kacem Zoughari’s Seminar from Margate in 2009, the theme was on Koto-ryu Koppojutsu and Kukishinden-ryu Jojutsu (actually just the first kata of the Jojutsu – Jumonji). Below is a short introduction to the seminar, but you’ll have to signup to Onmitsu Kage‘s memberships to see the footage and read the transcription – I can promise it’s not to be missed!
Koto-ryu Koppojutsu 虎倒流骨法術
“This here is just the beginning of the Mokuroku (catalogue; 目録), the whole section is larger and it also has three densho (manuscripts; 伝書), densho is like the book; “den” (transmission; 伝), and “sho” (book; 書), and there is the makimono (scroll; 巻物). So, there is three books and four scrolls written by Takamatsu sensei, and he said a few things inside. What we know, for example publicly, is just a little bit; there is spear, there is nodachi (great sword; 大太刀), there’s naginata (halberd; 薙刀), kusarifundō (weighted chain; 鎖分銅), Iai (sword drawing; 居合), many things…
So, this school, Kotō-ryū Koppōjutsu (虎倒流骨法術), the name was not set before at least the 16th century. Before that, most of the time, we never give the name of the school because it gives information of what you can do. Sometimes at the time the name of the school represents the top-level technique. For example, Nen-ryū (念流), is about how to control or how to see someone’s attacks, someone’s intentions. Takenouchi-ryū (竹内流), is a common name in japan, but it also refers to the inside of the bamboo, so why is it flexible? Because it is empty.
There is also Kotō-ryū kosshijutsu (bones of the hands; 骨指術) and Dakentaijutsu (striking with the fists; 打拳体術) according to the writing. In China they used to call this Gōhō (強法) or Kyōhō (for the kun-yomi). It is how to use the skeleton, and how to strike the skeleton. We can say at that time they weren’t medical experts, it was for the battlefield, or according to the movement he received. Then step by step, each generation brings something new, something deep. For example, it’s like the first generation gave them keys and a door, and said, “look, this is what I found, and I give this to you. If you practice more, you can open the door, find another door and another key…” and it goes like that. Martial arts are about that. It’s not something fixed, that’s why it’s very difficult.
It’s the same for the names, they use the word kata (pattern; 形), but the way it’s done is not kata. The reason that they used the word “kata” was because at that time there was no lexical word, or technical word to describe this method. So it’s very important, and I talk about this so that you have something to discuss and search when you’re talking to karate or aikidō, because martial arts is not just about keri (kicking; 蹴り), tsuki (thrusting; 突き), and uke (receiving; 受け); everyone can do that, to a certain extent. You need to have both sides. If you want to go deeper with your body, you need to understand what you are doing.
I wanted to explain to you about flexibility, because if you want to be accurate, you need to be flexible. If there’s one thing that you will notice about Hatsumi sensei, and even Takamatsu sensei, is their flexibility. Those that get to the age of 70 and keep on practicing, they are deeply flexible. Even for example, those that practice Taichi Chuan, Chigong, they have a certain kind of flexibility. So flexibility is the key, and also a certain type of muscle, a very long muscle. Actually what you practice is the inner muscle. I’ve explained this to many people: you have superficial muscle and inner muscle. It is the inner muscle that allows you to move from sitting to standing without showing anything. Because if you lean or anything while in armor, you can lose your balance and create openings. But by moving the inner muscles, you don’t need to lean. That’s why the way of standing up is to do so without showing many things. And this sort of moving, if you can do it in a very small area, imagine doing it in a wide area.
It has to be healthy, if you practice wrong, you hurt yourself. That’s a matter of fact. Look at the practitioners of karate, kendō, and aikidō, at the age of thirty, they start breaking down. This is because the classical martial arts and especially the nine schools [of the Bujinkan] are created for longevity, not for the physical education of children. That’s why with kid’s classes in the nine traditions all you can teach is jumping, dodging a sword, and throwing shuriken. Karate, teaches you exercises on how to move, it’s very easy because it was created for that.”
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