Totoku Hyoshi 刀匿礮姿

Tōtoku Hyōshi 姿

In the photo the Sōke of Bujinkan dōjō performs 刀匿礮姿 – Tōtoku Hyōshi, that is to use the sword as a shield against attack of outside or inside, this can be understood inside the Kobujutsu (古武術) as Naka-zumi (中墨) , Shinmyō-ken (神妙剣) or Seichū-sen (正中线). Basically it is the concept of maintaining a center-line with your being, with your body and with the tools that life has to offer, inside of sanshin (三心) this sanshin is an attitude of the being in spite of the external or INTERNAL circumstances (omote and ura / 表裏).

For this there is necessary the transmission and the practice of a corporal attitude of the being inside the one, the unity (一), From the unity to the multiplicity

Shūmoku (撞木), Hitoe (偏身), Ichimonjigoshi (一文字腰), Hanmi (半身) and Ichimonji (一文字) are some of the terms used in the kobujutsu for this corporal attitude inside the science of the art of the war (the art of the peace).

There are multiple guards, but only one guard will give us the victory over ourselves and our reflections projected on the outside.
What time is it? Now.
Where are you? Here.
Who are you? This moment.
Everything is in one, in the unity (一).

From the humility of one advancing to zero.


The Interior of the Bamboo is Empty

In the clip the sôke Masaaki Hatsumi shows the Dragon Body exercises (龍体運動)

The masters of any spiritual or artistic current repeat the forms of their practice habitually, not to establish difference between the regular practice and the daily life. They understand that the art and the artist have to establish a relation of unit that leads to the multiplicity in the interior and the exterior of his life.

The practice of an art is like a Japanese bamboo plant during the first seven years. Is very exogenous to the growth of the Japanese bamboo during his first seven years of existence, scarcely it is possible to estimate his growth, perhaps an ignorant farmer, would not have the patience and give up, however, to reach the seventh year, in just six weeks the Japanese bamboo plant grows over thirty meters.

What happened? Why no growth during the first seven years? It’s not that it did not grow, but during the first seven years of apparent inactivity, the bamboo was generating a complex root system that would allow it to hold when growth began.

Come to this point is important to meditate about this concept used by the masters “Take no uchi” (竹の内), this translates as “the interior of the bamboo.”

How to copy the technique of the master? How to copy something that has been created to keep secret and hidden to the look of the five senses (“mienai” – “見え ない” – invisible) and to the comprehension of the intellect (“wakaranai” – “分から ない” – incomprehensible)?


“The way should not be hidden. To make known is the best means of keeping it hidden” – Yagyū Munenori.


In the video sôke Masaaki Hatsumi,explain the first movement of the waza Nichigeki (日撃) of Shinden Fudo Ryû ( 神傳不動流 ).

I think that is important observe in the movement of the sôke:

  • The Koshi otoshi (腰 落) that can interpret like sink the hip.
  • The flexibility and coordination with the movement of his back – senaka (背中) and his knees – hiza (膝).
  • The Elimination of the muscular tension to realize the movement and the technique, chikara wo nuku (力を抜).
  • “Keranai” (蹴ら ない) or what could be interpreted as no give impulses on the floor with the legs to start the movement of the techniques.
  • Not using of spins hip movement in the technique. The classic masters mention this during the practice as “nejiranai” which is the negative form of the verb “nejiru ” (捻る) that means to turn.

Yokuto 抒投

In the clip, the sôke Hatsumi sensei shows different points of Koto-ryū koppōjutsu (虎倒流骨法術) through the technique of the Shoden No Kata (初伝型), Yokuto (抒投).

From the unit to the multiplicity. “shoden” (初伝) is “okuden” (奥伝) and “okuden” is “shoden”, the basic transmission contains the secret transmission and vice versa… The search without end nor beginning of the comprehension with the mind, the body and the heart of the interior of the hands, body and the essence of the master and his current (流).

The repetitive practice of the basics is vital and necessary for any follower of “kobujutsu” (古武術), nevertheless it is not a question of sowing a mechanical practice, with rigid seeds and without life. Through the conscious repetition one wants to cultivate a deep sensation of the movement of the body, the interior of the body is visualized, the practitioner wants to feel the body, a state of movement is created where every repetition is a call of the practitioner to the unit with the technique in a deep relation with his body and spirit.

This unit in the technique will take the practitioner to a multiplicity in the strategy; this strategy can be understood in the “kobujutsu” as “Heihô” or “Hyôhô” (兵法).

During the clip the sôke shows many henka of the original waza of Yokuto. (hen (変) Ka (化)).

I want to share words of the Dr.Kacem Zougahri about the henka:

“There is an other word, Henkei (変形). Here the second Kanji, kei (形), means «shape», «mold», «form», «structure». Henkei refer to that the technique, a strike, a lock, a way to use or hold the weapon, a direction of the feet, angle of strike or apply the technique, etc. change according to a situation where the previous technique applied could not work for many reasons (body wounded, slide, rain, snow, psychological problem, clothes, eat to much, stronger enemy, etc.). But the application of the Henkei is also part of the Henka, it’s more about the form of the technique, the body, etc.

The Henka is and was considered as Gokui or Kyukoku Ôgi, or Ogi, which means the highest and deepest state of applying a technique and reading the enemy’s movement. When the master could remember it, after trying to refine the state of body and mind he had when the Henka happened, those Henka as well as the Henkei were written in order to be practiced. But the problem is that many students and disciples took this as a Kata sometimes and forgot to practice what was the more important, which is what led and drove to the Henka.”

All the interview of Dr. Kacem Zoughari: (English)…/Entrevista-Kacem-Zoughari-2012-Peac… (Español)

For more information:

The Transmission of Tsuki

By David Esteban Guzman
Inside of the Koryū (old currents; 古流) exist the “waza” (technique; 技) of Tsuki (突き). This technique contains great more depth in its meaning than the simple translation of the concept.

Interviewer: “Wasn’t it boring for a 17 year old to constantly and exclusively practice on just three techniques? (Tsuki – Uke – Keri).

Dr. Kacem Zoughari: “Not at all! Those three techniques don’t just have the simplified meaning most practitioners give them but represent many more things. Tsuki is not just a punch but a whole way (Form) of body movement, so you can penetrate through the adversary with one blow. It’s governed by the concept of one blow-one life.” – Interview with Dr. Kacem Zoughari – Dionysis Tsetselis, May, 2010

I think it’s very important to think and read between the lines in this sentence of the response: “Tsuki” is not just a punch but a whole way (Form  (流 – “ryū” – current) of body movement. “Tsuki” is a Form of body movement where the master transmits [1] to the practitioner the ability and the attitude to cross spaces, conditions and phases between one point and another. These points can be material, mental or emotional. All physical movement is preceded by a mental (conscious/subconscious) and emotional intention; therefore the technique of “Tsuki” is the transmission and understanding through the body, mind and heart as through any space between two circumstances by which something can penetrate. “Tsuki” could be a state of being willing to go through any situation, whether an adversary, an adverse situation, a challenge, a dream, a defeat, etc. of life.

kacem bo tsuki snapseed
Dr. Kacem Zoughari performing tsuki with a staff.

At this point I think it’s important to understand and assimilate one thing in the transmission of a “koryū” technique. The master does not teach, the master transmits and let the students research and develop for his own account, the student should be able to copy and understand in loneliness (though never alone) the sense and the technique that the master has transmitted to him, and should be able to open the eyes of the heart to keep alive the memory of the movement and transmission of the master. This happens until the time that happens until the pupil could return to meet to the source of the transmission. [2] The master represents 1% in the evolution of the student; the student is the 99% remaining of the practice, however that 1% is the connection to the Source, Form and inspiration of the Art. At this point every practitioner must meet with himself and 99% of his way, there is no better master than solitude and silence.

And what is going to cross the practitioner in the practice of the technique of “tsuki”?

First and most vital, he will learn to cross himself, to be self-critical with his own technique, to discern if his technique of “tsuki”, when facing any type of opponent and style, is real or superficial.

Second, goes to understand that it is not a question of becoming strong, but it is a question of learning to strengthen and to penetrate into a hardening based on patience and flexibility, and not into the force of the ego but into the depth of the heart. The body is a reflection of the internal states of the practitioner and his movement expresses the paradigms and spiritual state of the practitioner. Practice of that 99% is aimed to learning how to balance the emotions and thoughts, learn to know how to adapt and maintain a calm state of mind and the harmony in the heart in different circumstances of life, and learning to cultivate the flexibility and the ability to flow with a disciplined effort from one point to another.

“Tsuki” is a state of mind, the heart and the body, open and receptive to what happens within us and their reflection into the outside world. Third, he will learn to communicate through his “tsuki” with the “ukemi” (reception with the body, mind and heart of the circumstances of life; 受身) of his master, and will be able to absorb [3] all the necessary information to continue evolving every time that the student is in contact with the source (流), the art, and the movement of the master.

In the practice of the 99%, the student will meet with his limitations, fears and insecurities; “tsuki” is governed by the concept of “one blow, One life” (一期一会, Ichi-go ichi-e, literally “once, a meeting”), the experience acquired in life through the practice of a martial ART. The practitioner will understand that “tsuki” is a culture of movement, and as in all art, his technique of “tsuki” does not have a beginning nor an end, it is always evolving, the mind and the heart just as one gains experience in practice and in life, acquires depth of understanding, respect, flexibility and strengthening.

ishizuka taijutsu tsuki snapseed
Tetsuji Ishizuka sensei performing tsuki.

Once again the key to open every door is humility and inspiration from the love of an ART. Initially the “tsuki” of a practitioner is very infantile and weak, of gradual form with depth of practice it is turning into something less visible, the aim is to achieve an imperceptible and invisible “tsuki” for us ourselves (without intention) and for what we want to cross, already be it an adversary, a situation, etc. The “tsuki” is the key to learn to attack with any type of weapon used in the “Koryû”, the body and weapon are one. A sentence of Yagyū Munenori (柳生 宗矩, 1571 – May 11, 1646, founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū;  新陰流) can accompany us in the process of assimilating this.

Although there exist a hundred different guards, the victory is gained with only one.

Apparently the movement of the photo accompanying this humble writing is just a basic technique, something gone out of fashion and in disuse at present, with the eyes of the depth of 99 % this photo reveals the movement and the Form of the martial art, the art of “tsuki”.

I have no fear of the man who has practiced 10,000 different fists once, but of the man who has practiced 10,000 times a fist.” Bruce Lee.


[1] Shinden (心伝), “Transmission by the spirit”, Taiden (体伝) “Transmission by the body”, and Kuden (口伝) “Oral transmission”.

[2] This connects with the concept within the “Koryû” of “Mirai no jutsu Gensai Kako” (过去现在未来之術). “Kako” means the past, “Genzai” means the present and “Mirai” means the future. This concept expresses that in the art created by the founder are all the aspects of the combat and strategy of the past, which will aid the disciple to confront and adapt to the current situation and the present moment, in order to live and practice in a state of harmony and presence, as well as to transmit the knowledge to the future generation and adapt himself to the future always in change.

[3] To absorb, this of great usefulness and reflects the “Gokui” (極意) or last state, that Takamatsu sensei left to his disciple Hatsumi sensei: “The heart of the glass is the heart of the water”

The transmission of the Flower through the Form

When the pupil is ready, so appears the master.

The saying “when the master is ready, so appears the master” does not serve us to deepen our practice in the classical martial arts, instead, “the disciple and the master are always chosen mutually, it is a relationship of constant testing”.

When the master is prepared, he chooses the student who is also willing, both master and disciple are always moving and evolving, like life, everything changes nothing stays the same.

The master transmits a part of the teaching and allows the disciple investigate and deepen in solitude (yet never alone), the 90% of the work is of the disciple. It may take days, months or even years until the master decides to transmit again, or until that the circumstances of the life allow that the pupil and the master to meet again.

If during this period of separation the disciple is not able to keep alive the image of his master in his heart, he will lose the contact with the original source and the door of the art; the image of the master.

The master shall transmit, giving to the disciple and then leaving him alone, if the disciple is able to create something with what has been transmitted, maybe, and only maybe will he receive transmission again.

Takamatsu Toshitsugu demonstrating how to catch a sword wit ha Jutte.
Takamatsu Toshitsugu demonstrating how to catch a sword wit ha Jutte.

It will not be shown, or taught, but instead transmitted.

The master is like a white horse which passes in gallop, are you or are you not ready to climb to the challenge?

“An insect caught the tail of the horse.”

The master will always test the disciple, the disciple will always test the master, this will create a link of practice that is honest and sincere, not based on passing feelings and ephemeral emotions, but created on the basis of the honor of his artistic relationship.

The master and the disciple are required to connect with the original art source, since there is always a master and an apprentice, an apprentice and a master.
It is necessary to learn to cultivate and deepen into the art when the teacher gives you his back, perhaps he is putting to test your heart and your ability to persevere in the art.

When life’s problems show you their most bitter taste, perhaps life is putting you to the test, and testing the determination of your heart to make your dreams a reality, your faith and determination is being put to test.

Keep on practicing…

Something very simple but at the same time very complex and deep…

Keep on practicing…

Keep walking…

All the answers lie in the depths of the practice, to practice deeper in the understanding of the mysteries of the art, heart and life… to the end a master is one who has overcome the apparent obstacles that life invites him to experience, from the first inspiration to the last breath of life, a master of any art is primarily a master of the way of life and therefore of human relationships.

The real secret is to live without knowing all the answers, learn to live in the balanced imbalance of continual walking…

Keep on practicing…

Something very simple but at the same time very complex and deep…

Keep walking…

All that you have in your heart, forget it; and all that you have in your hands, give it.

keep on practicing, the best is yet to come – one step beyond your steps!

Most sincerely

Note: The phrase of the photo is from the author “Zeami” of his work the “Fūshikaden” (風姿 花 伝), literally “The transmission of the Flower through the Form”, colloquially known as the “Kadensho” (花 伝 書) “The Book of the transmission of the Flower”.

Phrase of the photo “If this hidden the flower keeps all its splendor, on the other hand, if this is revealed, it loses all its splendor”

Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi

Considerations on the methods in classical martial arts that governing the body, the mind and the heart in the “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi” (武芸鎧組打)

Considerations on the body

Shinmyoken 心妙剣

The “heiho-sha” (兵法家) or master in the strategy of the “Bugei Juhappan” (武芸十八), could detect and perceive to detail in a unique visual and sensory test the level of depth and conditions physical and psychic of a practitioner in the art of combat and survival, this display to observe the ability of a practitioner is appointed by the master founders with the term of “metsuke” (目着) (or 目付) (Note 1).”Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰锻錬) is a term used by the masters of “kobujutsu” to refer to the physical and psychological principles that govern the instruction in the disciplines of the “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi” (武芸鎧組打) or art of combat armor. Understanding that the word of “Bugei” (武芸) is interpreted as all the techniques and strategies needed to fight and survive with or without weapons in any space that can be considered a field of battle.

The founding masters through this visual examination or “metsuke” (目着) and with the concept of “Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰錬锻) assessing the physical and psychological predisposition of the practitioner to receive the transmission of the methods that governing the interiorization of the martial movement with “yoroi” or armor. Already “Taijutsu” (体術) with heavy armor, light armor, or without armor, are foundations or principles (kiso – 基礎 – bases or foundations) of essential motion that govern the classical martial arts methods in a koryû.

In his origin the techniques of strategy and survival that the classic masters developed to fight on the battlefield, and thus in any space that could be transformed into a space of battle and of danger for one’s life, was founded under the precepts of the instruction of the movement with armor, the best-known term is “yoroi kumiuchi” (鎧組打). However, there are other terms that can also refer to the combat armor, as “gekito” (撃刀), “Kumatachi” (組太刀) or “tachi uchi” (太刀打ち), all these terms refer to combat with or without armor, but the matrix principle and the methods of movement are independent whether carrying or not carrying armor, the essence and the nature of the root in a “koryû” movement is always the same, the threshold born of the movement of the body under the precepts of the current (ryû; 流) that the founders masters transmitted in origin.

I would like to emphasize that the “Form follows function” and “from the unit towards the multiplicity” that the teaching transmitted by the masters does not differ from wearing or not wearing armor, the methods that goverins the essence of martial movement in a “koryû” is a matrix code.

Oishi Shinkage-ryu Tojutsu mokuroku 01
Shinkage-ryu entry detailing the principles of Tojutsu (刀術), Isshin (一心), and so on.

A phrase of Munenori Yagyu (柳生 宗 矩, 1571-1646, founder of the branch of the Edo period Shinkage-ryū school – 新 陰 流), can join in the process of diving into this:

“Although there are several hundreds of guards, the victory is obtained only with one.”

A guard and a movement with and without armor is similar and equivalent in the body, the mind and the heart of the practitioner, this is one of the fundamental principles that express the concept of “Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰锻錬) in his depth.

Concept that refers to the conditioning of the legs and the hip through the domain deep in an attitude of body motion where the back, the control and stability of the legs (knees and above all the joints) and the hip had to be profound and deep, through of the interaction and knowledge of the movement of the skeletal system,tendons and ligaments involved in the technique and in the biomechanics of the movement. (Control and dominance in the movement of the head, shoulders and the bone structure of the top train of the body also comes into consideration, however if there are deep control of the movement of the hip and legs, there will be a lineup right back and thus of all the top train of the body, giving as a result a access to low and diaphragmatic breathing. A breath which gives access to the use of the coordination of the movement with the respiration. Angles, rhythms, respiration, distances, balances and imbalances merge into the form and unity of the “taijutsu”, movements where minimizing the use of muscle strength and of the intention of the conscious mind (“chikara wo nuku” (力を抜く)).

The notion of “Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰锻錬) jointly emphasizes the knowledge, study and preparation of tonic musculature and especially of the phasic muscles within the martial body movement, once more the domain of the body weight and the flexibility are the key to the art of science in the Biomechanics and ergonomics of the movement in the classical martial currents. The physical, mental, and emotional unit, the union between form and attitude, are the key elements for an adept in the art of “taijutsu”. The flexibility is vital in this quest for spiritual unity (underline at this point of flexibility and encounter with the unity of body, mind and heart, the “Gokui” (極意) or fundamental principle of transmission of the phrase “Cultivate the heart of flowers and the spirit of bamboo” “kajō chikusei” (花情竹性) or “Kajō-waraku” (花情和楽)) (Note 2).

Considerations on the mind and the heart

However the masters had perfected his study of the art up to the paroxysm, and did not contemplate only the physical body domain, they declared that the art of the body movement implied an interaction of body, mind and heart with the art and his current or “ryu” (流), they were searching the meeting with a state of total adaptation and with any reality that could mean a State of danger to the survival of his being (Note 3).

Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰 锻 錬) in the art of “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi” (武芸鎧組打), also involves the study of the strengthening of the interior of the practitioner (the human psyche), considering that carry an armor brings to tolerate situations as much as internal and external situations that requiring a spirit of perseverance in accordance with the depth of the practice in the art.

The Sun, heat, cold and wind, learn to as much as physically and psychologically unseen behind the armor by the enemy, without losing energy physical or psychological , learn to rest and feed with the armor, learn to carry various weapons without performing a power cost extra, etc.

This is assimilated and experienced within the statements and instructions of the “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi” (武芸鎧組打), with and without wearing armor, without creating separations, the matrix of the strategies of movement and the essence of the body attitude transmitted are identical, and these concepts are still transmitting in the same way by the masters of the koryû today through the concept of “Kako genzai Mirai no jutsu” (过去现在未来之術). (“Kako” means the past. “Genzai” means the present and “mirai” refers to the future. The meaning as a whole expresses that art created by the founding masters and refined for the next generations, contains the information to adapt and confront any situation, time or moment, contains everything that the disciples need to live, practice, and transmit to the next generation the current and the essential source of the art, “ryû” (流)).

Kato Kiyomasa
Kato Kiyomasa – note the positioning of the feet, hips, and shoulders, as well as the spears to the center line of the body.

The study of the human psyche is linked to the evolution of the movement of the body in a koryû, therefore the martial arts and the transmission is also based on the relationship that is established between two human beings, the master and the disciple. How to reach to a deep into an art but is through of the opening of the doors of the heart in a communication from soul to soul (I shin den shin; 一心伝心) between master and disciple?

However, is important to develop a specific and deep look to be able to probe the movement of a Sôke (宗家) or a practitioner with “menkyo kaiden” (免許皆伝) or somebody has attained the mastery and is called “Heiho-sha” (兵法家).
Indeed, the movement in his maximum expression is what the masters call as “mukei no kurai” (無形之位) or formless form, thus formless hidden the movement and the form of the art until the last moment where the technique is performed by the expert in the current or ryû (流), leaving no trace or sign of anything that could be probed, copied or assimilated. (Note 4).

Anything, everything to fulfill the purpose of reach to have a good technique, day and night” Hatsumi soke in his book Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai.

There is an important concept called “Nichiya-tanren-kofu” (日夜鍛煉工夫) mentioned by the classical masters of the Koryû that can help us to deepen in the understanding of “the form without form“. This term refers to the ability and the talent to deepen in the form received by the master and the power of art, in the current or “ryû” (流).

Nichiya (日夜) refers TO THE DAY AND NIGHT, if the practitioner delves into every breath, thought, word and action during the day and the night cultivating the image received by the master and the power of art, the result will be a profound practice that will allow the practitioner to explore in depth the dimension of the use of methods that govern the states of the body and the weapons, reaching the mastery in the art.

The Japanese art studies the movement until the paroxysm, and places emphasis on the control in the form of walking, dressing, sit down, take a brush, etc. Nothing stays at random in the search of the meeting with an art, and in the case of a martial art where his roots lie in the coexistence with the life and the death, the thoroughness in the evolution is of a spiritual depth.

“I have discovered that the way of the samurai is death. During a crisis, when there are so many possibilities of life as of death, we should choose the death. There is thus nothing difficult; just arm yourself with courage and act. Some say that to die without having finished his mission is to die in vain.”

In this very direct way begins the famous Japanese literary work of the Hagakure “葉隠” written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659-1719).

Tengu Geijutsu Ron Maki Ni (1729) Chozan Niwa (illustration 02)
Tengu Geijutsu Ron Maki Ni (1729) Chozan Niwa. Again, note the body positioning.

This leads us to think that every thought, emotion and action make sense in the life and the way of practice of which aims to achieve the mastery in the art of the”koryû”, control of the bodily presence is brought to the space of an inquiry “quasi” spiritual, is the study of life and death through the experience on the way of practice and inquiry with the body ,the mind and the heart of the current and the source of a “ryû”, during the day and during the night.

The ultimate sense of all the sciences of combat, martials and of strategy is progress and adapt to any environment, atmosphere and reality, the ability of a “ryû” is the art of adapting from the past, to the present moment, to the here and now and to project in the future, in a way incomprehensible and invisible (“mienai” – “見えない”-invisible) (“wakaranai” “- 分からない” – incomprehensible) through which the classic martial masters called “kami waza” (神技) or divine techniques.

I think that this last paragraph will lead the reader to reflect on the great depth that involves the study of a classical martial art, is analogous to the search with the spiritual encounter through the religion of a human being with the Holy Spirit (seirei; 聖霊). (“When the man believes in something, when something is it the unquestionable reality, is it religious.”Religio” does not come, as they say, from “religare”, be tied man to God. As so often, is the adjective who keeps us the original meaning of the noun, and “religiosus” meant ‘scrupulous’; “therefore, he does not behave lightly, but carefully” in every act and action of his life “paragraph adapt for the article, the real text is of the author “Ortega y Gasset in essay of the Roman Empire”).

Returning to the “formless form” and to put more light on a concept that is so diffuse, I think that these words of Sun Tzu in his treatise on the “art of war” will help of support and reflection to go deeper on the state “cuasi Mystic” which adopts an expert master or “meijin” (名人) in a “koryû”.

“Therefore, the acme of the formation of an army is to arrive to the formless. When you have no Form. The undercover espionage cannot discover anything; the information cannot create a strategy”.


Within the concept in the art of “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi” also enters the study of military combat strategy (“Heiho” or “Hyoho” (兵法) – note 5), since such a general could cause that another warrior carried his armor, creating confusion in the battlefield, or on the contrary the enemy could use oil and a torch to burn the warriors with armor. Art masters watched all sorts of strategies and possibilities in the art of combat, already be in combat one on one,or combat inside all that can become in a battlefield.

Thus joins the one with everything, in fact the basic form of “Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰锻錬) already includes this such of strategies because to connect with that physical, mental and heart condition, it is necessary a strategy and a thorough of the study of the human body and the human “psyche” (mind and heart), and therefore is necessary the study of the unity in the multiplicity and the multiplicity in the unity.

The Form and the current practiced and created by the master are a reflection of his spirit and his attitude of life, therefore if the heart of the disciple and his spiritual attitude are adequate, and practiced under the spirit of “Nichiya-tanren-kôfû” (日夜鍛煉工夫), the practicioner will see that the Form that he has received from his master already hidden inside the secret of the “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi” (武芸鎧組打).The art and the current of the “ryû” is based on the tracks and signals to let that the art continues to be transmitted from generation to generation through the Form transmitted by the masters.

We must never forget that the art is based on human relationships, and relationships are based on his essential roots in the love, a martial art does not exclude this principle of love. Love of an art, to a “ryû”, love for the master and his transmission, love for the nature and the life, For this reason the study, respect and understanding of the death that leads to respect and love for the life and the nature that gives us life. For this the master is one with the art, and from that unit with the art and the nature that gives life and energy will transmit to his disciple to the following generations, this is the “nagare” (流) or flowing current of “ryû” (流).

“Sôke signifies nothingness, zero, emptiness, void. Something that exists, and yet does not. The Sôke is just an ordinary person, and yet, somehow, he is someone who is living his life according to some invisible divine command.” – Masaaki Hatsumi

General notes of the article:

Note of the Article: Inside the “Ashi Koshi Tanren” (足腰锻錬) also enter the deep study of the forms of sitting inside of the artistic currents of the koryû, in this article I explain “superficially” about this topic, however I wish and I hope that reading between the lines take you to a motivation (“motus” = movement) more deep in your way of the Form in the art. (Muto Dori)

Note 1 –

The concept of “metsuke” “目着” or “metsuki” “目付 I develop it in the following article:
Muto Dori part 2

Note 2 –

Inside of the method of survival and strategy in the field of battle with the armor is used a position of low hip called by the masters “Koshi otoshi” (落 腰), a body attitude of laterality known for example for the following terms as “Shûmoku” (撞木), “Hitoe” (偏身), “Ichimonji-goshi” (一文字 腰), “Hanmi” (半身) or “Ichimonji” (一文字).

Basically this body attitude seeks that the practitioner to stand in side way and in a position close to the ground, reaching a balance and taking advantage of the protection that gives the armor (Sodes (袖), Kotes (籠手), Haidates (佩楯), Kabuto (兜) for example), in this way the warrior wants to control his Center and the Centre of posture and movement of his opponent or opponents, this concept is known within the Koryû as Naka-zumi (中 墨), Shinmyo-ken (剣 神妙) or Seichu-sen (正 中线) and allows the practitioner to adapt and anticipate the danger within the field of battle. This body attitude requires knowledge and the adoption of a type of movement specific within the classical Koryû, I explain in a more extended form these principles in the following article:
Muto Dori Part 3

Note 3 –

About the interaction of body, mind and heart in the motion within the art and his current or “ryû” (流), I explained more comprehensively in the next article: “The art of copying the master image”.
The Art is to Copy the Image of the Master

Note 4 –

The founding masters at the pinnacle of the martial art used the body attitudes and positions of the body that do not broadcast nor offensive form, nor defensively form, the famous “formless form” that classical masters expressed through the concept of “mukei no kurai” (無形之位).

The master offered a position and an attitude of neutrality from a spirit of inner emptiness, that spirit permeated the movement of the body of the master, creating a form of movement where the enemy (teki; ) cannot plumb or collect any information, this what we see in terms of ““(空),”empty”, and”Kokû“(虚空) which we could interpret as “opening in the distance and the space”.

From this position and body attitude the master expected the attack of the enemy until the last moment, the master expresses his spirit in a movement of be without being, he is but is not, remains in a state of zanshin (残心) or attitude of maximum internal alert and minimal expression of form and external presence, before, during and after of the technique (Zanshin no Kamae; 残心の構). This is the expression of “mienai waza” (見えない動き) and “wakaranai waza” (分からない動き) or incomprehensible and invisible techniques and are part of what is called in the kobujutsu as “Hiden” (秘伝) or transmission secret and hidden.

It is important to add that from these positions of no form and of interior vacuum the founding masterss had developed the ability to create a sensory aura through of his perception and vacuum state, that carrying them to develop the technique of “sacchi suru” (察知), we could interpret it as predict or feel the danger, it is the technique of anticipate, read and hear the movement of the opponent or a dangerous situation.

Therefore in the last moment of the attack the master was effecting a movement where he hiding his body form and his inner attitude and performed a movement of attack and defense in unison, what is understood under the concept of “jiyujizai” (自由自在).

These arguments of not emission of movements and transfers of weight of the body , we can be found in different martial’s currents and in different traditional concepts used by the masters in the transmission , like for example : “Musoku no hô” (無足之法) which can be interpreted as “Method of displacement without legs”, “Musoku-nin” (无 足 人) which could be interpreted as “people who are not legs”, “Kagefumi” (影踏み) that could be interpreted as “a step in shadow”, “Mizudori no ashi” (水鳥足) that could be interpreted as “the bird’s feet in the water”, “Kieru Ugoki” (消える動き) that could be interpreted as “To extinguish the movement” or we can simply recognize this concept in the name of the current, because his culture and art of motion is based on this invisibility of motion , for example Kage-ryū (影流), Togakure-ryû (戸隠流) or Gikan-ryû (義鉴流) .

For give life and sense for all this terms, is vital the “Kuden” ( 口伝 ) or oral transmission, the “Taiden” ( 体伝 ) or transmission through the body movement and the “Shinden” (心 伝) or transmission through of the heart of the master or “Shishō” (師匠) of the art. I’m writing about terms and techniques that pertain to concepts within the most mysterious of the art and which therefore belong to the mysteries of the heart and the spirit of the latest technique or State, “gokui” (極意).
To close the note I will give five examples where we can make sense of paragraphs of the note posted above:

a) “Kage no kurai” (陰之位) or bodily attitude of the shadow, where the master moves from a State of “Fudô-shin” (不動心) or status of the immutable spirit with the ability to adapt to any situation of danger, inside of this adaptation there is the sense of the kanji in “koryû ” of flowing or “nagare” (流れ).

b) “Otonashi no Kamae” (音無しの構) or the body position of no sound, no sound in the mind or in the heart, and of course is a metaphor for not emit signals in the movement of the body from the no sound.

Here I think that it is important to stress something that the masters repeat during the practice: “when you practice in a closed room, a room where there is no internal noise, care in a very cautious way your movement in such a way that it does not produce sound by moving you“, this is a metaphor for the state of deepening of practice masters sought to instill in their disciples.

Who “is in is outside“, does not produce external sound is a way of cultivating the inner silence of the dual mind and ego, opening way to the internal movement, the movement of the heart.

c) “Munen Muso no Kamae” (無念無想の構) or “Mu Gamae” (無構) the position and body attitude without form, position and body attitude of the intention of not intention and not thinking.

d) “Kata Yaburi no Kamae” (型破の構) or the attitude and body position of breaking the form of the opponent through to break your own form, is a metaphor in which through ot the technique received, seeks to insert in the practitioner the paradigm of internal break of the bad ego (the ego well understood is a partnership for development) and the rigidity of the mind, giving way to the fluidity and adaptability of the heart and spirit in a free motion with multiple adjustability.

e) “Kasumi no kamae” (霞の構) or attitude and body position of the fog, once again we find that the classical masters use names that allude to metaphors, metaphors that the masters used want to evoke images in the mind and emotions (the term emotion comes from the Latin “emotio” which means “movement or impulse”, “what moves you”) to promote and impulse the disciple to delve below the conscious mind,working with the power of the subconscious mind.

In the following link I write about the influence of the subconscious mind in the transmission of classical martial arts:
The Form Follows the Function 2.0

Note 5 –

This unit in the technique will take the practitioner to a multiplicity in the strategy; this strategy can be understood in the “kobujutsu” as “Heihô” or “Hyôhô” (“兵法”).

“Heihô” is literally the method of the soldier (this methodology are the rules, practices and techniques of the soldier, the disciplines called “Bugei Juhappan” (武 芸 十八)), nevertheless the Kanjis of “heihô” “兵法” respond to deeper meanings, like the terms of strategy or tactics.

This strategy consists of the unit of being able of adapting to any type of situation of danger or physical, psychic or emotional imbalance (Eg. economic crisis). This involves the acquisition of a state of deep technical knowledge transmitted by the masters, a way of life where adaptability, flexibility and humility are essential.

Author’s Note:

“Considerations on the methods in classical martial arts that governing the body, the mind and the heart in the “Bugei Yoroi-kumiuchi “(武芸鎧組打)” exposed in the present article, are brief notes that I decide to publish and share on my facebook wall. They are separated parts that come from a much more developed, elaborated, vast and extensive text, the present article exposes of superficial form a topic of deep investigation, study and argumentation .But I hope and wish that these brief notes can serve to inspire you to practice the art of deeper form, night and day, at dawn and at dusk, with a spirit of optimistic hope and inner growth.

Everything written is written from the humility of a personal way, with a spirit of communication and expression with me. I consider myself as a HUMBLE practitioner, student and instructor of the art. I am conscious of my basic and immature movement, knowledge and vital experience. I am in the encounter of my answers to my own way across of the practice of a martial way. If what you read is useful to inspire or to extend your paradigms of practice or of life, I will feel very grateful, thank very much for your attention and company to read me.

To the mountain it is possible to rise from infinite ways, and from all of them it is possible to see the MOON.

Most sincerely
David Esteban Guzmán

Discipline of the Disciple

The art of being a DIS – CIPLE, is the art of learn the DIS – CIPLINE of being your own DIS – CIPLE . when the “Shishō” (師匠) or master observes (metsuke; 目着) a reflection of his current or ryû (流) in the DIS – CIPLE, the master begins to DIS – CIPLINE the DIS – CIPLE in the art of being a DIS – CIPLE of the master, of the art and of himself.The ART calls to the ART.

Note – “metsuke” (目着 or 目付). In my humble experience of practice I will define and interpret, for the ability to observe the physical and psychic conditions of the armed opponent from a look of anticipation. An ability to observe from a “formless form that allows you to see without being seen”, an observation that allows to collect information and destroy the opponent’s center, even before the opponent makes his first movement. (for example, the vital importance of controlling the center line in the transmission of the master in different concepts in the “ryû” like “Shinmyo-ken“ (神妙剣), “Naka-zumi” (中墨)“, “Seichû-sen”(正中線)).

The 14th sôke of Hontai Yōshin-ryū (本體楊心流), Ishiya Takeo, left two famous “kuden” (口伝) that connect with the term of “metsuke”:[dt_sc_pullquote type=”pullquote6″ icon=”yes” align=”left” cite=”Ishiya Takeo”]”1 eyes,

2 speed,

3 courage,

4 power”


“Soft on the surface, strong inside.”[/dt_sc_pullquote]

(the interpretation of the word speed, is very different from that gives in the sports circles, in the “kobujutsu” the speed is the elimination of everything unnecessary, whether physical or mental, ergonomics of movement and intention).

However the master may also apply their ability to observe, for detecting who may be ready to receive the transmission of the art.

David Esteban Guzmán

Eliminate all signal of physical movements, and mental intention

It is transcendental assimilation that in all the Forms and movements in the techniques of combat, one needs to eliminate all signal and reflection of physical movement, and of mental or emotional intention. The practitioner needs his movements to disappear and leave no physical trace, nor psychic trace to the senses or the intuition of the armed enemy.

Miyamoto Musashi vs. Tsukahara Bokuden 2
Miyamoto Musashi vs. Tsukahara Bokuden

Of these arguments of not emitting movements and transfers of weight of the body, we can find in different martial currents and in different traditional concepts used by the masters in the transmission of combat, for example, “Musoku no hô” (無足之法) which can be interpreted as “Method of displacement without legs”, “Musoku-nin” (無足人) which could be interpreted as “people who [move] without legs”, “Kagefumi” (影踏み) that could be interpreted as “a step in shadow”, “Mizudori no ashi” (水鳥足) that could be interpreted as “the bird’s feet in the water“, “Kieru Ugoki” (消える動き) that could be interpreted as “To extinguish the movement” or we can simply recognize this concept in the name of the current, because his culture and art of motion is based on this invisibility of motion, for example Kage-ryū (影流), Togakure-ryû (戸隠流) or Gikan-ryû (義監流) .

For giving life and sense for all this terms, what is vital is the “Kuden” (口伝) or oral transmission, the “Taiden” (体伝) or transmission through the body movement and the “Shinden” (心伝) or transmission through of the heart of the master or “Shishō” (師匠) of the art.

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