Tanuki Dojo December 29, 2009 BonnenKeikoKai (忘年稽古会)

                        (Kagami Mochi)

I find it very interesting that in Japan, they have what is called a Bonnenkai. Bonnenkai is written with the Kanji 忘 wasureru (To Forget)  and 年 toshi (Year).  So litterally, Bonnenkai means a gathering to forget the year. I find this to be linked with the teachings of the Bujinkan. Soke is always telling us to forget the technique, forget power, forget strength, the feeling is what is most important. I feel that often times, people hold grudges and continue to feel pain from events that have taken place in their lives. I think the end of the year is a great way to forget those things that have happened in the past, and look to the bright future of tommorrow. Many people tend to look at this as a metaphor. People do the same with their training. However, what we should be doing is incorporating the teachings of budo into our everyday life.

Every class we begin and end with the words “Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyou” this too is about a new beginning. When we come to the dojo, we need to be focused. If we lose focus, serious injuries can occur. Therefore, we have to clear our minds, and get ready to train. This is why it is important to get to class early, warm up and be ready to go once the teacher says “Line Out.” We must have a sense of urgency and awarness when we are in the dojo. Too many people either talk to much or are always looking around. However, everyone should be focused and ready to train. After all, we are learning warfare are we not? If we can focus in the dojo, we can focus at our jobs, we can focus when we drive, we can focus when we cook. Focus is a very important aspect of our everyday lives. Without proper focus and concentration, lives can be lost.

We conducted training last night by having the shidoshi show a technique. We would then run through some henka, but never get caught up with the technique. This is the same as forgetting the technique, forget the grudge, forget the pain, just keep going. Although it is important to have good technique, being an expert martial artist or marksmen can not save you in the face of terror. This is why it is so important for us to train. Training is something that all humans should do. Not only martial arts training, but all types of training such as sports, drawing, meterology, etc. We can always better ourselves through good, hard, training. Soke mentioned the importance of the Juppo Sessho Kuji. He has asked that all the Judan practice this. It is important, because the idea of the Juppo Sessho Kuji is to make yourself zero. Soke explained that no matter how good of a martial artist you are, you can not fight your way out of a building that gets blown up. The only thing you can do is to not be in the building when a bomb goes off. This is just one of the many teachings of budo. In the movie Avatar, after Jake loses his gun, he gets a stick and makes a spear. Soke often talks about this as well. This is why we train with traditional weapons. In the event that technology is lost, we must be able to survive. We all rely on technology, but we see how easy it is to jam cell phones, hack computers, and overide software. The idea of budo training is to become one with your natural self.

In the middle of class, we take a tea break. This is done in Japan as well. It is important not to get caught up with fighting, because too much fighting and even too much training can make you ill. Nagato sensei often says that it is not good to train too much. That is why it is important to show up to class when class is held. That is the time that is set for training. Training at class will help to keep balance in your life. Of course you should do training on your own to get better, but you should not become obsessed with training. Next year is the theme of  Tachi (Sword). There is a saying, that it is important for you to control your sword and not to let your sword control you. The reason for this, is because when you use your sword to often (killing with it), you can become diseased and lust for the thought and chance to use your sword again. This is why it is important not to use martial arts or your sword unless you have not choice. Many people become addicted to killing once they kill someone or something. Therefore if you have to kill someone, it is important to pray for them. This will keep  you sain.  Therefore, it is important to take a break from training, calm the excitment and enjoy some tea. Tea break is also a good way to get to know the people in your dojo. I used to never take breaks when training. Sometimes we would train 4 or 5 hours straight. However, after this year 2009, I feel that importance of making connections and good relationships with people. Again this is the goal or point of our budo training!

(From the Tanuki Dojo Students Happy New Year!)

Thank you to everyone who is, has been, and will be a part of the bujinkan training, and especially the Tanuki Dojo. I feel that the true meaning of Nawa no Kanaku was expressed over the year of the Ox 2009. Now it is time to all this feeling, and these realtionship to be carried by the Martial Wind (武風一貫). It is now time to start the year of the Tiger 2010. We are looking foward to seeing all the Tanuki Dojo members as well as the Maten Dojo members, and any other Bujinkan member or dojo in the area gathering for the Shinnen Keiko-Kai 2010 on January 9th at the Tanuki Dojo. For more information and to sign up for this event, please follow this link http://bjkninja.com/shinnenkeikokai.html.


This year was great, let’s have another great year next year!


Chris Carbonaro

Bujinkan Shihan


~ by tanuki123 on December 30, 2009.

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