Nebraska 2008 Seminar Review

Shihan Chris Carbanaro taught a great seminar at our dojo in Omaha this weekend. First, he went over the Tenchijin and the instruction he just received during his last trip to Japan. The training was intense and I think we all grew a great deal this weekend. We know that we will always learn and need improvement in our training, but there comes a point when we start to get comfortable with our taijutsu. Saturday eliminated any comfort we may have felt. There was probably a point in which we all felt like it was our first day in the Bujinkan. This is good because it challenges us and reminds us to never think that we have “it” down.


Shihan Carbanaro then went through various techniques and henkas throughout the seminar. He would present them using the different styles of the Japanese Shihan. Each may have his own style, but there were underlying themes that didn’t change. After demonstrating a technique, he often asked the uke to explain to the rest of us how it felt. No matter the technique, there seemed to be one thing in common – they felt lost. They would attack and sensei would be gone and then show up in another place. He told us that we had to stay one step ahead of our opponent at all times. This allowed him to manipulate the uke’s space any way he wished. He was there, he was gone, and then he showed up in your space, at a time and distance that was most advantageous to him. I would describe it as a mirage. You see him, you attack and just when you think you have him, he is gone. Then you find him again and you attack again to have the same thing happen. When he’s ready, he pummels you.


Just as we approach our target and we think we’ve reached it, it is gone and the path to get to it has changed. This is the same as our training path. When we think we’ve reached the level that we have it down – we don’t. That level moves and we must adjust to move towards it. The point I’m trying to make is that Shihan Carbanaro was a mirage that faded and reappeared, but we never could reach. I just realized that learning this art to a level that I’m comfortable is never going to happen. Does this mean I give up? No. I must adjust and keep chasing this mirage. The alternative is to stop chasing the mirage and stop growing, just as a wayward person in the desert may give up after missing his oasis several times. He can give up and die in the sand.


Mike Dixon, Shodan

Kuro Washi Dojo

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