This year makes 5 years I’ve been training in Budo Taijutsu. I’m currently a 6th kyu. I don’t know shit, and if I thought I did, I really don’t know shit.

I’m at a crux in my training.

I’ve had two badass, amazing senseis that have instilled some really scary shit into me. When Soke said that this is a “killing art,” he was serious. I’m always impressed with the ability of my teachers to use the minimal amount of force to achieve an incredible amount of power.

Distance. Angle. Timing.

Here is/are my problem(s):

Lately, it has been just me and one teacher training. We’re each others only uke and tori.

I freeze up a lot when I train with him. He’s an intimidating 6’7 and he knows how to play pressure points like a piano. Plus, I’ve hurt him more times than I can count by accident, because of my tendency to bash and be extra “fighty” for no reason, other than that I am an ogre.

I have to cultivate the warrior’s spirit. My problem is within my heart. It is fear that is holding me back right now. Sensei says, “we do not live in the shadow of fear.” I’ve got to break free of it. I cannot be intimidated by the size of my sensei. I need to lower my stance to take his balance and flow. I think too much about the technique instead of flowing through it. This has been going on for weeks. I wasn’t freezing up as much when my other teacher was there. He’s smaller and more nimble. I can beat up on him a bit more. But I’m just making excuses at this point and need to shut the fuck up and train.

There’s no participation trophies to be gained. Anything I leave with and retain in my heart and have use of when in need of it is the only thing that matters. A belt color won’t save your life. To be honest, I have to start being harder on myself during class. But that begins with not overanalyzing every waza in my thoughts instead of flowing through it.


Reflection on Training

Three years ago, I began training in Budo Taijutsu and in those three years, I’ve noticed some changes in life.

1) How I move around is completely different. I walk differently, more fluidly and feel more loose.

2) In addition to how I walk, my sensitivity to my environment has changed dramatically. I used to lumber around like a bull in a china shop bumping into everything (I’m a big guy). Now if let’s say I get out of bed at night to use the restroom and my phone is on the ground beside my bed, I will step on it, but before I put my weight down, I will skip step and continue without giving it much thought. Before I started training I would have crushed the damn thing.

3) I catch things I drop all the time without thought. I used to drop everything.

4) I recognize the subtlety of body manipulation of opponents. I mess with my wife all the time, because she is who I am with more than any other person. I’ll shift her balance very slightly than catch her before she falls. It drives her nuts, it amuses me endlessly.

5) When I think I am doing a technique right intentionally, I often am way off. When I shut off my mind and flow without attempting anything, it comes to me naturally. This is the essence of mushin no shin (no mindness)

6) I am not a badass and am constantly reminded of this standing in the shadow of my teachers. One is a former SEAL, who could survive Bear Grylls style in the woods without the hotel getaway; who is an encyclopedia of information and a genius on the lowkey. The other is a doomsday prepped, tile layer who is brilliantly artistic. People from all walks of life come to this art. The one thing we all have in common is that we are eccentric is one way or another.

7) I have a lifetime of learning ahead and havent even scratched the surface of my martial or spiritual development.

8) I am going to get hurt.

9) I observe and deal with people differently. I attain information on others when I need to without coming across as prying. People will tell you a lot about themselves if you listen more than you speak and gear the conversation toward being about them and not you.

More posts soon to be left in the void of that part of the internet no one goes…

Clairaudience and My First Experience With Occult Power

My first moment of clairaudience was frightening. I was just barely 18 years old and a childhood friend of mine passed away. This particular experience I’m about to describe happened after his passing and took place over four separate incidents within a week and a half of each other.

The first event was just a few days after he died. I was laying in bed sound asleep when I was suddenly awoken eyes locked to the ceiling. My whole body began to “vibrate” in great tremors. I suddenly heard what sounded like if you cloned a thousand copies of one person and put them on speakerphone while the call was breaking up and they were all trying to shout over one another.

It was truly odd and I was shaken up about it after the paralyzed feeling broke away, but accepted the experience and went back to sleep. This was no ordinary sleep paralysis, I knew something deeper was at work. It was.

The second experience occurred in the same fashion as the beginning of the first experience. Except this time it was one voice that spoke and it wasn’t broken up. It was the voice of my departed friend and his words to me were threatening violence and came through clearly. I believe the reason for this was some issues I was having with a family member of his. They were not good thoughts I was having toward this person and I dont blame my friend for being angry with me. When I snapped out of it, I was frightened. I had never experienced anything like this before. I had many doubts in those days about life after death and what it entailed. I ran out of my house in my boxers in terror. I woke my parents. They thought I was crazy. It was a sight to behold.

The way I heard his voice was as if it was a thought in my head that was much louder than my own inner voice in “volume”

A few nights pass. It begins again. I wake up, glued to my bed, vibrating sensation felt throughout my body. Something different happens though. I hear a different voice, also not my own. A sweet voice, in high volume speaks the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father, thou art in heaven..” I didn’t know the prayer verbatim, but I had heard it before. I said it start to finish and the feeling of being pinned, unable to scream lifted. The room felt lighter. Like a whole weight was lifted off the walls. It was truly magickal. I smiled and went back to sleep in peace. A fourth occasion occurred, but I merely “shrugged” off the pinned sensation before it could happen further.

Nothing that extreme has happened since. I still hear things occasionally, but it is faint and easily dismissed as mind tricks. I was later on exposed to the writings of Dion Fortune. I found the book Psychic Self Defense in the garbage at a friends house. I used the techniques therein to safe guard against that happening again. This was essentially my first foray into the occult. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

*If you do not know who Dion Fortune is, she was one of the most prolific writers of occult knowledge in the early 20th century. She founded the Society of Inner Light and published many great books that are still sold today.

Thoughts on Recent Training

I am a novice. I am just beginning to understand the looseness required to effectively perform taijutsu. As a newcomer to this martial art, I have maintained an open mind. It is something I’ve wanted to do since childhood, so I am eager to learn while humbling myself along the way. It feels really cool to see progression and use power you didn’t know you had, but there is no merit in letting that power go to your head. The Kanji for ninjutsu is two characters; the blade and the heart. It is poetic in a way that it means the heart under the sword. Like many things in the Japanese language, it has a deeper esoteric meaning. I’m still trying to figure it out.

One thing I do know however is that it is imperative to develop what soke (grandmaster) calls a benevolent heart. To understand the true nature of ninpo, one must purify the heart and have a regard for life that is said to be deeper than mere love. My teacher has talked about ancient warriors who would go into combat laughing hysterically. They had a great sense of humor and a light, benevolent heart. As they cut down their foe, they did it not in disregard for life, but respect for it to the point they tried to kill their enemies as quickly and painlessly as possible. Pain is used for coercion, and information. The wise shinobi would not always use brute force, more often than not they used subtlety.

In combat, the samurai would slice, the shinobi would smash. Every strike is meant to manipulate skeletal structure. A certain fluidity in movement develops over time under a competent instructor. The mechanical movements of the western world must be unlearned. Strength is not applied nearly as much as leverage and technique. This is a martial art for any body type, but not everyone.

Why I say that is not to sound arrogant. Many people lose interest when they began hearing the esoteric teachings of ninpo if they do not have an open mind and a belief (or desire to believe) in the subtle forces we cannot see. There are energies at work that cannot be measured, only felt. Magick was an integral part of the ancient shinobi’s arsenal. A lot of people dismiss such things as woo woo and move on.

My teacher began alluding to these principles early on and I got brave enough to ask him one day about whether or not he believed in magick. It turns out to my amazement, he does.

I practice western kabbalah based magick, so the fact that the shinobi cast spells intrigued me. I have since found ancient scrolls with the pentagram written on them. It got me wondering in great awe if there was a link between western magick and ninjutsu. I’m sure there is, but I’m not able to trace it.

But I digress. If you want to learn this art for self defense without getting all woo woo, you can. However, the deepest secrets of ninpo are spiritual. Many of these beliefs are published already. Many are not also. The beginning point is so elegantly simple, it may be overlooked. It is, in essence, the development of character.