Welcome 2018!

Posted: January 1, 2018 in New Years Letter and Theme
Tags: ,


How was your 2017? Looking around on social media it seems like it was a worse year than usual for folks. I get it…If you were to listen to your chosen news source you would think the sky is falling. Mass shootings, morally corrupt men from movie producers to presidents, environmental catastrophe and  perhaps worst of all, the stress of not knowing what is reality and what is “fake news”.

How is a warrior to combat the negativity of our modern situation? Ellie and I came across a video about Tony Robbins, who many of you may know as sort of a self-help guru. (The title of the video was “I am not your guru”) Anyway, the biggest take-away for me was how messed up people are from their past experiences, particularly their childhood experiences. In the video Mr. Robbins took clients through a series of questions until the person could see that they can’t get rid of the experience, but that they could choose to look at it in a different way, particularly they could see it as a struggle to build strength and purpose from, instead of being resentful about it. Resentment holds us down and it keeps us in that immature state of mind of when the “bad” stuff happened. Facing that stuff head-on and with bravery, we see how we can use it to build our personal strength into who we want to be NOW. Here’s a quote:


Practicing the martial arts helps us develop bravery and the ability to face our opponents. I think it is one of the most valuable parts of Budo practice.

On a related note, the training “theme” of the Bujinkan Dojo was Muto Dori, literally translated as “catching a sword with the empty hands”.

Furi kazasu tachi no shita koso jigoku nare
Ichi to ashi susume saki wa gokuraku

Hell under the upraised sword
one step forward is paradise.

It has been said that the Budo Arts are as thin as a sheet of paper. On one side is life, and on the other is death. There are sayings like ; “Escaped by the hair on my teeth.”

Facing our fears, facing our “opponent” without turning away and ignoring, being completely open and without ego, we can escape the sword. It is interesting that most of our sword wielding opponents in life are us!

Anyway, enough philosophy about it. If you came to class and practiced, you are getting it, little by little.


What else happened in our class? Nile helped me teach a small group of Northland College students some self-defense for women, we continued to train with the Junior Ninjas, (6-10 year olds) Shinobi Warriors, (11-15 year olds) and adults, welcoming a few new folks into the mix. Also, congratulations to our new Shodan!


I got to Japan again last spring. Every time I go it seems a bit more like home. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it. After all Hatsumi Sensei is 86 this year and it is the 50th anniversary of his training in this art.


This is one of favorite photos from that trip. Seno Sensei was teaching some fun stuff in class, and was in a good mood in general.

I stayed with Paul Masse. He painted this for me:


I think it was a motivation to practice what you love before it’s too late!

So what’s up 2018? First, I recommend that you read my teacher Jack Hobans 2018 new years message.  He continues to inspire me with his take on this art, and how he applies it in his daily life.

For our group we’ll “Gambatte!” (Keep Going) with muto dori feeling during practice, and more sparring to better learn distance and develop “Juppo Sessho” (understanding all the possible relationships that can happen in a given exchange.)

I’m looking forward to this year, with all the “good” and “bad”.




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