Ninpo Tatoo

Ninpo Tattoos

Brent Earlewine (1 Posts)

9th Dan, MBA. Brent has been training in the Bujinkan since 1996. He is the owner of the Pittsburgh Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo


Article by Shidoshi Brent Earlewine of the Pittsburgh Bujinkan Dojo:
Over the years, we have had a LOT of fun during our training here at the Pittsburgh Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo. Our motto has been “Living the Budo Arts with Open Minds and Open Hearts”.  One of the meanings of this for us is that we always train hard, live and for real, but with laughter, smiles and a light heart.
Ninpo Tatoo

Ninpo Tatoo

In training, sometimes you get hit. Hard. And that is as it should be. We don’t wear padding when we train, we don’t miss on purpose like you see in the sport arts, and at the end of the day, the only way to really know if a technique works is to hit and get hit.
In each class, there is usually one really good example of a hard hit or smack or takedown or whatever. People go home with bruises. Sometimes that bruise is on the inside. 😉
I tell my students a simple truth. There is a psychological barrier that everybody has to go through about hitting and getting hit. New students are timid. They don’t want to really hit someone. They certainly do not want to get hit. This fundamental issue changes how your body moves and reacts and it dictates how your brain and your “soul” works in a fight. The natural tendency when someone comes at you is to flinch, to back up, cover yourself, or to get away from whatever is causing you harm or threatening you. It is how we are built as human beings for the most part. Training is and should be a place where we can safely get through that barrier. The Dojo is a home where we work through our fears in a supporting environment. We take care of each other. We train for real, and we help each other up off the floor with a grin and a “are you ok?”
In the Taka Seigi Family of Dojo’s, we have a tendency to laugh and smile big whenever we hear a resounding smack or thump. We know that someone just learned a very important lesson (giving or receiving). Sound harsh? Maybe, but I like to think we are laughing with each other as a real lesson and a core point is driven home in one of the few ways a human can REALLY understand it. When your body reacts to a hit and you get that flash of pain and adrenaline and you grunt in reaction, then you KNOW what it is like.
It is funny. Once the initial shock and pain fades after a few minutes, it dawns on the student that “hey! I’m pretty much ok!” Bruises fade. Pain recedes. The lesson sticks.
I don’t think it is realistic to think that you will ever survive a fight or altercation without getting hit in the process. Probably hit a lot. The experience may even include some real and permanent damage. Do you train to levels where you KNOW deep down that you can take a hit and keep going? Or at the first sign of a smack, do you curl up and give up? To me that is really the true lesson in training hard and doing it in an environment where a few bumps and bruises along the way make it alive. Because if you have been smacked a few times in class and realize that you are still OK, god forbid if you ever have to truly defend yourself in real life, but then you know you can keep on coming. You will survive; you will live to fight another day.
This is physical. This is a mindset. This is spiritual. This is attitude. Don’t give up. Fight through it. Persevere. Never surrender. Another way to look at the Japanese word Gambatte, is to “keep going” no matter what. Ever hear that before in the Bujinkan?
Oh and if you happen to get a bruise, take a photo. The rest of us want to see it. 😉
Shidoshi Brent Earlewine
Pittsburgh Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo

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Commentary by Phillip Legare:
Great article by Shihan Brent Earlewine !! Well said on how we can train to re-learn turning on the survival switch when the need arise. You can’t do that without contact or by training in front of a mirror. That training is for accomplishing other things in martial arts, not for surviving an extremis situation.
We live in a relatively safe environment; dinosaurs aren’t looking at us as dinner, we aren’t fighting the elements tooth and nail just to survive, and we aren’t in combat every time we go to the grocery store. The relatively safe world we live in has dampened our ability to turn on the survival switch. When that switch doesn’t automatically turn on in a crisis, we flinch, collapse, our mind shuts down and we panic. You have heard of the fight or flight syndrome when confronted with an extreme situation. Flight doesn’t mean you run away to fight another day. Flight means you curl up, go fetal and your mind and spirit flees the situation, you basically give up to a degree. Like playing dead hoping the brown bear doesn’t eat you (by the way, this tactic doesn’t work on the black bear). To un-learn the fear/flinch reaction and re-learn turning on the survival state, we have to train a LOT on hitting and in being hit. It’s really the only way. Train as close to real as possible, but do it with a light heart and a smile. Know that you are doing it in a safe environment and it is for your own personal growth. Know that you do it in order to protect yourself and others should the need arise. Your school does it right Brent. Your dojo philosophy is ShinkenTaijutsu all the time, but with a smile. I like that !! You are all in.
Our Taka Seigi colors are black and blue and red all over !!
Phillip Legare
“In Omnia – We are all in”
About The Author

Brent Earlewine

9th Dan, MBA. Brent has been training in the Bujinkan since 1996. He is the owner of the Pittsburgh Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo

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