Training at Hombu 27 Aug 2017


I was able to make it to Sunday training at hombu today. Nagato Sensei taught the early class and I was able to train and film him teaching for our TakaSeigi website members. Nagato Sensei’s class was very lively and he focused mostly on defenses against two punches. The last few years Nagato Sensei has been moving around his Uke, going from right punch to left, spinning or turning inside or out and then moving behind the opponent. He strikes his Uke with a Shuto, Boshi Ken, punch or kick with each movement. One of the techniques started with Nagato Sensei moving off line from the first punch and then stepping in with both hands up like praying and you thrust your hands like a spear towards the Uke’s face and then spread your hands out to unbalance your Uke. The training was enjoyable and very light, except when striking of course. Nagato Sensei also used a hanbo against two punches. He emphasized moving naturally. He called is movement with the Hanbo his Kihon. Basic movement that he created technique from. Everyone should be able to move this way.

Soke’s class was also a lot of fun. Usually when I attend Soke’s class I go home wondering what it was I saw. He is teaching at such a high level these days its very hard to fully grasp what he is doing. Today he emphasized “Shiten”, meaning a contact or pivot point. He also said control. From Shiten you control your opponent. Moving from Shiten to Shiten you control your opponent in such a way they do not know they are being controlled. He used very, very light touch on his Uke. So light in fact that the Uke did not realize Soke was already controlling him. This was a Shiten (control point). Soke would then shift his hand or arm very slightly to another Shiten while moving. He did this many times and in many different directions, always with the same results, the Uke would lose their balance and fall over.

We also did a number of Muto Dori techniques against Daisho (two swords), against a downward sword cut and against a sword thrust. Soke said it would be same against a Yari (spear) thrust. Today’s training focused on getting proper Shiten and being in complete control of the Uke.

During class I gave the Godan test successfully to two people, Dominic from Melbourne, Australia and Shawn from California. I stopped by Soke’s office later to do some paperwork. Okusan was there and we talked about the good old days. She was in a good mood and called me her favorite “fighting partner,” meaning we used to banter back and forth with each other back in the old days. Soke pulled out some old TaiKai and DKMYS photo albums and we looked at them for awhile. He pointed out a number of people who have passed on: Ed Martin, Bing Ford, Butch, Glenn Morris, Dick Severance, etc. At one point, I asked Soke about Women’s Self Defense. He keeps talking about it being the theme this year, but I have not seen any of it yet, so what is it? He looked at me funny and said, No Power. Doing something without the use of power. Then he demonstrated this on both Mark and me. It was similar to the light movements he was showing in class. Doing technique without power is Women’s Self Defense. Training is becoming very interesting here in Japan.

As always, send me a note if you have any questions. Cheers and best in budo and in life. Phil


Phil Legare

Dai-Shihan Legare is the recipient of 4 Bujinkan Gold Dragon Awards and the Bufu Ikkan lifetime award presented by Hatsumi Soke for martial arts excellence. He is the only recipient of the BuyuSho award from Hatsumi Soke recognizing his benevolent warrior spirit. Additionally, he is a combat veteran having spent more than 44 years of combined service in the USMC and the Department of Defense. Joanne Legare, Phil’s wife and a Dai-Shihan in the Bujinkan who often co-teaches at his seminars, is also the recipient of a Gold Dragon Award. Phil and Joanne lived in Japan off and on for many years. Phil is recently retired and they now reside in Hawaii.