Shidoshi Michael Tucker and the Magic City Dojo hosted Shihan Phillip Legare (15th Dan) for a martial arts and self-defense seminar in Birmingham, Alabama on July 31 and August 1, 2010.
Saturday’s training focused on tachi (long sword) and taijutsu with the feeling of tachi and rokkon shojo, this year’s Bujinkan themes.
Rokkon shojo is a concept that requires long and deep study. But overall, it is about having a light heart and feeling. It can also be about purifying the six senses. And perhaps with training, we can purify enough to establish a connection with the divine and foster enlightenment.
We trained with using this light-hearted feeling and ability to smile in the face of danger to disrupt our opponent’s balance then take them to a place not so light-hearted.
Legare-sensei took the concepts explored with the sword and translated them into shinken taijutsu (modern combat body skills), primarily as self-defense techniques with a knife and against a knife.
Although the dojo has been open for over two years, this was the first chance we had to bring Legare-sensei to the Magic City Dojo. We finished up the day with a traditional dojo opening ceremony designed to drive out evil spirits and set the feeling for the dojo to be a place of growth, change, and positivity. We concluded the dojo opening ceremony with a cup of sake. Kampai!
The second day of training was on Shinken Taijutsu Level II: Knife fighting. Because shinken taijutsu focuses on using modern weapons, the tactical folding knife was used.
Topics covered were the characteristics of a good fighting knife: spine lock blades vs. liner locks, serrated edges vs. smooth edge, blade length, etc. We also looked at how to draw and open a folding knife.
We then practiced self-defense and knife fighting concepts and techniques against an opponent with a knife. We also practiced self-defense techniques using a collapsible baton against a knife wielding opponent.
The last section of training focused on examining and studying knife wounds. We wrapped a few large pieces of meat in various clothing material such as t-shirts, denim, and cotton canvas in order to practice real cutting with a knife. We also studied the effects of serrated blades versus smooth edge blades. After this section, everyone agreed that the best technique is to not get into a knife fight!
Sunday’s training finished up with Eric Young of the Tuscaloosa dojo passing a very rare Godan test (5th degree black belt) outside of Japan. Congratulations to Eric-san on a very good and long overdue test!!! Luciano Guerra of our branch dojo in Pensacola, Florida was promoted to Shodan (1st degree black belt) and given a Bujinkan Taka-Seigi Dojo challenge coin. Congratulations to Luciano-san!!! Well deserved! Nick Langham (2nd degree black belt) was also given a challenge coin. Better keep those coins with you guys!
If you missed the seminar, don’t worry. Plans are already being formed for Shihan Legare’s next martial arts seminar at the Magic City Dojo in Birmingham.
Photos by Shihan Michael Waschak.