Thread: kamae problem
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:43 AM   #96
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Re: kamae problem

Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
It may not. But, not being any sort of Japanese language expert, I went off to my trusty google to read about roppo in kabuki and got this: "Its [roppo's] literal meaning is 'six directions' and the term may have been derived from the purification ceremony of low ranking priests where they referred to heaven, earth, east, west, north and south", which seems to wrap the whole discussion up into one tight little ball.

So maybe I'm just be free-associating, but the internal training we're doing right now uses "6 directions" to talk about a specific way of balancing ki; and my sensei has been using this language when teaching sword work; and I'm finding that using the "6 directions" concept combined with practical teaching of sword are changing my hanmi in interesting and powerful ways.

To find that O-Sensei may have been teaching basic hanmi this way from the beginning is... interesting.
Yes, of course. Do not misunderstand me. There might well be a connection with the use of the term roppo in kabuki with internal training. However, for this I would be more interested in looking at how kabuki actors were trained and in seeing if there is any link with the training of Noh actors, who also used a very distinctive way of walking.

The Google link you cited about the purification of low ranking priests is from the blog of Michael Glenn, of the Bujinkan Dojo of Santa Monica, but he gives no source for his suggestion. A monolingual Japanese dictionary simply lists the six directions as a primary use of the term, without any reference to low ranking priests. The use in kabuki is further down the list, and is preceded by the reference to the swaggering gait of dandified Edo samurai. Glenn also quotes the AJ interview with Seigo Okamoto, who also discusses the uses of roppo, including his explanation of roppo wo fumu in kabuki. Okamoto Sensei's explanation is somewhat different from that given by Saito Sensei in the Budo volume and this suggests to me a difference in Okamoto's understanding of the term and Saito's.

There is also something very curious about Saito Sensei's explanation of hanmi on p.34. He states that the Founder did not use the term hanmi when the Japanese Budo volume was written, but the term appears in the Japanese text I quoted earlier.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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