Japan Review: Training In Japan
By Brian Tritico
Training in Japan is very different from training in the States, but in some ways it's the same. Each instructor focuses on what he finds to be important. Training with Hatsumi Sensei was probably the most difficult of all. He does techniques that you have no idea how he just did or what it was, and you usually get just a few minutes to practice it before he moves on to something else. There are no basics to it at all. It's all very advanced level training - obviously, he's left teaching basics behind long ago.
Each of the instructors in Japan has a lot to offer and give differing insights into things you only thought you understood until that point. All the training and even the traveling is still a bit of a blur to me... it's a good thing I took lots of notes! I took enough to keep me busy for a year or more at least.
When training in Japan you have to be careful in choosing a partner. Usually the people who are relatively new to the Bujinkan (a year or less experience) tend to be quite rough as training partners. I had a few experiences like this and learned to train with the people that are higher rank if I wanted to make class the next day. A quote from Mark O'Brien on this: "You should be training with the Japanese or some of the Judan dans. You aren't here to teach some new guy how to punch!"