Fuusui - Wind & Water

By Pete Reynolds

We've gotten off to a whirlwind pace here in 2001! Hatsumi Sensei thus far has been primarily focusing on Gyokko Ryu and Daisho(long and short sword). That's been the physical foundation on which he has been building the feeling and understanding of Fuusui, written with the kanji for air and water. Fuusui like Gyokko Ryu has its origins strongly entrenched in China.

Fuusui is more commonly known in the west as Fueng Shui. Most westerners have a limited idea of Fueng Shui, specifically as it pertains to properly placing furniture and using appropriate colors to have a harmonious flow of energy through your home or office, and the average Japanese is likely to think it's fortune telling. These misconceptions give but a limited insight into the full meaning of Fuusui.

Fuusui is the understanding and awareness of the natural flow of energy and the forces of nature, both on a tangible and intangible level. Hatsumi Sensei has given a number of examples to help us gain insight into it. One example given was the cycle of precipitation. Water falls from the clouds in the form of rain or snow and eventually finds its way back to the sea. Water falls from the sky and flows downhill due to the force of gravity. Once in the sea, water rises in the form of vapor overcoming gravity via evaporation. As it rises, it forms clouds that are then driven by the wind back over land where the process starts all over again. This cycle involves Fuu (wind), Sui (water) and the natural forces and energies of gravity and heat.

That is all fine and well but how does it relate to my budo training you may ask. This is where some of Hatsumi Sensei's other examples help us gain a measure of understanding. It's all about being aware of and using these natural forces at the appropriate times. His first example was using Juuryoku or gravity. He referenced Sir Isaac Newton and the apple falling on Newton's head and demonstrated how to use the weight of your body or the weight your weapon in a natural and advantageous way.

Hatsumi Sensei has also been saying that we really shouldn't try to avoid the attack, we should move like Kaze or a cool breeze. To shed more light on this concept he referenced what the Japanese call Jiryoku. Jiryoku, notice the difference in spelling from Juuryoku (gravity), is an attracting or repelling magnetic force. Here we should look at the way two magnets clang together when the north and south are brought near each other. This is a clashing that we should generally avoid. Instead, visualize passing two north ends or two south ends of a bar magnet past each other. Almost magically, they glide by each other, each one subtly repelling the other. We've all experienced this, haven't we, if not go out and try it immediately. This is the feeling we should have in our movement!

This is only meant to be a brief introduction to Fuusui and hopefully it has shed a little light on the subject. It certainly isn't an easy concept to fully grasp, but as Soke divulges more, be assured additional articles will follow. So until then in the words of Hatsumi Sensei, "Gambatte kudasai" which means work hard please and keep going!