Zanshin refers to a physical and mental state of heightened attention, particularly during and after combat situations. The Zanshinkai is the “abiding spirit” of three successful Sanshinkais that have taken place in Göttingen in the years 2013 – 2015. A big thank you to the many people and Bujinkan Dojos who have faithfully stood by and supported the Sanshinkai for three years!

The Sanshinkai was a large gathering (大会) in which we, three hearts (三 心), brought Japan content to Germany uncensored and we gave our best to convey more than technique. The contents and the weather in all three years were very different. Not because we have planned it this way, but because we were led by nature.

The end of March 2013 was marked by snow (雪). Duncan, Doug and I dyed our hair bleach blond. As Hatsumi Sensei announced the Ken / Tsurugi (剣) was the weapon of choice, that accompanied the year 2013 and which, therefore, was intensely used during the Sanshinkai. The Shindenfudo Ryu formed the basis of our Taijutsu and the term Kamiwaza also came up in 2013 for the first time.

The Sanshinkai at the end of March 2014 was marked by Spring (春). Sveneric, Doug and I taught with red cowboy hats, while the sun was shining and the cherry blossom was in full splendor. Shin Gin Budo (神韻 武 導) and thus more Kamiwaza was at the forefront of the substantive action. In order not to pull the rug out from under the participants feet, movements from the Togakure Ryu and techniques with Ninja Biken formed the basis on that weekend.

The time around and especially after the Sanshinkai at the end of March 2015 was quite stormy (嵐). Paul, Doug and I wore black hats with devil’s horns. The sky was often dark and it stormed so much that trees fell down and cars were thrown upside down next to the roads. The contents of the seminar were affected by profound concepts such as Sanshin Muto (三 心 無 刀) and Gokou Goshin (悟 光 護 心). By now Kamiwaza was part of our usual seminar atmosphere. The reference to the basis were movements from the Koto Ryu and the handling of the Nagamaki.

How can we learn to recognise the essence of our art, ie. the 9 traditions, which Hatsumi Sensei called Bujinkan in honor of Takamatsu Sensei? A martial art that has a name with direct reference to the war gods (Bujin) and that is based on movements which are difficult to detect with the human eye (Kamiwaza), can only be understood if true hearts (Shin) walk the path perseveringly (Nin).

3 x 3 people have gathered on the last weekends in March to run the Sanshinkai 2013 – 2015. A weekend where I could celebrate my birthday with friends/buyu on Friday (2013), then Saturday (2014) and finally Sunday (2015).

At the first Zanshinkai 2016 (2+0+1+6=9), 9 teachers (3 x 3) who walk Hatsumi Sensei’s path and embody the Bujinkan went out of their way with their great knowledge of just about 30 years each, together 270 years (2+7+0=9) Bujinkan experience, to inspire the participants (Sveneric Bogsäter, Paul Masse, Oliver Piskurek, Juan Manuel Serrano, Lauri Jokinen, Nikolaos Stefanidis, Stephan Zimmer, Pino Durante, Ercan Sarbat). Hatsumi Sensei spoke of Kujin Kasumi and Muto Dori. Subjects that we included in the training and mixed with a portion of basic Kukishindenryu movements, so there was something for every taste.

The second Zanshinkai 2017 was marked by a great teaching team of 6 (Doug Wilson, Oliver Piskurek, Sheila Haddad, Arnaud Cousergue, Lauri Jokinen and Ralph Schwager). Bujinkan contents such as the Muto Dori and Kannin Dokuson were discussed by Hatsumi Sensei and addressed by the instructors in the Taijutsu with and without weapons. The teamwork was great and the atmosphere was challenging, but was brought back to the ground with a base of Takagiyoshin Ryu and other content for all participants.

For the third Zanshinkai 2018, we again had a first-class team of 6 teachers that gathered in Göttingen (Sveneric Bogsäter, Doug Wilson, Oliver Piskurek, Luboš Pokorný, Kostas Kanakis, Christian Petroccello), supported by a special guests from abroad (Sheila Haddad), to teach Bujinkan material in line with content in Japan, such as Muto Dori and Mon Jyu Ji Shin.

Our new concept in the year 2019 will combine our knowledge from the three Sanshinkai years and the three Zanshinkai years. Thus, we’ll have our first new SZanshinkai this year. Three main teachers – as usual strongly connected to the direct Bujinkan influence from Hatsumi Sensei – who will present their understanding of this years transmission: Oliver Piskurek, Lauri Jokinen, and Doug Wilson. While this OLD-team is the heart of the event, we look forward to seeing some of our Zanshinkai friends – who are Judan and above – to present their skills on the tatami as well. Muto Dori is still the focus of Hatsumi Sensei with special reference to the nature of Marishiten known as the god/goddess of the warrior class.

We are looking forward to seeing you at this great meeting!

鷲 龍