Who is Nichiken Yamabushi?
I am a Shugyosha, more poetically named Yamabushi, which is to say, a wandering sword man who has studied with several Quebec, Japanese and Chinese masters, in many different styles of martial arts. I started manipulating two wooden sword, on in each hand at 7 years old. At that time, I had made myself two bokken (wooden katana) with two hockey sticks. I am now 51 years old.
My daily practices constitute of a rotation of the following activities : practice my Buddhism according to the precepts of Nichiren Daishonin, do zazen, Chi Gong, the 8 silks of Gong Fu, free Tai Chi, practice the manipulation of two sabres, of two bokken, and of Odachi, practice the art of the subliminal and ultimate vital points (Kyûshô jutsu), steel fist on punching bag, and the throwing of the tanto (knife), of the wakizashi, of the the katana, and of the Bo-Shuriken, and finally, the practice of the Tongwa baton (Tonfa PR-24).
For cardio and endurance, Kata Chi, walking, biking, swimming, scuba diving and snow-shoeing.
My practice of martial arts also includes sculpture, painting, visual arts as well as singing, slamming, rapping, music, writing of books and poetry.
Of course, even after all these years, it is not easy to discipline the body, the spirit, the heart and the soul. Listening to a video on the sofa remains a pleasant activity. Just as is pizza even if we know that sardines would be preferable for health and training. We ponder. Why discriminate? If there is no spirit to separate things, they will remain united.
Nichiken Yamabushi José Pouliot, May 13, 2009
Nichiken Yamabushi : the origins
I want to emphasize the important contributions of the following people
in my learning of martial arts in general.
Miyamoto Musashi Kensei, Shijo Kingo samurai, Saito Akira sensei, Nakajima Takashi sensei, Nishikata Akiko sama, Ohira Tad san, Otake Risuke Shihan, Sifu Denis Shink. And in spite of himself, Monsieur Sato, naturally.
My first master, the saint of samurais,
Miyamoto Musashi Kensei (1584-1645).
He is the founder of Niten-Ryu, two sabre combat style. Musashi followed the Way in a monastic manner. He was a refined artist. His design of martial arts remains an amazing actuality.
Reading his writings of limpid clarity, pragmatic and based on his experiences are a source of inexhaustible inspiration and learning. A must read: The book of five rings, by Miyamoto Musashi, in all available versions in order to seize the message in all its nuances.
See also this short video of Musashi's arts.
After 16 years of deadly duels
against the best swordsmen of the middle ages,
Miyamoto Musashi meets the one
who is considered the best swordsman in Japan:
Kojiro Sasaki. Musashi won fast and clear,
and spent the rest of his life doing arts and poetry,
heading for Mu, the light of emptiness.
This style is one of the oldest sword fighting styles which are still taught in Japan.
(Not to be confused with the Katori Shinto Ryû) Founded in 1447 by Iizana Ienao.
The current Master is Otake Risuke Shihan.
He accepted me as yamabushi, Which means, a wandering student,
in a private session in Japan, in 1997.
However, I am not a student of this school,
and I have no authority to teach the Style of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryû.
I am not searching for this authority either. I am a yamabushi, not a samurai.
My goal is to serve the Path and not a master.
Master Otake accepts my spiritual independence and encourages it.
And we laugh about it.
In May of 1997, at Narita-shi, just before leaving Japan,
Otake Risuke Shihan told me with a smile:
\"You are an authentic shugyosha, a wandering warrior
animated by a fierce determination to follow the Path.
You have a pragmatic and independent spirit: for this, I
give you the seal of the sword spirit on a fan instead
of the traditional parchment: this way, when it is too hot,
you will be able to use it!
Ever since, I apply this daily.