Godan Shinsa 五段 審査 (the 5th dan examination )
The Godan Shinsha ( 5th Dan, or examination ) which is also known as Sakki Test, “Sakki” 殺気 which means “kill intention”, that is the exam to feel the murderous intent of the opponent.
The test is carried out as follows , in Japan normally takes place after the training and all those who participated may watch the Sakki Test. The practitioner is sitting on the Tatami with his eyes closed, the Soke or one of Shihan Jugodan approaching from behind with a Fukuro Shinai 袋竹刀 (padded sword), which after due concentration issue murderous intent when striking with the Fukuro Shinai. The candidate to pass the examination must “feel” and roll at a suitable distance to avoid the Fukuro Shinai. The candidate has two attempts, if part before agitation does not count, and it has to rewind to try again. The most important thing when you doing this test is “not thinking” and “relax”. The Sakki Test, is an initiation ceremony through the sixth sense. Traditionally, the test of Sakki was performed with the real sword, and if the student failed, he would die. There is something quite like when the ceramics maker, upon opening the kiln, destroys the pieces of work he dislikes. Soke Masaaki Hatsumi told his Sakki Test as follows:
“I too one day some time ago was sitting in my teacher’s room, when he said “Please close your eyes and wait, and what whatever happens, make sure not to open them!” Then perceiving that my teacher went down the stairs, I let my guard down a little to the sign that he had disappeared. After several hours, some sort of heavy, pressing force approached diagonally from behind, and seeing an image as if of a body split in two, I went into sideways-rolling body movement. Then I had a feeling right from the side, of the head flying, and executed a forward breakfall. As I slowly sat down into a natural Fudoza posture, I heard my teachers voice, saying “Well done, you made it, you may open your eyes now”, and when I opened my eyes, there stood Sensei, lowering an unsheathed sword in his right hand.
I, level-handed and thinking this strange, had asked about this before, Kijutsu 気術 (energy techniques) through a six sense, or one may say Shinden no Jutsu 神伝の術; such is the Gokui 極意: if one thinks is it there, it is not, if one thinks it is not, it is; for the first time the profound words of this teaching sank into my body will all their weight; I was deeply impressed by the nature of the words’spirit. Together with the joy of my eyes opening, I received from my teacher that sword. I was latter told by my teacher that this was a Jujikiri Mumyo no Itto 十字切り無閔の一刀, and that no-one had gone this far; those words joyfully spoken I remember as if they were said yesterday."
Usually the teacher or the Soke in person propose the student for the Sakki Test, when the student is “ready” , this is a very important thing, this is not an exam to be carried out with the attitude of “try”, but to do when the student is ready, so it is very important that up to that point the student will be trained in their Dojo along with his teacher Shidoshi or Shihan (so that, in turn, has already been “initiated”), with the feeling of Jissen Gata 実戦型 (form of actual combat). It is very important to train this feeling the most possible, once you have mastered the basics, you should always take care to put in each Kata (forms) , Waza (techniques), Henka (variants) or Oyou (applications). Soke often advises us to practice this feeling during training at the Hombu Dojo, the student that arrived on the 4th Dan there is a preparation that is made together with his teacher Shidoshi or Shihan .
It is important that when you sit in Seiza and close your eyes, that you relax, even if after all a bit of stirring emotion is understandable, knowing that you should learn to control your agitation and emotion, understanding the concept of Bushido of finding life (Sei 生) in the death (Shi 殺), which implies accepting that once born one day you will inevitably die (the “Kesshi no Kakuro” 決死の覚悟, a willingness to face death). Once you closed your eyes, you should not think about anything, and do not sink into yourself, but should rather be “connected”. To use our sixth sense is therefore very important to relax and not think “Mushin” 無心.
The “Mind that is something” is equal to the confused mind and is designed literally as the “Mind that exists”. It is the mind that directs your thoughts in one direction, regardless of the person to whom it is addressed. When the mind is a source of thought, there are prejudices and discrimination.
The “No Mind” (Mushin 無心) is equal to the right-minded. Does not freeze and is not fixed in one spot. An " I do not mind " when there are no thoughts and discriminations and the mind roams free in the body, completely permeating the Self. The “no mind” is not in any place . The mind stops and stays in one place does not act freely. The mind is also something that would not work if you were to bind to a single situation. When a thought occupies the mind, even if you hear the words spoken, you are not really able to understand them. This happens because the mind is at rest with the thought that occupies it . What is in the mind is thinking. If you are able to remove it, the mind will become “no mind”, if necessary, and will always act in accordance with its function .
An ancient poem reads :
Think : I do not think
This is already something in his own thoughts.
Simply, do not you think
What you should not think .
No one should expect something special, because this will ensure that the mind is fixed, and so you will not be able to feel the Sakki and avoid the Fukuro Shinai, and it should be understood that the sensation varies from person to person. Another very important thing is to know how to roll well, so that once perceived the intention, it can roll away in a natural way , in fact this aspect is taken into consideration at the time of the examination .
This exam for us practitioners of Bujinkan is very important, because this initiation through the sixth sense allows the understanding of Myojutsu 妙術 (mysterious art), leading to Myougi 妙技 (mysterious techniques).
“If you think that you understand, in fact you have not got it, if you think you do not understand it, then you have got it”.
by Shihan Luca Lanaro ©