Earth, Fire, Wind, Water and Void are the Five Elements at the source of Eastern Philosophy. In Japanese they are Chi, Ka, Fu, Sui and Ku ((The Godai) and they represent different aspects of our being and our environment. Only when the Godai are in balance and harmony, say the philosophers, can true happiness prevail. This applies to our physical and mental state as it does to the world around us.
The Godai principle has been studied for more than 5,000 years as a means of achieving health and harmony. It was a central element in Japanese Martial Arts which are dedicated to the protection of the body, mind and spirit. Over many years, studies led to the emergence of a traditional healing art, whose purpose is the restoration of the body’s ability to heal itself . It was called ‘The Secret Flower Opening School of the Defence of the Self’. (Hici buku goshin jutsu ryu’). The techniques developed to achieve its aims include the gentle manipulation of ligaments and skeletal muscular systems, which is at the heart of Amatsu therapy.
The Amatsu principles taught today are from the Ancient School of Hi Chi Bu Ku Goshin Jutsu. This is a school of breathing techniques and physical modalities of well-being. The Amatsu Tatara (meaning ‘Sky Harbour’,or ‘Divine Residence’) are scrolls which record the basis of Amatsu. They are a collaboration of martial arts, medicine, philosophy, strategy and religion. Until recently, the knowledge and skill which they impart was shared with only a handful of people in each generation that was passed down in an unbroken chain.
Amatsu reached out to the world in the 1980s following a collaboration between one of its foremost advocates and martial arts teacher Masaaki Hatsumi and three practitioners of Western medicine-William Doolan from Dublin and Dennis Bartram . Like Dr. Hatsumi, they were qualified medical practitioners and their specialisations included osteopathy, chiropractic, psychotherapy, hypnosis, physiotherapy and natural medicine. They were immediately attracted to Amatsu and began to study with Dr. Hatsumi. They were the founders of Amatsu in the West and have since established Amatsu Training Schools in the UK, Europe and Ireland.
Masaaki Hatsumi, the 24th Grandmaster of Togakure ryu and founder of the International Bujinkan Hombu Dojo was born on December 2, 1931 in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan where he graduated from Meiji University, Literature Department and later went on to receive his Doctor degree from a medical school located in Yotsuya. He trained for over fifteen years in kobudo, thereafter becoming apprenticed to the late Toshitsugu Takamatsu who lived in Kashiwara, Nara Province.
The nine schools of the Bujinkan hail from the ancient battlefields of Japan, providing a rich mine of teachings that are equally applicable to modern situations. Hatsumi preaches the importance of understanding the principles underlying the techniques, not just the mechanics. This training philosophy serves the greatest benefit in the flurry of real battle.
The essence of all Martial Arts and military strategies is self protection and prevention of danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes the fullest concept of self-protection through martial training in that the ninja art deals with the protection of not only the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. The way of the ninja is the way of enduring surviving and prevailing over all that would destroy one, it is deeper in significance than the simple out-writing of an enemy; ninjutsu is the way of attaining that which we need while making the world a better place.
Medical science is dedicated to the betterment of health and the relief of suffering and yet the misuse of drugs and the exultation of the physician’s skills can lead people to a state where an individual’s health is no longer within his or her personal control. A nutritious well-balanced diet works to keep a person alive, vital, and healthy, but grossly over-eating, over-drinking, or talking in too many chemicals is a sure way to poison the body.