Friday, December 20, 2013

Truth about Miyamoto Musashi - Samurai Documentary & Shioda Gozo

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵?, c. 1584 – June 13, 1645), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku,[1] was a Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書 Go Rin No Sho?), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today. Miyamoto Musashi is widely considered as a Kensei and one of the greatest warriors of all time.

Birth The details of Miyamoto Musashi's early life are difficult to verify. Musashi himself simply states in Gorin no Sho that he was born in Harima Province. Niten Ki (an early biography of Musashi) supports the theory that Musashi was born in 1584: "[He] was born in Banshū, in Tenshō 12 [1584], the Year of the Monkey." The historian Kamiko Tadashi, commenting on Musashi's text, notes: "[...]Munisai was Musashi's father...he lived in Miyamoto village, in the Yoshino district [of Mimasaka Province]. Musashi was most probably born here." His childhood name was Bennosuke 弁之助. Musashi gives his full name and title in Gorin no Sho as Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin." (新免武蔵守藤原玄信) His father, Shinmen Munisai 新免無二斎, was an accomplished martial artist and master of the sword and jutte (also jitte). Munisai, in turn, was the son of Hirata Shōgen 平田将監, a vassal of Shinmen Iga no Kami, the lord of Takayama Castle in the Yoshino district of Mimasaka Province. Hirata was relied upon by Lord Shinmen, and so was allowed to use the Shinmen name. As for "Musashi," Musashi no Kami was a court title, making him the nominal governor of Musashi province. "Fujiwara" was the lineage from which Musashi claimed nominal descent.

Munisai and Musashi's birth date 
Mysteriously, Munisai's tomb says he died in 1580, which obviously conflicts with the accepted birth date of 1584 for Musashi. Further muddying the waters, according to the genealogy of the extant Miyamoto family, Musashi was born in 1582. Kenji Tokitsu has suggested that the accepted birth date of 1584 for Musashi is wrong, as it is primarily based on a literal reading of the introduction to the Go Rin No Sho where Musashi states that the years of his life "add up to 60" (yielding the twelfth year of the Tensho era, or 1584, when working backwards from the well-documented date of composition), when it should be taken in a more literary and imprecise sense, indicating not a specific age but merely that Musashi was in his sixties when he wrote it. 

Because of the uncertainty centering on Munisai (when he died, whether he was truly Musashi's father, etc.), Musashi's mother is known with even less confidence. Here are a few possibilities: 

Munisai's tomb was correct. He died in 1580, leaving two daughters; his wife adopted a recently born child, from the Akamatsu clan, intended to succeed Munisai at his jitte school. Omasa, Munisai's widow, was not Musashi's biological mother. 

The tomb was wrong. Munisai lived a good deal longer, later than 1590 possibly. Musashi, then, was born to Munisai's first wife, Yoshiko (daughter to Bessho Shigeharu, who formerly controlled Hirafuku village until he lost a battle in 1578 to Yamanaka Shikanosuke). Munisai divorced her after Musashi's birth, whereupon she decamped for her father's house, leaving Musashi with Munisai. Musashi grew up treating Munisai's second wife, Omasa (daughter to Lord Shinmen) as his mother. This second scenario is laid out in an entry to the Tasumi family's genealogy. The daughter of Bessho Shigeharu first married Hirata Muni and was divorced from him a few years later. After that she married Tasumi Masahisa. The second wife of Tasumi Masahisa was the mother of Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi's childhood name was Hirata Den. During his childhood, he went to Hirafuku to find his real mother. He moved in with the Tasumi family.

A variant of this second theory is based on the fact that the tombstone states that Omasa gave birth to Musashi on 4 March 1584, and died of it. Munisai then remarried to Yoshiko. They divorced, as in the second theory, but Yoshiko took Musashi, who was 7 at the time, with her, and married Tasumi Masahisa. 

Kenji Tokitsu prefers to assume a birth date of 1581, which avoids the necessity of assuming the tombstone to be erroneous (although this poses the problem of from whom then Musashi received the transmission of the family martial art). 

Regardless of the truth about Musashi's ancestry, when Musashi was seven years old, the boy was raised by his uncle, Dorinbo (or Dorin), in Shoreian temple, three kilometers (~1.8 mi.) from Hirafuku. Both Dorin and Musashi's uncle by marriage — Tasumi — educated him in Buddhism and basic skills such as writing and reading. This education is possibly the basis for Yoshikawa Eiji's fictional education of Musashi by the historical Zen monk Takuan. He was apparently trained by Munisai in the sword, and in the family art of the jutte. This training did not last for a very long time, as in 1589, Munisai was ordered by Shinmen Sokan to kill Munisai's student, Honiden Gekinosuke. The Honiden family was displeased, and so Munisai was forced to move four kilometers (~2.5 mi.) away to the village of Kawakami. 

In 1592, Munisai died, although Tokitsu believes that the person who died at this time was really Hirata Takehito. Musashi contracted eczema in his infancy, and this adversely affected his appearance. Another story claims that he never took a bath because he did not want to be surprised unarmed. While the former claim may or may not have some basis in reality, the latter seems improbable. An unwashed member of the warrior caste would not have been received as a guest by such houses as Honda, Ogasawara and Hosokawa. These and many other details are likely embellishments that were added to his legend, or misinterpretations of literature describing him.

His father's fate is uncertain, but it is thought that he died at the hands of one of Musashi's later adversaries, who was punished or even killed for treating Musashi's father badly. However, there are no exact details of Musashi's life, since Musashi's only writings are those related to strategy and technique.

Training in swordsmanship
The name "Musashi" was thought to be taken from the name of a warrior monk named Musashibō Benkei who served under Minamoto no Yoshitsune, but this is unconfirmed.

It is said that he may have studied at the Yoshioka-ryū dojo (school), which was also said to be a school Musashi defeated single-handedly during his later years, although this is very uncertain. He did have formal training either by his father until he was 7 years old or from his uncle beginning at the age of 7. Ultimately the name was taken from his own original kanji, 武蔵, which can be read as Takezō or as Musashi, as stated in Eiji Yoshikawa's book Musashi.

First duel
I have trained in the way of strategy since my youth, and at the age of thirteen I fought a duel for the first time. My opponent was called Arima Kihei, a sword adept of the Shinto ryū, and I defeated him. At the age of sixteen I defeated a powerful adept by the name of Akiyama, who came from Tajima Province. At the age of twenty-one I went up to Kyōtō and fought duels with several adepts of the sword from famous schools, but I never lost. —Miyamoto Musashi, Go Rin No Sho

According to the introduction of The Book of Five Rings, Musashi states that his first successful duel was at the age of thirteen, against a samurai named Arima Kihei who fought using the Kashima Shintō-ryū style, founded by Tsukahara Bokuden (b. 1489, d. 1571). The main source of the duel is the Hyoho senshi denki ("Anecdotes about the Deceased Master"). Summarized, its account goes as follows:

In 1596, Musashi was 13, and Arima Kihei, who was traveling to hone his art, posted a public challenge in Hirafuku-mura. Musashi wrote his name on the challenge. A messenger came to Dorin's temple, where Musashi was staying, to inform Musashi that his duel had been accepted by Kihei. Dorin, Musashi's uncle, was shocked by this, and tried to beg off the duel in Musashi's name, based on his nephew's age. Kihei was adamant that the only way his honor could be cleared was if Musashi apologized to him when the duel was scheduled. So when the time set for the duel arrived, Dorin began apologizing for Musashi, who merely charged at Kihei with a six-foot quarterstaff, shouting a challenge to Kihei. Kihei attacked with a wakizashi, but Musashi threw Kihei on the floor, and while Kihei tried to get up, Musashi struck Arima between the eyes and then beat him to death. Arima was said to have been arrogant, overly eager to fight, and not a terribly talented swordsman. —William Scott Wilson, The Lone Samurai

Travels and duels

In 1599, three years later, Musashi left his village, apparently at the age of 15 (according to the Tosakushi, "The Registry of the Sakushu Region", although the Tanji Hokin Hikki says he was 16 years old in 1599, which agrees time-wise with the age reported in Musashi's first duel). His family possessions such as furniture, weapons, genealogy, and other records were left with his sister and her husband, Hirao Yoemon.

He spent his time traveling and engaging in duels, such as with an adept called Akiyama from the Tajima Province.

In 1600, a war began between the Toyotomi and Tokugawa clans. Musashi apparently fought on the side of the Toyotomi's "Army of the West", as the Shinmen clan (to whom his family owed allegiance) had allied with them. Specifically, he participated in the attempt to take Fushimi castle by assault in July 1600, in the defense of the besieged Gifu Castle in August of the same year, and finally in the Battle of Sekigahara. Some doubt has been cast on this final battle, as the Hyoho senshi denki has Musashi saying he is "no lord's vassal" and refusing to fight with his father (in Lord Ukita's battalion) in the battle. Omitting the Battle of Sekigahara from the list of Musashi's battles would seem to contradict the Go Rin No Sho's statement that Musashi fought in six battles, however. Regardless, as the Toyotomi side lost, it has been suggested that Musashi fled as well and spent some time training on Mount Hiko.

After the battle, Musashi disappears from the records for a while. The next mention of him has him arriving in Kyoto at the age of 20 (or 21), where he began a series of duels against the Yoshioka School. Musashi's father, Munisai, also fought against a master of the Yoshioka school and won 2 out of 3 bouts in front of the shogun at the time, Ashikaga Yoshiaki who granted him the title of "Unrivaled Under The Sun". The Yoshioka School (descended from either the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū or the Kyo-hachi-ryū) was the foremost of the eight major schools of martial arts in Kyoto, the "Kyo-ryū" / "Schools of Kyoto". Legend has it that these eight schools were founded by eight monks taught by a legendary martial artist resident on the sacred Mount Kurama. At some point, the Yoshioka family also began to make a name for itself not merely in the art of the sword but also in the textile business and for a dye unique to them. They gave up teaching swordsmanship in 1614 when they fought in the Army of the West against Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Battle of Osaka, which they lost. But in 1604, when Musashi began duelling them, they were still preeminent. There are various accounts of the duels — the Yoshioka family documents claim that there was only one, against Yoshioka Kenpō, which Musashi won.

Musashi challenged Yoshioka Seijūrō, master of the Yoshioka School, to a duel. Seijūrō accepted, and they agreed to a duel outside Rendaiji in Rakuhoku, in the northern part of Kyoto on 8 March 1604. Musashi arrived late, greatly irritating Seijūrō. They faced off, and Musashi struck a single blow, per their agreement. This blow struck Seijūrō on the left shoulder, knocking him out, and crippling his left arm. He apparently passed on the headship of the school to his equally accomplished brother, Yoshioka Denshichirō, who promptly challenged Musashi for revenge. The duel took place in Kyoto outside a temple, Sanjūsangen-dō. Denshichirō wielded a staff reinforced with steel rings (or possibly with a ball-and-chain attached), while Musashi arrived late a second time. Musashi disarmed Denshichirō and defeated him. This second victory outraged the Yoshioka family, whose head was now the 12-year old Yoshioka Matashichiro. They assembled a force of archers, musketeers and swordsmen, and challenged Musashi to a duel outside Kyoto, near Ichijō-ji Temple. Musashi broke his previous habit of arriving late, and came to the temple hours early. Hidden, Musashi assaulted the force, killing Matashichiro, and escaping while being attacked by dozens of his victim's supporters. To escape and fight off his opponents he was forced to draw his second sword and defend himself with a sword in each hand. This was the beginning of his niten'ichi sword style. With the death of Matashichiro, this branch of the Yoshioka School was destroyed.

After Musashi left Kyoto, some sources recount that he travelled to Hōzōin in Nara, to duel with and learn from the monks there, widely known as experts with lance weapons. There he settled down at Enkoji Temple in Banshū, where he taught the head monk's (one Tada Hanzaburo's) brother. Hanzaburo's grandson would found the Ensu-ryū based on the Enmei-ryū teachings and iaijutsu.

From 1605 to 1612, he travelled extensively all over Japan in musha shugyō, a warrior pilgrimage during which he honed his skills with duels. He was said to have used bokken or bokuto in actual duels. Most of the engagements from these times did not try to take the opponent's life unless both agreed, but in most duels, it is known that Musashi did not care which weapon his foe used — such was his mastery.

A document dated 5 September 1607, purporting to be a transmission by Miyamoto Munisai of his teachings, suggests Munisai lived at least to this date. In this year, Musashi departed Nara for Edo, during which he fought (and killed) a kusarigama practitioner named Shishido Baiken. In Edo, Musashi defeated Musō Gonnosuke, who would found an influential staff-wielding school known as Shintō Musō-ryū. Records of this first duel can be found in both the Shinto Muso-ryu tradition and the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū (Miyamoto Musashi's school). The Shinto Muso Ryu tradition states that, after being defeated by Musashi, Muso Gonnusuke beat Musashi in a rematch. There are no current reliable sources outside the Shinto Muso Ryu tradition to confirm that this second duel took place.

Musashi is said to have fought over 60 duels and was never defeated, although this is a conservative estimate, most likely not accounting for deaths by his hand in major battles. In 1611, Musashi began practicing zazen at the Myōshin-ji temple, where he met Nagaoka Sado, vassal to Hosokawa Tadaoki; Tadaoki was a powerful lord who had received the Kumamoto Domain in west-central Kyūshū after the Battle of Sekigahara. Munisai had moved to northern Kyūshū and became Tadaoki's teacher, leading to the possibility that Munisai introduced the two. Nagaoka proposed a duel with a certain adept named Sasaki Kojirō. Tokitsu believes that the duel was politically motivated, a matter of consolidating Tadaoki's control over his fief.

Duel with Sasaki Kojirō - Main article: Sasaki Kojirō
On April 13, 1612, Musashi (about age 30) fought his duel with Sasaki Kojirō, who was known as "The Demon of the Western Provinces" and who wielded a nodachi. Musashi came late and unkempt to the appointed place — the island of Funajima, in the Kanmon Straits separating Honshū and Kyūshū. The duel was short. Musashi killed his opponent with a bokken that legend says he had carved from an oar used on the boat that carried him to the island. Musashi's late arrival is controversial. Sasaki's outraged supporters thought it was dishonorable and disrespectful, while Musashi's supporters thought it was a fair way to unnerve his opponent. Another theory is that Musashi timed the hour of his arrival to match the turning of the tide. The tide carried him to the island. After his victory, Musashi immediately jumped back in his boat and his flight from Sasaki's vengeful allies was helped by the turning of the tide. Another theory states he waited for the sun to get in the right position. After he dodged a blow, Sasaki was blinded by the sun. Musashi briefly established a fencing school that same year.

In 1614–1615, Musashi participated in the war between the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa. The war had broken out because Tokugawa Ieyasu saw the Toyotomi family as a threat to his rule of Japan; most scholars believe that, as in the previous war, Musashi fought on the Toyotomi side. Osaka Castle was the central place of battle. The first battle (the Winter Battle of Osaka; Musashi's fourth battle) ended in a truce. The second (the Summer Battle of Osaka; Musashi's fifth battle) resulted in the total defeat of Toyotomi Hideyori's Army of the West by Ieyasu's Army of the East in May 1615. Some reports go so far as to say that Musashi entered a duel with Ieyasu, but was recruited after Ieyasu sensed his defeat was at hand. This may seem unlikely since Ieyasu was in his 70s and was in poor health already, but it remains unknown how Musashi came into Ieyasu's good graces.

Other accounts claim he actually served on the Tokugawa side, but such a claim is unproven, although Musashi had a close relationship with some Tokugawa vassals through his duel with Sasaki Kojirō, and in the succeeding years, he did not drop out of sight as might be expected if he were being persecuted for being on the losing side. In his later years, Ogasawara and Hosokawa supported Musashi greatly — an atypical course of action for these Tokugawa loyalists, if Musashi had indeed fought on behalf of the Toyotomi.

In 1615 he entered the service of Ogasawara Tadanao of Harima Province, at Ogasawara's invitation, as a "Construction Supervisor," after previously gaining skills in craft. He helped construct Akashi Castle and in 1621 to lay out the organization of the town of Himeji. He also taught martial arts during his stay, specializing in instruction in the art of shuriken-throwing. During this period of service, he adopted a son.

In 1621, Musashi defeated Miyake Gunbei and three other adepts of the Togun-ryu in front of the lord of Himeji; it was after this victory that he helped plan Himeji. Around this time, Musashi developed a number of disciples for his Enmei-ryū although he had developed the school considerably earlier; at the age of 22, Musashi had already written a scroll of Enmei-ryū teachings called "Writings on the Sword Technique of the Enmei-ryū" (Enmei-ryū kenpo sho). 円/"En" meant "circle" or "perfection"; 明/"mei" meant "light"/"clarity", and 流/"ryū" meant "school"; the name seems to have been derived from the idea of holding the two swords up in the light so as to form a circle. The school's central idea is given as training to use the twin swords of the samurai as effectively as a pair of sword and jutte.

In 1622, Musashi's adoptive son, Miyamoto Mikinosuke, became a vassal to the Himeji Domain. Possibly this prompted Musashi to leave, embarking on a new series of travels, winding up in Edo in 1623, where he became friends with the Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan, who was one of the Shogun's advisors. Musashi applied to become a swordmaster to the Shogun, but as he already had two swordmasters (Ono Jiroemon Tadaaki and Yagyū Munenori — the latter also a political advisor, in addition to his position as the head of the Shogunate's secret police), Musashi's application was denied. He left Edo in the direction of Ōshū, ending up in Yamagata, where he adopted a second son, Miyamoto Iori. The two then traveled, eventually stopping in Osaka.

In 1626, Miyamoto Mikinosuke, following the custom of junshi, committed seppuku because of the death of his lord. In this year, Miyamoto Iori entered Lord Ogasawara's service. Musashi's attempt to become a vassal to the lord of Owari, like other such attempts, failed.

In 1627, Musashi began to travel again. In 1634 he settled in Kokura with Iori, and later entered the service of the daimyo Ogasawara Tadazane, taking a major role in the Shimabara Rebellion. Iori served with distinction in putting down the rebellion and gradually rose to the rank of karō — a position equal to a minister. Musashi, however was reputedly injured by a thrown rock while scouting in the front line, and was thus unnoticed.

Later life and death
Six years later, in 1633, Musashi began staying with Hosokawa Tadatoshi, daimyo of Kumamoto Castle, who had moved to the Kumamoto fief and Kokura, to train and paint. Ironically, it was at this time that the Hosokawa lords were also the patrons of Musashi's chief rival, Sasaki Kojirō.[clarification needed] While there he engaged in very few duels; one would occur in 1634 at the arrangement of Lord Ogasawara, in which Musashi defeated a lance specialist by the name of Takada Matabei. Musashi would officially become the retainer of the Hosokowa lords of Kumamoto in 1640. The Niten Ki records "[he] received from Lord Tadatoshi: 17 retainers, a stipend of 300 koku, the rank of ōkumigashira 大組頭, and Chiba Castle in Kumamoto as his residence."

In the second month of 1641, Musashi wrote a work called the Hyoho Sanju Go ("Thirty-five Instructions on Strategy") for Hosokawa Tadatoshi; this work overlapped and formed the basis for the later Go Rin No Sho. This was the year that his third son, Hirao Yoemon, became Master of Arms for the Owari fief. In 1642, Musashi suffered attacks of neuralgia, foreshadowing his future ill-health. In 1643 he retired to a cave named Reigandō as a hermit to write The Book of Five Rings. He finished it in the second month of 1645. On the twelfth of the fifth month, sensing his impending death, Musashi bequeathed his worldly possessions, after giving his manuscript copy of the Go Rin No Sho to the younger brother of Terao Magonojo, his closest disciple. He died in Reigandō cave around June 13, 1645 (Shōhō 3, 30th day of the 4th month). The Hyoho senshi denki described his passing:

At the moment of his death, he had himself raised up. He had his belt tightened and his wakizashi put in it. He seated himself with one knee vertically raised, holding the sword with his left hand and a cane in his right hand. He died in this posture, at the age of sixty-two. The principal vassals of Lord Hosokawa and the other officers gathered, and they painstakingly carried out the ceremony. Then they set up a tomb on Mount Iwato on the order of the lord.

Musashi died of what is believed to be thoracic cancer[citation needed], and was not killed in combat. He died peacefully after finishing the Dokkōdō ("The Way of Walking Alone", or "The Way of Self-Reliance"), 21 precepts on self-discipline to guide future generations.

His body was interred in armor within the village of Yuge, near the main road near Mount Iwato, facing the direction the Hosokawas would travel to Edo; his hair was buried on Mount Iwato itself.

Nine years later, a major source about his life — a monument with a funereal eulogy to Musashi — was erected in Kokura by Miyamoto Iori; this monument was called the Kokura hibun. An account of Musashi's life, the Niten-ki, was published in Kumamoto in 1776, by Toyota Kagehide, based on the recollections of his grandfather Toyota Masataka, who was a second generation pupil of Musashi.

Musashi created and perfected a two-sword kenjutsu technique called niten'ichi ("two heavens as one") or nitōichi ("two swords as one") or "Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu" (A Kongen Buddhist Sutra refers to the two heavens as the two guardians of Buddha). In this technique, the swordsman uses both a large sword, and a "companion sword" at the same time, such as a katana with a wakizashi. Although he had mastership in this style of two swords, he most commonly used a katana in duels.

The two-handed movements of temple drummers may have inspired him, although it could be that the technique was forged through Musashi's combat experience. Jutte techniques were taught to him by his father — the jutte was often used in battle paired with a sword; the jutte would parry and neutralize the weapon of the enemy while the sword struck or the practitioner grappled with the enemy. In his time a long sword in the left hand was referred to as gyaku nito. Today Musashi's style of swordsmanship is known as Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū.

Musashi was also an expert in throwing weapons. He frequently threw his short sword, and Kenji Tokitsu believes that shuriken methods for the wakizashi were the Niten Ichi Ryu's secret techniques.

Musashi spent many years studying Buddhism and swordsmanship. He was an accomplished artist, sculptor, and calligrapher. Records also show that he had architectural skills. Also, he seems to have had a rather straightforward approach to combat, with no additional frills or aesthetic considerations. This was probably due to his real-life combat experience; although in his later life, Musashi followed the more artistic side of bushidō. He made various Zen brush paintings, calligraphy, and sculpted wood and metal. Even in The Book of Five Rings he emphasizes that samurai should understand other professions as well. It should be understood that Musashi's writings were very ambiguous, and translating them into English makes them even more so; that is why so many different translations of the Go Rin No Sho can be found. To gain further insight into Musashi's principles and personality, one could read his other works, such as Dokkodo and Hyoho Shiji ni Kajo.

Throughout Musashi's last book, The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin no Sho?), Musashi seems to take a very philosophical approach to looking at the "craft of war"; "There are five ways in which men pass through life: as gentlemen, warriors, farmers, artisans and merchants." These falling into one of the few profession groups that could be observed in Musashi's time.

Throughout the book, Musashi implies that the way of the Warrior, as well as the meaning of a "True strategist" is that of somebody who has made mastery of many art forms away from that of the sword, such as tea drinking (sado), laboring, writing, and painting as Musashi practiced throughout his life. Musashi was hailed as an extraordinary sumi-e artist in the use of ink monochrome as depicted in two such paintings: "Shrike Perched in a Dead Tree" (Koboku Meigekizu) and "Wild Geese Among Reeds" (Rozanzu). Going back to the Book of Five Rings, Musashi talks deeply about the ways of Buddhism.

He makes particular note of artisans and foremen. In the time in which he writes the book, the majority of houses in Japan were made of wood. In the use of building a house, foremen have to employ strategy based upon the skill and ability of their workers.

In comparison to warriors and soldiers, Musashi notes the ways in which the artisans thrive through events; the ruin of houses, the splendor of houses, the style of the house, the tradition and name or origins of a house. These too, are similar to the events which are seen to have warriors and soldiers thrive; the rise and fall of prefectures, countries and other such events are what make uses for warriors, as well as the literal comparisons of the: "The carpenter uses a master plan of the building, and the way of strategy is similar in that there is a plan of campaign".

Way of strategy
Throughout the book, Go Rin No Sho, the idea which Musashi pushes is that the "way of the strategist" (Heihō) is similar to how a carpenter and his tools are mutually inclusive, e.g. — a carpenter can do nothing without his tools, and vice versa. This too, he compares to skill, and tactical ability in the field of battle.

Initially, Musashi notes that throughout China and Japan, there are many "sword fencers" who walk around claiming they are strategists, but are, in fact, not — this may be because Musashi had defeated some such strategists, such as Arima Kihei.

The idea is that by reading his writings, one can become a true strategist from ability and tactical skill that Musashi had learned in his lifetime. He argues that strategy and virtue are something which can be earned by knowing the ways of life, the professions that are around, to perhaps learn the skills and knowledge of people and the skills of their particular professions.

However, Musashi seems to state that the value of strategy seems to be homogeneous. He notes that:

The attendants of the Kashima Kantori shrines of the province Hitachi received instruction from the gods, and made schools based on this teaching, travelling from province to province instructing men. This is the recent meaning of strategy.

As well as noting that strategy is destined to die; Of course, men who study in this way think they are training the body and spirit, but it is an obstacle to the true way, and its bad influence remains forever. Thus the true way of strategy is becoming decadent and dying out.

As a form, strategy was said to be one of "Ten Abilities and Seven Arts" that a warrior should have, but Musashi disagrees that one person can gain strategy by being confined to one particular style, which seems particularly fitting as he admits "I practice many arts and abilities — all things with no teacher" — this perhaps being one of the reasons he was so highly regarded a swordsman.

Musashi's metaphor for strategy is that of the bulb and the flower, similar to Western philosophy of "the chicken or the egg", the "bulb" being the student, the "flower" being the technique. He also notes that most places seem to be mostly concerned with their technique and its beauty. Musashi writes, "In this kind of way of strategy, both those teaching and those learning the way are concerned with coloring and showing off their technique, trying to hasten the bloom of the flower" (as opposed to the actual harmony between strategy and skill.)

With those who are concerned with becoming masters of strategy, Musashi points out that as a carpenter becomes better with his tools and is able to craft things with more expert measure, so too can a warrior, or strategist become more skilled in his technique. However, just as a carpenter needs to be able to use his tools according to plans, so too must a strategist be able to adapt his style or technique to the required strategy of the battle he is currently engaged in.

This description also draws parallels between the weapons of a trooper (or soldier) and the tools of a carpenter; the idea of "the right tool for the right job" seems to be implied a lot throughout the book Go Rin No Sho. Musashi also puts into motion the idea that when a carpenter is skilled enough in aspects of his job, and creates them with expert measure, then he can become a foreman.

Although it is not expressly mentioned, it may be seen that Musashi indicated that when you have learned the areas in which your craft requires, be it carpentry, farming, fine art or battle, and are able to apply them to any given situation, then you will be experienced enough to show others the wisdom of your ways, be it as a foreman of craftsmen, or as a general of an army.

From further reading into the book, the idea of "weapons within strategy," as well as Musashi referring to the power of the writer, may seem that the strategy which Musashi refers to does not exclusively reside within the domain of weaponry and duels, but within the realm of war and battles with many men:

Just as one man can beat ten, so a hundred men can beat a thousand, and a thousand can beat ten thousand. In my strategy, one man is the same as ten thousand, so this strategy is the complete warrior's craft.

Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu
Within the book, Musashi mentions that the use of two swords within strategy is mutually beneficial between those who utilize this skill. The idea of using two hands for a sword is an idea which Musashi disagrees with, in that there is not fluidity in movement when using two hands — "If you hold a sword with both hands, it is difficult to wield it freely to left and right, so my method is to carry the sword in one hand"; he as well disagrees with the idea of using a sword with two hands on a horse, and/or riding on unstable terrain, such as muddy swamps, rice fields, or within crowds of people.

In order to learn the strategy of Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu, Musashi employs that by training with two long swords, one in each hand, you will be able to overcome the cumbersome nature of using a sword in both hands. Although difficult, Musashi agrees that there are times in which the long sword must be used with two hands, but if your skill is good enough, you should not need it. The idea of using two long swords is that you are starting with something to which you are unaccustomed, and that you will find difficult, but will adapt to after much use.

After using two long swords proficiently enough, Musashi then states that your mastery of a long sword, and a "companion sword", most likely a wakizashi, will be much increased — "When you become used to wielding the long sword, you will gain the power of the Way and wield the sword well.".

In short, it could be seen that from the excerpts from Go Rin No Sho, the real strategy behind Ni-Ten No Ichi Ryu, is that there is no real iron-clad method, path, or type of weaponry that is specific to the style of Ni-Ten No Ichi Ryu:

You can win with a long weapon, and yet you can also win with a short weapon. In short, the Way of the Ichi school is the spirit of winning, whatever the weapon and whatever its size.

Long sword
The strategy of the long sword is different than other strategies, in that it is much more straightforward. In the strategy of the longsword, it seems that Musashi's ideal was, that by mastering gripping the sword, it could become a platform used for moving onto the mastery of Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu, as well as being able to use two broadswords, or more masterfully use a companion sword.

Musashi often use the term "two fingers" to describe the way to hold the long sword. But this does not mean he actually taught the grip with only two fingers. In "The Water Book" he notes:

Grip the long sword with a rather floating feeling in your thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger neither tight nor slack, and with the last two fingers tight. It is bad to have play in your hands.

However, just because the grip is to be light, it does not mean that the attack or slash from the sword will be weak. As with any other technique in the Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu, he notes:

If you try to wield the long sword quickly, you will mistake the way. To wield the long sword well, you must wield it calmly. If you try to wield it quickly, like a folding fan or a short sword, you will err by using "short sword chopping". You cannot cut down a man with a long sword using this method.

As with most disciplines in martial arts, Musashi notes that the movement of the sword after the cut is made must not be superfluous; instead of quickly returning to a stance or position, one should allow the sword to come to the end of its path from the force used. In this manner, the technique will become freely flowing, as opposed to abrupt.

Musashi also discouraged the use of only one sword for fighting, and the use of over-large swords like nodachi because they were cumbersome and unwieldy.

Even from a late age, Musashi separated his religion from his involvement in swordsmanship. Excerpts such as the one below, from The Book of Five Rings, demonstrate a philosophy that is thought to have stayed with him throughout his life:

There are many ways: Confucianism, Buddhism, the ways of elegance, rice-planting, or dance; these things are not to be found in the way of the warrior.

However, the belief that Musashi disliked Shinto is inaccurate, as he criticises the Shintō-ryū style of swordsmanship, and not Shinto, the religion. In Musashi's Dokkodo, his stance on religion is further elucidated: "Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help."

Musashi as an artist
In his later years, Musashi claimed in his Go Rin No Sho: "When I apply the principle of strategy to the ways of different arts and crafts, I no longer have need for a teacher in any domain." He proved this by creating recognized masterpieces of calligraphy and classic ink painting. His paintings are characterized by skilled use of ink washes and an economy of brush stroke. He especially mastered the "broken ink" school of landscapes, applying it to other subjects, such as his Kobokumeikakuzu ("Shrike Perched on a Withered Branch"; part of a triptych whose other two members were "Hotei Walking" and "Sparrow on Bamboo"), his Hotei Watching a Cockfight, and his Rozanzu ("Wild Geese Among Reeds").

Samurai - Miyamoto Musashi Documentary - Mark Dacascos

Miyamoto Musashi - The Dream Of the last Samurai

Gozo Shioda
Gozo Shioda (塩田 剛三 Shioda Gōzō?, September 9, 1915 – July 17, 1994) was a Japanese master of aikido who founded the Yoshinkan style of aikido. He was one of aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba's most senior students. Shioda held the rank of 10th dan in aikido.

Aikido career
Shioda began training under the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, in 1932. His training as an uchi-deshi (live-in student) under Ueshiba continued for eight years. Shioda was a small man, standing at around 5' 1" to 5' 2" (155–157 cm) and weighing around 102 lb. to 108 lb. (46–49 kg). 

Shioda graduated from Takushoku University in 1941, and was posted to administrative positions in China, Taiwan, and Borneo during World War II. In one incident in China, he was drinking in a bar with an army friend in Shanghai when the friend got into an argument with a local gang member. Three of his fellow gang members came to his assistance. Shioda and his friend were cornered by the gang. In the ensuing fight, Shioda broke the leg of one of the gang members, the arm of another, and stopped another by punching him in the stomach, all using his aikido skills. Shioda later described this incident as his 'aikido enlightenment' and wrote that one could only truly appreciate what aikido was about once one had used it in a life-or-death situation. 

Shioda returned to Japan in 1946 and spent several months trying to locate his family on Kyushu. He rejoined Ueshiba for a month of intensive training, but was forced to dedicate the next few years to earning a living in post-war Japan. He began teaching aikido in 1950. That year, he taught for the company Nihon Kokan at the Asano Shipyards in Yokohama. In 1954, he entered the All Japan Kobudo demonstration, and won the prize for the most outstanding demonstration. This marked a turning point for the growth of aikido. Shioda's performance attracted sponsorship that enabled him to build an aikido dojo (training hall).
In 1955, Shioda founded the Yoshinkan style of aikido, which emphasizes self-defense applications. The name "Yoshinkan" was the name Shioda's father had used for his own judo dojo. According to biographer Stanley Pranin, this separation from his master's school has been little understood. Pranin notes that Ueshiba's school independently recovered later on, so that "there never occurred a formal split between the two organizations despite their rather different approaches to aikido. The two groups simply evolved independently while maintaining more or less cordial ties." In an interview with Andy Adams for Black Belt magazine, Shioda said, "I don't really feel that I broke away from the mainstream of aikido since there was nothing to break away from back then. Uyeshiba sensei (the late Morihei Uyeshiba, founder of aikido) was farming, his son Kisshomaru was working for some company, and the sensei's aikido dojo at Iwama in Ibaragi Prefecture was being rented out as a dance hall" (p. 34). Speaking about that same period, Moriteru Ueshiba said, "there was not yet much activity at the Hombu Dojo. For a time my father [Kisshomaru Ueshiba] was actually in Iwama instead ... starting around 1949, he worked for about seven years at a company called Osaka Shoji. He had no other choice. Even if you have a dojo, you can't make a living if nobody is coming to train, which was largely the case after the war. So, he took a job as an ordinary company employee during the day and taught only in the mornings and evenings." In 1957, Shioda developed the Senshusei course, an intensive aikido training program, for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. In 1961, Ueshiba promoted Shioda to the rank of 9th dan. In 1973, Shioda sent Takashi Kushida, one of his most senior students, to introduce Yoshinkan aikido to the United States of America.  

Later life
In 1983, Shioda received the 'Hanshi' rank from the International Budo Federation (IBF), followed by the rank of 10th dan from the IBF in 1985. In 1990, together with his son Yasuhisa Shioda, he established the International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation. That same year, he established the international Senshusei program to develop Yoshinkan Aikido instructors across the world. Shioda died on July 17, 1994. He wrote a few books on his martial art: Dynamic Aikido (1968, published in paperback format in 1977), Total Aikido: The master course (1997, co-authored, published posthumously), and Aikido Shugyo: Harmony in confrontation (2002, published posthumously). Shioda viewed aikido as being "not a sport but a budo. Either you defeat your opponent or he defeats you. You cannot complain that he did not follow the rules. You have to overcome your opponent in a way appropriate to each situation."

Shioda Gozo

Shioda Gozo One of the great Aikido Legends

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Quickening - Awakening As One

"The Quickening" was produced by Awakening As One

All around the planet hundreds of millions of people are waiting for events to unfold in the year 2012, that they... believe will bring either the birth of a harmonious new reality... or 'the end of the world.

But what if those events were actually to take place in 2011?

In Awakening As One's new film "The Quickening" we will explain why so many people have been experiencing the sensation that "Time is Speeding Up"; particularly since the Earthquake in Japan.

And we will also show how research indicates that this accelerated experience of reality could peak sometime around October 28th, 2011; culminating in a global experience of Unity Consciousness, which would then lead to the experience of a harmonious new way of being.

"The Quickening" will also take a look at the unfolding of current events and how they directly relate to Hopi and Mayan Prophecies, indicating that we are on the Cusp of Great Changes, which signify the shifting of the Age... and the Birth of a New World.

Credits: We wish to acknowledge that without the work of these incredible filmmakers, and music producers it would not have been possible for Awakening As One to share its message of Peace and Unity with such beauty, heart and soul.

We invite you to support the filmmakers by visiting their webpages, and viewing their films. We extend our deepest gratitude and respect to the following films, and to all those who assisted in their creation.

'Home' by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

'Baraka' by Ron Fricke

'The Qatsi Trilogy' by Godfrey Reggio

'The Fountain' by Darren Aronofsky

'The Singing Revolution' by James & Maureen Tusty

'Fierce Light' by Velcro Ripper

'Time of the Sixth Sun' by Nikki Williams

'The Shift of the Ages' by Steve Copeland

'The Matrix' by the Wachowski Brothers
'V for Vendetta' by James McTeigue
'The Last Airbender' by M. Night Shyamalan

'2012′ by Roland Emmerich
'Knowing' by Alex Proyas

'Whisper of Trees' by FAIB
'Shared Light' by Abakus
'Point of Seeing' by Quark


The Quickening - The Shift of the Age

Monday, December 9, 2013

The One Percent Documentary. Gap Between the Rich and Poor

The One Percent
This 80-minute documentary focuses on the growing "wealth gap" in America, as seen through the eyes of filmmaker Jamie Johnson, a 27-year-old heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. Johnson, who cut his film teeth at NYU and made the Emmy®-nominated 2003 HBO documentary Born Rich, here sets his sights on exploring the political, moral and emotional rationale that enables a tiny percentage of Americans - the one percent - to control nearly half the wealth of the entire United States. The film Includes interviews with Nicole Buffett, Bill Gates Sr., Adnan Khashoggi, Milton Friedman, Robert Reich, Ralph Nader and other luminaries.

The One Percent is a 2006 documentary about the growing wealth gap between America's wealthy elite compared to the overall citizenry. It was created by Jamie Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, and produced by Jamie Johnson and Nick Kurzon. The film's title refers to the top one percent of Americans in terms of wealth, who controlled 42.2 percent of total financial wealth in 2004.

The film premiered on April 29, 2006, at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was reported to have been purchased by HBO and a revised version of the film, substantially re-edited and incorporating footage shot since the 2006 festival screening, premiered on Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 6:30pm ET/PT on HBO's Cinemax.

The One Percent 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baraka [1992] - Full Documentary

Baraka is a 1992 non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke. The title Baraka means blessing in a multitude of languages, deriving from the Arabic بركة [1], descending from a common Semitic ancestor and cognate to the Hebrew Baruch. The film is often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio for which Fricke was cinematographer. Baraka was the first in over twenty years to be photographed in the 70mm Todd-AO format.  

Baraka has no plot, no storyline, no actors, no dialogue nor any voice-over. Instead, the film uses themes to present new steps and evoke emotion through pure cinema. Baraka is a kaleidoscopic, global compilation of both natural events and by fate, life and activities of humanity on Earth. Baraka's subject matter has some similarities to Koyaanisqatsi—including footage of various landscapes, churches, ruins, religious ceremonies, and cities thrumming with life, filmed using time-lapse photography in order to capture the great pulse of humanity as it flocks and swarms in daily activity. The film features a number of long tracking shots through various settings, including Auschwitz and Tuol Sleng: over photos of the people involved, past skulls stacked in a room, to a spread of bones. Like Koyaanisqatsi, Baraka compares natural and technological phenomena. It also seeks a universal cultural perspective: a shot of an elaborate tattoo on a bathing Japanese yakuza precedes a view of tribal paint.  

Twenty chapters of this film spread over three main sections A1-A3: 
 A1: Chap. 01-07: Nature untouched by man – indigenous peoples, their rituals as part of nature being integrated. Chap. 01 – Snow and Ice Chap. 02 – Temples Chap. 03 – Light and Shadow Chap. 04 – The volcano Chap. 05 – Galápagos Islands Chap. 06 – Iguazu Falls Chap. 07 – Africa 

A2: Chap. 08-15: Burglary of technology in nature – Uprooted human interaction with nature and with his kind – War and concentration camps. Chap. 08 – Cigarettes Chap. 09 – Public Bathing Chap. 10 – Traffic Chaos Chap. 11 – Mass Production Chap. 12 – Madness Chap. 13 – Aircraft boneyard Chap. 14 – Shadows of the Past Chap. 15 – Terracotta Army 

A3: Chap. 16-20: Old, still living cultures – The architectural remains of past civilizations – Transience and lasting of all human efforts. Chap. 16 – Living on the river Ganges Chap. 17 – Sea of Clouds Chap. 18 – The Kaaba Chap. 19 – Starry sky Chap. 20 – Closing credits  

 The score by Michael Stearns and featuring music by Dead Can Dance, L. Subramaniam, Ciro Hurtado, Inkuyo, Brother and David Hykes, is noticeably different from the minimalist one provided by Philip Glass for Koyaanisqatsi. The film was produced by Mark Magidson, who also produced and directed the film Toward the Within, a live concert performance by Dead Can Dance.  

Following previous DVD releases, in 2007 the original 65 mm negative was re-scanned at 8K (a horizontal resolution of 8192 pixels) with equipment designed specifically for Baraka at FotoKem Laboratories. The automated 8K film scanner, operating continuously, took more than three weeks to finish scanning more than 150,000 frames (taking approximately 12–13 seconds to scan each frame), producing over 30 terabytes of image data in total. After a 16-month digital intermediate process, including a 96 kHz/24 bit audio remaster by Stearns for the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack of the film, the result was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in October, 2008. Project supervisor Andrew Oran says this remastered Baraka is "arguably the highest quality DVD that's ever been made".[2] Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert describes the Blu-ray release as "the finest video disc I have ever viewed or ever imagined."  

A sequel to Baraka, Samsara, made by the same filmmakers, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 and will be released internationally in later summer of 2012. Also shot in 70mm, "Samsara" explores an arguably darker, updated version of many of the same themes as Baraka.  

Baraka has a 83% of Rotten Tomatoes out of 18 reviews. Roger Ebert included the film in his Great Movies list.

Baraka - Full Documentary

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chronos [1985] - Full Documentary

Chronos is a 1985 abstract film directed by Ron Fricke, created with custom-built time-lapse cameras. Originally released in IMAX theaters, it is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, HD DVD, and for free on Hulu and YouTube.  

Chronos is 42 minutes long and has no actors or dialog. The soundtrack consists of a single continuous piece by composer Michael Stearns. Filmed in dozens of locations on five continents, the film relates to the concept of time passing on different scales -- the bulk of the film covers the history of civilization, from pre-history to Egypt to Rome to Late Antiquity to the rise of Western Europe in the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the modern era. It centers on European themes but not exclusively. Other time scales include the passing of seasons, and the passing of night and day, and the passing shadows of the sun in an afternoon to the passing of people on the street. These themes are intermingled with symbolic meaning.  

Chronos shares its particular style with the film Koyaanisqatsi (1983), for which Ron Fricke was the cinematographer, as well as his later films Sacred Site and Baraka (1992). The theme of the film is "[t]he celebration of life", and does not include the themes of technology as the culprit for society or "life out of balance", which were present in Koyaanisqatsi. American Cinematographer described the film as "a musical poem praising the evolution of Western man from Cairo to Los Angeles." The film was produced by Canticle Films, a production company founded by Fricke. Funding for Chronos came from the seed money acquired through the publicity surrounding the production of Koyaanisqatsi. Fricke designed and built a 65 mm camera for the film, which included a motion control system for the film's special effects. The director also used the system in his later films. Michael Stearns, while composing the soundtrack for the film, used a custom-made instrument called "The Beam" to generate many of the sounds he required. The Beam was 12 feet (3.7 m) long, made of extruded aluminum with 24 piano strings of gauge 19-22. The name of the film comes from the Ancient Greek word χρόνος, khronos, which means time and is also the source to many modern terms related to time, such as chronology, synchronous etc.  

International OMNI-MAX Film Festival: "Grand Prize Winner"  

Chronos - 1985

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Koyaanisqatsi [1982]- Full Documentary

Koyaanisqatsi - [1982] Koyaanisqatsi also known as Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke.

The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explains the lack of dialogue by stating "it's not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It's because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live." In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means "unbalanced life". The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology. Koyaanisqatsi is the best known of the trilogy and is considered a cult film. However, because of copyright issues, the film was out of print for most of the 1990s.

Synopsis The first image in the film is of a pictogram. The section shown depicts several tall darkly-shadowed figures standing near a taller figure adorned with a crown. The next image is a close-up of a rocket during liftoff. The film fades into a shot of a desolate desert landscape. From there, it progresses to footage of various natural environmental phenomena such as waves and clouds.

The film's introduction to human involvement in the environment is a low aerial shot of choppy water, cutting to a similar shot of rows of cultivated flowers. After aerial views of monumental rock formations partly drowned by a lake, we see a large mining truck causing billows of black dust. This is followed by shots of power lines in the desert. Man's continued involvement in the environment is depicted through images of mining operations, oil fields, a power plant, a dam, and atomic bomb detonations in a desert. Following the atomic bomb detonations, the next sequence begins with a shot of sunbathers on a beach, then pans to a power plant in the background. Shots of traffic patterns are seen during rush hour on a freeway and a shot of a large parking lot. This is followed with stock footage of Soviet tanks lined up in rows and a military aircraft, and a aircraft carrier.

Time-lapse photography of shadows of clouds are seen moving across the skyscrapers. Shots of various housing projects in disrepair, and includes footage of the decay and demolition of a housing project. The sequence ends with footage of the destruction of large buildings. A time-lapse shot of a crowd of people who appear to be waiting in a line. This is followed by shots of people walking along streets in slow motion.
The next sequence begins with shots of buildings and a shot of a sunset reflected in the glass of a skyscraper. The sequence uses time-lapse photography of the activity of modern life. The events captured in this sequence involve people interacting with modern technology. The first shots are traffic patterns as seen from skyscrapers at night. This is followed by a shot of the moon passing behind a skyscraper. The next shots are closer shots of cars on a highway. The sun rises over the city and we see people hurrying to work. The film shows at regular speed the operation of machines packaging food. People are shown sorting mail, sewing jeans, manufacturing televisions and doing other jobs with the use of modern technology. A shot of hot dogs being sent down rows of conveyors is followed by a shot of people moving up escalators. The frenetic speed and pace of the cuts and background music do not slow as shots of modern leisure are shown. People eat, play, shop and work at the same speed. The sequence begins to come full circle as the manufacturing of automobiles in an assembly line factory is shown.

More shots of highway traffic are shown, this time in daylight. The film shows the movement of cars, shopping carts, and televisions on an assembly line, and elevators moving from first person perspective. The film then shows clips from various television shows being channel surfed in fast motion. The film, in slow motion, then shows several people reacting to being candidly filmed on the street. The camera stays on them until the moment when they acknowledge its presence by looking directly at it. The sequence then shows cars moving much faster than they were moving before.

Pictures of microchips and satellite photography of metropolitan cities are shown, making a comparison between their layouts. Various shots of people are seen from all walks of modern life, from beggars to debutantes. The final sequence shows footage of a Saturn V rocket lifting off, followed by footage of the May 1962 explosion of an Atlas-Centaur rocket. Here, the camera follows a flaming rocket engine and a white vapor trail or smoke against a blue sky as the rocket plummets to earth. The film ends with another shot of the pictogram.

Production - Background
In 1972, Godfrey Reggio, of the Institute for Regional Education, or IRE, was working on a media campaign in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The campaign involved invasions of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior. As opposed to creating public service announcements, which Reggio felt "had no visibility," advertising spots were purchased for television, radio, newspapers, and billboards. Over 30 billboards were used for the campaign, and one design featured a close-up of the human eye, which Godfrey described as a "horrifying image." To produce the television commercials, the IRE hired cinematographer Ron Fricke who worked on the project for two years. The television ads aired during prime time programming and became so popular that viewers would call the television stations to learn when the next advertisement would be aired. Godfrey described the two year campaign as "extraordinarily successful," and as a result, Ritalin (methylphenidate) was eliminated as a behavior-modifying drug in many New Mexico school districts. But after the campaign ended, the ACLU eventually withdrew its sponsorship, and the IRE unsuccessfully attempted to raise millions of dollars at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. The institute only had $40,000 left in their budget, and Reggio was unsure how to use the small amount of funds. Fricke insisted to Reggio that the money could be used to produce a film, which led to the production of Koyaanisqatsi.

Koyaanisqatsi - The Grid [1982]
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mind of a Men & Women, Relationship and Sex - Mark Gungor

About Laugh Your Way
Source from: Laugh Your Way
Founded in 2003 by Mark Gungor, Laugh Your Way, America! is a biblically based, Christian organization who believes that healthy marriages and families are the foundation of a successful society.  We believe that laughter is one of the greatest avenues of reaching people’s hearts and stimulating them to open up to fresh, new ideas.  By coupling humor with biblically based teaching and principles for living, our organization is able to practically, positively, and permanently transform the lives of those we reach through our ministry efforts.

Meet Mark Gungor
When Mark Gungor conducted his first marriage seminar, he did so for one reason—because somebody had to do it, and no one else was reaching the couples in his area. The enthusiastic response he received from his first audience was just the tip of the iceberg. Today, he is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country. Each year thousands of couples attend his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® seminars. Mark’s candid and comedic approach uses unforgettable illustrations and the power of laughter to teach proven principles that are guaranteed to strengthen any marriage.

“I love to inspire people’s lives with truth and humor. There are a lot of performers that make people laugh, and there are a lot of speakers who give solid principles for living. I want to do both,” Mark says. His take on marriage issues is refreshingly free of both churchy and psychological lingo. “Our secular culture over-romanticizes marriage and our Christian culture over-spiritualizes it. The reality is that relationships between men and women are very down to earth,” Mark comments. “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® is about helping couples get it right, get along, have fun, and achieve a successful marriage.” In recent years, he has devoted much time and energy to bringing the Laugh Your Way seminars and materials to the Latino population, a gesture that has drawn overwhelmingly positive response.

Mark is Sr. Pastor of Celebration Church, a multi-site church with five campuses across Wisconsin, and the CEO of Laugh Your Way America. Mark balances his pastoral duties with a rigorous travel schedule. He speaks for churches, civic events, and business meetings and is a much requested speaker for the US Army.
Mark has also been featured on national broadcasts such as Focus on the Family, Life Today and ABC News. His Better Marriage Minute radio program is heard on 250 radio stations nationwide and his daily internet radio talk show, The Mark Gungor Radio Show, debuted in the fall of 2008. He is also the creator of the television series, Love, Marriage, and Stinking Thinking broadcast around the world on various networks including TBN.

Mark is the author of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® (Simon & Schuster, 2008), the book based on his phenomenally successful seminar and years of working with thousands of couples. He is married to Debbie, his high school sweetheart and constant travel companion. The Gungors have been married for over 36 years and have two married children and four grandsons.

Tale of Two Brains
In this highly-entertaining video, marriage expert Mark Gungor explores the differences between men and women or what he calls, "The Laws of Relational Physics". Specifically, how men and women are wired differently. They act differently, they communicate differently and most importantly, they think differently. Mark shows couples that their problems may result from how men and women THINK about life in a different way. He explains that many of the struggles couples face in marriage are the result of a HEAD problem, not a HEART problem.

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Key to Incredible Sex 
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Julian Assange Interviews Anwar Ibrahim

Jul 3, 2012 by
Julian Assange speaks to the leader of the Malaysian opposition - Anwar Ibrahim. As a rising internal rival to the former Prime Minister Mahathir, Anwar was imprisoned for 5 years after being smeared with sex allegations. As a result of a popular campaign in 2004, his conviction was overturned and he was released from prison. In 2008, he was again targeted for sex crimes allegations, he won the case earlier this year. With Malaysian elections looming with Anwar tipped to win, he has now been charged with unauthorized assembly. If found convicted, he will be prevented from running. Assange talks to him about how he has survived and what he sees as the future of Asia and the West.

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The Julian Assange Show: Anwar Ibrahim

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jo Conrad interviews David Icke about the Manipulation of Humankind, Reptilian Influence and The Awakening of Human Conciousness

Jo Conrad interviews David Icke about the manipulation of humankind, reptilian influence and the awakening of human conciousness.

Bewusst.Tv - Interview with David Icke

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Truth about the Assassination of Robert/Bobby Kennedy

 Who Killed Robert Kennedy?

by Philip Melanson 
Odonian Press, 1993, paper 
Source from: Third World Traveler


Robert F. Kennedy was shot down just after midnight on June 5, 1968, minutes after proclaiming victory in the California Democratic presidential primary. His assassination had an enormous effect on the course of American politics. The country lost a prominent critic of the Vietnam war and a committed champion of civil rights: the Democratic party lost its strongest presidential contender, enabling Republican candidate Richard Nixon to win the November election. More than four-fifths of all Americans are convinced that they haven't been told the truth about President John Kennedy's assassination. Far fewer are aware that the investigation into Robert Kennedy's death was just as flawed and corrupt.


Murder in Los Angeles

Bobby Kennedy (as he was almost always called) hadn't planned to run for the democratic nomination in 1968. Many of his closest political advisors encouraged him to wait until 1972, when he had a better chance of winning. In 1968, Kennedy would be facing an incumbent president, Lyndon Johnson, who was still popular in the polls-despite growing protest against his escalation of the Vietnam War.

But then Eugene McCarthy, the other democratic presidential contender, captured 42% of the vote in the March 12 New Hampshire primary. That meant Johnson was vulnerable-and that Kennedy had a chance to win.

Kennedy's entry into the race on March 16 angered Johnson and McCarthy supporters alike. But Kennedy was convinced that if Johnson won, there'd be "more war, more troops [and] more killing"-and less money for the domestic programs he'd so vigorously supported as Senator. McCarthy opposed the war, but Kennedy wasn't convinced he could win the presidency, even if he captured the nomination.

By the June 4 California primary, Johnson had dropped out of the race and Hubert Humphrey, his vice-president, had announced his own candidacy. Kennedy had won important victories in the Indiana, District of Columbia and Nebraska primaries, but the nomination was still far from secure. California would be a key test-whoever captured that state's 174 convention delegates would have the best chance of becoming the party's presidential candidate.

Early California returns showed McCarthy ahead. But then Kennedy pulled into the lead, and by late evening it was clear he'd taken the state. To celebrate the victory and to hear Kennedy speak, a beyond-capacity crowd of over 1800 supporters began to gather at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The assassination

Tired but jubilant, Robert Kennedy stepped to the podium in the hotel ballroom and stood looking out over the sea of straw hats, balloons and smiling faces. He addressed the crowd with the same message of hope that had characterized his campaign. Lamenting the "division, the violence [and] the disenchantment" within America, he expressed confidence that "we can start to work together. We are a great country, an unselfish country and a compassionate country. I intend to make that my basis for running."

When the applause died down, Kennedy stepped off the podium and started to move toward the crowd. But someone in his party steered him in the opposite direction, toward the backstage exit. Earlier that day, hotel personnel (at the request of Kennedy's aides) had decided to take the Senator on a back route through the hotel's pantry area, to keep him away from the frenzied crowd.

Hotel maitre d' Karl Uecker led Kennedy and more than a dozen members of his entourage into a cramped corridor. Even there the crowd couldn't be completely avoided; dozens of busboys, waiters and campaign workers waited, hoping to get a close-up view. Kennedy smiled, nodded and stopped for an occasional handshake as he moved down the corridor and into the pantry.

It was about 12:15 am. Uecker was still slightly ahead of the Senator and to his right. Uniformed security guard Thane Cesar walked slightly behind, also on Kennedy's right. (In 1968, presidential candidates weren't given secret service protection, so the hotel had hired eight private security guards. Kennedy had requested that the guards keep their distance, so he wouldn't be surrounded by uniformed personnel.)

A young, dark-haired man began to approach Kennedy from the front. He was smiling, and bystanders thought he wanted to shake the Senator's hand. But the smile was betrayed by his words:

"Kennedy, you son of a bitch!"

High school student Lisa Urso saw the young man raise the gun and begin to shoot. "I saw the flash [from the gun] and then I saw the Senator .... He went forward, then moved backward...

Someone called an ambulance and the Senator was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital. There a team of six surgeons labored to remove the bullet lodged in his brain. But his injuries were too severe. At 1:44 pm the next day, Robert F. Kennedy was pronounced dead.

An open-and-shut case

In 1968 it wasn't yet a federal crime to shoot a presidential candidate, so the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) took charge of the investigation into Kennedy's murder. With the FBI's assistance, they spent the next fourteen months investigating the murder.

From the beginning, the LAPD claimed the assassination was an open-and-shut case. Numerous witnesses had seen Sirhan Sirhan, the 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant who'd been apprehended at the crime scene, fire at Kennedy. Sirhan himself admitted he must have shot the Senator (since so many witnesses had seen him), even though he couldn't remember anything about the evening from the time he'd had a cup of coffee with an attractive young woman until after he'd emptied his gun and lay pinned to the pantry steam table.

Sirhan also seemed to have a clear motive. When he was taken into custody, the police found in his pocket a newspaper clipping criticizing RFK for opposing the Vietnam War while favoring military aid to Israel. A background check revealed that as a young child in Palestine, Sirhan had seen the bloodied bodies of Arabs bombed by the Israelis, and his own brother was killed by an enemy truck as it veered to avoid sniper fire. Authorities reasoned that those early experiences had left Sirhan embittered against American politicians, like RFK, who supported Israel.

Even more incriminating was a notebook found in Sirhan's bedroom at his mother's house, in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena. It contained anti-American, procommunist sentiments, and two pages of scrawled, repetitive references to killing RFK. The most damning of these read, "May 18 9:45 AM-68 My determination to eliminate RFK is becoming more the more [sic] of an unshakable obsession ... RFK must die."

The cover-up

From the beginning, a handful of journalists and citizens remained skeptical about the LAPD's conclusions. But when these critics tried to substantiate their suspicions with data from police files, they met massive resistance. The LAPD replied that the files were under lock-and-key, accessible only to those law-enforcement officials with a "need to know." The Los Angeles authorities even initiated legal proceedings against some critics who questioned the official findings.

... the LAPD continued to resist for three more years-until letter campaigns and media coverage made it politically inexpedient to keep the information secret any longer. On April 19, 1988, the files were sent to the California State Archives in Sacramento, where researchers could evaluate the evidence for themselves.

The files made it clear that the LAPD had engaged in a massive cover-up, both during the original investigation and in the intervening twenty years. They'd not only attempted to misconstrue or overlook data that didn't support their lone-assassin view, but they'd actively destroyed evidence that might suggest a conspiracy... Now it learned that:

* The results of the 1968 test firing of Sirhan's gun were missing.

* The test gun used for ballistics comparison and identification was destroyed.

* Over 90% of the audiotaped witness testimony was lost or destroyed. Of the 3470 interviews the LAPD conducted, only 301 were preserved. Key testimony-like 29 witness accounts that suggested conspiracy-was missing, while less important interviews-like that of Sirhan's Bible teacher-remained.

* On August 21, 1968, less than two months after the assassination, 2400 photographs from the original investigation were burned, in the medical-waste incinerator at LA County General Hospital. The LAPD claimed that the photos were duplicates, but there weren't any known logs or inventories of photos that could verify that.

Moreover, Scott Enyart, an amateur photographer who'd been taking pictures the night of the assassination and whose film had been confiscated by police, has never been given back all his photos. His pictures, the only ones that might have captured the actual shooting, weren't in the files.

But even with the limited data that remained, there was still ample evidence to substantiate what critics had been saying all along-that there was a conspiracy to kill RFK.

The evidence for such a conspiracy falls into three key areas. First, it now appears clear that it was impossible for Sirhan to have fired the bullets that killed Kennedy - which means there must have been a second gunman. Second, an abundance of testimony by eye-witnesses suggests that Sirhan had at least two accomplices. Third, Sirhan's political motive-his hatred of RFK for supporting Israel-seems to be either a fabrication of the LAPD or a motive planted by conspirators to divert suspicion 1 from a more sinister plot.

Evidence for a second gunman

... The autopsy revealed three gunshot wounds in Robert Kennedy's body-one behind the right ear, a second near the right armpit and a third 11/2 inches below the armpit wound. A fourth bullet missed his body but pierced the right rear shoulder of his suit coat. All bullets entered from the right rear, at fairly steep upward angles and in a slightly right-to-left direction.

... although witnesses disagree on whether Sirhan shot at RFK while the Senator was turned to his left shaking hands with busboy Juan Romero or whether the handshake had finished and Kennedy was walking forward, all agree that Sirhan approached Kennedy from the front and that the Senator never turned his back to Sirhan.

This is totally inconsistent with the autopsy evidence that the shots came from the rear.

... it's never been shown that it was possible for Sirhan to have fired the fatal shots at RFK. And if he didn't, there must have been a second gunman.

The LAPD's response to the question of extra bullets was to conduct a systematic

cover-up... they destroyed the ceiling tiles and doorframe wood in 1969, as well as records of tests done on the door frames or ceiling tiles. Then, when photos of this crucial area were released, they were identified only by number but lacked captions or labeling. Since there's no corresponding log to indicate what the numbers refer to, they aren't of much use as evidence.

When the destruction of the evidence was revealed in 1975, the LAPD claimed that they'd destroyed the tiles and frame wood because they were "too large to fit into a card file" (needless to say, so is a lot of evidence). Daryl Gates, who at that point was assistant chief of police, claimed that the destruction didn't matter because the tiles and frame wood contained no bullets and therefore weren't evidence.

The DA's office attempted to dispel mounting public suspicion by conducting what critics would dub "the great pantry raid." Investigators descended upon the crime scene to conduct a meticulous search for bullets and bullet holes. Ignoring the fact that the most relevant holes (in the door jamb and ceiling tiles) had been removed and destroyed seven years earlier, they concluded that the one supposedly surviving hole (which in 1968 had allegedly been labeled as a bullet hole) was in fact a nail hole. The day after the raid, an official spokesman dramatically announced that "no other bullets were found last night."

Don Schulman, a runner for KNXT-TV in Los Angeles, also reported seeing a gun other than Sirhan's. He'd been standing behind Kennedy as he walked through the pantry and had seen a security guard fire three times. Immediately after the shooting, Schulman reported his story on the radio and insisted that Kennedy was shot three times. Even though the early media reports and crime--scene witnesses generally asserted that the Senator was hit only twice, Schulman stuck to his story. The autopsy proved him right.

(In later law-enforcement interviews, when Schulman was under pressure to be "absolutely positive" about what he saw, Schulman stated that he didn't see the guard shoot Kennedy, as his first statement seemed to imply. He did assert that he saw the guard fire three times and Kennedy hit three times, but admitted he couldn't necessarily connect the two events.)

When the FBI followed up on Khaiber Khan's story (he was the Kennedy volunteer who'd seen a blond woman at the Wilshire Boulevard headquarters three times prior to the assassination), they found an interesting discrepancy.

Two other workers at the headquarters, Ellenor Severson and Larry Strick, had seen Sirhan there (without a blond companion) at about 2:00 pin on June 2; they also asserted that Khan was present at that time. Strick claimed he'd asked Sirhan if he needed help, and Sirhan had replied, "I'm with him," pointing to Khan. Severson corroborated Strick's story. But Khan claimed that he wasn't at headquarters at that time, that he couldn't remember any such incident and that he'd never seen Sirhan before the assassination.

When the FBI and the LAPD began to pursue this angle of the case, they found that Khan had an interesting history. According to their files, he'd once been influential in the Iranian government and had later fled to the US to escape the Shah. Lately he'd been working at the local Kennedy headquarters, recruiting young volunteers for the campaign.

While this information on Khan's background was true, it was incomplete. In a 1965 article in The Nation, Fred J. Cook revealed important facets of Khan's life that never appeared in the official files. In 1944, at age 20, Khan joined British intelligence and ran an Iranian spy ring. After World War II, he served as a liaison between the occupying allied forces in Iran and several Iranian tribes, and was awarded an aristocratic title for his efforts.

Cook credited Khan with helping the CIA overthrow Iranian Premier Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. The coup rid the US of the left-leaning premier who'd nationalized a British oil company and put a puppet ruler, Shah Reza Pahiavi, in power.

According to Cook, Khan achieved great power in Iran, until a falling out with the Shah sent him into exile in London. From there he lived an opulent lifestyle, directing his spies to gather damaging evidence about the Shah's finances. In 1963, he entered the US; shortly afterwards, he was able to document the Shah's theft of US foreign aid and bring this to the attention of Congress and the Johnson administration.

Although his public discrediting of the Shah infuriated certain elements of the US State Department (which believed the Shah was an essential pillar of US interests in the Persian Gull), it undoubtedly also had the blessing, if not the backing, of some elements within government and intelligence circles.

There's certainly evidence that Khan was doing something that the British and US governments perceived as worthwhile. In London, two Scotland Yard detectives provided security for him, and he drove a Rolls Royce with Washington DC plates. Once in the US, the House of Representatives filed a bill to grant him political and economic relief from the oppression of the Iranian government.

Given Khan's background, political connections and wealth, it's highly unusual that he would choose to serve the Kennedy campaign as a local volunteer. The timing of his volunteer work is also strange. Although he claimed to have "personally spent considerable time" at Kennedy headquarters, in reality he'd only worked there four days (June 1-4).

Of course, none of these oddities render Khan guilty of anything. But the question remains why the investigating agencies simply ignored Khan's background as a master of espionage... was it because Khan might alert the LAPD to conspiratorial leads that they were determined not to pursue?

Who had a motive?

Who hated Bobby Kennedy enough to have him murdered? RFK began to accrue enemies during his brother's presidency (when he served as attorney general). Both Kennedys angered some of the most powerful individuals or groups in America, including:

* the Mafia, who'd been the victim of the administration's unprecedented crackdown on organized crime (RFK had actually deported New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello)

* FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who'd been forced by the attorney general to go after the Mafia (Hoover had denied for years that organized crime existed and preferred to concentrate on eliminating "communists")

* elements of the CIA, who'd participated in the 1961 attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs (the Kennedy brothers who felt they'd been misled by the CIA about the strength of Castro's forces refused to send air support when the invaders met powerful resistance; afterwards, JFK fired CIA director Allen Dulles, and Bobby Kennedy took on a role in CIA policy that was anathema to some of the most swashbuckling CIA veterans)

The old animosities only increased when RFK announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Both his old enemies and several new ones had a lot to lose from an RFK presidency. That list included:

* ex-Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, whom RFK, as attorney general, had sent to prison for jury tampering (if RFK became president, Hoffa would have had to serve his entire thirteen year sentence, but President Nixon pardoned him)

* right-wing and racist groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, who feared RFK's strong commitment to civil rights

* Southern California ranchers who feared Kennedy's support of César Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union-and who, according to an FBI report, had once put out a $500,000 contract on RFK's life (if the union leaders succeeded in organizing thousands of farm workers, the ranchers' profits and power would plummet)

* hard-line cold warriors in the military and intelligence community-even the defense industry-who saw that an RFK presidency would create a complete reversal of US policy in Vietnam

With enemies like these, the pat explanation that Sirhan Sirhan assassinated RFK for his support of Israel seems far less persuasive-especially since RFK's Middle East stance differed very little from the other candidates'. The individuals or groups mentioned above had much more powerful reasons to keep RFK from becoming president in 1968.

Re-opening the case

The question is often asked: why bother to re-investigate this case? It's been so long, why stir up painful memories?

There are at least three arguments for reinvestigation. First, and most obviously, if Sirhan didn't kill RFK, his murderers should be brought to justice.

Second, we need to understand the root causes of the violence that threatens our democratic system. It's important to know whether Robert Kennedy was killed because of a muddled young Palestinian with a political grudge, or because powerful interests in America didn't want him to be president. If the latter's the case, those powerful interests can strike again, whenever they feel threatened.

Third, the LAPD's handling of the case must be reviewed, because law enforcement agencies and officials must be accountable to the public. The JFK and MLK assassinations have both been reviewed by organizations beyond the local jurisdiction, but the RFK assassination case has never been.

Even if it's too late to bring RFK's murderers to justice, it will strengthen American democracy to know the truth about. his murder. That truth can help check the powerful interests who manipulate the American political process to their own ends.

CIA Agents killed Robert Kennedy
When the patsy, Sirhan Sirhan, most likely under the influence of scopolamine, opened fire on Robert Kennedy from the front, a CIA agent fired the kill shot at close range into the back of Kennedy's head.

The same agent who coordinated the operation and was at the scene, was later brought out of retirement to "handle" the congressional investigation into the assasination.

All 3 members of the assasination team are now dead, but many of those connected to them still hold high offices in government.

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RFK Assassination
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