In the Buddhist temples of ancient Japan the monks, who had trained and learned in the temples of China, practiced not only the Buddhist austerities, but also other arts related to the teachings of Buddhism that are not always known outside of temple life. Some of these arts were eventually passed on to Buddhist Samurai. Nimpo was a principle which dealt with one of the most important aspects of religious faith. That principle, which is a constant of all religions, is also considered one of the most important virtues of life, patience. Normally Nin is translated stealth and deals with skills which can be used in regard to espionage and clandestine work. However, the development of these abilities come from the lessons learned in the practice of religious patience.
Nimpo came to stand for all of the auxiliary forms of training which could lead to spiritual enlightenment and had the side benefit of making a person's martial arts much more effective and efficient. One of the most useful and distinctive arts which came to be practiced by both monks and warriors was known as Karumijutsu, the body lightening art.
The idea behind this art was to help the practitioner of Kempo lift their Ki that is their spiritual nature to a higher level, which was symbolized by their ability to move with lightened bodily movement. This was accomplished, according to the great temple Kempo master James Masayoshi Mitose, through the practice of what he called temple dance and escape arts. This type of training is believed to have been used by nearly all those who practiced some form of Ninjutsu as well, and has been intricately linked to many Kempo and Aiki styles. There has been mentioned in the writings of Daito Ryu and Kosho Ryu, the Odori, or dance, which seem to be the foundation form of practice for the development of Karumijutsu. Body lightening considered not only the physical aspect of the exercise, but also the mental and spiritual aspect. The physical aspect of the art was taught in several jumping patterns usually referred to as Hichojutsu, which literally means the leaping and flying art. It is sad that today many people either do not understand the art, calling it the climbing art, or are trying to misrepresent it to the public.
Currently, the Odori of Kosho Ryu is preserved in the teachings of the Koga Ha Kosho Shorei Ryu Kempo system of Nimr Hassan, who trained with James Masayoshi Mitose in the seventies and was taught personally the Odori of Kosho Ryu Kempo in the backyard of Mitose's home, where most of his training was carried on. Before he died in 1981, James Mitose wrote a book called, What is True Self Defense?, in which he preserved the patterns which were used in the temple dance of his family art.
Unfortunately, many people had no idea what was actually contained in that volume and only Nimr Hassan, who had trained in the patterns and learned the Koppo applications of the movements could actually interpret the message contained in the esoteric document. Within the book was the Ashisabaki, foot movement, of the patterns known as Ichimonji, Shikakkei, Sankakkei, Denkokei, and Hakkakkei; respectively, the straight line, the square, the triangle, the zigzag, and the octagon patterns.
Karumijutsu, body lightening art, is a method of mentally focusing a person's Ki to any area. Thus a person can make their body light, by raising the center of their Ki. They can also make their body heavy by lowering it. During this process it is best to practice these skills by performing the Hichojutsu, leaping techniques. In the concept of developing combat skills, the best pattern to practice in the beginning is the Shikakkei, in that through the practice of moving through a square you are practicing how to jump towards an attacker, sideways from an aggressor, or back...