Why Zeropoint training?

*Written by Japan resident and long time Bujinkan member, Vaughan Moir.pile up point

I live in Japan and travel to Chiba monthly to train with Soke and the four Shihan. For the last couple of years I have also been training with some of the foreign instructors living in Japan. While they all have something to offer, training with Rob in the Zeropoint system has been by far the most valuable training. Why?:

1. You learn skills that enable you to isolate and then integrate movements that are fundamental to Bujinkan Taijutsu.

2. Having learned these Kihon movements, you are able to understand how Soke and the Shihan are using taijutsu and kyojitsu to affect their opponent’s balance and control the kukan. Zeropoint training provides a key to clarifying and defining the Bujinkan’s fundamental movement, giving you a structure with which to look at what Soke and his top shihan are teaching, and therefore adds value to your training in Japan.

3. You learn a series of exercises that will quickly transform your reflexes, and from that, the way that you train. Many people try to show their “feeling” of Soke’s movement, but Zeropoint training has specific drills and exercises that directly affect your taijutsu.

At first I thought that there were all these amazing coincidences occurring; I would train with Rob, then train with Soke or the Shihan, and see exactly the same points emphasized. After a few months, I realized that the Shihan were doing these things all the time.

No coincidence! I just never had the eyes to see what they were doing before, despite having trained in the Bujinkan for many years. Zeropoint training gave me those eyes.

Add value to your training! Check out Rob and the Zeropoint Dojo while you’re in Japan.

Vaughan Moir

Posted in Articles, News, TrainingThoughts
2 comments on “Why Zeropoint training?
  1. alfred says:

    thankyou for sharing your insight on this .i lookforward to training with shihan rob when he comes to ireland

  2. Rod Muller says:

    I first started attending Rob’s Zeropoint classes last year. After ten years of living and training in Japan, I felt that I needed to see training from a new perspective to progress further in the art. There were many things that Soke and the Shitennou were teaching that I was having trouble grasping. I was really immediately impressed by what I saw. We went right back to basics, but not in the typical Bujinkan sense. We didn’t drill the sanshin no kata or kihongata…not at first. Everything started from the stretching. Rob’s background is in exercise physiology and kinesthetics, and if you ever have a chance to speak with him on the subject, you will realize how deep his understanding is…especially as it relates to Budo. What he has done is taken the key exercises from the junan taiso (the Bujinkan basic stretching exercises), added some joint mobility and strengthening exercises, to make a warm up that ideally leads to a structurally stronger, more flexible body suited for budo taijutsu training.
    And it all starts from there.
    The next step is the ukemi, which includes rolling and receiving attacks. That first class definitely changed the way I thought about rolling. I had been fairly confident in my rolling ability before coming, but I soon realized how many bad habits I had developed, partly from repetition of the same movement over and over throughout the years, and partly from pour conditioning of the core muscles needed to maintain kamae throughout a roll. Rob’s main point that day was that everything is kamae, and you have to maintain your good structure at all times, even during a roll…..and this is why you have to create a structurally strong body. During the classes since then, we have rolled from every possible angle and position, but always with that main idea in mind. It was tough, but after a few classes I really noticed an improvement.
    From rolling, we move into receiving punches, knife cuts, swords cuts etc., while maintaining our good kamae. Rob’s next main point was about distancing, something that after ten years I thought was fairly obvious, but again, I discovered some of my bad habits. Rob has a very keen eye when it comes to watching how Soke and the Shihan move. He catches the subtle nuances of their movement, and will often mimic it in his class. So much so, that often something we worked on in his morning class will appear in a shihan’s class later that day. Soke and the Shitennou’s distancing is different, and so is Rob’s. He often emphasizes the “one-step in,one-step out” rule when receiving attacks, but like Soke and the Shihan, he never seems to move, yet he always seems to be just out of range by the “width of a paper”.
    We did work on the Sanshin and kihongata after that, but not like I had ever done before. Rob has a very fresh approach to the “basics” all stemming back to his basic concepts of structure and kamae. Through a lot of “play” and experimentation, as well as watching the Soke and Shihan, Rob has taken the “orthodox” ways of doing the Kihon Happo, and turned them all upside down and sideways to the point where he take perform any of them (ura/omotte gyaku, musha dori, oni kudaki etc.) at any time, with any part of his body. Ultimately, these “unorthodox” (but not really, if you understand freely moving taijutsu) are put to the test in the last twenty minutes of class when you have apply them to multiple attacker situations. This is by no means easy, but again, Rob has broken down the multiple attacker scenario into its key elements. At first, it’s quite difficult to do without resorting to power or strikes. I have to say that Rob handles multiple attackers brilliantly, and seemingly without much effort. He just sticks people together, keeps his own kamae, and breaks down the attacker’s…easy, right? One other thing that I liked about the class was the unpredictability and freedom with which Rob moved. He has a good understanding of kyojitsu (stealing a person’s focus through manipulating what they believe is happening), and he does this with his distance and timing, but also with proprioception (to understand more about this subject, check out the article on Shinnenjutsu found at this web site). A little tap here, or nudge there (done with all parts of the body), and your body moves to adjust, compromising your good structure and leaving you vulnerable to any number of attacks. It sounds simple enough, but try it with five attackers at the same time!
    If you’re in the Kashiwa/Noda area for training, I highly recommend you check out Rob’s class. I can honestly say that many things I couldn’t grasp before, I can actually do now with some degree of confidence. If there is something from Soke’s class or one of the Shitennou’s classes that you’re having trouble with, he can explain and demonstrate it – simply and clearly.
    Not every great martial artist is a great teacher, and vice versa, but Rob, because of his background and the amount of time he has put into training, is excellent at both. Among the many shihan, he is definitely one of the gems.

    Rod Muller

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