Shinhenjutsu Shoden (心変術初伝)

Shinhenjutsu shoden contains three general areas for the development of willpower, flexibility and agility, necessary for the more advanced practice of ninjutsu; stress positions (kuroshigamae 黒構),  stretching exercises (juunan taisou 柔軟体操) and acrobatics (taigi 体技). Kuroshigamae are isometric exercises that reinforce posture and develop the willpower to push through pain and physical stress. Juunan Taisou are fundamental stretching exercises to improve the pliability of the body. Taigi are basic acrobatic techniques to develop agility and become comfortable with rolling, tumbling and falling.  

Stress Positions [Kuroshigamae] (黒構)

Kuroshigamae (黒構) are isometric exercises that train both muscle endurance, willpower and posture. These techniques will reinforce postures found in Togakureha and improve strength for both acrobatics and evasion.  

[一] Sun Clasp Posture [Tentou Gasshou no Kamae] (天等合掌の構): Place both hands together then bring the feet together. Raise the heels off the ground and stretch both hands up above the head. 

[二] Broad Straight Line Posture [Hira Ichimonji no Kamae] (平一文字の構): Drop into a low squat so that the knees are sitting above the ankles and the lower legs are perpendicular to the ground. Bring the arms out and wide so they are parallel with the ground.

[三] Transition Posture [Ihen no Kamae] (詒変の構): Drop into a low squat and turn to the side. Keep the knee over the ankle and the lower leg perpendicular to the ground. Straighten the back and move into ichi no kamae, placing weight onto the lead leg. 

[四] Bird Posture [Hichou no Kamae] (飛鳥の構): Drop into a low squat, then raise one leg placing the foot below the knee, while shifting weight onto the other leg. Bring the arms into ichi no kamae. 

[五] Prone Posture [Utsumu no Kamae] (俯向の構): From a low squat, bring the arms into a triangle position, then drop forward into a prone position supported by the arms. 

[六] Downward Facing Dog Posture [Kudari Inu no Kamae] (猫の構): From a standing posture, lower the hands to the ground and shift the legs back slightly bearing weight on the arms. Push the shoulders up to the ears.

These techniques are most effective when pushing the body to the limit. When doing the Kuroshigamae stretch, drop or hold in the most difficult position possible, higher stress on the body is more important than time holding these positions. 

Stretching Exercises [Juunan Taisou] (柔軟体操)

Juunan Taisou (柔軟体操) are a suite of basic stretches to improve the flexibility of the body. 

[一] Foot Stretching [Ashi Nobi] (足伸び): From a seated position, stretch out the legs and bring the foot across. Massage the pressure points on the soles of the feet then pull the toes back and forward. Finish by rotating the ankle. Do the same for both sides.

[二] Forward and Back Bend [Koukutsu Zenkutsu] (後屈前屈): With the heels together, bend forward touching the toes. Hold, then lie back and bring the feet over the touching the ground behind, then hold. 

[三] Pelvis and Leg Bend [Awaze Ashi Zenkutsu] (合わぜ足前屈): Bring the soles of the feet together and push down on the knees, then stretch forward and hold. Then open the legs and stretch forward, hold. 

[四] Forward and Back Spine Stretch [Sesuji Nobi] (背筋伸び): From a kneeling position, drop back and bring the arms forward, hold. Pull forward and push up, hold. Reset back to kneeling position. Hold legs and push pelvis forward, hold. 

[五] Arm Stretching [Ude Nobi] (腕伸び): From a kneeling position, stretch the arms forward and rotate the wrists separately clockwise and counter clockwise. Grab the wrist and rotate in while pulling up to stretch the elbow, do this for both sides. Bring the opposite arm under and around, pulling the arm back to stretch the elbow. Pull the arm across the body and catch with the other arm, stretching the shoulder, do this for both sides.

[六] Neck Stretching [Kubi Nobi] (首伸び): From a kneeling position, hold one leg and pull the neck the other direction, rolling gently. Do this for both sides.

These exercises are most effective after warming up using either taihenjutsu or kuroshigamae. Stretching cold will not provide great benefits. Juunan Taisou can be be combined with kihenjutsu to improve the range of stretches.

Acrobatics [Taigi] (体技)

Taigi (体技) are a range of acrobatic techniques that complement ukemi. Taigi require a great deal more energy than ukemi, but can greatly improve range of motion and mobility. 

[一] Forward Tumble [Zenpou Korogari] (前方転がり): From a squatting position, roll forward in a straight line over the back, tucking the knees to the chest, then returning to a low squat.

[二] Backward Tumble [Kouhou Korogari] (後方転がり): From a squatting position, roll back using the arms to push up, tucking the knees to the chest and then returning to a low squat.

[三] Handstand [Sakadachi] (逆立ち): From a standing position, step forward and place hands on the ground, lifting up the body in a straight posture. Hold. 

[四] Cartwheel [Sokuten] (側転): From a standing position, step forward and place one hand on the ground, lifting the body and transitioning into a side handstand, then landing on the lead foot.

[五] Bridge [Hashi] (橋): From a prone position on the back, bring the arms back and the legs in, then raise up.

[六] Back Bend [Nokezori] (仰反): From a standing posture, squat down and roll back, then push up and come into the bridge posture.  

These exercises should be practiced consistently to develop a comfortable understanding of the body and the effect of gravity on the body. Ukemi and taigi together can greatly improve safety and evasion capabilities. 

Review and Conclusion

Shinhenjutsu complements both taihenjutsu and kihenjutsu. The focus of shinhenjutsu is agility, mobility and flexibility, allowing greater movement ability in a variety of situations. Shinhenjutsu can also greatly improve the understanding of the techniques of the Togakure Ryu.