Hand signs

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by warriorofanart, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. warriorofanart

    warriorofanart Valued Member

    Hi, I have been curious about this for a while, and did some search on it, but I dont know which are correct. The Ninjutsu hand signs, what are they for? do they help in meditation for directing energy flow? or something else. Thanks.
  2. Kikaku

    Kikaku Gakorai Tosha Akuma Fudo

    You're describing Kuji hand signs. They’re adapted from Buddhism if I'm not mistaken. They're suppose to promote different feelings, of power, courage, faith etc. Used in meditation and before battle as a type of prayer.

    In my view it's no different than making the sign of the cross, if you're Christian before engaging in something which requires the types of feeling stated above.
  3. snake_plisskin

    snake_plisskin Valued Member

    A little fyi, go over to the Chinese Internal Martial arts section and inquire about Chinese qigong or "chi gung" and see what they say. The interweaving of the fingers might, and I'm no expert, having something to do with connecting different meridians like we learned in my shiatsu class in order to promote different flows of energy that do, indeed, if even on a subconscious or psychosuggestion (e.g. placebo) level induce altered or influenced emotional states.


    AND, for anyone who actually knows, ever see the pics of Soke Hatsumi, where he's giving the "rock and roll heavy metal" symbol with his fingers? Now, I've been drilled in the neck with forefinger and pinky and almost dropped in one shot, so it's a very painful thing there. But, has, other than that one shot, has anyone determined the reason for giving the "heavy metal" symbol? Just curious, too. I've seen it as a form of projecting energy when I taught my philosophy class and took my students to a Leni Lenape dreamwork seminar, where the two shamans there actually used it as part of their meditation rituals. I didn't know if that was "authentic" or something "New Age" and just added to modern-day rituals for a gullible public. Any theories?

    By the way, the whole kuji/hand symbol thing was explained in EXCRUCIATING DETAIL some time ago on this forum. A search might help speed things along. My information is by no means authoritative whatsoever and simply based on my personal experience doing seated qigong and examining old (e.g. circa 1953) Rosicrucian (con artist?) texts left me by my grandparents.
  4. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Snake... I'm far far far from an expert, but that "rock" kuji i HEAR is from kukishinden ryu and represents some kind of "oni" ( ??? ) projection onto your opponent. Again, I'm prolly full of it, but I swear i heard that from somewhere....

    If you look at some kukishinden ryu bojutsu kata, you'll see it alot while holding the bo as well....

    Kukishinden = Nine demon gods school............... ???
  5. Keikai

    Keikai Banned Banned

    Read through old post on kuji kiri, there are lots on here.
  6. benkyoka

    benkyoka one million times

    I read/heard/was told (whichever) that the 'rock and roll' sign was a fox. And my young japanese preschoolers think so too...
  7. DBeckerman

    DBeckerman Valued Member

    As far as I heard that too that hand sign is supposed to represent the fox.
  8. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Guess I'm just stupid then... oops.
  9. bencole

    bencole Valued Member

    Not so fast, Siphus. Granted, you are a bit loopie every now and again :D , but there MAY be some truth to what you have claimed based upon things I've heard....

    I've also seen the hand signs done in two different ways: one with the fingernails of the middle and ring finger exposed (pushing forward like the snout of a fox) and one with the fingernails covered by the thumb (like a rocker).

    They could be "the same kuji" or they could be distinct (thus making both "answers" viable explanations). I personally do not know. Only asking Soke can really clarify things.

  10. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    The only time I've seen it used IN PERSON is while holding a bo. Again, this is personal experience...


    I'm loopy ? :cry:
  11. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Although... thinking on things... The "fox" is regarded in some Japanese religions and lore to have close symbolism to demons. In fact, one religion holds the fox to high standards, having statues and symbols and such. If I'm not mistaken, the "demon fox" can be found in many paintings and artwork. Usually the "fox god" (forgot wut its called but could also be used as fox demon if you use the right kanji) is shown with a human body and the head of a fox. Usually symbolizing a person who can change forms or shape shift to decieve people. Kyojitsu anyone? How far does this rabbit (fox) hole go...?


    Not to mention the main character in the famous Ninja anime, Naruto, can shape shift into a Demon fox with NINE tails!!!! How's that for research?
  12. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

  13. snake_plisskin

    snake_plisskin Valued Member

    Foxy LAY-Dee!

    Hmmmm...interesting take on things. Here is something from a birthday present I received in 2001. Its title is: Art of Japan: A Celebration. Introduction and captions by Barbara Ford, Curator of Japanese Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    "Tale of a Strange Marriage" ("Konkai Soshi") detail of larger work

    Ukita Ikkei (1795-1859) Handscroll, ink and mineral pigments on paper

    Image of several well-dressed foxes, one of which appears to hold his flaming tail, and another which appears on fire and dancing (?) atop a big long-stemmed metal bell. Text by Ms. Ford reads as follows:

    "Fox weddings, popularly held to be marked by a sun shower, have long figured in Japanese lore. The brilliant setting of this one, replete with references to illustrated narratives of the imperial past, is pointedly at odds with the bestial nuptials taking place in the eerie light of fox fire emitted from the attendants' tails. This work may express the artist's opposition to the marriage of an imperial princess to a shogun, a marriage proposed to make peace between the government and the imperial faction that opposed the treaties opening Japan to the Western world."

    From another page on "Fox Fire at the Changing Tree on New Year's Eve at Oji" by Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858).

    "Foxes gather beneath an old leafless tree and an evergreen pine on a starry night. According to legend, all the foxes in eastern Japan gathered there to take human form for the customary New Year's visit to the Oji-Inari shrine, dedicated to the fox diety."

    Just a little something to add to the mystery.

    For reference sake, in the book "Ninja Submission", on page 3 is a huge picture of Hatsumi Soke doing the "rock and roll fox symbol" raised high above his head, finger knuckles and thumb apparently curled in and the inside of the hand is either angled toward himself or "out/toward enemy". Forward hand is cut off and unviewable in my copy.

    On page 33 is smaller photograph, apparently the same picture, which clearly shows him performing with his forward hand the same symbol with his left hand as well. The pointer and pinky are splayed outward and do not appear to be parallel.

    And that's just a little bit mo'.

    --Insnake in the membrake
  14. warriorofanart

    warriorofanart Valued Member

    Thanks, I thought it had to with meditation or something. I'll do a search on that post and post it when I find it.
  15. Moldavite_E

    Moldavite_E New Member

    Some weird Buddhist ****e and stuff

    Hello, warriorofanart,

    I don’t how well this would go down if at all from someone from a non-martial art discipline but I would like to offer my humble ‘take’ on “hand signs”. First, a quote from one of your own:

    “The most common misconception concerning the kuji-in powers seems to be the mistaken idea that the hand position alone is a mechanical form of supernatural magic that will immediately produce some sort of unworldly effects that break universal laws to provide for the ninja wizard whatever he desires at the moment. It does not work that way. Though a description of the nine kuji powers appears in the fifth chapter of Stephen K. Hayes' WARRIOR WAYS OF ENLIGHTENMENT; NINJA Vol 2 , it would be impossible for anyone to self-teach themselves the powers of the kuji goshin ho from the purposely incomplete kuji material in that volume. These abilities could be compared with the act of getting power from a running automobile engine. With (1) just the mechanical parts, but (2) no fuel or electrical current to fire the engine, and without (3) the human intelligence necessary to tune the engine and start the ignition, the engine is nothing but an inert pile of intertwined steel shapes. Likewise the hand postures of the kuji goshin ho must be brought to power through specific effects of the intellect and the channeled intention of the practitioner. That ability takes time to cultivate, and requires an experienced teacher for guidance.”


    Hand gestures are certainly not exclusive to ninjutsu.

    They have been long used before in Shinto-, Zen- (from which at least some of the spiritual aspects of ninjutsu are derived, I believe), and Tendai- Japanese Buddhism.

    Hand gestures/symbols are also known and used in other schools of Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. They are similar to and/or are used in conjunction with written symbols/words and/or “mantras”. There was a good point made in the kuji-in thread of a while ago by one of your members, which bears repeating here for those who might start getting shirty about all this apparent talk about weird and fanciful Eastern religions: Buddhism, for one, is not a religion; it’s a philosophy.

    I’m a practicing Usui Reiki Ryoho Master and Chios Level II practitioner, with interests in other Reiki-related or Reiki-like healing modalities of different cultural backgrounds.

    In my own experience, I would describe the hand gestures/symbols in Reiki as instruments or conduits of Universal Life Force ("Rei") as well as personal "ki" or “qi” (Chinese). They help (and they do) pinpoint will or desire in the practitioner.

    Speaking on Usui Reiki alone because of the context of this thread and that the Shinto and Tendai Buddhist background of its Japanese ‘founder’ Mikao Usui seem roughly relevant, four main symbols are used to empower/‘amp’ energy channelling and/or direct more specific ‘types’ of energy.

    Two of the symbols consist of Kanji or Chinese [sic] script, words in the Chinese language found in any Chinese dictionary. The other two may have shamanic origin or are possibly renderings of Sanskrit words. Nothing mysterious at all in the symbols themselves, except to say they are imbued with their own consciousness, and can only be activated by those who have had those symbols previously ‘placed’ in their chakras by a Master during the process of “attunement”, to harness the Universal Life Force when needed to begin a channelling session. In other healing modalities, there are even more specific symbols for channelling to the non-physical “bodies” of a client.

    Physical sensations I have felt/seen in myself and/or have been reported by my clients during channellings as soon as and/or at the actual point I’m ‘activating’ the symbols (by drawing/visualising/intending/saying out loud or to oneself), include tingling, ‘‘waves”, heat, “sparks”, spinning of the central meridian/energy vortex, colour ‘flashes’, ‘orbs’ of light, cold.

    Am I a “gullible, New Age” type, one or two of you may wont to ask. There have been times, including recently, I have asked myself this. Especially on the “gullible” part.

    I’m learning not to overly worry about the detractors who have never been ‘in it’, tried and practiced it for themselves before dismissing all as New Age mumbo jumbo in one fell swoop, or even listen too much to Neo-Hippies in tie dye shirts on happy drugs. I drink on average one or two units of alcohol a week, have never been/am not on long term medication, recently gave up red meat, have never been/am not religious, my educational background is in English (literature), later applied behavioural analysis and special education. My own family can be loosely described as “Daoist” but this a huge stretch of the term for our quarterly shenanigans at the local temple that is not much more than superstition and animism just to keep the family elders happy. (A Western equivalent of this might be “Catholic only on the holidays”.)

    I’m no huge advocate (read: BORE) for energy healing; what I do try to do is to cultivate or maintain a constantly evolving and questioning beginner’s mind and to plainly report what I have sensed/felt/seen myself without exaggeration or embellishment. What I’ve said is not hearsay. (Apart from the first part of this post about symbols in other religions, of which I have no firsthand experience except a little experimenting with sound vibration, and esoteric symbols used in the practice of geomancy, the last as a client, not a practitioner.)

    I also speak as someone who still remembers being on the ‘outside’ looking in. I wasn’t too impressed with the two Reiki Masters I first met 14 months ago whose free talk was the first of only two I’ve been to so far, although they are lovely enough people. Yet, there was no way of telling or discounting Reiki without going through the attunement or ‘initiation’. So I just had to, er, ‘do it’, to borrow another Americanism, almost with a mind to discredit or discount it before I even started.

    Several years before, the words of an acquaintance who disparagingly described Reiki as “qigong Lite” weighed heavily on my mind. Though I must admit it was due to my own personal laziness more than any extraneous factors that stopped me from really finding out for myself, just in the spirit of enquiry and adventure.

    I’m not able to Apparatate or turn obnoxious rival wizards into ferrets (yet, I might add – how I wish!), yet what I have felt and seen in less than a year in the ‘business’ is quite outside anything I had ever experienced in ‘ordinary’ life.


    PS: Apologies to all for being rude and jumping in without an introduction, this is my first post. I was introduced to this forum by your own well-regarded snake_plisskin some time ago, an acquaintance of a number of years until we lost touch. I mention him not to ride off his coat tails at all, last thing I would like to do, just thought it better form or etiquette to give the reference. Thanks.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2006
  16. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Hey, welcome to the craziness. Enjoy your stay, and please, keep more information filled posts coming. Thanks!

  17. Cardinal

    Cardinal New Member

  18. warriorofanart

    warriorofanart Valued Member

    Moldavite_E Thanks for the very informative post, It answered all the questions that I had. Welcome to the map, And keep the good posts coming. :)
  19. Brad Ellin

    Brad Ellin Baba

    I know only one, rather effective, hand sign. Been known to use it while driving here in Texas. Seems to work :Angel:
  20. stephenk

    stephenk Valued Member

    We westerners have plenty of kuji in our own traditions, handed down from our traditions.

    I see baseball players 'do kuji' often before they go up to bat.

    It funny, even one of the most important 'western kuji' is even the same as the one kuji that EVERY Bujinkan member knows and does all the time.

    ..back in my cage...d'oh...

    or is that mudra....whatever...

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