Interview with shihan Steffen Frohlich

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I made this interview with shihan Steffen Frohlich during his seminar in Macedonia (01/02.11.2008)
                                                                                      Igor Dovezenski

Igor Dovezenski: Mr. Frohlich, do you remember how you got infected with the so-called ninjutsu „virus“?
Steffen Frohlich:

When you are young the bodily aspect of martial arts fascinates you.
Bruce Lee made me start with karate in 1975 and I have spent much time
on various championships. I was at the same time searching for
backgrounds, so I visited France and Yugoslavia for many times to train with well – known teachers.
Albrecht Pflüger, a karate pioneer, I came across the foundations of
Budo and developed my interest in other martial arts. Starting from
Jujutsu in alliance with Yoga, than involving different meditative
forms, following Philippine stick fighting with J. Cui Brocka, finally
in Germany 1982 I have been faced with the almost unknown martial art
ninjutsu for the first time.
has been a stony path from the first contact with this mystic martial
art, until the first contact with the grandmaster. In 1983, a small
group of people who were fascinated of ninjutsu arose and everyone had
a different belief of how the training should be conceptualised and of
the essence of ninjutsu.
In France, there was Sylvain Guintard, a famous teacher at that time, who had a contact to Japan.
I own him a lot, including the introduction to spiritual teachers. He
has been a shugendo – priest and a first class sword master.
Together with him I met Soke Masaaki Hatsumi in 1987 in England at the first European Taikai. It was then when I was introduced to Soke.
This was the beginning of an absolute new life in every regard.

Igor Dovezenski: You are the founder and chairman of I.N.A.G.. What kind of organization we are talking about?
Steffen Frohlich:

This is easy to explain. At the beginning of the 80ies it was important
to form a syndicate. We called it Incorporated Ninjutsu Association
Germany, short INAG. This community effected many positive things. Many
interested people found a dojo through the INAG and many teachers the
needed training sites. Because of the strength of this community it was
possible to invite Soke two times to Germany
to the Taikai and to sell his magazine Sanmyaku. It would be inadequate
if I show off with more positive effects. Primarily, the future of
Bujinkan will show us the importance of a strong company in this
community. Lately, many dojo- and interested groups come together, just
as the INAG did with the open structure BUJINKAN DEUTSCHLAND. There is
no a formal community or any other akin – only Sokes Bujinkan in Japan is deciding, as long as a teacher teaches his way.
Many countries that didn’t work similar to this way are on the track to catch up.

Igor Dovezenski: In Germany, there is a relatively good collaboration among Bujinkan dojo-s. How did you achieve that?
Steffen Frohlich:

It is important to grow up together and learn from each other. So, we
have never missed an opportunity to talk about common interests while
we had meetings (Shidoshi Kai). Therefore, it was possible to arrange
two Taikai together with Soke in Frankfurt am Main, and in 2008, a
Taikai of all 10 Dan-s in Reutlingen.
Even when people got different ideas, they should never lose respect for each other – thats the secret!

Igor Dovezenski: What do you think about Soke Hatsumi’s “Buyu” concept?
Steffen Frohlich:
The life in Sokes real Bujinkan Budo is coined intuitive. A person
gets a possibility to bloom and is under development that comes
straight from the heart. Soke talks about a big family that should
break international borders and human bounds, and to live in peace with
each other. He teaches us that from the aspect of martial arts, it is
easy to gain positive energy. So, he founded a structure in our family
to realize that. His graduation system is beyond other martial arts
systems and also evaluates in a different manner. First the technique
feature counts, later more and more the mental features. He sees people
as individuals to whom he gives the possibility to become different,
fully developed ones. He is talking about a process of developing into
a wise person who rests in oneself and who brings tolerance,
comprehension, compassion and harmony for oneself and his environment.

Igor Dovezenski: This year theme is “no theme”. How do you perceive it?
Steffen Frohlich:

The taoist teaching tends to achieve comprehension and the conversion
to yin – yang, the differences and the relations to each other. Here we
need an open heart, and of course attendance – so it would be possible
for us to develop the needed Space – Spirit – Feeling. The differences
and their values taught us to understand Yu Ko – the cooperation,
finding and playing together with the dragon and tiger of our
personality – the understanding of our body and soul.
of the last years Densho and Senseis teaching, we became able to
understand how to open (KUKAN NO SUKI) and how to close (KUKAN NO TATE)
the mental door.
Sensei said that we trained that in the exterior block (OMOTE). This year we want to turn to the interior block.
study this there is no need for a Ryu as a theme, so said Sensei.  We
should deal freely and unbound with the basics and foundations, which
we need to work out and understand. Also, the teachers on their own
responsibility should teach the whole spectrum of Bujinkan.

Igor Dovezenski: According to you, what is a direction Bujinkan is moving to?
Steffen Frohlich:

I am a positive and optimistic person and that is the way I see the
upcoming education. It is important that the teachers talk to each
other. It is not that I live in my own dreamland so that I do not know
that this is not going to be easy. We have to learn that we need a lot
of tolerance and understanding.
are a normal family. The most important thing is a good workout with a
good teacher. For many years I am in profound contact with Soke. He
once said: If a real searching person meets a real giving other, then
paths will come together.
changed my life altogether.  When he is talking to me he wants
naturalness. We were talking in April about the big changes in the
world and the expecting consequences.
him it is important that people understand his teachings right. We
should teach true Budo and teach our students the real values. If the
so called family of the Bujinkan teaches values like tolerance, trust
and harmony, then his lifework was not in vain.