Some of you will call me a heretic, but....

Discussion in 'Ninjitsu' started by Daniel Miller, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    Oh crap, here we go another Anthony Cummings documentary... you really have to be careful here and sort out the fiction from the truth. Cummings has credibility is very questionable, as well if he was actually trained in the arts or not is debatable. He has written a few books on ninjutsu, referencing some ninjutsu texts that exist, but if his translation and insight to the actual meaning of the words may not be accurate.

    Just my thoughts on this.
  2. Daniel Miller

    Daniel Miller Warrior Instructor

    thanks, good to know.
  3. Ian Sinclair

    Ian Sinclair Bushido Warrior

    I have been studying Bujinkan for the last 12mths or so. Bujinkan is a martial arts system that uses and older version of jujitsu sort of thing for its un-armed combat. All the fighting skills u see there are pretty much samurai skills too. I'm told by my sensei they use to do more ninja espionage tactics in the past, but do to terrorist issues and what not they backed right down. I don't know whether i would consider ninjutsu a "martial arts" as such for the reasons people have already mentioned. But i have noticed the martial arts they use in those system are distinct from other martial arts i have seen so far. A good place to look up more about historical ninjutsu, would be from Anthony Cummings books. He seems to be very dedicated to finding scrolls and what not on the ninja/shinobi. Here is a link to some stuff he has authored....natori dot com dot uk
  4. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    Like always, read between the lines. Cummings has some good info, but some of it is very debatable. Unfortunately most ninjutsu/ninpo schools don't have a clear history; they would be very poor ninja if they didn't keep things secret. Ninpo/ninjutsu knowledge was historically passed down from master to student orally. Some texts and scrolls exist giving an overview of the arts, but for the most part it was largely an oral based transfer of knowledge.
    Vldz and SifuPhil like this.
  5. DeeD

    DeeD Nak Muay

    Most of the Ninja systems from what I have read have always been shrouded in mystery so its not surprising that we don't know much fact about them, I also saw recently that the last grandmaster will be taking most of the ancient facts etc to the grave and not passing it on to a successor
  6. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Yup. Like Bujitsu, Ninpo training involves a number of "arts". That someone can learn if they expand there training. Their method of Taijitsu for hand to hand has its own methodology like any other martial art. But, ultimately the body only moves so many ways. So, the techniques can be picked up from a number of other styles. The weapons have their methodologies as well (Ninjato Reverse grip for concealment and close quarter combat for fighting indoors). In fact, Ninja of the old days were actually encouraged to find other training methods after they passsed their initial training and were ready for assignments. Unlike the "Only our method" that is commonly taught in modern days (sorry "Hatsy"). Upon returning to the camp after assignments. Ninja would often share what they had learned from the outside world to add to the diversity of that clan's system. Because the goal of the Ninja was to win, regardless of the methods used.
  7. KeithW

    KeithW "Just keep training..."

    I trained in Bujinkan dojo Ninpo for a while. It was mostly focused on the dakentaijustu and the elemental aspects of dachi and footwork. It was a slow process of learning, but I enjoyed it. One of the things that stands out, though, is the insistence that any ninjutsu that didn't come from the Bujinkan and Hatsumi Sensei's teachings was false teaching and not true ninjutsu. If my recollection is accurate, the reason Stephen K. Hayes was removed from the Bujinkan was because he had taken traditional teachings and developed the modern version of ninjutsu known as To Shin Do.

    In my wife's hometown (Hampton, VA), there is a ninjutsu school that does not associate with the Bujinkan. Their Grandmaster's school is located in NYC (Master Ali A. Karim). I've watched some of their stuff, most recently a video to refute some of the criticisms leveled at them by the Bujinkan.

    My opinion is that one should train in a style that fulfills them as a learner. Otherwise, the clean vessel of the student is being filled with dirty water. Arguments over which branch of an art is superior or more authentic is just a manifestation of ego.
  8. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    Here in lies the problem with ninjutsu. Yes there are other schools than just the bujinkan; there is the genbokan (hope I spelled that right), toshindo, the one in new York that you mentioned, anda few others. From my understanding most of the koga lineages have vanished in the last couple centuries. With ninjutsu being an oral art with very little records, it is hard to say what system is and is not ninjutsu.

    Another problem is the history of ninpo/ninjutsu; most of the schools died off during the time of Oda Nobunaga(1581) when he lead 40000+ soldiers on a raid through the Iga and Koga, killing as many ninja as they could find, only a handful of schools were left out of the hundred that may have existed. That also put a bit of a problem on training; when the penalty of it is death, also another reason why there is such a lack of good historical documents, scrolls, and manuals on ninpo.

    I think we are lucky to have the few ninpo arts that we do after having the arts almost completely exterminated.

    This also brings another thing up... I find that too many practitioners, this goes for any martial art, don't really know the actual history of there system very well... how can you move forward if you don't know which direction you came from?
    Vldz likes this.
  9. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    I find it ironic that an art that represents espionage and guerrilla warfare, both based on flexibility and adaptation, now only focuses on maintaining an archaic skill set as "true" ninjitsu. Someone who wants to become a modern day ninja would be better off pursuing training in each individual skill that they believe would be useful to them in this day and age as a shadow warrior rather than the sterile time capsule that ninjitsu has become. (we can insert quite a few other arts/systems here as well)
    Justin Chang and Vldz like this.
  10. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    Archaic maybe... But the skillsets are still affective. Dodging and disarming a katana is no different than dealing with a pipe/broom/pool stick being swung at you. Ninjutsu training teaches you to turn anything into a weapon.
  11. Vldz

    Vldz Warrior Monk

    The fact that Ninja are assassins and spies and are not supposed to be "known" and the fact that the ultimate aim of Ninja is to perform their deeds without anybody knowing that they even exists means that nobody who claim that they are a Ninja is actually a Ninja. Because now they are "known".

    Therefore, if you are actually interested in learning how to be a Ninja, Bujinkan is in fact, the last place you wanna go to.
    Eric Dufurrena likes this.
  12. Vldz

    Vldz Warrior Monk

    But the point that was raised by Daniel is that these techniques have already been covered by traditional Japanese MA.

    The point of Ninjitsu is not about block this, counter that, but instead it is about espionage tactics.
  13. Vldz

    Vldz Warrior Monk

    With all due respect, Rocco. If you are truly a Ninja, the last thing you wanna do is post in the internet that you are a Ninja.

    If you are learning the way of the "spying, assassinating and all clandestine services" like what Ninja is about, the last thing you wanna do is advertise it.
  14. Vldz

    Vldz Warrior Monk

    Too late, there is already hentai about that.
  15. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    They were known to spread fear of them. The ninja were some of the best self promoters of making people afraid of them by dropping stories here and there throughout Japan, they wanted people to know they existed, made them more afraid of the ninja.

    Bujinkan, Gebukan, and Toshindo are great places to start learning ninjutsu. Mindset is what I think you are refering to , this something that can not be fully taught or programmed into a person, it must be experienced and allowed to grow. Mindset can be influenced by training, not created.

    I still remember a story from a Bujinkan student that was an uke for Soke Hatsumi for a demo. Hatsumi threw him to the ground and scratched the inside of the students cheek with his figure nail during a fish hook. Hatsumi then explained it in Japanese, the uke looked to the translator for an explanation, translator said "Soke just said that the fish hook is used to position the fingernail to scratch/cut the inside of the cheek, to inject the poison coated on the finger nail into the blood stream.". This was about 10 years ago.

    That sounds very ninja like to me.
  16. Sneaker

    Sneaker Warrior Monk

    I asked myself that question "Can I foresee my death, how did that happened, who is this idiot who killed me ?"... (laughing)
  17. Vldz

    Vldz Warrior Monk

    Let me correct that a little bit.

    Ninja were known to spread rumors about themselves that are anything but the truth. The "facts" that they can:

    1.) Disappear from plain sight
    2.) Turn into a giant toad
    3.) Walk on water

    All these were done for the sole purpose of turning people's attention (especially the Samurai) to these fictional character that don't even exists.

    The REAL ninja meanwhile, would be your average gardener, concubine, chef, Samurai retainer, Ashigaru, the inn keeper, Geisha, mail boy, etc.

    They were NOT these so-called warriors of shadow like you see in the movie.

    One famous ninja was Hanzo Hattori, he was Tokugawa's intel. How do you think he looked like........

    Well, like your average Samurai.
  18. monk64

    monk64 Initiate

    I enjoyed this thread...hopefully I won't be called a thread necromancer for commenting on it now.

    Though thread necromancy was one of the 18 arts of the ninja, I believe. Ahem.

    From what I have seen/read, modern Ninjutsu is a modern construct or recreation. Sort of like an Asian version of SCA. The evidence for Matsumi's lineage is very sketchy - and I've not read anything from other schools that is better. I think the "Ninjas" of the 1950s/1960s bundled some fairly traditional jujitsu/weapon skills with what they could find/recreate of the Ninja skills, added a uniform, and Ninjutsu was born. I think it's impossible (and certainly unproven) that Matsumi studied with a ninja master who studied with his ninja master going back 34 generations...

    That's not to say that what's taught in Bujinkan schools is bad. I've seen some good jujitsu at their dojos (and also some terrible). Honestly, where else would one learn to throw shuriken? I have no problem with people who want to practice traditional ninja arts - it's just that I don't see a difference between an SCA guy who's adept with a two-handed sword and a Ninjutsu practitioner who is adept with a katana.

    I certainly accept that there are modern Ninjutsu practitioners who have developed skills to a high degree. A curriculum has been formed, teaching methods fleshed out, teaching has been formalized, an organization has been setup, etc. I just think all of that is since the 1960s, not since medieval times.

    Ninjutsu to me involves a fair amount of practical skills, some that are impractical (who carries a sword these days?), and some that are rarely taught - e.g., horsemanship.

    Personally, I remember coming across Hayes' "Ninjutsu: Art of the Invisible Warrior" in a book store in 1984 and being completely fascinated with it. I think I've read all of his books...even that awful book of ninja poetry he published :D
  19. Kuyaken

    Kuyaken Karate for the streets not just for trophies

    I'm sure Grandmaster Frank Dux would be able to assist
    Daniel Miller likes this.
  20. john2054

    john2054 Nearly graduate

    My style Jojutsu is inspired by Ninjutsu among others. And covers soft hands, staff fighting, breakfalls and fighting terror.

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