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Showing posts from October, 2010

Ninjutsu - The Spider's Thread (蜘蛛の糸, Kumo no Ito)

photo by ajari This last year, some of us have heard Hatsumi Sensei make reference to a spider's web dangling down from heaven.  As usual with Soke, there are many layers to this idea.  If you subscribe to my training notes (if you aren't a subscriber yet, you miss a LOT of free Bujinkan notes), you can get even more details from my classes with Hatsumi Sensei. One idea that Sensei put out there for us was in his painting of Daruma with a spider descending a web and alighting on Daruma's eyebrow.  As Paul Masse explains: The Inscription reads, “ Ninjustu is on your eyebrow.... the spider`s thread, so close, the village of Togakure”.  Sometimes things are so close to us that we can not perceive them. Hatsumi Sensei has continued to reference this web from the heavens.  If Ninjutsu is on one's eyebrow, or there is a thread to heaven dangling down but we do not see it, how can we use that in Budo? Maybe it will help if we look at another story that Hatsumi

Neko no Myojutsu - The Cat's Eerie Skill

People fear their own instincts.  They seek answers outside of themselves when there is a powerful spirit inside that has many abilities that can be tapped.  Animals in nature don't look outside themselves.  And yet many are terrifying fighters.  How do they accomplish this?  They seem to do this through instinct and play. We all have instinct.  It is there, waiting for us to make use of it.  You only need to listen.  And to develop the ability and skill to use it, play is a powerful ally.  Hatsumi Sensei uses that word to describe our training.  So is it part of your regimen? From Neko no Myojutsu by Issai Chozan (1727): ... the cat replied, “Because of the self there is the foe; when there is no self there is no foe."  When I was a boy, me and my buddies had many mock battles.  Sometimes the whole neighborhood seemed mired in war.  We took it seriously.  But we knew it wasn't.  There was a reality to our play that put us and our personalities on the line. I s

Bujinkan on Television

Dimitri, Duncan, Daniel on TV Since I live and train in Los Angeles area, I receive many invitations to appear on TV shows.  Some of these are big popular shows on major network television.  The producers usually call or e-mail me and say that they are doing a show on the topic of Ninjas, and they want to find a gang of black clad people to do some crazy ninja flips while spewing throwing stars around the studio.  I always decline their exploitation. There is something very important to understand about Bujinkan in the media.  The media almost always present something fake.  They do this because their goal is to sell advertising, not to inform anyone about anything real.  What sells more ads, the cartoon, movie flash of Ninja that people want and expect to see, or real training?  We have to admit, VERY few people are interested in real training.  But a lot of people love NINJA! I have worked in film, television and the entertainment business for much of my life and I know thi

Weapon Malfunctions Can Turn Into Tactical Failure

Don't malfunction yourself. What if your gun jams, or you sword breaks, or even worse, you have a complete tactical failure?  The first two are are easy problems, the third is more difficult, but can be dealt with naturally.  Let's consider all three in turn. If you have any firearms training at all, you already know that you should train for malfunctions.  A malfunction in this case is confined to the weapon or the ammunition itself.  It is a malfunction of the tool you are using.  A stove-pipe, a misfeed, or the worst, a broken firing pin - are all situations that must be trained for.  One common malfunction that we don't even consider as a malfunction is running out of ammo.  Why is this not a malfunction?  The weapon is essentially useless.  We don't see it as a malfunction because this is something that we very naturally expect to happen.  We train to reload.  You should train for those other malfunctions just as you train to reload smoothly and with as little