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 this fact first hand.  Every show I have ever worked on that uses "real" people for part of its content, chews them up and spits them out.  They are rarely allowed to present their truth.  Where I live, with Hollywood Boulevard 10 minutes from where I train,  that showbiz mentality is just part of the fabric of life.  Most people here have come to expect the falsity of it.

So when any Bujinkan member somehow gets invited (or coerced) onto television, they should expect this repackaging of themselves to sell ads.  If you expect it and you go there to do your best to represent your art, you may sneak some reality in, but don't be disappointed if it makes you look silly.  Because it inevitably will.

Hatsumi Sensei has become very media Savvy in all his years of dealing with them.  He seems to know and accept the reality the media offer.  And by knowing this, he can choose to participate or not.  When he does, he takes full advantage of the opportunity.

My friend Duncan Stewart was on Japanese Asahi TV recently and he says this about the experience:
I knew that whatever I did, it would be difficult to give a good example.  This was because we were at the mercy of the Director and the editorial department, not to mention my own nerves. Also, the television show we were to be on was a very light hearted “variety show” aimed a comedic entertainment.  Regardless, I took the opportunity to learn first hand what Soke often talks about in regards to public demonstrations for the mass media...

Soke advised me on this type of thing before I went to the studio. However, like most things in life, you never understand the words of wisdom you receive from your teachers/parents until you experience them directly.
So I applaud Duncan for his transparency and willingness to jump into the fire of TV.  He looked great, and obviously is learning much more than combat skills from Hatsumi Sensei.

The "Ninjas" in the first part of the segment are not Bujinkan nor affiliated with Duncan.


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