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Are Bujinkan Students Ignorant of Ninja History?
August 18, 2008
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Are You Ignorant of Your Ninja History?by Shidoshi Jeffrey M. Miller
(C) 2008, Warrior Concepts Int'l, Inc.
It's amazing! Seriously!
It's amazing to me just how many of this generation of Bujinkan practitioners are ignorant of the history of their martial art? In the past few years of traveling and meeting students from all over the world, I have found that, not only do they not know the foundational techniques like the sanshin no kata or the kihon happo, but...
...they have no idea whatsoever of the power, tradition, and history that lies behind what they profess to know so well.
It's kind of like the average American and their history. Before you freak out, yes, I'm an American, a former veteran, and very proud thank you very much.
But, what I mean is this. The average American gets involved in arguments about things like prayer in school, the wording of the Pledge of Allegience, and whether or not we're defenders or conquerers...
...all without a clue about how these things came about.
Someone once said, "Those who are ignorant of history, are bound to repeat it." What I think this means is...
...if you are ignorant of the history or background of a thing - any thing - you will most likely make the same mistakes as those who lived then. Instead of learning from the mistakes and successes of our forefathers - martial or otherwise...
...you will have to go through the same trial-and-errors they did.
And... in the area of self-defense, street fighting, and martial arts (as long as we're still talking about self-protection), repeating the same mistakes they did wouldn't be a problem except that...
...a lot of people died in the process of learning this stuff!
Now, I believe that there's no such thing as a bad student (well, okay, sometimes there is!). So for most of these students, I have to forgive their ignorance. That doesn't make their predicament any better. But, what I do have to wonder is...
...who are their teachers? And, more importantly, if these so-called "masters" know what they're doing, why aren't they teaching more than whatever cool lesson they picked up at their last visit to Japan (as if their students were ready for those lessons, anyway!).
Why am discussing history and then ranting about what students aren't getting? Good question.
Let's forget the fact that techniques like musha-dori, "seizing the warrior" or "warrior-catch"; oni-kudaki, "demon-crusher"; hell, any kamae, punch, kick or technique...
... was developed for specific reasons. And many...
... didn't originally look like they're being shown today.
Let's forget those things - but only for a minute.
The reason that I'm focusing on this history thing today is because...
... there is a whole lot of power and connection that today's students are missing.
Seriously. Can you imagine Christians or Buddhists learning and practicing... without learning anything about Jesus or Siddhatha Gautama (the historical figure first referred to as a Buddha - "one who is Awake")?!
When I take my students to Japan every year, they do much more than "go to class." They also immerse themselves in the culture, history, and traditions that lie at the foundation and creation of this very powerful martial art.
If you want more information about our yearly Japan training adventures, you can read more at www.warrior-concepts-online.com/japan-trip.html, send me a request via the contact form on the web site, or call the academy at (570) 988-2228.
Over the next few issues, I'm going to be discussing some of the places that we visit, like the area on top of Togakushi Mountain (modern-day Togakure) where the sect's founder, Daisuke-Nishina, studied when he was a student just like you. And, you know what? I have yet to have a student visit that spot and NOT feel a new sense of connection and empowerment!
In addition to discussing places like the 3 shrines atop Togakushi, the Nighting Gail(?) floor inside Nijo Castle in Kyoto, and the home of the warrior-monks of Hie-zan, I'll also be sharing with you a bit about some of the master instructors that I regularly train with, and why I choose to train with them.
You owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can about yourself, your world, and your martial art. I can only help marginally with the first 2, but I would be negligent as a teacher if I didn't do everything I could to make sure that you got a handle on the history and "reason" behind ninjutsu - the most powerful martial arts and self-defense systems ever developed by man!
Find out how you can be a part of the next Japan training adventure scheduled for November 3rd - 17th, 2008, here's the link again:
And Don't Forget...
Shinobi no Aki O-Matsuri("Fall Ninja Training Camp") October 17th - 19th, 2008
Join me and other guest master instructors of the art of Japan's ancient Ninja Warriors from 8pm Friday evening, through 5pm Sunday afternoon for a weekend of training in the Ninja's self-protection and life-enhancement skills! The focus of this year's O-Matsuri `Festival`, are the skills, tactics, philosophy, and techniques of the Togakure-Ryu (`School of the Concealing Door`) Ninja. During this intense weekend of training, you will train with senior teachers of the art, each with almost 30 years of training EACH!
The cost of this year's camp is just $199, and includes all training, lodging, meals, and a commemorative T-shirt.
BUT... if you register and pay in-full by August 20th, 2008, you can save an amazing $99 off the price! That's almost 50% off.
All you have to do to lock in your place at this awesome price is to call the academy at (570) 988-2228 and have your Visa or Master Card ready for payment. Or...
...if you prefer to pay by check of M.O., send it with your registration info (Name, age, address, martial arts experience: rank, teacher's name, and home dojo - if applicable) to:
But remember: To receive this discount offer, payment in-full must be received NO LATER THAN August 20th! Checks will be held for bank clearance before registration is complete.
**The price of camp DOES NOT include transportation. Particpants will receive a detailed camp packet as soon as we receive your registration and payment information.
Kuden Radio Show Goes Live!
That's right! KUDEN, my all new online radio show goes live on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008!
Want to be one of the first to get access to this landmark and historic event? All you have to do is subscribe using the form on the online ninja training page.
It's free to subscribe!
It's free to download the show!
What could be better? (Other than training at a live event, of course?!)
Subscribe today and on Wednesday, August 20th, in this groundbreaking first show, you'll hear me talk about...
If you want to be notified when a new show is ready, you must add yourself to this special list. Otherwise, you will have to wait until I send out messages like this.
Get more information about this great online ninja training resource. Simply click on this link or...
...go here: www.warrior-concepts-online.com/online-ninja-training-podcast.html to subscribe.
If the link doesn't work for you, just copy and paste into your browser.
Do you have your copy of my new Togakure-Ryu Senban Shuiken Training Manual yet? You can get it and more information on the shuriken - Ninja throwing star by using this link.
Want to send me something?
You may send questions, comments, or "what-if's" for inclusion in the newsletter using the CONTACT form on the web site - or cut and paste this link into your browser: http://www.warrior-concepts-online.com/contact-longdistance.html
Just remember to keep your communications clear and to the point (limit each correspondence to ONE point, please). Any comments or questions received that are not easily understood or rife with spelling and grammar errors will be deleted. It's not that I don't want to answer but, if I can't understand your point or what you mean, I can't answer in a way that will be beneficial.
Until next time.
Dedicated to your training success!
"Master Your Self - Master Your Life!"
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