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3 Lessons of the Ninja's Kamae
June 20, 2008
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"3 Keys to Effective Self-Defense"
From the Mail Bag
Well, here it is... June. A full 9 months since my accident and I'm think I'm finally getting over the hump of things. I've ben referred to anesthesiologists for what is know as "pain therapy." What that means is... they've decided to focus on the neuro-muscular issues that I've been telling them about. These doctors have put me on a stronger regimen of muscle relaxers, steroids, and neuro-adjusters (whatever they are). They gave me two weeks to improve before they consider a shot directly into the damaged area of my back, which they say they have to do under X-ray.
At this point, I don't think te shot will be necessary. The current medications seem to working (except for the almost constant daze and fog I'm under with them). I've been slowly increasing my time on the floor with students, and adding to the skill sets to see what I still can and cannot do without causing more injury to myself.
I want to thank everyone who has been there for me and those of you who have been checking in on a regular basis. I also want to apologize to those of you who have called to leave messages or have sent emails that I just didn't get back to. It has been a rough road, but improvement, as always, is ongoing.
New Books and Videos Coming Soon!
There have been many projects either on hold or moving alng very slowly due to my accident. We were working on the first of dozens of new books, special reports, videos, and training programs back in September of 2007.
As my health has been improving, I've been able to refocus on a few of the projects nearest to completion.
Here's a list of a few of the new books and videos that I'll be releasing in the next few weeks:
Surviving Under Fire!" 3-DVD Set
Disc 1 covers the introduction to the subject of self-defense using the handgun. Topics also include: Neutralizing recoil, aiming, instinctive shooting, combat distance, drawing, and more.
Disc 2 covers the principles, concepts, and strategies of effectively disarming an assailant with a handgun.
Disc 3 covers the mirror opposite of Disc 2 - retention. This DVD teaches the lessons necessary for holding onto your weapon when an assailant is trying to forcefully take it from you.
Ninja Hiden Juroppo-ken
The Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Self-Defense
In preparation for the release of these new training resources, I've decided to bundle many of my current books and special reports with the popular Danger Prevention Tactics DVD, into a Complete Self-Defense Package. You can still purchase the items separately but I've made it easy to have the whole set for over 50% off the regular price.
And, if you order before the price goes back up, I'll even throw in a Kubotan self-defense keychain, 2 special reports, and the shipping for the keychain and DVD for fr*ee.
For more information or to order the Self-Defense Bundle, use this link: Self-Defense Package
"3 Lessons of the Ninja's Kamae"by Shidoshi Jeffrey M. Miller
In the Ninja's art of unarmed combat known as ninpo-taijutsu, or budo-taijutsu, there is the core lesson of kamae - the use of effective body positioning. While other martial arts might refer to this strategic positioning of the body as dachi or "stances," the Ninja sees his or her kamae as an outward manifestation of the inner workings of his or her heart, rather than a fixed position dictated by one's style.
Progress through any educational endeavor is often seen as merely learning the lessons that the teacher gives us. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Rarely does a student question the relevance of any given skill or its relationship to other skills and lessons being taught at the same time. And this is no different in the martial art world.
This is especially true when it comes to the skills commonly referred to as "the basics."
In fact, it's these "basics" that often go overlooked by students and teachers alike as being anything more than merely base elements of a particular style. In fact, they're often seen as nothing more than...
...the stuff to learn so we can move onto "the cool stuff."
I know that I, myself, used to believe that. That is, until I went from conventional, sport-oriented, martial arts, to the art of ninjutsu.
Of course, in the beginning of my training, kamae were just that...kamae. I really didn't see them as any different from the "stances" of my earlier training in karate, tae-kwon-do, and other arts. Even though my teacher spoke of "taking up" the kamae and repeating the "idea" of kamae as meaning "mind-body-spirit attitudes" - being the physical manifestations by our bodies of how we felt and what we thought we could do in any given moment.
It wasn't until I had years of training under my belt, so-to-speak, and found myself hitting a wall in my progress and growth that I finally decided to take another look at the obvious - at these things called kamae.
I began by looking at all of the positions that I had been taught. Each had a name and came from a particular lineage, or school of combat that had been passed down to my teacher.
I pulled out my notes and reread passages in books by my teacher and others who had written about the Ninja's art of ninjutsu, or ninpo, as it's known in its higher, life-centered, order.
But, it wasn't until I took a step back from my role as a student trying to get rank - trying to learn the next kata or "fight-example" - that everything started to become clear. It wasn't until I switched my brain from "learning" to "experience" mode that things started to make sense.
When I looked at my experience as a police officer and body guard and the lessons that I had picked up in "the school of hard-knocks" I suddenly realized that, regardless of form...
...regardless of whether a kamae came from the Gyokko-ryu, Kukishinden-ryu, or Koto school, they all were teaching the same lessons.
And then something else hit me.
Even the basics, the things we think of as obvious lessons, are themselves teaching us lessons.
I realized that buried within each lesson - within each skill - whether it be rolling, walking, cutting, shooting, or kamae...
...were lessons that were universal in nature and yet invisible unless you either knew what to look for or had a teacher with real-life experience who could help you to see them for what they are.
It was then that I realized that each and every kamae was teaching the same lessons. Some of these lessons were at deeper levels and required more understanding, but there were three that stood out for the beginner.
These three basic lessons of kamae are:
Once I uncovered these three jewels, everything changed in my training. I was no longer trapped by the ignorant eyes of the beginner who, years before saw what he thought his teacher was doing. I was then able to correct my kamae and take up positions that had strength, power, and the ability to control an attacker's perceptions, decisions, and actions, without even touching him.
Are you trying to learn as much as you can about the lineages that make up the Bujinkan Dojo?
Learn to fight smarter - not harder!
Check out the Takagi-Yoshin Ryu Shoden no Maki DVD
It was shot live during one of my training seminars and includes the techniques, strategies, and foundational lessons of the Takagi-Yoshin school, one of the 9 lineages contained within the Bujinkan Dojo.
A note of warning though, if you're looking for motion picture quality sound and video, you'll be disappointed. But, if you;re like most and are looking for the information, then this DVD will provide you with enough to keep you busy for months! It breaks through the myth that the jutaijutsu is a grappling art, and sheds light on the skills you'll need to bring this centuries old art to life in the 21st century!
"3 Keys To Effective Self-Defense"by Jeffrey M. Miller
When you think of a self-defense situation, what are the top three considerations for being effective? Is it having strength, stamina, power, or a lot of techniques?
While all of those things help to one extent or another, none of them really touches on the priorities that will help you to prevail in a life or death struggle. Don't get me wrong. It certainly helps to be the bigger, faster, stronger, or more skilled combatant. But these things are only helpful if you're in a situation where they will serve you.
Let me explain it a different way.
Strength only matters if you are in a position or can grab your assailant in a way that allows you the use of your strength. And as for power...
... power is derived from size and motion. If an assailant jumps you and pins you to a wall or the floor, you will find it difficult to generate any sort of power as we normally think of it.
Stamina only matters if you're in a fight that's going to last minutes instead of seconds. Typically, karate and boxing tournaments have two minute rounds or bouts. That's an eternity in a life-and-death, self-defense situation where the goal is to get things over and done with in...
...less than 10 SECONDS!
As for knowing a lot of techniques, what can I say? Information is power, right?
But, what if you're new to this whole idea of self-defense? What if you just started taking classes or learning how to get away from a dangerous attacker? Or...
...what if, no matter how many techniques you know...
...your attacker is a better, more skilled, more experienced fighter?
A Simple Formula
I've written extensively about what I call, "The 6 Phases of an Effective Self-Defense Strategy." This is designed to lead my students through just that, the phases that a self-defense situation can go through, and how to make sure that we have sufficient training to be able to operate effectively in each phase or stage of an attack.
Admittedly though, the 6 phases are the ideal. They only function as they should when you have warning from your assailant and you can see things coming.
Often though, attacks happen with little or no warning at all. So, how do we trim even more off the top and come up with the minimum elements necessary to be able to come out of a situation with as little wear-and-tear as possible?
The key here is to focus on the situation that we're talking about. In the "6 Phases" formula, we can see the attack, or potential for danger, coming. So, we attempt things like...
When the attack comes with little-to-no warning. When it comes at us quickly and ferociously and we don't have the time for escape, let alone trying to distract or talk our assailant down, we need just the basic-basics.
So, the 3 Keys - the unbreakable elements of an effective self-defense strategy are...
2) Stay On-Guard - You could also call this step "Controlling Your Fear." If you notice someone or something that could be a threat - perhaps someone who looks angry or suspicious, keep your eye on them. You don't have to stare-and-glare, but you should be aware of them and what they're doing. I talk about this concept quite a bit in my video, "Danger Prevention Tactics: Protecting Yourself Like a Pro."
3) React Immediately and Decisively - As soon as the attack happens, start your defense. Don't try to figure out who this person is or why they're attacking you. You must immediately do three things if you stand a chance at winning. You must...
B) Keep your head. Stay focused on what you can do and as soon as you have an opportunity...
C) Take whatever targets open up. If he leaves his throat open and your can hit it - hit it! If you can kick his groin, kick his groin. Whatever presents itself, take THAT thing! And keep taking targets until he's down and out or help arrives.
Sounds simple, I know. But that's what training and a good teacher is for - to help you to do the tough things like controlling your fear, focusing under pressure, and teaching you the most effective ways to hit certain targets.
Remember, you can have whatever theories you want in life. You can have your favorite style, teacher, techniques, or whatever. But, when the rubber-meets-the-road, so-to-speak, and you're face-to-face with your worst nightmare...
...you must pay attention, stay focused, and do what works!
From the Mail Bag...
Here are a few comments that I've received over the past few weeks...
But, what facet of self-defense? Are you just looking for a general course that will increase your confidence and teach you a few moves, or...
...are there specific situations and types of attacks that you're most concerned about?
See what I mean?
You have to realize that, contrary to popular belief, what you need as a grown woman is very different from the typical threats that your 10-year old daughter has to worry about.
Once you know the answers to these questions and others like them, you'll have a better idea of what to look for in a self-defense program that's suited to your needs.
To help you with this decision-making process, here's a special report on women's self-defense.
It's nice to see students making it to class for actual, hands-on, live training. Rather than getting trapped by the evil Koga Ninja's deadly computer screen, mind-control techniques. lol!
See you in class!
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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