This article should probably be called: "What's a master Ninja martial artist - a teacher of the art of ninjutsu - do after surviving a near head-on Car crash?" Before I answer that question though, let me tell you what prompted the idea behind what I'm about to say.
Since 1997, a little over a decade now, the average Martial Arts practitioner within the Bujinkan Dojo has been lead to believe that what they are studying is limited to the armed and unarmed Martial Art skills that everyone sees when training in Japan. In fact, most students have been convinced that the last remaining Ninja in the world, Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, doesn't even teach Ninjutsu, also known as Ninpo in its higher form.
This, to me is amazing. It's amazing because this is the same teacher that I, and several senior practitioners have been studying with and under...
...when the art was first introduced to the Western-world!
But, I digress. Before I discuss what people believe and don't believe they're studying and practicing...
...I should probably talk about the two things I've been discussing already. Yes?
Ninjutsu and the Art of the Ninja
The Japanese art of the Ninja, known as Ninjutsu, pronounced "neen-joo-tsoo," has all of these aspects and more. Where modern martial arts can be seen to have become specialized in their focus and application, the art of the Ninja is still rife with all of the options and contents used by ancient warriors who were battling for life and survival, not belts or trophies.
Ninjutsu is what you might call a composite martial art. It is, as pointed out by the grandmaster of the art, "true budo" or true martial ways. Instead of merely focusing on unarmed skills with a hint of weapons training thrown in, the art of Ninjutsu contains a whole slew of sub-arts that make it up. I like to tell my students that...
"...it's like Ragu spagetti sauce. Name a skill, weapon, or strategy, and if it's a viable, usable application for dealing with a real-world assailant...
...it's in there!"
While it IS true that ninjutsu is typically the methods for information-gathering, historically, the ninja combatant was required to know, not only the 18 fundamental skills that all warriors of the time were trained in, he or she was also schooled in another set of 18 skills that were reserved for advanced ninpo practitioners to insure that the operative was truly prepared for just about anything.
Do a little research and you'll find that most arts being taught today focus on umarmed and armed fighting skills. Ninjutsu, on the other hand, also teaches the use and understanding of such arcane methods as...
It All Begins with Ninpo/Budo-Taijutsu
Laying at the foundation of the advanced levels of power and ability attributed to a Ninja - a Master Warrior - is the art of Taijutsu, or simply...
..."The Ninja's Body Art."
This is the realm of physical training that most practitioners of the art are familiar with and ficus their attention. However, within the grand scheme of things...
...taijutsu is merely a sub-art making up the whole.
...while it is a significant part of the whole, and an essential piece to accessing many of the higher levels of training...
...it is NOT everything.
How do I know this? How can I say such a thing when doing so borders on heresy in the world of the Bujinkan?
Simple. I have real experience dealing with real problems in a very real world.
Experience Changes Everything
As long as anything can remain in a theoretical realm for a person, he or she is free to play what I call "mental gymnastics" with that thing. In the context of martial arts, you can do things like:
Get the picture?
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Why am I going on about this?
Why another comparison between Ninjutsu and Budo-Taijutsu?
Well, you see...
...I'm in the process of recovering from injuries sustained in a near head-on collision with another driver that, through lack of awareness, turned his car into the path of my own at the end of September.
"So? What's that got to do with Martial Arts Training?" I can hear you asking.
And my answer is...
...it depends on how you see your martial arts training.
But, let me give you a hint:
How much good do you think my kamae (postures/stances), strikes, kicks, joint locks, or throws were when the accident was occurring?
...they were worthless!
In fact, at this very moment, I am physically incapable of doing most of what took me years to perfect.
Now, before you get too sympathetic, all is not lost.
Because I don't just study Budo Taijutsu. I personally have been studying the full gamut of skills and lessons within the art of Ninjutsu since the beginning. And while my taijutsu training has had to take a back row seat due to severe back trauma and what the doctors are calling Post Concussive Syndrome - a result of my being knocked unconscious - I am able to shift my focus to things like meditation, honing my weather-reading, disguise and impersonation, and interpersonal communication skills.
And never leave the realm of Ninjutsu at all!
Because, in this "attack," my assailant was not throwing punches, kicks, or a knife-edge at me. He wasn't even trying to hurt me.
No. What I was, and continue to have to survive and get through, is an attack from a human being who was throwing ignorance, inattentiveness, and a two-thousand pound car at me!
As I always tell my students, the goal of a Ninja student is to...
Become a NO-LIMITS Person.
And that, my friend, requires training and exploration in more than just physical fighting skills.
The question is...
...are you training to be able to handle a fight, or are you training to be able to survive anything the world might throw at you?
I know my answer. How about you?
Jeffrey M. Miller is the founder and master instructor of Warrior Concepts International. A senior teacher in the Japanese warrior art of Ninjutsu, he specializes in teaching the ancient ways of self-protection and personal development lessons in a way that is easily understood and put to use by modern Western students and corporate clients. Through their training, his students and clients learn proven, time-tested lessons designed to help them create the life they've always dreamed of living, and the skills necessary for protecting that life from anything that might threaten it. To learn more about ninja training online his books and videos like his Live Ninja Training Camp DVDs, or his newest book, , visit his website at warrior-concepts-online.com. To subscribe to his online newsletter, go to http://www.warrior-concepts-online.com/newsletter.html
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