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[ olvasnivaló » Ura & Omote - 1995 March ]

Ura & Omote - 1995 March


Content


PREFACE

Liz Maryland

Welcome to the first issue of Ura & Omote, a newsletter specifically created for the online ninjutsu community. This is the HTML version of the newsletter. There are MAC, Windows, and ASCII versions available.

If you enjoy reading this newsletter, feel free to distribute it to any system/online forum/BBS you want (remember to get permission to upload first!). You may also print this newsletter and distribute it to anyone interested, provided you don't charge a fee for this service. If you've received a copy of this newsletter from a friend, please E-mail the editor Ashidome@aol.com to be placed on our direct mailing list. See the end of this newsletter for more information from the editor! Enjoy!!!


ASK NINJA ABOUT NINJA THINGS

Masaaki Hatsumi
A Global Ninja who introduces ancient martial arts and Japanese virtue since olden times
The following is a magazine article that Grandmaster Hatsumi sent to me, and I want to share it with you all. It is a Japanese publication, so I had to have it translated. I was surprised by some of the questions and answers. I have edited it only for grammar, I have left most of the wording just as it was translated. Shidoshi Ken Harding, 6th Dan Magazine B-Club, vol. 104, July, 1994.


Profile:

Masaaki Hatsumi/Tetsuzan. He accumulated experiences as a martial arts practitioner and followed Mr. Takamatsu, who had succeeded to nine schools of ancient martial arts and became a nine ancient martial art practitioner. He received a doctorate degree (USA) of human science by proving Ninjutsu-Ninpo scientifically, and a doctorate degree (USA) of philosophy after he submitted his study of "Find that Bushido is to Die". He also received the title of Knight from the German government in the middle of May, 1994 because it confirmed his abilities to teach Budo extensively and generally. He appears in many TV dramas such as "Jiraiya", "Ninja-boy-Fujimaru", "Ninja Nights", etc. He also works as a martial art investigator (historian). He was born in Noda City, of Chiba Prefecture in 1931. (List of Nine Schools)

(Titles) Knight (Germany), Doctor of Philosophy (USA), Doctor of Human Science (USA), Texas State Honorary Citizen, Honorary Texas Ranger, Los Angeles Honorary Citizen, Atlanta Honorary Citizen, Dublin Honorary Citizen. (Photo Subtitle) A Tai-Kai which was held in Atlanta, USA in 1992. Mr. Hatsumi is giving instructions, and is using a real sword- so his sharp eyes are real.

Interviewer: I heard that Sensei had been invited to Germany recently. What kind of events took place there?

Hatsumi: I received a title of "knight" from the German government.

I: Did you! That's amazing, isn't it?
H: Yes, I am probably the first (foreigner) who received that title. I am so glad that they found Japanese Budo equal to European chivalry, as they share some common points. Since they knighted me, that is also an honor to Japan, I think.

I: Sensei has titles of honorary citizenship in several cities abroad. What kind of activities are you doing?
H: I am holding Tai-Kai for Bujinkan Dojos. That means I hold a seminar which provides man to man training. Besides this, I take my wife with me, who is highly skilled in the discipline of Japanese traditional dancing, in order to introduce wonderful aspects of Japanese culture to the world. Last year, we traveled around 13 countries.

I: If such a Tai Kai is held, are you invited directly by the host country?
H: No. Since I have a lot of Deshi (pupils) all over the world, they invite me like "Sensei, please come to us." I am kind of well known in many places in the world. So I meet some executives from various kinds of organizations at a seminar where I go. After they receive my training they say, "Marvelous!" But in the beginning when I started, violence-orientated people came to obtain only skills because they heard I would teach a martial art. However, in the end, just people who have humane and rich minds have been joining our seminars. Because I want to pay my respects to those people, I would not establish systems or organizations, something like that. And I am giving each one what he or she wants, rather than teaching them, and keeping ceaselessly in mind the theme of how human beings should live. That is neither religion or philosophy; we are just communicating our feelings in nature.

I: Do you find any difference between Japanese and non-Japanese people through holding seminars?
H: Since police officers and soldiers outside of Japan are exposed to much higher risks to accomplish their duties, they may die if they learn martial arts by halves. So they are really serious. However, people who just learn Japanese martial arts from books might say: "We can't survive because there are so many forms and that makes my brain inflexible." But if I go to them and hit their spots, they say, "Oh, I can survive. It's wonderful." Some of them say "Ecstasy!" (laugh). If they find that they can make use of it for themselves, I think, they don't feel painful even though I give them pain. I happen to teach how to live as a human being.

I: How do you instruct it in Japan?
H: I rent Tokyo Budokan once or twice a week. (A famous building in Tokyo for big concerts or sports events.)

I: What kind of things do you do there?
H: I always fix a theme, in other words, a subject. For example, the theme of this year is yari (spear) and kodachi (small sword), and Taijutsu, including Ninjutsu techniques. Anyhow, there are so many kinds of techniques. So I am teaching slowly, taking a year, setting a theme, for example, tachi for next year, something like that. Everybody comes here in order to learn seriously. I want to work hard as long as those people come.

I: I'd like to ask about your background. What were you like when you were small?
H: I liked exercises and I'd wanted to be strong. Since I was in elementary school, I learned kendo, judo and karate. I met such excellent teachers who were from Okinawa. In the environment where I lived, I had good enough circumstances for mastering real budo. Besides martial arts, I had experiences in boxing and soccer, which nowadays are very popular in Japan. The experience of soccer turned into an advantage later because it enabled me to master a very good form of keri.

I: Does mastering a good form of kick have anything to do with the fact that your family line is a Ninja family line?
H: I guess not.

I: Could you tell us the story of how you became a Ninja?
H: When I grew up, at the same time I trained in what is called budo, I had been studying it. This is what is called budo as a sport. Then when I was a 4th dan in Judo, I guess, over 20 years old, I went to the U.S. military base camp to teach judo. There I realized one reality that surprised me. One day when I gave them training, I was defeated by an unexpected waza (technique). Since they were soldiers, they knew a lot of real fighting waza, and they maybe combined various waza and used it with their whole energy. When I faced it, I realized that one cannot survive by Japanese budo as sport. I realized if we continued this type of budo, we could not use it in real battle. Then I did everything I could. I studied every ancient budo and everything called budo in Japan, not only with my body but with my brain. Then in the end I met my teacher, Takamatsu Sensei. He was a real Ninja and was on intimate terms with the last Chinese emperor. Then I learned from him for 15 years, until he passed away. That was when I was between 27 and 42 years old. He initiated me into Ninjutsu around that period. After all, the waza of Takamatsu Sensei were the best. He had no pupil but me.

I: I see. I thought that Takamatsu Sensei taught many people...
H: He didn't teach anybody, even if they visited him. He merely said: "Learn from Hatsumi," and he didn't instruct anybody. After all, he gave me all he had. So if somebody says "I learned from Takamatsu," he is a fake, because he had only one pupil: me. Besides, I had never met anybody who was taught by Takamatsu Sensei while I learned from him for 15 years. Nonetheless, there are some people who use Takamatsu Sensei's or my name to give themselves authority. I want people who are interested in learning budo to be careful. I cannot overlook conduct which deceives people who want to learn real budo.

I: Which schools did Takamatsu Sensei belong to, among the schools that you are teaching?
H: Takamatsu Sensei was discipled by three teachers, who were Toda Sensei, Ishiya Sensei, and Mizuta Sensei, and he succeeded to all nine schools. Eventually I succeeded to all nine schools.

I: So, did you learn all nine schools from Takamatsu Sensei?
H: Yes I did.

I: That means you learned not only Ninjutsu from him..
H: Well, I learned all kinds of things generally, evenly. Of course they included Ninjutsu because it is a martial art. However, nobody but me has experienced the real Ninjutsu at the present in Japan. Due to this, the mysterious parts of Ninjutsu tend to be focused on. But to be exact, I am a martial arts practitioner. And since 1972, when Takamatsu Sensei passed away, I have compiled the waza that I learned from him, made them public and have taught people.

Interviewer: What elements of Ninjutsu do you think attracts people from all over the world?
H: Not to mention, its mysterious parts. Maybe people want to see what they can't see. In pictures that TV or films create, however, the parts they can't see are all to often incorrect. (Laugh) But I teach in a correct manner all the parts that we can't see visually. So there are many people who understand and say "Real Ninjutsu is wonderful."

I: For them, it is not unclear, and they can get a sense of realism, can't they?
H: Right. If you see it, you'll know it is humane and you'll know you need it to live.

I: I see. We often run into scenes in movies or books in which Ninja employ amazing waza (techniques). So are they merely waza in the fictional world?
H: No, we can.

I: Can you? For example. . .
H: I can't explain in short. To be honest, the techniques of our budo cannot be explained even visually... ntin"it is beyond description". I wouldn't avoid your answer with this. But you need to feel something. Visualization has a limitation because seeing is just one of the six senses, just one sixth. That's why it is hard to explain the rest of five sixths. The original ninja was excellent at converting reality into fictional reality. That makes it more difficult to express.

I: Like the ninja on TV or films, a real ninja disappears in smoke or makes his figure look many....
H: Of course, we do.

I: Or a waza to transfer into something....
H: Yes, we can. But you must train your body and brain. In other words, it is mental power and that is the most important, if I dare say. The more you are trained for it, the more strongly you can come to feel it. And in the end you will be able to obtain that power.

I: In reality, we seldom have opportunities to use Ninjutsu in the present days.
H: Yes, we do. When I visited Israel, where terrorism caused serious problems, I saw many people carry guns. They said to me, "Here it is dangerous, so shall we bring a gun for you?" I said, "If I fire a gun, the report of the gun will invite more enemies. But I don't need it because I will handle one without making noise."

I: You mean by using Taijutsu?
H: By a sense of living. Fortunately, I didn't have such an experience, though. A pistol or gun is not my friend. Because it is possible to lose it. So I don't carry a weapon. The weaker the person, the more the need to carry weapons.

I: It's an amazing story. How about the role of Ninjas in the society in addition to an aspect of Martial arts?
H: Well, now it is the age of information, isn't it? So I believe that there are many people who can succeed in playing an active role of ninja although it may not be a traditional ninja's activity. For example, to probe somebody on a subject.... if you belong to a big company, you need to conduct yourself like a ninja. So we could call those people modern Ninjas.

I: I see. Then, Sensei, do yourself play an active role in the modern society as a person who is qualified as a legitimate ninja?
H: As I told you, my role would be to make people understand the merits of Japanese culture by introducing Japanese traditional cultures through the Tai Kai. There are good aspects of Japan. But even Japanese forget those values. The fact that I have received a lot of titles from many countries does not mean that I want to be famous or rich, but it means I want to accomplish my purpose to draw attention to those Japanese merits and to get it across to the Japanese people as well. The other day, I gave instructions of actions for the theater drama "Akahige" at Tokyo Art Theater.

I: As an action director?
H: Ah... let's see... probably it's a new academic field, say "Martial arts investigation." Despite the fact that Japan is a country of martial arts, it is behind in the study of these actions. Depending on stories, actors have to differentiate roles such as ninja or sword expert. Accordingly, directors have to follow those lines. That new field, martial arts investigation, production of martial arts in modern and artistic ways, is my job. Not to mention, as long as we make dramas in Japan, they should include Japanese traditional elements. But in reality, people are confused with the foreign concept of intelligent drama theory. I though that was not good. That's why I've recently been making efforts to create real Japanese elements from martial arts investigation and to include them into theater and films. I am now making a video series which describes the correct actions or fighting ways of the Ninja, to keep people from believing the incorrect stuff (laugh). Some stuff are really terrible works, and that means there are a lot of fake Ninjas. Now I am working hard on a new video. I hope the situation is going to improve someday.

I: What are the conditions required to be a Ninja?
H: It is Nintai-jisei (endurance and self-control). That is the most important thing. Living with endurance. Ninjas live with endurance- the theme is "live healthy."ur bo We often hear that "Find that Bushido is to die?" don't we? This may make you think that a Bushi (warrior) is destined to die. It is not true. This word is written in the world best selling book "Bushido" first introduced in America. I explained the words in that book and I received a doctorate degree of philosophy. When Bushi heard the words, they came to think "why are we going to die?" When they found the dead, they asked him, "Why did you die? Why?" The dead said: "I died for this reason (a Bushido thought)." "I understand," they said, "and I should do such a thing like this." So "Find that Bushido is to Die" means "Find that it is to live."

I: I understand the meaning.
H: I'll bring a familiar example. If we live up to Hara-Hachibun-me (If we don't eat too much. Note: Hara- Hachibun-me means eat until eight tenths of your stomach becomes full, then stop eating), we could keep ourselves healthy, couldn't we? We don't easily get diarrhea nor adult diseases. This is part of the teachings of the Ninja, to live with endurance. With endurance, controlling oneself, maintaining healthy and happy life is the training of the Ninja. But we are humans, so sometimes we use fictions, though. The other day, I got a little sick, so I swore my wife and pupils that I would not drink sake. But eventually I came to drink again (laugh). So I don't drink a bottle of sake, I drink 3/10ths of a bottle of sake. Converting to such a fiction is also a technique of the Ninja. But it is not so bad a thing. I've lived for 64 years ... I think enough. So I live, doing what I want. That, I think, leads to the most healthy life. Not to try to live longer, to find pleasure without too much greed... and live according to our ages. If we run into troubles, we could convert that fiction, that's it.

I: So you mean that you master wazas based upon such a natural feeling?
H: I think that feeling is principle. A human being is carried away by one's emotions and greed. If you cannot carry out "Endurance and Self-Control," you will come to use Ninjutsu for wrongdoings. You have to determine what is the right thing. And do it not just for yourself, do it for Natural Justice, in order to protect Nature and human beings. Nowadays, natural environments are being destroyed. That is by human beings who destroy them. Unless those people are told that, they don't know even that they are going to die, sinking into their greed. Some people don't notice what they do leads to their own suicide. Our next generation, in future, will have to take responsibility for what we are doing. I believe that to prevent it from getting worse is the role of human beings and the attitude for living. I tell people this by going abroad and through teaching Ninjutsu and Budo. I hope the readers of this will share with me like the people who come to my seminar.

Brought to you by the Missouri Ninja Center
8336 Watson Road
St. Louis, MO 63119
(314) 842-9373

Feel free to distribute this information to anyone either electronically or on paper provided that:

If I see that this is done properly, and if people request it, I will release more of this hard to come by information. I'm thinking of doing it in Word 6 format with pictures. Send feedback to Shadowswrd@aol.com -- Ken Harding


NINJUTSU HIKETSU BUN

Toshitsugu Takamatsu
The Essay on the Essence of Ninjutsu by Takamatsu Toshitsugu, 33rd Soke in Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu
The essence of all Martial Arts and military strategies is self protection and the prevention of danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes the fullest concept of self-protection through martial training in that the Ninja art deals with the protection of not only the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. The way of the Ninja is the way of enduring, surviving, and prevailing over all that would destroy one. More than merely delivering strikes and slashes, and deeper in significanse than the simple out-witting of an enemy; Ninjutsu is the way off attaining that which we need while making the world a better place.

The skill of the Ninja is the art of winning. In the beginning study of any combative art, proper motivation is crucial. Without the proper frame of mind, continous exposure to fighting techniques can lead to ruin instead of self-development. But this fact is not different from any other beneficial practice in life carried to extremes.

Medical science is dedicated to the betterment of health and the relief of suffering, and yet the misuse of drugs and the exultation of the physician's skills can lead people to a state where an individual's health is no longer within his or her personal control. A nutritious well-balanced diet works to keep a person alive, vital, and healthy, but grossly over-eating, over-drinking, or taking in too many chemicals is a sure way to poison the body.

Governments are established to oversee the harmonious inter-working of all parts of society, but when the rulers become greedy, hungry for power, or lacking in wisdom, the country is subjected to needless wars, disorder or civil and economic chaos.

A religion, when based on faith developed through experience, a broad and questing mind, and unflagging pursuit of universal understanding, is of inspiration and comfort to people. Once a religion loses its original focus, however, it becomes a deadly thing with which to deceive, control and tax the people through the manipulation of their beliefs and fears.

It is the same with the martial arts. The skills of self-protection, which should provide a feeling of inner peace and security for the martial artist, so often develop without a balance in the personality and lead the lesser martial artist into warped realms of unceasing conflict and competition which eventually consume him.

If an expert in the fighting arts sincerely pursues the essence of NINJUTSU, devoid of the influence of the ego's desires, the student will progressively come to realize the ultimate secret for becoming invincible - the attainment of the "mind and eyes of god". The combatant who would win must be in harmony with the scheme of totality, and must be guided by an intuitive knowledge of the playing out of fate.

In tune with the providence of heaven and the impartial justice of nature, and following a clear and pure heart full of trust in the inevitable, the NINJA captures the insight that will guide him successfully into battle when he must conquer and conceal himself protectively from hostility when he must acquiesce.

The vast universe, beautiful in its coldly impersonal totality, contains all that we call good or bad, all the answers for all the paradoxes we see around us. By opening his eyes and his mind, the Ninja can responsively follow the subtle seasons and reasons of heaven, changing just as change is necessary, adapting always, so that in the end there is no such thing as a surprise for the Ninja.

Contributed by Shidoshi Mats Hjelm, Sweden. E-mail: 100115.2056@compuserve.com . Mats has been practising ninpo taijutsu for the past ten years, has founded several Martial Arts BBSes, and has his own ninpo newsletter. He is accepting articles for his publication and may be contacted via Email.


BUSHIDO AND NINPO

Ken Harding

Bushido is a widely used but little understood term which is usually translated as the Code of the Samurai. It relates to our study of Ninpo and must be understood. You may have heard it in the popular martial arts movies or read it in the magazines. Another more correct way of putting it is the Way of the Warrior. Most people have some vague sense of what this is supposed to have meant to the Japanese warrior. A sense of honor serving one's lord in all ways until the very end; honesty and loyalty etc. Although these interpretations sound very good they aren't quite accurate. This type of opinion comes from a Western viewpoint (even though it may be held by some Japanese!). People say this because it gives an almost holy appearance to the warrior both Samurai and Ninja and they want to be identified with that type of idealistic warrior. The people who would have you believe this have not studied the real budo or arts of war. It is very hard almost impossible to get the real feeling of the warrior lifestyle from tournament martial arts. In fact very few men can quickly answer the question "What is the Way?"

When studying an art like Ninjutsu it is possible to see deeper into these types of philosophies. The Way simply stated is death. Nothing more. It means that if there is a choice to be made between living and dying the warrior chooses death. It was written very well in the Hagakure (hidden leaves {pages}) the seventeenth century warriors' bible. It is written that the warrior should keep death foremost in his mind from the time he wakes until goes to sleep. These strict codes also included harsh precepts such as Have no preference in anything" "Have no desire for a house and family" and "Like nothing".

However the Ninja did not necessarily adopt such a rigid view. We say "Keep death foremost in your mind" basically in a more pragmatic way: There is no such thing as surprise for the Ninja. Hatsumi Sensei has in fact said that the Ninja were not allowed to let themselves be killed. Their intelligence gathering missions were so vital that they were required to do absolutely whatever it took to return with their information. One way of looking at this mindset from a modern perspective is that if you let yourself get killed you wouldn't then be able to protect your family provide for them or be around to raise your children. So now we see a larger overview of Ninjutsu: training to stay alive. But then again . . . don't forget the Way of the Warrior. If you must risk your life to save your family then I hope that you won't hesitate.


Shidoshi Ken Harding 6th Dan heads the Missouri Ninja Center in St. Louis. He started his training in 1984 has trained with Hatsumi Soke in Japan and studies Japanese Yoga shiatsu herbology and nutrition. He may be contacted via E-mail. Shadowswrd@aol.com .


SHOULD IPRACTICE MEDITATION?

Holly McGregor

It can be challenging to fit one more training exercise into your life, with all the skill areas you are developing while training in ninjutsu-flexibility, strength, flow, agility, cardiovascular fitness, explosive power, sensitivityx But there is something to look forward to: one of the benefits of meditation is being able to achieve positive results in less time.

Meditation is an ancient practice of calming and concentrating the mind. Having a calm and centered spirit is just as valuable today as it ever was, maybe more so, considering the pace of life, the exponential rate of change, and the sensory overload in our society.

When we refer to meditation, what we usually think of is the traditional sitting form, legs folded and eyes shaded, but there are many ways to practice. You can bring the quality of meditation to anything you do. Training in the physical aspects of taijutsu with a good teacher will eventually develop calm and concentration, so it could also be considered a form of meditation. However there is great benefit in practicing traditional sitting meditation. You are not involved in outward activity so you can concentrate entirely on your own inward activity. It is a valuable way to learn how the mind works and it is much easier to do without outside distractions. We tend to be constantly thinking, doing, working and accomplishing. It is good to balance that out with some time spent in quiet contemplation and reflection.

Including some form of meditation practice as part of one's overall fitness program is becoming widely accepted as we discover that mental, emotional and physical fitness all have a great effect on each other. The benefits of meditation can be seen in improved athletic performance, having become an integral part of many Olympic and top professional athletes' training programs. Remarkable recoveries from illness have been reported by patients and doctors who have incorporated meditation into the healing process.

How does meditation fit into ninjutsu training? At New York Budo we have always incorporated some meditation in the taijutsu classes, but recently there is even greater interest in learning more about meditation, mikkyo and the mandala. We have a mikkyo meditation group and two basic meditation classes. In the basic class, we combine a series of meditative stretches with traditional sitting meditations. The main purpose of the stretches is to practice finding and releasing any tension in your body. Similarly, the main purpose of our basic sitting meditation is to practice finding and releasing any tension in your mind. There are good skills to develop for taijutsu training and for life, as the ability to be relaxed and centered in your mind and body is key in surviving a difficult throw or any dangerous situation.

In meditation practice you are training to be able to focus your attention on the present moment-not to dwell on things that have happened in the past or that may happen in the future. In a fight this becomes critical as the whole thing plays out in a matter of seconds. If you are being fully in the present, you won't miss at any opportunities in a fight or in life.

As you practice you will become aware of and able to distinguish the subtle energies in the body. This can really help to develop your sensitivity, for example, your ability to distinguish paranoia from an actual danger approaching. Of course the first step is developing a mind calm enough to be able to detect the subtle energies.

Over time you will begin to resolve some mental or emotional conflicts which you otherwise may have been too busy to deal with. Your taijutsu will improve, as your attention can be fully on what you are doing-your energy and attention are not being pulled away by unresolved issues. And as the inner conflicts dissolve, you will notice fewer and fewer outer conflicts appearing in your life. So the extra time and effort you put in to begin a regular meditation practice will soon produce more free time and less effort in all areas of your life.


Holly McGregor is a filmmaker living in New York City, and an instructor at New York Budo. She may be contacted through the editor: mailto:Ashidome@aol.com


WHAT IS TOGAKURE RYU NINPO?

Jean-Pierre Seibel

In 1182, during the Japanese Gempi war, Minamoto Yoshinaka, a general from the mountainous Nagano region of Japan, captured the capital city of Kyoto. After this victory, he found himself under attack by his cousin Yoshitsune. When Yoshitsune's troops successfully crossed the Uji river, a key strategic defense for the capital, Yoshinaka withdrew, only to be killed as his horse fell through the ice of a frozen rice paddy.

After Yoshinaka's defeat, one of his samurai retainers, Daisuke Nishina of Togakure Village escaped to the mountains of Iga in south central Japan. The mountains provided an easy place to hide from the enemy troops, who still searched for Yoshinaka's forces, and provided a familiar environment for Daisuke and his followers to continue their Yamabushi (mountain warrior) training. Daisuke Nishina, who subsequently changed his name to Daisuke Togakure, became known as the first Soke (family head) of the Togakure ryu of ninjutsu.

Ironically, Yoshitsune was later overthrown by his brother Yoritomo. After escaping capture by Yoritomo's forces, he founded the Yoshitsune ryu of ninjutsu. The Yoshitsune ryu later died out, along with many other famous ninjutsu ryu.

The ninja families of Iga grew to become a great part of Japan's military history. Lending their support to Tokugawa Ieyasa, they were able to aid in the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate and were recruited to many government posts, including police, bodyguards, and intelligence agents.

The methods of the Togakure ryu are still practiced under the direction of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, the 34th in a continuous chain of Soke. No longer being hunted by government troops, modern students of ninjutsu practice their art in training halls all over the world. Ninjutsu is practiced by many police, security personnel, government agents and anyone with a need for an extremely effective and versatile form of self-protection.

Ninjutsu training emphasizes practical protection methods including both unarmed and weapons training. Easy to use concepts and strategies are taught in a series of scenario type exercises where the students practice responses to many types of attacks. The variety of techniques makes it easy for students to adapt the system to fit their individual needs, regardless of strength, age or ability.


Shidoshi Jean-Pierre Seibel is the head instructor of New York Budo, a Manhattan-based martial arts school teaching the techniques of the Togakure Ryu Ninja. He may be contacted at (212) 725-7388 or through the editor via E-mail: Ashidome@aol.com .


WHAT IS SOKE REALLY LIKE"?

Regina Brice

What is Soke really like? Well, in listening to him discuss everything from literature to politics, I always learn something. To me, Soke is a tremendously funny, well-educated, well-read, timeless Japanese man, with a free-spirited tie collection. Okusama and he are perfect complements. I admire his intellect, wit, warmth and ability to tolerate utter nonsense. He is an incredible teacher (he won't admit it), who operates on long-term personal relationships. I lived in Japan for 3 of the past 10 years, training 4-6 days a week. The best part of my last stay was 3 months in Noda, recuperating in the shoyu-drenched spring air, just existing. I will go back ASAP.

One phrase given to us by Manaka-sensei is "Kuroi nuno ni karasu wo nui, shiroi kami ni sagi wo kaku." I take this to mean that we must learn to perceive what others do not: the crow on black cloth, and the white heron on the paper. Equally important, we must also learn to sew a crow such that there appears to be only black cloth and sketch a heron while preserving the emptiness of the paper. In addition to the obvious Taijutsu implications, we must appreciate the subtle imprint left when we act. Furthermore, art is determined not only by the artist, but by the materials she chooses. In Japan, they say a student-teacher relationship lasts for 3 years to every 1 of one's parents. Thus, Kuukan refers to the quality of the Bujinkan, the balance of mutual obligation and responsibilities. Therefore, I especially want to support women's training. I urge all shidoshi to train with women to learn, not just to be "nice."


Shidoshi Regina Brice's primary life skills are in law (int'l corporate and family) and Japanese translation. She uploads legal FAQs to rec.martial-arts (a newsgroup on the internet) every few weeks. A Martial Artist's Guide To American Law (560 pages) is now $50; those who've already bought it will receive the first-year update free. She translates letters at $25/page and does seminar interpretation at $250/day + expenses. She will also paraphrase Japanese books ($50 per original page) but Soke's works are for individual instructor use only. In spite of her "slacker" front, a training group has re-formed on Sunday AM; she's flexible if you're out that way. She may be contacted via E-mail. Happo@aol.com, or write Regina Brice, P.O. Box 87, Oberlin, OH 44074.


FEEDBACK



Readers Forum

"As far as articles, I would like to read stuff about why people got started in ninpo and what kept them training. Also experiences that people have had when testing, especially in the dan ranks." -- MB

"I've trained since 1985 and always like to hear other practitioners views on the art." -- AJ

"I'd like to see discussions on various techniques. For example, what in Ganseki Nage actually makes the throw happen?" -- TR

This is your area! Feel free to ask question about anything, comment on articles, request information. If you have any answers or information for the questions/comments/issues herein, please e-mail Ashidome@aol.com and the information will be included in the next issue.


END NOTES

Liz maryland

Background

This newsletter was started to connect ninpo taijutsu practitioners from all backgrounds together. While cruising the Internet and hanging out in the Martial Arts Forum on America Online I discovered that there was a huge ninpo community trying to connect with each other. There were posts from people worldwide who were seeking information and wanted to have access to more knowledge. There were also many willing people who wanted to share their knowledge and experience. Ura & Omote's goal is to provide a forum where we can easily gather and disseminate information (both obvious and hidden) ask questions and more importantly get answers and share experiences while living the art. In this way a student in Sweden will be able to ask a Yondan in Illinois how he runs his training group articles from Hatsumi Soke will get wider circulation and seminar information will be more easily available.

Articles Still Needed

In order to produce this newsletter every month articles will be needed. Articles can be written on a variety of topics:

Take special note of the Feedback section towards the end of this newsletter. In this section readers will get a chance to ask questions or request articles. Interested authors may want to answer a question or give some input. If you have a question feel free to send it in.

Please submit your articles comments questions suggestions etc. to the editor -- Ashidome@aol.com . Also please let us know of any future events occuring in your area. This information will be included in our Training Opportunities section so that others can know and increase attendance at your functions.

Keep in mind that all articles herein are of their author's opinion/research and the publisher of this newsletter will not be held liable for any errors or misleading information. If you need further information on any articles or if you have questions for the authors please contact them directly. If there is no E-mail address listed please E-mail the the editor and your request will be forwarded.

Next Month's Issue

In next month's issue we'll have a translation of Hiden No Togakure Ninjutsu by Hatsumi Soke (submitted by Ken Harding) an interview with Stephen Hayes an article about producing dynamic power and an article on how to start a training group.

Here's the Standard Disclaimer:
We (the publisher and authors) are not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury which may occur through reading or following any instructions in this newsletter. Please consult a physician before engaging in the exercises described herein.

Finally thank you all for your support and interest in this venture. Kudos and my first second third etc.- born children to the authors for getting me articles on such short notice. Enjoy and see you next month!


Liz Maryland is a graphic designer by trade and part-time information gatherer. She trains under Shidoshi Jean-Pierre Seibel at New York Budo likes jellybeans has a wicked sense of humor and may be contacted via E-mail: Ashidome@aol.com .
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