Ninja Trail Running

Ninja Warrior Conditioning: Principle of NatureTrailRunning

Within the core curriculum of the Shinden Fudo Ryu tradition, is the “Principle of Nature”. In a discussion with Soke Hatsumi back in 2002, he related to me that “to train in as natural a manner and environment as possible.” Let’s reminisce a bit here, do you remember back when the Star Wars franchise release the Empire Strikes Back? Do you also remember the scene when Luke is running through the swamp on Dagoba with Yoda on his back, jumping, tumbling etc. all using the principle of nature? Well, this emphasis on training in nature is not only good for the Young Jedi, but for us the Ninjutsu practitioner as well!

For those of you following the Ninja Warrior Conditioning posts on the Facebook page, you will note that there is quite a bit of training that is done outside, and one conditioning/endurance method I have been using is Trail running. Trail running is a new beast to many a beginner runners or ninjutsu practitioners, and it will challenge you physically and mentally!

Let me start with some basics first:

1)      Get good trail running equipment(shoes, clothes, lights etc)

2)      Start on a gentle trail with moderate slopes and terrain

3)      Train regularly

4)      Be in the moment! (more on this coming)

I fell that I am blessed living in a rural area, with a small mountain behind me (and in front of me as well), so I have easy access to a great trail, well if you consider a deer trail a good trail (LOL)! Now if you are a beginner at trail running remember shorten your stride and watch the placement of your feet carefully! This is what I was driving at when I listed “Be in the moment”, one miss step and a twisted ankle or fall will be heading your way. So you want a challenge? Well start on more aggressive trails or poorly defined ones where you have to dodge, duck and avoid branches, rocks and an occasional wild animal or two! (Can’t tell you how many times I have run right up on deer).

Now I have a busy schedule so I throw in a trail run about 2 times per week and usually around 5 – 5:30 am, so guess what it is dark! Even with a headlamp on, I have to have constant awareness about the trail, obstacles and or foot placement, and your mind can also play tricks on you, ..is that a bear! AHHHH! Don’t limit yourself to just the running,  during my runs I engage in body toughening by striking trees I pass, balancing on various logs along the trail for speed, and even throw in some rolling(yes on purpose!) even projectile(shuriken), or weapons carrying.

Alright, I highly encourage you to take up the Ninja trail running challenge! You will take your conditioning and physical skills to new levels.

 

Bufu Ikkan and See you on the trail!

 

Ninja Warrior Conditioning on Facebook

Hello Ninjutsu Fans

About 2 weeks ago, I decided to ramp up my conditioning training to a new level. This meant that I would need to increase and enhance my physical and mental training, so I embarked on a 30 day journey to challenge myself. 30 days may not seem like much but it is the start of a whole new phase in my hardcore approach to living and training. You can follow the journey at Onshinjutsu https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ninjutsu-Training/132382973477757 , I hope it inspire’s you to take a on a new challenge in your training, and feel free to post about your journey!

Bufu Ikkan

Ninja Sensory Enhancement:

Many people have heard that when “one sense is taken away the others compensate”. Well, this is somewhat true, especially with hearing. Too many people arbitrarily injure the hearing(ear buds cranked to the top!!) when they are young(or old) without thinking of the future consequence.  Alright enough of my soap box, let’s give you a training exercise that I use to help enhance my sense of smell and hearing.

I often go out after dark, or early in the morning when there is no or little light. The first thing that starts to happen is that my visual acuity drops, but my sense of hearing and smell tend to begin to compensate. What I do is purposefully attempt to utilize these senses to help me navigate the woodland trails or through my home(see the lesson on navigating your home in the dark). So what do you do?? Well here is the first step, stop and relax, take several deep breaths and let the air in and out through your nose and mouth. Now, breathe in and consciously think about what smells you are bringing in. Is there smoke, dampness (are you close to water), can you smell the type of forest or environment you are in, what about the plants or flowers around you? Maybe, you are not in a rural or suburban area, well how about t but not he smells surrounding you in the city, cars, trash, people, perfume, aftershave, dogs, water, etc. Take in these smells and register them in your brain. Walk around your home and determine what it smells like, what is normal and what isn’t . We have all walked into a home that had an unusual “smell”, that seems off, not wrong it may have been unsettling for you. The sense of smell is incredibly powerful, think about some powerful memories that are brought on by certain smells, turkey roasting, cookies baking, you spouse, a nice wine!

Well now I have given you a very interesting lesson, take it, modify it and use it in many fashions to improve your training. As I sit here on my deck smelling the aroma’s of the grill, and the late summer smells of the plants surrounding me, all is well, and good here.

 

Bufu Ikkan

Ps: Now go out there and practice…more to come!

Self Discipline

Discipline, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is “Training expected to produce a specific type of pattern or behavior, esp. training that produces moral or mental improvement.” So in most cases we look to an outside source for training that will improve what we are trying to learn. In the Martial arts we learn that “Discipline” is a by product of our training. This usually takes place by someone pushing us or prodding us to do better, or just one more repetition, or even correcting and improving a particular aspect of a form, drill or training method. But, the drive and will to do better than we have is truly not something one can just get through training, it is self- discipline. The internal drive to push yourself to improve, to do just one more repetition, to search for knowledge to improve one’s self, to always be pushing yourself the extra mile, even when no one else is looking or telling you to so, that is self discipline.                                                                How does one practice or improve self discipline? There is no easy way to do this. It is only through the choices, or decisions you make each and every day, can you enhance your self discipline. Look at the choices that face us every day, the easy and quick stop at MacDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, or a healthy well thought out meal that you make at home. How about our own training? There is a T.V. show I really wanted to watch tonight or should I go to class and do 1000 repetitions of drill? Are you pushing yourself to read more, train smarter, improve how you do things, willing to accept others criticisms in order to improve a skill, if you are not, can you honestly tell yourself why? Do we really want to hear the answer?

 How do we start on the path to being better “Self- Disciplined”,

Well start small, look at yourself and honestly evaluate where you are right now and where you want to be in the future (Always sounds easier than it really is),

Choose to do better in some aspect and write down a particular goal (Dealing with said aspect) with a date in which you would like to achieve it.

Consistently act towards improvement towards your goal. Haphazard attempts don’t count. You do, you don’t talk about it or think about it, you just do it! (Don’t procrastinate)

Be realistic, and don’t expect miracles, make them happen for yourself.

 

Well that is my soap box. So what are you doing right now towards improving your self discipline?

Bufu Ikkan

 

 

 

The Ninja: Traditional First Aid #2

After my first post on traditional medical treatments I had a slew of email requests for more information! Now, if you have been following this site for a while this year you should remember the 13 for 2013 article , one of my goals has been to improve my knowledge of edible wild herbs and plants along with the potential medicinal properties of the various items that grow in and around my area of the North east. So here are two more common plants that grow “Like Weeds” around my property! The first is one of my favorite berries:

blackberriesBlackberries

Did you know blackberries (also known as bramble fruit) have useful healing properties? Of course they’re loaded in antioxidants and vitamins, but the leaves and roots have value, too. Native Americans have long used the stems and leaves for healing, while enjoying the young shoots peeled as a vegetable of sorts and the berries, either raw or in jams. The leaves and root can be used as an effective treatment against dysentery and diarrhea as well as serving usefulness as an anti-inflammatory and astringent, ideal for treating cuts and inflammation in the mouth.

 

 

 

Burdock Herb369510

 

Burdock or cocklebur, is a prickly, thistle-like plant that grows commonly in many parts of the world(I hate when I get these things on me!!). It can get fairly big and its leaves resemble the elephant ear plant. Though the burs often get caught in pets’ and livestock’s fur, don’t think of it only as an annoying plant. It is a highly effective treatment against poison ivy and poison oak.

Till Next time

 

Bufu Ikkan