A thousand miles….

“When I first met Takamatsu- Sensei, he admonished me to train, holding in mind that I am a mere insect. Even an insect, he told me, if it holds on to a horse’s tail, can go for thousands of miles. Therefore, you hold on too.” – Soke Hatsumi

                As I sat there and read this quote today, I started to reflect back on my time in training. Year after year, and coming on 4 decades of consistent training. I can tell you stories upon stories of fights won and lost, sparring matches won and lost, people coming and going but yet I have stayed true to my passion for continuing to learn all I can in the martial arts and the art of ninjutsu as well. As another year is coming to a close and I have finished yet another training session, this time imparting some memories with my son as he continues his training, it is an awesome feeling to know there is so much more to learn and practice!

2014 is almost upon us and yet it is just another year to look forward to more exciting adventures in life and training. I hope each of you read Soke Hatsumi’s quote, and take a moment to see how long you can hold on to the “Horse’s Tail”, never stop your training, in fact I fear that if I stop now I will fall apart from all of the wear and tear on my body!!(LOL)

I would like to take a moment and thank each of you for being a part of this website, and my training as a student and a teacher. It is a labor of love for the art of ninjutsu that keeps me posting and teaching. Now I will give you a bit of a clue on what is in store for 2014: Many, many new free lessons, a new Members Only section, Newsletter, Podcasts(yes I will be restarting the podcast series once again), a few new Ninja Warrior Conditioning projects, videos and insights into my personal training sessions, and a view of Shinobi Camp 1! So, just a few things to get excited about, I hope you have enjoyed the website this year, 2014 will be rocking!!

Happy New Year Ninja Fans!

 

Bufu Ikkan

Airyu

Perceiving an attacker

 All ninjutsu practitioners should understand that they must be aware of their surroundings and that includes, perceiving a potential attacker. All people give off valuable clues as to their current state of aggression or potential actions. Let’s start off with what we see first someone’s Face.

The face is on one hand the most expressive body part we possess, and on the other hand, the most easily manipulated. Experts are able to meticulously control their facial expressions so as to be unreadable (eg. the poker face) while amateurs will crack nervous grins and will sport numerous facial twitches. Ignore the signs that can be controlled and thus manipulated, and focus on those that cannot:

Pupil dilation: The human fight or flight reaction is something few people can control; the brain signals the body to dump adrenaline into the bloodstream raising the heart rate and dilating the pupils (making them larger). As the pupils dilate, the peripheral vision narrows – it is a mechanism designed to have us face the threat directly. People about to act aggressively or perform a violent act will usually have their pupils dilated the size of pie plates.

Pulse: As aggression or impulse builds, the heart rate increases as well as blood pressure. The net result of this is a pounding pulse which is visible in the neck and temples. Again, this is difficult or impossible for most people to control.

Sweat: An increased heart rate causes involuntary perspiration, which again, not even professionals can adequately control.

Mouth: Besides obvious expressions, an open mouth often occurs when a person can’t get enough air from just their nose and is breathing rapidly.

The ability to recognize these early warning signals could give you valuable seconds in which to act, potentially saving your or a loved one’s life. So learn and practice these lessons well.

Bufu Ikkan

Winter Driving Ninja Prep

Winter-driving-in-MAWell it is finally here, snow! 14 inches fell last night here at the Shinobi compound! What was really interesting over the last few day as we watched this storm come across the states, was watching everyone who clearly are not prepared for any bad weather driving, no supplies or equipment to help them get unstuck or even a basic first aid kit, never mind basic driving skills.

Now I know this would never happen to any of you….. a Ninja is prepared for the worst of situations even if they may never happen. So here is a quick checklist that I use when I swap into the winter season.

Winter Checklist

-20 degree windshield cleaning fluid

DeIcer

Ice scraper and brush

Jumper cables

Road Flares

Shovel

Emergency kit (spare clothing, money, snack bars, first aid kit, heavy gloves, matches, hat, etc) My emergency kit changes with the season and I’ll write a new piece on what you should consider for your bag.

Flashlight and spare batteries (headlamps are a great hands free item)

Blanket(wool if possible.)

Tow rope

Tire chains( if you use them)

Bag of sand or salt

Car Check List

Tire inspection

Inflate tires

Fluid(s) check(Oil, Transmission, coolant, windshield washer, brake, power steering)

Battery terminals clean

Windshield wipers

Headlamps, hazards

Nothing worse than being stuck somewhere and not having any gear with you to help yourself or others around you, so fellow ninja’s get to work and put your emergency kit together and stay safe!

Bufu Ikkan

Camouflage, Cover and Concealment

Recently I came upon an interesting text on the US Military use of camouflage, cover and concealment, in tactical operations. Alwaysmilitary_camouflage_06 looking to increase my knowledge of how the ancient principles are being utilized in the modern battlefield, so here is an excerpt on the Five General Techniques for Employing Camouflage, Cover and Concealment:

Hiding: Hiding is screening a target from an enemy’s sensors. The target is undetected because a barrier hides it from a sensor’s view. Every effort should be made to hide all operations; this includes using conditions of limited visibility for movement and terrain masking. Examples of hiding include:

  • Burying mines.
  • Placing vehicles beneath tree canopies.
  • Placing equipment in defilade positions.
  • Covering vehicles and equipment with nets.
  • Hiding roads and obstacles with linear screens.
  • Using battlefield obscurants, such as smoke.

Blending: Blending is trying to alter a target’s appearance so that it becomes a part of the background. Generally, it is arranging or applying camouflage material on, over, and/or around a target to reduce its contrast with the background. Characteristics to consider when blending include the terrain patterns in the vicinity and the target’s size, shape, texture, color, EM signature, and background.

Disguising: Disguising is applying materials on a target to mislead the enemy as to its true identity. Disguising changes a target’s appearance so that it resembles something of lesser or greater significance. For example, a missile launcher might be disguised to resemble a cargo truck or a large building might be disguised to resemble two small buildings.

Disrupting: Disrupting is altering or eliminating regular patterns and target characteristics. Disrupting techniques include pattern painting, deploying camouflage nets over selected portions of a target, and using shape disrupters (such as camouflage sails) to eliminate regular target patterns.

Decoying: Decoying is deploying a false or simulated target(s) within a target’s scene or in a position where the enemy might conclude that it has found the correct target(s). Decoys generally draw fire away from real targets. Depending on their fidelity and deployment, decoys will greatly enhance survivability.

                 Now there are a host of other considerations that should be taken into account when you are attempting to blend in to your surroundings, items such as the specific enemy, terrain, environment, background environment, type of surveillance equipment, alertness of the enemy, available materials etc. But by understanding these basic will go far in helping you gain a fundamental knowledge that will assist you in Intonjutsu and Shinobi iri applications.

Stay Hidden!

Bufu Ikkan

The Eyes Have it, II

Ninja EyesWell. I have had some great comments on the counter surveillance and “the eyes have it” posts so here is a bit more on the subjects!

1)      Eyes Up and Left: remembered imagery

2)      Eyes Lateral Left: remembered sounds, words, and “tape loops

3)      Eyes Down and Left: Internal dialogue, or inner self-talk

Now what about the counter surveillance tip? This one comes directly from the field (No I won’t tell you where!) Look for Busy eyes! It is not a normal phenomenon to have your eyes wandering continuously, checking things out etc. It could easily be a sign of someone who is out of place and or up to something not of a good nature. Now this tip goes both ways, as you should be taking in everything around you, but do it in a manner that utilizes “wide angle” perception. Taking in a wide field and then sorting what is relevant to you, The casually moving or focusing your attention on something or someone in a discrete manner.

Surveillance and Counter surveillance tradecraft skills need constant practice in order for you to become proficient, so get going and don’t become the strange guy staring at everyone!(LOL)

Bufu Ikkan

Train your Brain, Ninja style

Observing and memorizing a particular area, skill, facial feature, name…whatever, is a critical skill that any aspiring ninjutsu practitioner should learn in their intelligenceimages gathering repertoire. It sounds easy, just to remember something, right? But think on how difficult this can be, when you are learning a new skill set, or a quickly observed name on a letter or even a license plate. Training yourself to quickly identify, remember and then to recite back your observations is a skill set that can be developed and enhanced with diligent practice.

So let’s start with a exercising your brain!

Drill 1) Each week add a session to your training regime that includes puzzle solving, Chess, Sudoku, learning a new language, or even learning new words and phrases in your native tongue. This not only challenges your brain but actually helps it develop new neural connections and potential skill sets!

Drill 2) Observation! Go into a new store or someone’s office etc and mentally take note of everything you see, smell and hear(yes all of your senses), when you get back to a “safe” area, mentally dump all of this information into a written log. Review it later when you have an opportunity to go back into the area and see what you might have missed.

Drill 3) License plate drill. When you pull into your next parking spot, look at the two license plate numbers next to your vehicle and remember which side they are on, write them down and leave them in your vehicle. When you come back recite them to yourself and then visually check to see if you got them correct.

Ok here are three drills, but in addition to this when you are trying to remember something practice deep breathing! When it’s time to study or remember something new, switch your breathing pattern to be slower and deeper.  Deeper and slower breathing actually stimulates your brain to produce Theta waves which normally occur when your brain is in hypnogogic sleep. As you begin to breathe in deep and rhythmic manner, you will begin to feel calmer and then be more receptive to learning and remembering more of a situation, skill or observation!

Ok, now get out there and add this lesson to your practice!

 

Bufu Ikkan

Ninja Counter Surveillance

svSURVEILLANCE_wideweb__470x343,0So you are being watched or followed? Well, it isn’t as easy as just hiding in the bushes to get away in today’s world, especially with the advent of new technologies such as GPS tracking, cell phone syncing etc. But let’s take a simple scenario and see if we can teach you a few methods to improve your odds of escaping successfully.

You have recognized you are being followed as you are shopping in a mall.

1)       Play it cool and continue to act as if you have not recognized the situation.

2)      Stop and immediately turn into a store of interest

3)      Wait near the entrance, but off to one side so you cannot be seen easily(behind a rack), as the subject enters, pass behind him and enter the crowd once again.

4)      If this fails, step into a new store such as the Gap or Abercrombie( these 2 stores usually have a second entrance) and see if there is another door out of the store, and exit through this one, immediately change direction or enter another store

5)      Change your hat, shirt or coat to change your appearance

6)      Pull a fire alarm and run!( not always the best option)

Alright, this is just a taste, but you can be followed on foot, or in your car, by criminals looking to steal from you or possibly even to kidnap you. Understanding and knowing how to recognize that you are under surveillance is the first part(awareness of your surroundings), escaping or losing them is the second half.

Here is a drill: have a friend or training partner follow you as in the scenario I described earlier, now you apply the basic ideas(minus the fire alarm one!) and see if you can escape or evade their operation. It is not as easy as you might think but if you have read some of the earlier posts on Hensojutsu you may have already come prepared with a quick change kit, or something that is reversible in color etc. Being prepared is the essence of a Ninja Warrior’s survival, so get out there and see if you can practice this basic of drills on Counter surveillance.

More to come on this topic!

Bufu Ikkan