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Ancient Strategies and Modern Tactics

Hello Ninja’s!

It has been far too long since I have posted anything to this website, but instead I have been very active on the facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NinjutsuTrainingOnline) so here is my debut blog post to get me back in the groove again!

Many of you who know me, understand that I am not a man that abides by traditions. Ninjutsu has some practitioners that are so stuck on the traditional technique or approach that they are missing a wide world of modern tactics that would aide them in their skill development.

We could look at Combative arts, firearms training, covert entry tactics etc., what we need to do is to be open to new and innovative methods while keeping true to our heritage in ninjutsu. Back in the ancient times where a technique might mean life or death to a ninja, we should also apply this to our training today. When you are in or out of the dojo, you should be training to improve your modern tactics. Learn from others, cross train and practice additional skill sets apply the various strategies and philosophies from our ancient traditions and watch your skills grow.

So, here are a few suggestions to start integrating into your practice:

Firearms training

First Aid

Herbalism

Grappling

Blade fighting

Covert entry skills

Defensive driving skills

Horseback riding

Archery

Tracking

Ok that is enough for now, but I assume you get my point. Modern tactics are evolving and so should your skills.

Bufu Ikkan

Self Assessment

How many of us actually take to the time to reflect on our performance? Most of us push forward everyday trying to improve, but a secret to mastery is the ability to take the time to perform a self assessment.

Here a few questions to start asking yourself:

Physical:

  1. How is your overall flexibility?
  2. Leg and hip flexibility?
  3. Body mobility?
  4. Explosive power?
  5. Cardio vascular conditioning level?
  6. Strength levels?
  7. Grip strength?

Mental:

  1. Ability to focus?
  2. Meditation?
  3. Motivation level?
  4. Discipline?
  5. Ability to enter flow state?

Technique:

  1. Weapon usage?
  2. Rolling, falling?
  3. Kicking skills?
  4. Striking hands, arms knees etc.?
  5. Variations known?
  6. Ability to improvise?
  7. Sparring level?
  8. Multiple opponent skills?
  9. Cross training in other arts?

Alright so that is just a few questions to start your first self assessment off with, but again this is just the beginning, I could ask 100 or more questions, but in order to start the process focus on a key few and be brutally honest with yourself regarding your level of skill or performance!

Alright go beat yourself up!

Bufu Ikkan!

Self Awareness

As defined, Self- Awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires.

You might ask what the hell does this have to do with Ninjutsu and that I come here to learn things that apply to the real world not some made up BS to attract wannabes!!

Well, let’s dig in a bit. A key characteristic of high level athletes, military personnel and martial artists, is that they are keenly aware of what is making them tick. Now the standard definition is really about the brain and the conscious thought processes, what I am going to say is about the rest of your body as well. The mind and emotional side is only ½ of the equation. Your body tells you things every day, like “you idiot, that coffee was freakin hot!”,  but there are subtler hints your body throws at you as well.

After a training session you feel a soreness in a weak area, that is a simple sign that you should be training that a bit more don’t you think? Can’t kick as high? Yeah that’s that damn thing called flexibility. What about that craving for a salad with lean chicken? You sure that isn’t a call for better nutrition in your diet?

Like I said some things are subtle and we need to be self aware in order to act upon them. Your diet is one area that I believe too many of us cave in and ignore our body telling us clues. If we are hungry do you crave something healthy or is it the empty calories you want? Which did you choose? Why did you go to McDonalds when you knew that double cheeseburger was going to feel like a lump in your stomach for the next few hours? Oh wait …that’s that thing called discipline, but that is for another post.

Being self-aware should reflect into all aspects of your life, why did you treat that person that way, did you give your all in the dojo or workout or even work today? A ninja is required to know about themselves in order to make good decisions regarding their mission. But this should be taken as a guide that it should also be throughout your life.

I have had many students ask me how they are doing in training. Normally, my first Socratic answer is “ How do you think you are doing?” If they hesitate and are doubtful, they probably already know they are not where they should or could be yet, but their level of self awareness is not high enough for them to recognize this and they seek out validation from someone on this question.

So, I want to leave you with tangible items for you to implement in your training, here goes:

  1. Start journaling your thoughts, emotions, food cravings etc.
  2. Ask yourself why is this occurring? Then ask it again after you write down your answer and again and again until you peel back the onion and get the real answer. (So simple to write, so difficult to do!)
  3. Think Socratically! The knowledge is their you just have to recognize it (and read about Scorates!!)

3 Simple steps that will begin your deeper understanding of Self Awareness!

Bufu Ikkan

Airyu – Living the Ninja Lifestyle

Ps: This is part 1 of a three part series!!

Finally a post…..

 

Hello Ninjutsu Fans!

Well it has been too long since I have posted to the webpage and yes I hear you and read your emails pestering me to start posting again, so here I am!!

First a little story, a few weeks ago I was reviewing my finances, setting up on line payments etc, which I do in the beginning of each month, when I noticed a charge to my credit card from another state for a Lyft ride. Well the warning bells went off and I immediately filed against the charge to the credit card company. Well, yes my CC number was somehow cracked and used for the illegal ride, but what it told me was that it was a good time to do some basic digital housekeeping, to protect from further intrusions.

Now on a 90 day basis I rotate and update my passwords, security codes and questions to help prevent someone for gaining access from one account to all of my accounts through a shared password etc. Now my question to you is when is the last time you updated any of your passwords and security questions? Think about the risk to your finances, personal data, medical data etc!

Identity theft happens everyday, be ready and prepared to stop it in  it’s tracks. Today take the time to update all of your digital passwords, and please don’t be stupid and use something like QWERTY, 123456, PASSWORD…or all the other easily cracked ones that way too many people fall into the trap of using.

Alright Short post, to the point but the first in many new things coming your way. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our facebook page as well!

Bufu Ikkan

Principle of Nature

Within the Shinden Fudo Ryu tradition there is a principle of nature, or training in nature. This seems so simplistic by its shortness, but it actual encompasses so much more when you peel back the layers.

First, we all should be practicing in nature, outside of the confines of the dojo. Yes, this can mean training in a field or nice safe area, but what I mean here is to train in all-natural environments in order to test and develop your fighting and survival abilities.

So, let’s do a little exploration here!

Training in urban environments:

Take your training out into the urban world. This would include, practicing falling, leaping and fighting in areas you may need to utilize these skills. Additional examples, a parking lot, fighting from your car, stairwells, dressed in cold weather or warm weather clothing, use a mall for counter surveillance drills, practice intonjutsu skills by entering your home unconventionally, how do you deploy or conceal weapons with street clothes on? Now these are just a few suggestions but clearly not limiting a host of other ideas (and yes I will have a more detailed list and scenarios for you soon!)

Training in rural environments:

I am blessed that I am in a rural area but this does pose unique situations for training and preparedness. These would include, medical management (being away from a local hospital you may need to treat a person prior to transport), physical training – trail running, natural training such as log carries, rock lifting etc., as with urban training – weapons management, deployment, use of off road vehicles and animal handling, wilderness survival and land navigation skills, and these are just to name a few!

Blended Environments (Travel):

I travel a lot so how do I apply and train for travel? Well, non descript concealed weapon usage, intelligence gathering on my travel location, terrain familiarization and escape route preparation (how do I get to a secure location), educational research, language familiarization, etc. There are always opportunities for learning, no matter where you are.

As this is just a brief overview, you can possibly see you can spend a great deal of time on breaking down your training and pushing yourself and students into areas that will challenge and excite them to continue to grow. Ninjutsu is not a dead art, the principles contained within it’s multifaceted ancient arts translate into modern applications, but this is totally dependent on the teacher and or the student who wants to realize and utilize them in this fashion. My belief is that if you are not evolving you will be dead. Your opponents are not just hanging around doing nothing, they are sharpening their skills so why wouldn’t you?

Now get out there and train!

Bufu Ikkan

Modern Practice: Losing a Tail

Hey ninjutsu practitioners, it is time for some real world skill building here and that is on how to lose a tail. ENJOY!

First you need to determine if there is an individual or team following your route. You can do this by varying your pace and noting if the potential follower varies their pace to match you. Turn in the opposite direction see if they stop to tie their shoe or peer into a shop window etc.

Lastly, watch your reflection in a window to see if the potential follower is really tailing you. So, you have determined you are being followed, continue to walk and give them no indication that you know, make a mental note of what their appearance is, call for backup or police if necessary.

So you know, now what? Well here are a few steps to help you escape!

  • Try to speed up enough to be able to duck out of sight
  • Change your appearance (hat on/off, lose the coat, change shirts, add glasses)
  • Blend into a crowd
  • Enter a building then quickly exit via another entrance or exit
  • Enter a building go upstairs and quickly change your direction and go back down and out a new route
  • Be careful when you attempt to “hide” if you are caught you have given up your mobility and may end up captured.
  • Lie in wait and use a weapon to counter as a last resort to being captured

Now, one “live” drill you can play at to develop skills in both the tailed or tailing individual, is to go to an urban area with a partner or partners and take turns tailing each other. Be prepared with alternative clothing and potential disguises that you can use to fool your partners.

Practice is the best method to ingrain the skills into your repertoire. Now this is just a very short, down and dirty lesson but it is just the first in many new lessons coming your way here at NinjutsuTrainingOnline.com!

Now get out there and practice and practice!

Bufu Ikkan

 

 

3 Ninja Brain Building Exercises

As a martial artist, we tend to focus on developing our martial, physical skills and often overlook the “brain” and how we can and should be strengthening and developing it as a muscle. There are so many task and exercises that will help further your physical training when your brain is more plastic like (plasticity) and able handle large amounts of information and problem solving exercises. What follows is just 3 basic exercises that you can start doing to help your brain stay strong!

  • Non-dominant Hand. Throughout the day try to use your non-dominant hand to do tasks. Simple tasks like shaving, brushing your teeth, utensil use, etc. For me I want to be able to utilize my non-dominant hand in my martial practice so I shoot, spar, and strike to improve my ability to be ambidextrous.

 

  • Upside down. One way to force the brain to go above and beyond it’s normal use is to do things in an upside down manner. What I mean here is read a note or a page from a book, look at a painting, wear your watch upside down. I know for a fact that I have gained information by having the ability to read a paper on someone’s desk upside down when we were in a meeting once. It is tough but start practicing now and it will get easier. Hell, I even hang upside down off a bar or heavy bag and practice target striking and even some attack and defense skills

 

  • Yes, something we should already be doing in our practice is meditation. Train your brain to slow down and focus. There are great benefits from meditating each day, but it does take discipline and focus to remain on task. Scan through the posts here and you will see several of them dealing and teaching about meditation

Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn’t even begin to cover how I utilize these exercises in actual martial practice and development, so stay tuned for more over the coming months!!

Bufu Ikkan

Airyu – Living the Ninja Lifestyle

Ninja Fire Making Skills

Alright Ninja peeps, as you know I love being outside! I also teach and mentor many individuals in how to survive and thrive in the outdoors. Now one of the most basic of all skills is how to build a fire to stay warm, cook and or purify water.

Now, I don’t know about you but I always keep more than one method of fire building on me at all times. It doesn’t matter if I am on the road (way too often) or just doing some logging work here around the ninja homestead, I am always prepared.

So let’s start with the basics:

  • Disposable or refillable lighter. (I have a great windproof one that I use all the time.
  • Strike anywhere matches. Sometimes hard to find, but when you do, put them in a small watertight bag or bottle, and place in your EDC kit.
  • Flint and steel, ferrocerium rod. (my #2 carry)
  • Magnifying glass

Fire building 101

  • Clear the space where you are building your fire to bare earth. I like to dig a shallow hole and line it with rocks or sand if possible.
  • Gather your tinder and fire making supplies (and gather 2X as much as you think you will need and you will still probably run out)
  • Start with your tinder and kindling in one of several designs (teepee, log cabin etc)
  • Light that tinder and slowly feed it until you have a nice fire going!

Now more advanced fire building occurs when the ground is wet, tinder is hard to find, it is dark and you are cold etc. Those are skills you need to hone through practice. As an example, I went out to the deeper woods today 15 inches of snow on the ground and practiced starting a fire with my trust old flint and steel. After about 10 mins or so I had a nice little blaze to warm up and dry off!

In ancient days, a ninja had to be prepared to survive outside in difficult conditions in all sorts of weather. Step one is build a shelter, step 2 to make yourself more comfortable learning to build a nice fire for warmth, comfort and utilitarian uses!

Bufu Ikkan

 

 

3 Winter Ninja Training Tips!

 

Alright it is still winter with snow and ice on the ground, numbing cold and the potential for blinding snow and sleet. Well, this is the best time for a Ninja to be training in the great outdoors, so here are three tips to make the best of winter training!

 

  • Be prepared for the cold. Ok, seems pretty straight forward but what I am talking about here is be prepared for what ever activity you are planning for. When I am out practicing land navigation on shoe shoes, I have the right clothes and gear with me to spend a night out if I have to, or when I am out for an early morning run I am armed and dressed appropriately and may even be using a set of micro spikes for traction. What ever your activity or training is be prepared for the cold through the appropriate layering of clothing as well as a just in case kit if you are stuck out over night!
  • Train with your weapons in the cold. If you have never utilized or trained with your EDC weapons in the cold you will not be ready to use them in a real combative situation. Practice numbing your hands in the snow and practicing deploying your weapons with the heavy clothing you normally wear in the cold. Have you ever tried to draw a gun or knife with gloves on? Well how the hell are you supposed to do this without practicing in the outdoor environment?
  • What is this doing here? Well in the winter the air is dry and you will be sweating or dehydrated, so proper hydration is a key part of your training nutrition plan. Carry extra water with you, or the ability to melt and use snow to help supplement what you bring with you.

I love training out in the cold, I see and track animals, learn to see the winter constellations, breath the cold and fresh air, it is just another time to train ninja style. Remember a ninjutsu practitioner does not wait for the perfect weather to train, they are out there early or late, rain, snow or shine training while others are comfortable.

 

So get out and enjoy the weather!

 

Bufu Ikkan