Hatsumi Masaaki - The Grandmaster's book of Ninja training

Author : Hatsumi Masaaki
Title : The Grandmaster's book of Ninja training
Year : 1988

Link download : Hatsumi_Masaaki_-_The_Grandmaster_s_book_of_Ninja_training.zip

This book is a translated verbatim record of part of a series of interviews given by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi to some of his more advanced non-Japanese students of ninpo (ninjutsu). Part of the purpose of these dialogues has been to dispel some of the misconceptions that have attached themselves to this ancient practice. Ninjutsu, as technique, as an art, and as a philosophy, has a history that has lasted for almost a millennium. For a major portion of this time, what was taught was secret, and ninjutsu was known to very few. In feudal Japan, the ninja were a source of fear to many who struggled for military and political power, for they were trained to operate in secret and had an awesome reputation as spies and assassins. Nicknamed "kage," or "shadows," they were sometimes credited with superhuman powers, such as being able to disappear before the eyes! It is true that the syllable "nin" of "ninja," "ninjutsu," and "ninpo" refers to "concealment" and "stealing in," but it also means "endurance," "fortitude," and "forebearance."* In fact, historically, the ninja were highly-trained men and women (the latter sometimes called kunoichi) of unusual courage who had learned to make resourceful and ingenious use of all aspects of their surroundings, as well as of practical psychology, to enable them to accomplish their often dangerous missions. They were certainly not mere killers, as they are sometimes portrayed today. Numerous unique and cleverly designed devices, tools, and weapons that enabled the ninja to accomplish unusual feats still exist today. The ninja's ability to escape detection and survive by merging into a background and by being acutely responsive to changing circumstances is perhaps reflected in the survival of their art over ten centuries through adaptation to the times and fulfilling the needs of both its practitioners and of the society in which it lived—and still lives. For there have always been those who have valued alertness and awareness over the following of rules and the accumulation of memorized "facts," have treasured sensitivity over form and formality, have prized living for the moment over spending a lifetime dying. And the times are indeed a changing. This once secret and shadowly art has now achieved considerable popularity, and unfortunately, through misunderstanding and exploitation, a certain amount of notoriety, in many countries of the world. But the living knowledge of the ninja is now freely available for anyone interested enough to look beneath the surface. The principal source of this fascinating teaching is Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the Soke, or grandmaster, of no less than nine ancient schools. The current world of martial arts is ailing. Modern "martial arts" have become firmly attached to considerations of strong and weak, and of competition. But in this fixation, the real spirit of budo cannot be found. Tigers and other wild animals are indeed strong fighters, at least from the viewpoint of violence, and yet these strong fighters have fallen victim to man, a comparatively weak creature. Why? Men, from the earliest times, realizing their own weakness against these powerful beasts, devised means of capturing and killing them. And what this meant for man was not merely a victory in some competition: it was what enabled mankind to survive. I have given these interviews in order to bring back some reality, meaning, and credibility to the martial arts, for what in general passes for martial arts today is a collection of rule-bound practices mainly intended as vehicles for competition. I am not trying to disparage them as sports, but from the point of view of true budo, which has to be concerned with real conflict, they are very limited indeed. The reasons why I choose Doron Navon, Jack Hoban, and Charles Daniel for the interviews in this book are these: they have correctly and sincerely pursued the true essence of budo, not only through ninjutsu, but also through other martial arts of Japan and of other countries. Also, for them, this pursuit takes precedence over the economic considerations that can become attached to budo—indeed, it is deeply rooted in their nature, and they are all fine representatives of the Bujinkan Ninjutsu dojo. The way to learn, to become a martial artist of excellence, is not to go about judging a partner as strong or weak, good or poor, and not to pay any attention to rank and such trivialities, but simply to look and to perceive the characteristics of the other person, and to keep going in one's own practice. This is what leads to the real victory—this, and also the kindness and openness of heart to help others to discover and overcome their faults. These will eventually enable a person to maintain superiority in a real conflict. In teaching my students, there are periods when I constantly emphasize the importance of flow, of fluidity, in budo. This flow is the equivalent to the flow of blood in our veins, the flow of life. This flow continues even when the ninja is standing still. It links each move, each technique to the next. My method of teaching is designed so that techniques cannot become fixed in the mind, as part of some carefully kept store of knowledge, for once this happens, the techniques lose their life, their life comes to a stop. In a real fight, survival is the important thing: for the martial artist, life must not come to a stop. The flow must go on; he must walk on; he must keep going.... During my recent visit to London to give a ninjutsu seminar there, one of the students remarked that my techniques are always new and original. I replied that he was right, for I will not be teaching again what I taught in London. My techniques always arise from the moment, are always different and fresh. This freshness is energy, life force. This is one of the most important things to understand in martial arts. So I always stay away from old techniques. And, as a device to prevent students from getting any fixed idea of how a particular technique should be, I avoid giving them time to memorize any technique. In this way, I'm trying to instill in them the essential flow from which an utterly unlimited range of fresh movements and new techniques springs forth, like miracles from a magic fountain. The ultimate purpose of real martial arts is to maintain peace and freedom. Martial arts are for maintaining happiness, and to bring others the experience of happiness. It is to foster this kind of martial art and this kind of spirit that the Bujinkan Dojo exists. ...

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