A Question About Ninjutsu

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Muawijhe, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi Stephen,

    No, I didn't read any negativity there at all, no worries on that one. Actually, I'm flattered that you speak so highly of my usual humble offerings. So before anything else, thanks!

    When it comes to that particular piece, yes, it is a fair bit of opinion, primarily on the reasons the changes occured. It's based on conversations with a number of people who were there "back in the day" as it were, as well as observations of my own and others. I try to always take as many versions of a story as I can, and then come to my own conclusions rather than simply taking anything at face value. That said, this is the picture that I have put together over the last 17 years+, so any blame for inacurracies should lie with me, regardless of source.

    Personally, I always thought that one of the strengths of the Bujinkan was it's variety, so for another to have a different experience to mine (and those I spoke to all had different experiences to each other as well, the quoted section is really a conglomerate of a range of experiences) is really almost to be expected. And, as JKS said, if more share their experiences then a more complete picture can come out. But that's just my opinion, you understand...
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi William,

    Without wanting to put words in either Stephens' or the Shihan he was quotings' mouths, I would say that the difference is in the emphasis. Wanting to win leads to dangerous practices in real life, as you would miss out on vital details (by overly focusing on "winning"), such as escaping, or other people, weapons, etc.

    The focus in Ninjutsu is not on winning, but on survival. So the will to win isn't important, or even desired, but the will to survive is. And that can take many different forms. So I don't think the Shihan was saying you shouldn't try, or shouldn't fight back, just that you shouldn't be so focused on the outcome (especially such an ego-driven one as "winning") that you find yourself getting killed.
     
  3. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    I'm sure others here of more experience and knowledge can answer this better, but I'm going to take a crack at it from my own interpretation.

    I thinking the concept of "winning" can be dangerous, especially in a self-defence situation. I think it implies a sort of "competition" attitude, as well as promoting one's ego ("I have to win!").

    If one is effective in their techniques, then the opponent's techniques are not effective (meaning you do not come to harm). If you do not lose, then your opponent's ego cannot win (again protecting you). If you do not try to win, then your ego is not extended (for whatever ill will that can bring about). Therefore, by addressing all three of those you can protect yourself.

    Perhaps also "winning" implies beating down your opponent or coming to a one-sided stance of victory in a physical conflict. And from what I gather from my very novitiate knowledge of ninjutsu, is that it is not about winning. Not getting hit, sure. Defending from the opponent's technique, of course. Removing yourself from the path of danger/angle of attack, striking or throwing to momentarily disable your opponent and running away, you got it. Standing over the bloody remains of your opponent and declaring yourself the "winner" for all about, most certainly not. So, in summary, did you evade harm and make away with your life through the proper application of ninjutsu techniques? Yes. Would the average person say you "won" the altercation? No.

    Just my toss on this.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  4. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    As far as I can tell with my limited experience, winning is defined differently in ninpo than in e.g. MT.

    In MT, winning is defined by knocking out the other person (ignoring the point system for the sake of this discussion). In ninpo, winning is defined as surviving. So suppose I were to get into a fight with Bas Rutten. I know I can't KO him. I should not concentrate on that. I should try to find a way to distract him long enough to make a getaway. Or perhaps I should find a way to avoid the fight by making sure thathe does not lose face. That is winning imo. If all else fails, and I am in a corner, in a lock room, then winning becomes KOing him. If the room is unlocked, then winning would probably be the goal of getting out of that room alive, regardless of whether I KO him or not. (Not, obviously)

    If you focus too much on the 'KO' definition of winning, then that is going to work against you when your most important goal should be survival.
     
  5. Satt

    Satt Black Belt

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    :popcorn:
     
  6. derobec

    derobec Orange Belt

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    Hi,

    I think I pretty well covered the point that the Shihan may not have meant to be taken literally -first sentence of the first paragraph. I have no problem with that attitude at all, the point is, that Stephen's post didn't make that at all clear -hence my question "...is it (the advice) meant to be taken literally".

    With regards to having the will to win in a life threatening confrontation being dangerous, I'm certain that not having the will to win is even more dangerous.

    This isn't just about being able to do the basic techniques in their own right, it's about being able to 'switch on' and if necessary inflict brutal damage on another human being to save yourself and your loved ones. There have been many instances recorded over the years of people freezing in the face of a brutal attack and being unable to damage their attacker simply because they weren't brought up to do such things -basically because they were nice people.

    With regards to 'beating down' an attacker, well what else am I meant to do? Invite him 'round for tea with my girlfriend? I think not.

    Everyone has a right to their own stance on this matter, for myself, having been the victim of more than one unprovoked attack and having seen close family members also become the victims of such attacks I personally now choose a zero tolerance approach. To each their own.

    Good Luck,
    William
     
  7. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    Presumably, he will pass the 9 schools to his successor, in much the same manner in which he received them from Takamatsu sensei. Hatsumi sensei himself said in interviews that he did not understand the value of the kuden given by Takamatsu sensei, when he received them. So his successor will have to continue to grow his understanding, just like he had to do.
     
  8. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    The important thing about responding to real violence is to define "win" or "survive" properly. If the goal of the encounter is to survive -- defined as going home, with no extra holes and unaltered IQ, then the tactics chosen and the extent you go may well be quite different from those used if the goal is to "win" -- defined as standing victorious over your vanquished & submitting, if not dead, foe. If your simply trying to survive, it may be enough to run before anything has happened other than seeing your foe on the street. At the same point, if your goal is to win -- then you might set a counter-ambush, and shoot the foe before he even knows you're there.
     
  9. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    I'm fairly certain that having the will to live / survive is better than the will to win. At least from the survival point of view. By wanting to win, you get drawn into the confrontation.

    If someone shoves me or wants to hit me, or perhaps he did hit me but I did not go down, this is where wanting to win would draw me into a fight that could end either way, whereas my will to live or survive would have me looking for a way out as long as I have that opportunity.

    Fighting can be necessary and if if happens it should be with the desire to survive. But if you can break off a confrontation and escape, that is better. I am not ashamed to admit that in my youth I ran away several times from a fight that was waiting to happen. A fight can end both ways. If you can avoid it, then the odds of achieving the primary goal (getting home) are better if you can escape and avoid the fight altogether.
     
  10. ElfTengu

    ElfTengu Blue Belt

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    Ahem, 'ninjutsu - the art of winning', sound familiar to anyone? :p
     
  11. bwindussa

    bwindussa Yellow Belt

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    I thought it was the art of "perseverence" or "endurance"...
     
  12. stephen

    stephen Purple Belt

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    Who said that? (I have a guess)


    Anyway, as participants in the thread can see, it becomes a bit of a semantic issue. Looking at the biggest picture, it is the art of winning in a way. Surviving is winning after all. But what it's not is the art of winning the fight-outside-the-bar-that-you-shouldn't-have-gotten-into-in-the-first-place. That falls into this category:

     
  13. repz

    repz Green Belt

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    I read a lot of things about Hatsumi. Everything from the doubt of authenticity of the scrolls, to his name not being in the ninja muesum, to his past.

    Theres a lot of unnesscary controversy in all of this which can be cleared away if Hatsumi allows people to take the scrolls to profesional labs.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  14. Jon-Bhoy

    Jon-Bhoy Yellow Belt

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    Oh lawdy, lawdy! His name isn't in the ninja museum!!
     
  15. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    When you were reading, did you try to separate fact from fiction, or do you believe everything you read? For example, the 'expert' of the ninja museum is not exactly without controversy himself.

    Why would he do that? It seems that the people who actually practice in the Bujinkan care far less than the people outside. Given the irreplaceable nature of those scrolls, and the fact that he himself does not seem to have doubts, I think not letting go of them is the right decision. People are welcome to examine the scrolls, just not to take them away.

    Contrary to what you think, the scrolls would not reveal much. At least not all of them would. The ones that are the most controversial are already known to be written down by Takamatsu sensei. There is a good article here which describes in detail why the lineages of Takamatsu sensei are accepted by practitioners.
     
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  16. derobec

    derobec Orange Belt

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    Hi,

    I'm going to (briefly) step back in to this one to try and clarify something.

    When I refer to 'winning' I am fully conscious of the (I would say, superficial) difference between 'surviving' and 'winning'. Surely, to survive a potentially deadly encounter (however you manage to do so) without succumbing to your attacker's intentions IS an example of winning. I mention this as a reminder of how it's possible to use semantics to drive an argument.

    The point which I have tried to make is that in my mind it is necessary to develop a strong will to (yes) win. That winning may take any form you wish it to. Although I personally could never condone the practice of 'escaping' from a crazed attacker, in the full knowledge that s/he will almost certainly go on to hurt someone else. I've said before, and I stand by this, that I believe the idea of self-defence should be extended to protecting our fellow citizens from danger as well as ourselves. It's time that we all stood up to be counted, if we don't make a stand who will? No one in their right mind wants to fight another person for real -but if the fight comes to us then we need to look at the bigger picture rather than trying to save our own skin.

    I have no particular axe to grind with regard to the Takamatsu-den arts as I'm not a member of any of those schools, although I did receive my first formal taste of the martial arts in a Bujinkan training group back in the '80s, and have always held those schools in high regard as potentially very effective vehicles for teaching self defence.

    As I wrote before, these are my own opinions. Each to their own. My personal opinions will travel with me wherever I may train.

    Good Wishes to All,
    William
     
  17. stephen

    stephen Purple Belt

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    As I said, it is certainly true that this is a sort of winning. However, while we in the Bujinkan tend to make that distinction between winning and surviving, it is important that we do so, I think. So, while it is semantic, I don't think it's superficial. You might say that 'winning' is a bit of jargon in the Bujinkan. It has a more specific meaning than might exist outside. But, it's natural for some bits of language to become specialized within a profession or field of study.

    It has to do with a lot of the other baggage that the word 'winning' has a tendency to carry around with it which could distort the message that we're trying to get across.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that if the difference in meaning is superficial to you, we've not done a good enough job in trying to explain the specialized way we use it in the Bujinkan. Which, I guess, isn't surprising because it's notoriously difficult to precisely explain physical things in training with language (which is why the shared jargon comes about, it's a shorthand for things students have experienced).

    To make another try at it, I'd say we use 'winning' to mean something like competitive winning. The sort of way you may use it when you say, 'He won the Boxing match.' There's a competitive mindset included in this sense that is what we're trying to distance ourselves from.

    I guess, maybe, the message the Bujinkan sends is that you must, of course, develop a strong will, however, that winning may not be able to take whatever form you wish in the moment. It will take the form that it needs to take. If you're attached to a particular form of winning it may leave you vulnerable and with openings. Think Takuan Soho's 'Abiding Mind' or 'Stopping Mind'.

    I agree and disagree with this. Certainly, if I escaped from a 'crazed attacker' I would call the police afterward. Seems a prudent thing to do. I certainly believe that we should defend others as well as ourselves, but we're not vigilantes. If we become seriously injured, we might not be able to care for ourselves or loved ones, then we won't be able to help anyone else either.

    I'm also concerned that we could become fixated on that goal of defeating that crazed person, which could cause us to not be aware of the bigger picture, which can place us in greater danger.

    I like to say that the Bujinkan is the 'art of acting appropriately.' That is, not too much and not too little, but no more. Any more or less creates openings. (One might also call the Bujinkan 'the art of no openings.')

    Glad to hear, what do you train now?

    Shouldn't be any other way!

    Cheers!
     
  18. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    I think the last few threads have really gone a distance to show the difference in martial arts and their guiding philosophies. It's obvious the creators of different martial arts had what they felt was the objective of a physical confrontation (or the avoidance of one), and this principal helped to evolve the physicality of the techniques, mindsets of future students, etc.

    In Judo, our self defence consisted of, "throw the attacker down hard and run away in the opposite direction". In To-Shin Do, we learn to (in my broken interpretation) "avoid the attack, get out of the line of harm, counter strike" and then usually run away. In another post on this forum, someone was saying that in Wing Chun you never turn your back to your opponent, not even for a throw, which I found an interesting insight into a different style that varied from my experiences.

    So, that said, I think what attracts a lot of us to a martial art is the differences of physical techniques. What keeps us is finding one with a philosphy that speaks to our own perosnal ideas of what we want out of it. Not any martial art is 'right' or 'wrong', just more or less suited to our inidividuality. Just my ramblings. Thanks for reading. =)
     
  19. bwindussa

    bwindussa Yellow Belt

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    Good comment! I agree. That may be a reason why there are so many diffrent martial arts. The human body only moves in so many ways, but the human mind is limitless in its directions. It would make sense that people are drawn to the art that most closely resembles their own philosophy and experiences in life.
     
  20. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    I just got neg repped for the above post. Strangely enough, the message was 'Its ok to ask questions, thats what a forum is, you should take things so serious.'

    I don't understand what was offensive about my post. It's not like I discouraged the OP from asking questions. On the contrary. Asking questions is good. I do a lot of that myself. However, there are ways to ask questions, and saying that you read a lot of things about Hatsumi sensei and then demanding that Hatsumi sensei send out his irreplacable scrolls to convince the sceptics who don't even study his art... why should he? And what exactly would examination reveal?

    Furthermore, the second paragraph of my post links to a very good article going into a detailed explanation of the stituation, and the reasons why the controverse is really not a big deal to the people who care. To me, that seemed a very on-topic reply without bad intent.

    So rather than cowardly leaving me neg rep, you could have also replied in the forum and engaged me in a discussion about whether my answer was objectionable or not, and why. After all 'that's what a forum is for' according to your own words.123
     
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