Antony Cummins - Shoninki

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Muawijhe, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    For those that are interested, and perhaps were following the Antony Cummins threads on MAP, I'd like to point out a new one has started there (a while ago, but it's gotten interesting).

    A monster mess it is, but if one flips through all the pages one will find some examples of Antony's translations/commentaries of the Shoninki, as well as some videos he posted of himself trying some of the techniques and "coming clean" about his training background.

    Oh, and the most interesting part: Mr. Cummins claims to have recieved the full ninjutsu tradition of the Katori Shinto Ryu.

    Thought I'd share.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  2. DuskB4Dawn

    DuskB4Dawn Green Belt

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    I saw this book on ebay. it looks interesing. its a bit of a hit or miss.
     
  3. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Not one I will be wasting my time on! To many issues with his history! [​IMG]
     
  4. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    Given what I've seen of the man and the way he hypes himself...
    And given the fact that many people I respect very much call BS...

    ... I am guessing it will be 'miss'.
    Perhaps not from a commercial aspect, but from a historical pov.
     
  5. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    I still plan on getting a copy of the book, that way I will know for sure.

    I'm sure his team has put some work into it, but they'll probably make as many mistakes in some aspects as anyone else.

    The only thing that turns me off a lot about it (purely from the book standpoint, and not Mr. Cummins) is that apparently a lot of the commentary is added right to the text, so it is not a direct translation*.

    Regardless, I'll reserve a lot of my judgment until after I buy it. But that's just me.

    *With the caveat that it could never be direct, as it was translated into modern Japanese, then to English, then reworked by Antony and his team to integrate their conjectures and theories on what Natori meant.
     
  6. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    For the most reliable version, I'd wait for Don Roley's version (as he now looks to be putting it out). Axels' has issues as well, but it's looking to be at least more "translation" than "interpretation", which is Antony's approach.

    Antony's behaviour on MAP has been rather, uh, interesting to say the least... The only thing that may get me looking at his book is the information on Katori Shinto Ryu. Not that I think he has anything like the "full tradition", as he claimed, as he also seems to think that the articles Otake Sensei was putting together for Hiden magazine (in Japan) is the full tradition, and it seems that all he has is the articles that Otake Sensei is allowing him to reprint. Still, as Hiden is in Japanese, and not available here, it may be worth something there. But I'd rather Otake Sensei himself put it out....
     
  8. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    Personally, if you are of astute mind and have an ability to cross reference and not take information from just one source, it might be worth a pick up as well as the other versions.

    But as Mr. Parker stated, Don Roley will (hopefully) be releasing his version of the Shoninki. Though again, any product can really only be judged in its completion.
     
  9. nitflegal

    nitflegal Green Belt

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    I fail to see why I should enrich someone who has displayed that he has no problems lying to the martial arts community both about his training background and his skillset. Beyond that, why on earth would I buy a book to study if I can't trust the translation or the interpretations within? I could take the 1-2 hours I'd use reading this book and read something trustworthy; my library backlog at this point will take more than my lifetime to finish, why delay getting to a good book to read a suspect one? Matt
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Don Roley is apparently going to be selling his translation by the end of the year! That would be the copy to have! [​IMG]
     
  11. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    I would be very excited to have a copy of that. Has he confirmed if he is going to sell it or distribute it for free?
     
  12. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    He is planning on selling it, check his update on the thread on Budoseek for details. Oh, and this is really just for you, but check the clip Antony put up today announcing the Katori Shinto section in his edition. And read the comments.....
     
  13. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    Yes I read on budoseek that Don is going to publish his book. That is definitely one that I want to have.
     
  14. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    My head really hurts from that. Why does he keep insisting he has the "full" tradition? I mean, I have no proof he doesn't, but it is just so unbelievable. Not to mention all of the other crazy things he says.

    "Then the samurai would open the door and shoot into the garden to see...hopefully hitting a ninja."

    I like how in that video he is all dressed up with a picture of his book behind him. Quite the contrast to his slovenly appearance as he played with a severed pig's head...

    Did you also notice, Mr. Parker, that he seems to have gotten pretty chummy with Greg Park (Choson Ninja) as of late? Seems he's really taking to the "ninjutsu comes from Korea" idea. It's almost as if he latches on to any idea opposite that of the X-kans (and other legitimate sources).

    At least he's not building for a Koga-ryu tradition. He'd be more convincing than some of the others out there...
     
  15. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Yeah, I saw that. He's up to at least three videos now on "The Evidence for Ninjutsu in Korea".... now, if people gave him credence before, he's going to lose a fair bit there, hopefully!
     
  16. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    I guess that is because he gets nothing but flak from us and we are just big meanies. If he joins with the kooks, he'll get confirmation because they're only interesting in confirming each other to gain credibility.

    I guess that the koryu folks will also raise their eyebrows at his story of having gotten a full KS ninjutsu tradition. Anything is possible of course, including winning the powerball... but if someone is telling you he can sell you the winning numbers, if is best to take it with a grain of salt... or a whole bucket :)
     
  17. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Oh, it's not just us. First he tried to show his "deep understanding" and revolutionary ideas on Talhoffer German Swordsmanship and other WMA's, only to be laughed out for having no understanding or skills (or training) whatsoever. Then he moved over to claim the exact same book (written about his understanding of WMA's) was written about his understanding of Ninjutsu.... then it changed to being written about his understanding of Karate (he supposedly earnt a green belt as a child... let's just say his demonstrations of Karate kata and bunkai showed no real understanding there, either). He has also tried to comment on things such as Aikido (if Muawijhe still has the exchange I sent him, feel free to post somewhere.... saw you already did on MAP, they seemed to appreciate that!).

    In regards to Koryu folks raising their eyebrows, so far we have only the word of a person who doesn't live in Japan, doesn't speak Japanese, doesn't read Japanese, is not a member of the Ryu in question, who had an interview with Otake Sensei over "tea and biscuits", during which Otake showed the articles he was putting together for Hiden magazine, and Antony asked if he could publish them in his book. He has interpretted the okay and subsequent conversations as these articles being the complete tradition. I'll believe it when I get confirmation from the Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu themselves.
     
  18. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    Hopefully.

    All of a sudden I am completely turned off to the Shoninki. I heard there is yet another version found at www.shoninki.com. It seems promising. Unfortunately, I cannot read a translation, let alone hear the word Shoninki, without hearing Antony's voice in my head...
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  19. Muawijhe

    Muawijhe Green Belt

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    I think you hit an underlying facet of his motivation there.

    What it seems to me, and merely speculation as I have not met Mr. Cummins, is that he had his head full of "ninja" when he was younger, much like many of us. He's admitted to having some Hayes books as a child.

    In one of his videos or posts, I remember no which, he goes on to say that he was all super hyped and eager to go to Japan and train with Hatsumi. When he got there, he saw "a bunch of overweight men rolling around on mats" (not a directe quote, but close enough).

    Well, I could see how that would dash a child's dreams of seeing a ninja training dojo as something...more...well...like a Hayes book or movie (American Ninja training camps, anyone?). Perhaps he feels wronged by Hatsumi and the Bujinkan. Perhaps that is why he has found a niche aspect of Ninjutsu and has worked to exploit it (Ninjutsu being only stealth techniques, and not a hand-to-hand martial art), both for profit and revenge.

    I think Antony is merely misguided. Had he not been so disheartened with the Bujinkan, and stayed studying, perhaps he'd be channeling all of his interest for the greater Ninjutsu good, so to speak. And not to say all of his information is flawed, but it does seem to come with an agenda to do the Buj and similar organizations harm. You can see this within his presentation, most notably his claims of having the one and only truth about ninjutsu. He's rarely happy allowing others to exist, in turn making his recent partnership with Choson Ninja interesting.

    Then again, said partnership is no different then a lot of the Koga groups joining forces in their own anti-Takamatsuden camps. I would worry, yet be amused, if the greats such as Ashida Kim, Frank Dux, Antony Cummins, Choson Ninja, emiliozapata, and the rest were to ally and meld their fantasies together...

    Finally, that's just my thoughts and feelings, based on what I've observed on the net. I can't speak with certainty. Figured I'd put that disclaimer in there.
     
  20. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Antony seems to have gone to Japan with a head filled with fantasy already, not sure that anything he found there would have helped. As I recall, he said in his own videos that he went to Japan without being a member of the Bujinkan (officially), as he opted not to pay the membership fees and have the appropriate paperwork filled out (to get him his 4th Dan, apparently..... seems convenient, if you ask me, "I'm really a 4th Dan, I just never got the paperwork filled out!"), as soon as he got there he went to Hatsumi Sensei and explained that as he was working off his degree, he had no money for training (then why travel to Japan if you can't afford to train?), so could he instead be the "dojo *****" (his words), cleaning, sweeping etc in exchange for free training? Hatsumi, not surprisingly, said no.

    Antony doesn't seem to get that, to Hatsumi, he was just another Westerner who he (Hatsumi) had never heard of, nothing special whatsoever. Didn't matter how far he had travelled, or his financial situation, he was nothing special. And he remains that everywhere except his own head, it seems.

    His take on whether or not Ninjutsu is a "martial art" seems to be that because the various Ninjutsu Ryuha use the same, or very similar, actions as more "conventional" systems, they have nothing unique from a technical point of view, therefore they are not their own martial art, just a version of Jujutsu. Sadly, all this does is show that he has absolutely no idea whatsoever about what makes a martial art, what a martial art is, or what Ninjutsu is.

    By the way, the version of the Shoninki that you linked above seems to be the best presently available, personally I'd want to get both that one and Don Roley's version as a good cross reference to each other. But that's how I do these things.123
     

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