Favorite Ninjutsu book?

Discussion in 'SKH/Quest/Toshindo/Shadows of Iga' started by Justin Chang, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Most average Japanese really do not believe anyone is a ninjutsu master, any more than someone in western society believing someone is a medieval knight. For the sake of actual Japanese martial artist most likely Hatsumi or one of his previous students would most likely be the most knowledgeable on the subject. There is some controversy on Togakure ryu but there is controversy in a lot of koryu arts. It is very possible that Togakure were things taught to Takamatsu who synthesize pieces together and called it Togakure ryu. I would say even if Takamatsu did make it up from some books, his background in other arts his research and understanding the context would still produce a better source than Anthony.
    We do know that Takamatsu was soke in legit koryu arts and was more well known for kukishinden ryu I think in those martial art circles during that time.
    Don Roley did a translation of his work.
     
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  2. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    So the guy you claim is superior has not publically translated any authentic Ninjutsu scrolls to make them available to the Western public despite having this understanding of kuden but if I email him or someone named Roy Ron they would give me private translations of the entire Bansenshukai, Ninpiden and Shoninki, well you don't have to twist my arm, give me their e-mail addresses and I will ask them for these translations. I don't have as much time as I would like to learn fluent Japanese, its on my to do list, I already speak and understand several languages but have trouble reading them so I am working on that, currently trying to learn to speak the various languages in Indonesia, never enough time lol. Anyway thank you for your recommendations please give me those e-mails and after I compare their translations I will let everyone know if they were drastically different.

    I trust Antony Cummins and his work seems to fit everything I know about Shinobi but I am keeping an open mind about the experts your recommending who have been taught the kuden of the ryuha that the scrolls come from... I really didn't think it was possible because I thought the Hattori Ryu and the others were extinct and nobody was passing down the kuden of those arts.
     
  3. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    After writing a rather long reply, I decided why bother, if someone wants to believe Anthony over people who can read kanji and lived in Japan and study the actual arts it's fine.

    If you watch Anthony skills you can see how laughable they are.

    So until you learn kanji trying to convince you otherwise is a waste of time, go Google Roy Ron and don roley your self
     
  4. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Perhaps you should refrain from attacking him personally on an internet forum so you don't come off as a keyboard warrior. If his translations of Bansenshukai, Ninpiden and Shoninki are so flawed due to his team not being privy to the kuden of the respective ryuha of those scrolls, it stands to reason that the person making all the claims of how piss poor the translators work is would be able to produce a translation of those respective scrolls so that any reasonable person could compare them and decide for themselves. Instead of being reasonable or even pointing out some of the supposed glaring issues that were mistranslated in the scrolls by Antony's team, we have instead personal attacks about his skill level and demands that the language be learned, though in the same breath the critics state that unless the kuden for the respective ryuha is known the translator would be translating the scroll out of context. If you really want to muddy the waters perhaps you should make a fuss about how the scrolls were not the original and that the original scroll was very different, like they do with bible debates lol.

    I'm trying hard to take this seriously, the OP asked for our opinion, my three picks are all well known authentic scrolls on "ninjutsu" the only publicly available English translations of these scrolls is by Antony's team, if you know of some other translation available to the public by all means share, instead I am told to contact some one named Roy or Don and ask their unbiased opinion because supposedly they are experts on the language, I keep an open mind, I ask for their emails, I want to compare line by the the translations of Antony's team with their own translation to see how they differ. Again I am keeping an open mind I am leaving room for the possibility that something translated by a team of language experts and someone with a Masters degree in Archaeology may have goofed something up despite it being reviewed by experts in the various old martial traditions but no we can't have a discussion on the actual content that is mistranslated we have to resort to childish commentary about the supposed lack of skill of Antony from people that likely never fought him and haughty remarks about how kuden is required but God forbid we actually discuss just what that Kuden is... no that is reserved for the paying customers I mean members of the super secret real ninja club lol.
     
  5. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    By the way it did not go unnoticed that nobody has remarked about my comment about the Ryuha that claims to be older than Tenshin Katori Shinto Ryu... in its 34th generation supposedly lol... high turn-over rate or perhaps all the Soke were killed when they threw an over extended Koppo-style punch in war.
     
  6. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Here is what you cannot escape, Ninjutsu has very little to do with unarmed self-defense techniques like your Karate or Jujutsu type of schools, Shinobi may come with different specializations but this myth about their being an unarmed ninja fighting method passed down for generations and is now locally available in your mini-mall commercial studios in the west is absolutely ridiculous. I am sorry I really enjoyed all those ninja movies in the 80s especially American Ninja and Ninja Turtles and its great that it motivates young kids to take up martial arts but I get tired of watching westerners get prayed upon by cunning Asian businessmen selling the Hollywood ninja hype. That is the real reason Antony is so hated he gave the western audience access to scrolls that outlined a great deal about actual shinobi techniques and none of which matched up with the garbage being put out by these ninja con-artists. That being said if you belong to an organization or school and you are happy with what your learning and you know that you can make what you train functional, more power to you, keep going or as Hatsumi would say shut up and train.
     
  7. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Sami I have no problem saying all this in Anthony's face.
    Since you are to lazy to actually google.
    Shoninki index
    Freestyle


    Are you Kidding me?! the very job of a translator is to know the language!
    I think what Don said is the most important here "All I have to do is show that you did not translate, but instead slipped your own ideas in under the guise of it being part of the original.And people can look at this and conclude that if they want a pure translation that is honest in keeping someone's opinion separate from the original material, then they have to go elsewhere. Your translation is badly flawed by this kind of action."-http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96472&page=16

    A person who is translating is to translate the text not put what they think it means in the actual texts. Commentaries are to be done at the bottom. When you put in the translation what you think it says and have no basis or understanding of context your opinion on the matter has no weight.
    You can buy these type of things in Japanese used books stores I have seen them, of course they are not original.
    No one is saying the actual scrolls are not good to read but the translation is mixed with someone's inexperience commentary as well as people who do not know the context.
    Basically it is like this. A person finds a book on Shingon Buddhism has a Japanese person translate it then takes the translation and adds his own words into the meaning even though he is not a priest or really doesn't know much about the subject.
    The problem is if you don't know Kanji how would you know who is right or not? Lets pretend Anthony never existed for a minute, if the Kanji club published the book and translated the text, wrote a commentary it might not get to much flack it may not be as accurate because they might know context but hey better than nothing. But lets say they just translated it with no commentary and some guy gets their draft and then starts adding what he thinks which isn't 100% bad yet, but then this guy has no knowledge on the subject
    it means the original meaning starts to change and becomes distorted.

    The language experts I am assuming the Kanji club may be able to translate the kanji word for word but the context may not be accurate.
    Let me give you some examples:
    I am going to type the english, than the kanji, than a google translation of kanji, than context.
    The sun sits in the center, focus on the center to let the air raise only when you close the gate can you see heaven.-My english translation(understanding context)
    日座于中,凝聚中心让气上升,紧闭门户方见苍穹。
    Sitting in the center, the cohesion center to gas up, closed the door to see the sky.-Google translate(kanji club)
    Commentary:(The sun represents Yang Qi the center is the Dan tian, The Air is the Qi circulating, closing the gate is the hui yin contraction, seeing heaven is becoming immortal, so the translation is when you focus on your center the energy will be drawn there after enough time the energy will raise pass through the gate up the spine and form the spirit which in enough time will travel to heaven to be an immortal.)

    Well being that I actually train in Katori Shinto ryu I can say his sword skills suck.
    So you think people who know Kuden should just give it to strangers?
    I addressed it already but in case you are to lazy or can not read well here:
    "There is some controversy on Togakure ryu but there is controversy in a lot of koryu arts. It is very possible that Togakure were things taught to Takamatsu who synthesize pieces together and called it Togakure ryu." Katori Shinto ryu was founded by a vision.
    The history may have been embellish, may have been some oral or the school may have been created entirely by Takamatsu based on some legit waza he learned.
    I am sorry where in Japan did you train again?
    And you are basing this on what exactly? Did you forget the Ninja Juhakkei and Bugei Juhappan because Jujutsu is there and seeing how most Ninja were of the warrior class it is reasonable that they knew Jujutsu to some degree. By the way speaking of Jujutsu have you seen say Katori Shinto ryu jujutsu? It is very crude.

    For the record I do not study Ninjutsu I study Daito ryu and Katori Shinto ryu as well as Chinese arts
     
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  8. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Overall, I really enjoyed your response, thank you for putting some effort into it. I pulled out my copy of "True Path of the Ninja" and I immediately noticed that both Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami are on the cover as well as Otake Risuke who writes the forward and Dr. Nakashima Atsumi who does the preface, all named on the cover. In addition to the translation of a 17th century instruction manual (Shoninki) it also includes a section on defense against shinobi from the Katori Shinto Ryu Sword School. Anyway, the reason I pulled out the book is because after I read your post where you quoted Don saying all he had to do was show that he did not translate but slipped in his own ideas etc... I recalled that Antony made no secret of this and clearly stated it at the start of the book, so I wanted to be sure.

    On page 17 "The Feel of the Translation" he explains why he integrated information normally found in the footnotes into the text, i.e. for many of the same reasons you and others have alluded to. A literal word for word translation would have contained a great many things that would have made little to no sense to someone with a modern frame of reference. So no need to prove it, its no secret, he is definitely weaving his footnotes into the book to help us non-17th century shinobi understand what the heck we are reading.

    I will check out your links after I finish typing this just wanted to let you know that the effort you spent in responding to me is not going to be wasted I will maintain an open mind and check out your links. Also while it is true that Katori Shinto Ryu was founded by a vision it is a well establish and recognized Ryu-ha, the oldest if I am not mistaken while Togakure Ryu turned out to be as you said. Also I agree with you about Shinobi having trained in the warrior arts available i.e. Jujutsu etc. what I was saying is that the con-artists out there signing up students to learn Ninjutsu but only teaching them bad karate or crude jujutsu but claiming that it is the foundation for all ninjutsu skills is misleading students, the training of actual Ninjutsu in America would be on the FBI watch list so fast, could you imagine some Ninjutsu Sensei teaching his students how to use poison, explosives, breaking and entering, black magic etc.
     
  9. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Checked out your Genbukan link, correct me if I am wrong but I thought the Genbukan was created by someone related to Hatsumi who broke away from the Bujinkan... it would be nice to have an organization translating that was not affiliated with the people who are feuding with Antony Cummins, that aside the actual translation seems the same as Antony's book other than he adds a little more depth of explanation. Just my opinion but whats on the Genbukan site reminds me of Sun Tzu's the art of war. Anyway I didn't notice any glaring differences so maybe the true problem is not the translations at all.
     
  10. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Well Sami I guess you will believe what you want I do encourage you to learn Kanji and get an actual text of these books and read what it actually is, but since you can't read kanji I guess you will have to go with anthony's version though since he put his commentary in the text how much is translated and how much of it is what he thinks or is making up something to think about every time you read it.
     
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  11. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Learning fluent Japanese and learning to read kanji is on my to do list I have spent a little time and made a little progress toward that goal but I am a little busy with retiring from Military service, moving to a new location and working toward a Masters degree in Psychology, not to mention being a new father and training and teaching martial arts. I always look forward to all the new reading material that becomes available after I learn a new language. Right now I am putting the finishing touches on my Arabic and starting on learning Bahasa. Priorities are important... it has been a long time since I have had any involvement with Japanese Martial Arts, I did once live in a Dojo around 13 years ago where a certain man fluent in Japanese taught numerous Japanese Martial Arts including Jigen Ryu, though I think he was primarily an Aikido practitioner, while I dabbled in these arts while teaching there it was not very long before I went active duty in the US Army.
     
  12. oaktree

    oaktree Master of Arts

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    Speaking of Jigen ryu I have met the soke of tenshinsho jigen ryu he invited me to train with him very casual friendly guy.
     
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  13. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    @Sami Ibrahim

    I'm not going to go back and pull apart all your defences of Antony... suffice to say that, if you're basing your understanding on him and his work, then you'll find that you're going to be off base in quite a number of areas, at best.

    I will, however, invite you to read the comments posted in this thread (Ninjutsu contradictions) regarding him and his work, rather than simply copying it over again....
     
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  14. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Thanks, it really is not a matter of being "off base" in the sense of being wrong but being "off base" from the base of students that comprise the Bujinkan. We have a difference of opinion. I believe that Ninjutsu can be applied to spy craft today but in terms of being a historically legitimate centuries old martial tradition that is comprised of unique passed down basics for bone breaking and muscle and nerve attacks and past down weapons techniques that have been passed down generation to generation from the legendary Shinobi of old and are now being taught to paying hobbiests is something I have seen no convincing proof of.
     
  15. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Yes, it really is.

    Er... no.

    Actually, no, not so much. We have differences of education.

    And here's the real problem.

    There is no claim of that either. Antony couldn't follow this basic idea either... but let's try again.

    Hatsumi learnt martial arts and ninjutsu (note the separation) from Takamatsu Toshitsugu. These traditions included a wide array of systems and methodologies, specifically:
    - Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu (a system of bujutsu said to have come from the Iga region, focused on a form of unarmed combat known as Kosshijutsu, which is NOT "muscle and nerve attacks").
    - Koto Ryu Koppojutsu (a system of bujutsu said to have come from the Iga region, linked with Gyokko Ryu, focused on a form of unarmed combat known as Koppojutsu, which is NOT "bone breaking").
    - Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu (a system of bujutsu focused on grappling and striking methods known as Dakentaijutsu, which is NOT simply "striking methods")
    - Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu (a system of bujutsu focused on unarmed grappling methods)
    - Kukishin Ryu Happo Biken (a system of bujutsu focused on a wide array of weaponry skills, such as polearms, staff weapons, sword, and a range of unarmed combat forms referred to as Dakentaijutsu)
    - Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu (a system of bujutsu linked with Gyokko Ryu, ostensibly based on Koppojutsu, which again is NOT "bone breaking". Almost none of this system has been publicly shown.)
    - Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu (a system of bujutsu-like methodologies and ninjutsu teachings. Note that the ninjutsu is actually separate from the Ninpo Taijutsu curriculum in this school, although it does inform the context of the taijutsu to a great degree.... we'll go more into this in a moment).
    - Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo (a system based in ninjutsu teachings, thought to have no physical [bujutsu] methods involved).

    In addition to these arts, Hatsumi learnt other arts prior to training with Takamatsu, such as Asayama Ichiden Ryu Taijutsu and Bokuden Ryu Koshi no Mawari from Ueno Takashi... as well as training in Shito Ryu karate and Judo when he was younger.

    In the late 60's/early 70's, Hatsumi started his own official dojo, after spending much of the 60's running a training group for Takamatsu, naming it the Bujinkan Dojo (the training hall of the warrior god/spirit, apparently named in honour of Takamatsu himself). Thing is, of course, that's the name of the hall... not what is taught there. And with all those various arts being housed, a single name from a single art didn't cover them all... so a very Japanese approach was adopted. The "oldest" system (the one with the largest number of previous headmasters), which is afforded the highest amount of respect, was positioned as the "banner name" system... which, at 34 generations (according to the history provided by Takamatsu), was Togakure Ryu. As a result, the name of the school was Bujinkan Dojo Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu Ninjutsu, or (shorter) Bujinkan Dojo Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu... sometimes simply addressed as Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu.

    This gave rise to a number of confusions, particularly with the early publishings all seeming to refer to Togakure Ryu as being where all the methods taught in the Bujinkan Dojo came from... whereas, as you can see above, it's but one of many... and, honestly, one of the smallest of the lot. But, if you grew up with the early sources, such as the very early Hatsumi/Hayes books, and the early public descriptions, then it was presented that it was all "ninjutsu"... except, of course, most of it was not.

    So this idea of "these arts aren't the same as the Bansenshukai!!" is a bit, well, wrong. In fact, not so much wrong, as not even wrong... they were never claimed to be. However, the ninjutsu teachings found within Togakure Ryu do match it... pretty well perfectly, for the record.

    Thing is, Antony has been told this. Repeatedly. By me, in fact. But he refuses to look past his own misunderstanding of how the naming convention works, of what is expected, of what is being claimed, and how much he'd gotten things wrong. One of the signs of a good researcher and academic is the ability to take on new information, and adjust understanding accordingly... Antony has failed in this for the entire time I've dealt with him. Which also highlights a big problem in him being the introduction for information.

    The first information you encounter shapes your frame of reference... and the first information Antony came into contact with was basic, and he didn't understand what was actually behind it all. Similarly, if your first (primary) encounter is with his work, on the surface, it all looks fine... but, due to Antony's desperate lack of knowledge, experience, understanding, contextual awareness, and cultural sensitivity, anyone with actual knowledge and experience in this area picks up on the issues pretty well straight away. But more and more people are encountering Antony as a first-contact for these areas on knowledge... which means their entire frame of reference is skewed and screwed up from the get-go.... leading to comments such as yours above, which simply apes Antony's complaint that he has made for years... despite it being a non-event... he simply doesn't get that the Bujinkan is not Ninjutsu (as in, everything taught there)... in fact, the Bujinkan hasn't used the Togakure Ryu banner since the 80's.... but Antony still remains unable to grasp this simple concept.

    So I will say once more... if you follow what he says, then yes, you will be off base in terms of being incorrect in many of your understandings and grasps of this area. Antony, simply put, is not a credible source.
     
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  16. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Thank You so much for clarifying my misunderstanding, I have never before had it explained so clearly. I really do mean that and I hope you don't think me insincere for asking another question just so that in the future I don't go around spreading misinformation. Am I to understand from what your saying that Hatsumi has never claimed to teach combative movements both unarmed and with weapons that he claimed are Ninjutsu rather those are from various legit Bujutsu traditions and the Ninjutsu associated with three of his taught traditions is understood as a separate matter from the fighting movements? You see I had this silly impression that Hatsumi was saying he had ancient scrolls passed down to him from Takamatsu that contained actual ninjutsu fighting techniques that could be taught as responses to self-defense situations, actual passed down combative movements like you would see from a KeNpo lineage. I agreed with others that Ninjutsu was primarily the body of knowledge dealing with the trade craft of spies and that Shinobi would have received unarmed and weapons training from whatever conventional Bujutsu was available to them.
     
  17. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    Or to put it another way, In the US ARMY a Soldier may specialize in Military Intelligence but his unarmed combat training and his weapons training is for the most part available to all, while it (training in unarmed and weapons combat) would be tailored to various degrees to better accomplish the kinds of things that need to be done in Military Intelligence, My gripe with the Bujinkan and to a lesser extent the Genbukan people I have talked with had this arrogant attitude that they were learning the only authentic Ninjutsu available when to my eyes all they were doing was various striking, kicking, joint-locking etc and other things not ninjutsu.
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi Sami.

    No problem.

    No, that's not what I said... but then again, it's not not what I said either...

    The thing with Hatsumi, and trying to take what he says as the pure, literal, unaltered truth is that it will lead you to having little idea of what is the actual reality of the situation. So, yes, Hatsumi has described the various unarmed and armed methods as being "ninjutsu"... but that was not literally meaning the historical traditions of shinobi from the 16th century... instead, it was a shorthand way of describing the methods taught in his dojo... which, due to the initial "banner name" of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, Hatsumi's position as a teacher of Ninjutsu (as a basis for his claim/fame), the simplest and most effective marketing label (giving a point of difference), and so on, was often referred to simply as "Ninjutsu".... regardless of the actual source of whatever he was teaching at that moment. By the same token, he has spoken literally about the specific ninjutsu teachings, stating that "no-one can claim to teach ninjutsu, as I have not yet taught it to anyone"...

    What all that means is that you have to look at the context of what he's talking about at the time to get a sense of what he is referring to (specific to the historical skills, or generic to the skills of his dojo).

    Well... Hatsumi has spoken many times (as have others) of his large collection of densho, both related to his traditions, and completely unrelated to them, but I don't remember him ever talking about specific "ninjutsu fighting techniques"... the closest I've come across is, again, the generic term being used to describe the skills of the Bujinkan dojo (but that's really only in the 80's, by and large... by the early 90's, the term used for the skills of the Bujinkan Dojo has been Budo Taijutsu...), or for the skills of Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu... which is not really the same as the taijutsu methods of the more "bujutsu" systems... so it may be an idea to look at exactly what these "ninjutsu combat techniques" are like.

    In simple terms, Togakure Ryu is split into three primary sections.... Ninpo Taijutsu, Ninja Biken, and Ninjutsu. The Ninjutsu includes stealth and concealment, psychology, information gathering, escape, infiltration, weather prediction, use of natural elements, special tools, and more... the Ninja Biken is a series of sword methods geared around close-quarters sword work.... but here, we're going to look at the Ninpo Taijutsu.

    The Ninpo Taijutsu of Togakure Ryu is designed with the expected context of being on an espionage (or similar) mission, and getting discovered somewhere you shouldn't be... with a few different areas based on the exact circumstances. The most well-known section is the Santo Tonko no Kata, a series of techniques which are all designed around escaping being arrested/caught by guards. These include methods of escaping from being captured (the opponent grabs your wrist or collar, and attempts to drag you away), or escaping from a guard with a weapon (either striking at you, or simply bringing the weapon out to get you to "go along with them"). There are no striking defences, as the entire context is being caught by guards. Next is the Shinobi Gaeshi Kata... which are a group of methods teaching evading an opponent in the first place. Finally, there is the Ukemi Gata, a series of techniques often taught with the Shuko (one of the three "secret" tools of Togakure Ryu), which deal with an armed opponent attacking. While this may be seen as being close to "self defence", the real idea is to press non-weapons into use as defensive tools... as, along with the other "secret tools" (sanpo hiden), the Shuko were, simply, not designed as weapons... in fact, they're rather poor in that regard. But Togakure Ryu is not a combative system, the same way that, say, Kukishin Ryu is... so to expect it to have the same idea of weapons/tools is to misunderstand the structure and context of the school entirely.

    Also not necessarily true.... bear in mind that, historically, a "ninja" was anyone engaging in the act of information gathering.... which might be a "warrior"... or not. There is no rule that says that a spy is also a combatant....

    Yeah, look, trying to equate Japanese feudal military structure and training methods with modern militaries will never give you an accurate picture... so, no, it's not really like that at all.

    Thing is, you were only seeing one facet of the training and teachings available there... and were focusing on something that wasn't what you were discussing. Antony has made the same mistake for years...

    The attitude of the Bujinkan (well, all Takamatsuden groups) is that they are the only historically authentic source for Ninjutsu systems... other classical systems contain some ninjutsu teachings, but are not ninjutsu schools the way that something like Togakure Ryu is. Now, of course, there are some major questions as to that authenticity itself... but this is what they're meaning. And watching a class where you're seeing combative methods from Takagi Yoshin Ryu, or Gyokko Ryu, and then thinking that that's claimed to be historical ninjutsu teachings, is to not understand what you're seeing... and to misunderstand the claims.
     
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  19. Sami Ibrahim

    Sami Ibrahim Green Belt

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    That is exactly what happened, thank you for clarifying everything for me, in the future I too will explain it in this manner. Peace.
     

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