Ninjutsu contradictions

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by fatninja, May 10, 2017.

  1. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Interesting. I didn't see anything in that book that could be described as a "bloodthirsty fantasy". He seemed to draw everything there from direct sources such as writings from those systems he discussed, but I will admit that this subject is far outside of my area.
     
  2. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Cummins is well, inept and wrong on many accounts and as Chris mentioned he operates in his own fantasy world. If you were looking for good translations by an individual who actually trains and reads and writes Japanese at the highest level then you would want Don Roley's translations:

    Books for Sale

    You are not going to learn anything of value from books by Stephen Hayes or Antony Cummins. Way to much misinformation!
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  3. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    An excerpt from the book: the samurai were a head hunting cult -- 5/05/17

    The sheer ridiculousness of the passage there is astounding... an overly sensationalised, and thoroughly inaccurate description based on a failure to understand the historical realities, the culture, or even the direct sources he's taking his bizarre ideas from, as he is choosing to only follow what suits his own misconceptions, as he does over and over again. The idea of samurai being a "head hunting cult", that "head hunting was one of their core activities" is purely based in his perverse fascination with the act of beheading.... Antony rather infamously did a video of displaying heads with a decapitated pigs head.... a bit gruesome, but with him grinning like he's just been offered a lap dance. The dude's sick. His appearance on the "documentary" Samurai Head Hunters was just as bad, and just as flawed.... frankly, the guy has issues, and those pervade his "work".

    I'm waiting to get permission to quote a critique on this exact text (the excerpt, and the book it came from) from Prof. Karl Friday.... who has nothing good to say for Cummins and his offerings... but suffice to say that his take is that it is entirely without merit, and that Antony has no clue what he's doing, as he fails to even understand different times in samurai history, and how that changes things.... making sweeping claims that aren't true across all periods.... and even failing to be accurate for any period at all.

    I wouldn't even use it as a firelighter.

    I'm also going to link an article from another koryu practitioner who, although he lists himself as very much an amateur historian and researcher, is far beyond Antony's credentials in every relevant regard. This article covers the issues with Antony's claims and methods, and uses the term "fraud" to describe him... due to the rules here, I'm not going to state if I would use the same word... but I do heartily suggest reading the article (as well as the second in the series, if you want to understand his issues on a martial level). The blog article is: Antony Cummins is a FRAUD

    The basic thing is that no-one, not a single soul who come to Antony's work with actual knowledge find value in his offerings... instead, we find them to be, more than anything, a hindrance... as people who are introduced to the topics using his works without fail come away with incorrect knowledge and assumptions.... not too dissimilar to those who rely on Hayes' early works, really....
     
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  4. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    Interesting. Thanks for that. The book I liked doesn't contain any of that sort of thing that I recall, but it is certainly concerning that other works do.
     
  5. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank you very much Chris for making me splutter my coffee out! I looked at the excerpt of the book and this... "In the main, a man does not like having his head cut from his neck", no sh*t Sherlock! that is some really bad or deliberately comic writing! :D:D
     
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  6. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Double check your book.... that's an excerpt directly from the book you recommended.
     
  7. Charlemagne

    Charlemagne Black Belt

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    I'll go back and look, thanks.
     
  8. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay, I have permission to quote from the review given, with a small amount of editing at Professor Friday's request. The excerpt I linked above came up for discussion at a closed Facebook page I am a part of, which is dedicated to Classical Japanese martial arts and history (Koryu arts and the surrounding culture), and, as expected, no-one there found anything positive. The most precise and dispassionate critique, though, was from Professor Karl Friday... who, if you're unaware, is a highly respected member of the Koryu community, being a Shihan (Menkyo Kaiden holder) in Kashima Shinryu under Seki Humitake, as well as being a highly regarded academic, holding teaching positions in a number of universities, lecturing on Japanese and Asian culture, and history. He speaks and reads Japanese fluently, and presently lives in Japan, teaching there. He has published a number of incredibly well regarded books on Koryu culture, Japanese history (centred around warrior culture), and more.

    Prof. Friday's response is as follows:
    Note from myself... this is not unlike the idea of Native Americans being labeled "scalping savages", despite the practice being introduced by French bounty hunters... to continue:

    Prof. Friday then goes on to critique Antony Cummins himself, as well as advising on better sources for such material.

    For clarification, Antony Cummins does not read, nor speak Japanese at all. His "translations" are done by others, with no knowledge or understanding of the context, leaving Antony to add his own imagination to the translation work they do. This is not a good recipe for anything credible at all.

    Professor Friday was then asked about the validity of Antony's work and translations, and this was his response:

    My thanks to Professor Friday for giving me permission to quote him here.
     
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  9. fatninja

    fatninja Yellow Belt

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    Okay, From what I have learned is for Accurate info/translation of books of Ninjutsu, Don Roley is a great source, but as an aside what about books on the Samurai arts, Bushido?, Asian philosophies like the Book of 5 rings, Art of war? I don't think I'll be getting anymore Hatsumi books because it seems as though Steve Hayes has his hand in every one, True?
     
  10. dunc

    dunc Yellow Belt

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    No!
     
  11. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    No, Stephen Hayes certainly does not have his hand in every one. Those written twenty plus years ago, sure. If you look at the newer ones like Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai, The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques, Advanced Stick Fighting, Japanese Sword Fighting, The Essence of Budo and more. There are some older books that Stephen Hayes had nothing to do with like Stick Fighting or the Tetsuzan compilation or all of the books written in Japanese. There is a lot of good information out there. The book written by Paul Richardson is also a good read: Introductory history to the nine schools of the bujinkan by Paul Richardson (Paperback) - Lulu
     
  12. Yamabushii

    Yamabushii Yellow Belt

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    Hi. Just chiming in on this thread here and saw your post. I wanted to add my thoughts on two things you mentioned.

    I don't like the term "uniform" or phrase "ninja uniform" when it comes to the ninja, and maybe that's what your comment above was alluding to, but wearing all black did serve its purpose depending on the night sky and how visible the moon is or isn't, same with the dark blues, grays, browns, etc. My personal favorite "uniform" are my everyday clothes.

    As a response to Fatninja, I think people really just need to stop thinking of them as "uniforms" though.

    I don't necessarily believe Fatninja is incorrect when he says a "shortened katana". I believe he may be referring to a shinobi-gatana, but I agree with you that it wasn't a requirement or that every shinobi carried one.
     
  13. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi.

    Yeah... you missed the context entirely. My point was that there never was anything like a "ninja uniform", as the idea is just ludicrous when you actually take it apart and think about it. Oh, and no.... black is fairly bad there unless it's a purely black night... which is so rare as to be non-existent. Blues, reds, sure... but black stands out too much against the lighter "black" of a night.

    Outside of the teachings of Togakure Ryu (with however much salt you choose to apply), there is no such thing as a "shinobi-gatana".... which, again, is the point.
     
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  14. Yamabushii

    Yamabushii Yellow Belt

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    I did say "and maybe that's what your comment above was alluding to", did I not?

    Rare, yes. Non-existent, no. I'm also not referring to a jet black, and I'm also not referring to out in the open. When it's a cloudy night with no moon light and you're in an area with thick trees making it even darker, it can be handy. Is it my favorite color in a shinobi shizoku? Certainly not, but I'm not going to deny it serves a purpose.

    Togakure Ryu is the core of what I've been taught about Ninpo, and this comes directly from Soke Tanemura himself. You don't have to accept Togakure Ryu as part of your training, but for the many of us who study it, a shinobi-gatana was legit. Which honestly comes as a surprise to me. I wasn't aware there were any students of Ninpo today who don't acknowledge it as a ryu-ha. The ninja were known for carrying shorter swords in regular length saya. It's quite literally Shinobi 101.
     
  15. fatninja

    fatninja Yellow Belt

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    Wait lemme get my popcorn! Just as an aside, I understand the folly of dressing like a stereotypical ninja, and it made no tactical sense, but I see a lot of established Bujinkan practitoners , worldwide perpetuate these images of themselves dressed as Hollywood ninjas, didn't they get the memo?
     
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  16. KangTsai

    KangTsai 2nd Black Belt

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    I would educatedly guess that is true, since ninja were almost exclusively comprised of peasant organisations. Hence the occasional use of cheap but effective weapons such as kusarigama. Also poisons.
     
  17. dunc

    dunc Yellow Belt

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    Sword design evolved over time so you can't really be too binary about things like this

    When hatsumi-sensei teaches sword he often shows how the core technique changes according to the point in history. Generally speaking straight swords evolved into tachi, then katana. Polearms even got thrown into the mix too with people re-purposing naganata blades as swords

    According to their circumstances/requirements different ryuha used variants of the "popular" sword of the time. Togakure Ryu has a short blade (curved) with a normal length handle, Kukishin Den uses a longer blade with a relatively long handle and so on

    There were times when people that we may categorise as ninja were in favour and employed by the powerful elite (& therefore likely had good quality weapons) and there were times when they lived in a relatively poor region of Japan (& therefore most likely didn't have access to the best weapons)

    Improvised weapons and tools that also doubled up as weapons are common to all cultures and Japan (& the ryuha) are no different
     

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