Views on Anthony Cummings

Justin Chang

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Hello everyone! I am sorry if this is a re-post (I searched the FAQ and browsed some of the threads and checked the search bar and didn't see anything)

I was wondering what some views are about the author Anthony Cummings in regard to his translations of varius Ninja texts. I have read a few of his books and found them to be very interesting and possibly show a little more light on who the ninja were and were not.

I would be interested in learning (especially from the prespective of somoene who studies Ninjutsu) how he is viewed in the Ninja world.

Thanks for taking the time to read!
 

Buka

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Welcome to MartialTalk, Justin.

Hopefully @Chris Parker will see this, he's the guy you want to hear from.
 

frank raud

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Chris will have a LOT more to say, but I have trouble with someone who does not speak or read Japanese doing "translation".
 

Tony Dismukes

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The reason you didn't find any info using the search function is that his name is spelled Antony Cummins. (No h, no g.)

I don't think you'll find a lot of positive opinions on him from those who study ninjutsu.
 
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Justin Chang

Justin Chang

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The reason you didn't find any info using the search function is that his name is spelled Antony Cummins. (No h, no g.)

I don't think you'll find a lot of positive opinions on him from those who study ninjutsu.
Thank you, I will revise my search and see what has already been discussed about him.
 

Jameswhelan

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Antony Cummins is a guy who co-edited a translation of an old Kishu ryu/Natori ryu ninjutsu scroll. For this reason, before the book came out, people needed to post photographs of his parents' house on the Internet: Antony Cummin's new agenda - Page 3 - Martial Arts Planet

After spending some time practicing xkan-style martial arts and investigating some of the very limited primary source material on ninjutsu in the past that was available before he began his research career, Antony reasoned that xkan martial arts isn't ninjutsu and ninjutsu wasn't combatives. Westerners who practice martial arts have this odd habit of tying up their martial arts practice with their whole sense of self, so needless to say, this rustled some jimmies. On the Internet.

He decided to make it his career to find a way to get the well-known and obscure primary source texts for ninjutsu translated and published. He does this commercially, not academically. This doesn't necessarily mean he does it wrong.

Antony isn't liked by the xkan officialdom on the web because they perceive that to undertake such a project requires in some way their authorisation and he acted without it. He used all of the heat like you can see in the link above, to drive traffic to his YouTube channel and in this way built up his brand from scratch and in fact created his own constituency for his books before any were published. Publishers love this. It was a brilliant (and often hilarious) social media campaign.

Japan has always been a highly literate culture but never had anything like centralised institutional record-keeping, universities, libraries or cataloging as in Europe. As anyone doing research in Japanese history knows, source identification can be a pain in the face; everything is local and usually privately owned. Antony regularly maxes out his stay visas in Japan traveling to local libraries and archives, specialist antique book dealers etc. He goes to libraries and goes through literally every old document they have, logging every occurrence of the kanji 敹 for later investigation. By contrast, the content of those who have taken it upon themselves to self-identify as critics of Antony, consists entirely of kvetching.

One thing that really hurt the feelings of people on the Internet was that Antony reached out to ninjutsu reenactors on YouTube for collaboration. These reenactors usually claim to be trained in one sort of authentic ninjutsu art or another and this of course causes apoplexy. Those that got over themselves were able to see that Antony was making a clever point in a smart-Alecy way: there is NO authentic tradition of ninjutsu around today - the YouTube reenactors, and the xkans are equally not ninjutsu. Imagine the salt.

Remember, Antony spends his time in obscure archives looking for and finding obscure texts. Then he has them translated. Publishers are kicking his door in to get this content. Anyone taking to the Internet to critique him who hasn't done at least similar, can be safely ignored.
 

Jameswhelan

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The reason you didn't find any info using the search function is that his name is spelled Antony Cummins. (No h, no g.)

His detractors actually resorted to deliberately misspelling his name to try to game him out of the Google search algorithm.
 

Tony Dismukes

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His detractors actually resorted to deliberately misspelling his name to try to game him out of the Google search algorithm.
As a fellow Antony (no h), I'm actually sympathetic to the fact that most people probably misspell his name routinely. I have to correct people on the spelling of my name on official paperwork all the time. When I went through basic training my dog tags came out misspelled 3 times in a row until my drill sergeant went and stood over them while they printed it out.
 

jks9199

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Folks,
Just a reminder. We do have rules against fraudbusting. That doesn't prevent you from discussing a person's merit or lack thereof, or whether their scholarship is sound. Just keep it polite, professional, and factual.
 
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