‘Bringing the Strength and Beauty of Martial Arts to the World’
Martial art is simply translated as the “art of war.”
It is based upon systems of codified practices and traditions of training for combat. They may be studied for various reasons including combat skills, fitness, self-defense, sport, self-cultivation/meditation, mental discipline, character development and building self-confidence, or any combination of the above.
Development of many martial arts was related to military development, but many of those techniques have been rendered technologically obsolete over the centuries. In the modern day, most populations would be more likely to face adversaries during battle. Furthermore, the preservation of a martial art requires many years of teaching at the hands of a good instructor to pass on the art for a single generation.
The teaching of martial arts in Asia has historically followed the cultural traditions of teacher-disciple apprenticeship. Many martial arts, especially those from Asia, also teach side disciplines which pertain to medicinal practices.
There is a great diversity and abundance of martial arts but, broadly speaking, martial arts share a common goal: to defeat a person physically or to defend oneself from physical threat. In some martial arts there is also a sense of spirituality.
Martial Arts TV wants to bring this beauty to all who want to learn more about martial arts and getting involved in it. You can discuss your ideas and bring your questions to our blog and find that there are millions of people you can share this passion with.
We are an internet broadband martial arts television channel featuring online martial arts fights, movies, training videos, animations and entertainment from across the world. Our mains are to bridge these contemporary visions of martial arts with its complex history to all our viewers.
Steven Seagal: ‘FBI probe ruined my career’ [Posted 18th August 2007]
Recent comments made in the Los Angeles Times (17th August 2007) by the movie and action star Steven Seagal, suggest that FBI had ruined his career.
It all centres on an FBI investigation five years ago into alleged threats made towards a reporter by Seagal and rumored ties to an organized crime syndicate. Both accusations he fully denies and has lead to demands of an apology from the FBI.
The source of the FBI’s investigation began with Seagal’s associations with Anthony Pellicano. The former private detective, who is now awaiting trial on wire-tapping and other felonies in a federal prison, was once the choice for many of Hollywood’s best movie stars, producers and directors.
An investigation into the Pellicano case dates back to an incident in 2002 when a dead fish, a red rose and note proclaiming “Stop!” was planted a free-lance reporter’s car. During this time, the reporter was working on behalf of the LA Times and researching Seagal and a former business partner.
In response the actor clarified with the LA Times that over the past decade both he and Pellicano and become embroiled over a legal dispute and had severed contact.
The kung-fu maestro was the major star in the action hit “Under Siege” (1992), earning $156 million at the box office worldwide. Now Segal believes that those false accusations ruined relations with studio heads and independent producers and thus his career.
Further claims made by Seagal state that the FBI is still reluctant to publicly exonerated him. The investigation is still on going and neither the FBI nor U.S. Attorney wished to comment any further.
Tiffany Gardere: A Special Fighter [Posted 13th July 2007]
Tiffany Gardere is not special just because she is the daughter of Master Eric Gardere – 9Th degree, owner/instructor of the Twin Tigers Kung Fu studio in Los Banos CA. She is different, a true fighter.
Tiffany has trained in the martial arts since she was 4 years old. She was a natural. By the time Master Eric opened his studio in Los Banos, Tiffany was ready to compete in the tournament circuit, which she did for two seasons. On opening of the third season, Tiffany went to her father and asked if she could compete in the point sparring division. He refused her request, but she was persistent, and eventually he said yes. To everyone’s surprise, she was good. She started to dominate her division in point sparring.
At the age of sixteen, Tiffany was told that she had a brain tumor and would not be able to compete again. The devastating news left her not knowing what to do. She inquired of her father, who told her that she could either sulk about it the rest of her life or she could continue her life as normal. The next day, Master Eric was woken by noise in his home studio. It was Tiffany training. She decided that she was not going to let a tumor stop her life and she was not going to stop competing. The doctors at first did not agree with her decision, but she told them that martial arts was the best thing for her and that she was not going to give it up, so they started her on chemo.
Tiffany has been competing for the past 2 years with a brain tumor and has not given up. She competed in the AMAPA Golden Gate Nationals in the 18-35 women’s point sparring division, defeated some of the national champions and made it all the way to the Super Grand’s. She told her father, “Dad all I want to do is to touch the stage this year”. She did, in a losing effort in the Super Grand’s to one of the best national champions. Tiffany’s dream is to some day get a sponsor and become a world champion competitor. Tiffany is not just a fighter in the martial arts, but she fights for her life on a daily basis. This makes her a true Starfighter.
Twin Tigers Kung Fu, Los Banos CA, USA
Japanimation Festival @ Barbican Centre, London [Posted 28th March 2007]
[Tues 27 March ’07 ‘Magnificent Seven ? + Samurai 7’]
Since the dawn of cinema and the moving image, ‘samurai’ have been an icon for western culture. Optimising the height of Japanese tradition that is still attractive to many martial art fans alike.
In particular Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, ‘Seven Samurai’ (1954), has been re-patronaged by ‘Magnificent Seven’ (1960), ‘Seven Swords’ (2005) and the smash-hit anime series ‘Samurai 7’ (2005).
In honour of this, The Barbican Centre, London, hosted ‘Japanimation’ – a festival celebrating the importance of anime within Japan and its growing popularity abroad.
With an introduction and parallel critique between the 1954 version of ‘Seven Samurai’, and its anime adaptation, Helen McCarthy, co-author of The Anime Encyclopaedia, deftly demonstrated through chosen footage, the power of Kurosawa’s original. Showing how it has been brought into the new age, and revitalised, by the energy of Toshifumi Takitawa’s anime-design team.
Screening such an event at the Barbican Centre Cinema, rather than within another auditorium, places animation at the forefront along feature films, of western culture’s appreciation and changing attitude towards the martial arts.
The particular use of CGI within ‘Samurai 7’, and stunning hand-drawn animation clearly explains McCarthy’s motivation for suggesting that ‘Samurai 7’ might be for commercial distribution within mainstream culture, but it was developed as a piece of narrative, an art-form, a homage to Kurosawa’s greatness’.
Check out a full review for the ‘Samurai 7’ series in ANIME REVIEWS section.
MMA v Traditional Martial Arts [6th January 2007]
The age old question…
Coming from a traditional martial arts background I should have a biased attitude towards MMA as many purists do. I remember talking to my Sifu in the early 90’s in regards to the first UFC tape I got my hands on, and asking what his thoughts were on MMA (NHB at this time). His response was mixed between this was human cock fighting and should be banned to it’s just another fad and gimmick as Kung Fu was in the 70’s, Ninja’s in the 80’s and so on. I heard him say “it will pass as the others did” but I did not think so. In fact, I saw this as an evolution in every sense of the word.
Recently I heard a commentator on a UFC DVD come out with something that I think coins Martial Arts today, he said that Martial Arts have been around for 100’s of years, and what works in a street fight has been speculation for most of this time. His view was that it is only in the last ten years or so, since the UFC has been around, that we really get to see what works and what does not.
The question I asked myself many times while training in a traditional style is, do you think this would be as effective in a street fight as MMA would be if my life depending on it? Would I rather have a decade of traditional Kung Fu or Karate training or a decade or MMA training? The answer to my question was the latter.
This may seem a little sad because there is more to Martial Arts than fighting, but I feel that if your Sensei or Sifu starts to teach a self defence technique or some so called real life situation, you should question it, as your life may depend on it one day.
MATV’s Cinema Most Lethal [Posted 20th November 2006]
Look at some of our favourite movie fights.
With the likes of Jet Li and Tony Jaa flying across the screen with kicks and knees, many of us are hoping that the martial art movie world is set for a new lease of life. But until this happens, let’s take a look at those famous fight scenes and on screen brawls that remain entertaining to this day.
Starting with an oldie…
You’re probably expecting us to mention that coliseum fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. Well come on fight fans, that epic duel has been mentioned on fight forums across the web. We are going to be original today. Our first favourite is still pretty old and some might describe it as an East v West scrap. It’s the energetic Jackie Chan v tough kickboxing legend Benny Urquidez, using all manner of kick and punch in Wheels on Meals. This one has got humour, emotion and plenty of action.
Even aliens like a good brawl…
The eighties was an era of the gun totting action heroes. Still there were still some interesting brawls. And the one we are thinking of here has Arnold facing someone who outsize and outmuscle him. Oh and did we mention the opponent is from out of space. The fight scene is right at the end of the film Predator and it’s a pretty rough and ready affair, with Arnold’s character taking painful punishment from the Predator. If they make a fourth movie based on this rather angry alien, we reckon it should face off against Steven Seagal!
Prepare for some bone snapping…
When Seagal lunged onto the screen, he presented something very unique to fight fans with his fluid fight scenes and flair. Here was a highly skilled action hero who was ready to rely on more technical prowess. Fans got to see wrist locks, arm bars and bad guys crashing through the air. It’s a refreshing change from the spinning back kick. So our next favourite scene is from one of Seagal’s early films – Under Siege. His character faces off with a calculating bad guy played by Tommy Lee Jones, on board a ship. Don’t blink because they display some fast paced knife work in this one.
A high kick always gets an applause…
So if we are talking about high kicks, we better mention Jean Claude Van Damme. He has not made a pure martial art film for some time but there are probably a few fans that watch K1 or the UFC and still probably hope for the day when one fighter will replicate this star’s Jumping Spinning Kick. Perhaps one of the most dramatic Van Damme fights was when he faced off against Bolo Yeung in Blood sport.
Our next fight involves gritty techniques exchanged by John Cusack and that tough ring warrior Benny Urquidez. This is one explosive war and it appears in the rather cool film – Grosse Point Blank. Let’s just say a pen comes in handy for one of them.
More Pen Work!
Someone else who likes to use day to day objects in a fight is Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne character. In The Bourne Identity, we see Bourne take on an assassin within the confines of an apartment. This one is all about vicious moves and good hand speed. Anyone into South East Asian martial arts such as Kali or Escrima will probably enjoy this scene.
At the end of the film Lethal Weapon, there is a dramatic street style showdown between Mel Gibson’s wired cop character Martin Riggs and Gary Busey’s character. This one is wild and gutsy, but there are some genuine martial art techniques thrown in. Riggs pulls off a nice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu finishing hold in this; did you spot it?
Likes his blades?
We wonder whether Mr Tommy Lee Jones likes working with knives. Not only can you see him in a knife duel against Mr Seagal in Under Siege, but some years later, appearing in The Hunted; he has an even more brutal knife fight with Benicio Del Torro’s character. Again if you like fight scenes with a South East Asian flavour, check this one out.
Chuck Norris has had his fair share of on screen show downs. In Missing In Action Two – The Beginning Chuck’s character Colonel Braddock uses plenty of ammo. But for the last fight against the Vietnamese commander of a POW camp, Chuck decides to do what he does best. So out come the kicks and punches.
Returning to the Matrix…
Out come the dark shades for this one as Keanu Reeves’ character Neo battles with Agent Smith at the end of the first Matrix film. Very slick choreography here, but was anyone else rooting for Agent Smith…?!
So these are just some of our favourite fight scenes and in future features we will take a look at some other movies that have impressed fans with their stylish duels.
Hollywood’s Tough And Trained [Posted 20th November 2006]
MATV consider which actors…got some moves!
We are going to start this off by putting forward a hypothetical situation for you! Here it is…if you were to ever end up in a bad brawl, which Hollywood actor would you want fighting on your side. Are you going to chose some mainstream action hero? Are you going to play it less predictable and have someone who usually plays the bad guy but looks like a force to be reckoned with? Or maybe you know something about some actor; we don’t!
It’s not often that you see broken noses and cauliflower ears on the big screen. But we think that within the film world, if you do your homework, you will find that there are the tough and the trained. Anyway we’ll leave it for you to make your suggestions, but here are some people we would like to have joining us, next time we go for a night in the town on a wild Friday night!
Well to get things rolling, we’ll start by mentioning someone most fight fans have seen kick butt on the big screen. In major action films, this actor has faced off with vampires, terrorists and Sylvester Stallone. He can kick, punch or throw with convincing power. He is of course – Wesley Snipes. The man who played the hero in Passenger 57, looks pretty handy with his fists and it looks like he has done some cross training in different styles. Need more convincing about his skills? Then go watch Blade!
The next person we are hoping will be at our table, when some thug grabs a bottle and heads towards us; movie fans may be less familiar with, but if you watched early UFC’s you better know this man because he won UFC 6. He is Russia’s tough grappler Oleg Taktarov. He has appeared in films such as 15 minutes and Rollerball (2002 version). He also featured in the hit TV series Alias. We were disappointed that he did not get to show more of his fighting skills in Airforce One. Wouldn’t it have been fun to see Oleg against Harrison Ford in that movie? Ford may have had to resort to Indiana Jones tactics and grab a sidearm for this bout. The thing with Oleg is that not only has he got some great Ju Jitsu and Sambo skills, he also looks hard. We also reckon Oleg has got some good acting skills, so lets hope we see more of him on screen.
Okay so here is someone our senior fight fans may appreciate. He was one of the most successful actors of his era and although never connected with fight films, we still think he would have been pretty good in a scrap. We are talking about the late Richard Burton. The Welsh born actor conveys his tough guy qualities in classics such as The Wild Geese where he played a hardened mercenary. Maybe not someone with lots of formal fight training, but definitely an actor who had old school toughness.
Our next choice is an actress; we think she has got great looks and toughness. This actress has done quite a few action roles. Check out her films and you’ll see her use swords, guns and fists. Milla Jovovich must had gone through some pretty extensive training to prepare for her parts in films such as Resident Evil and Ultra Violet. Maybe if they make a third Kill Bill film they can cast her opposite Uma Thurman. Now that could lead to the mother of cinematic showdowns!
One actor some fight fans are hoping to see as the king of action heroes is Vin Diesel. Perhaps best known for playing Riddick in Pitch Black and the sequel Chronicles of Riddick, Vin has the physique and the intensity. He is not really associated with martial arts, but we reckon he could deliver the goods when under pressure. Vin is regarded as a serious and talented actor, but we still hope for the day, when he makes a more hands on fight film.
We just couldn’t leave Chuck out of this feature. Chuck Norris may be best known for his eighties action films and his roundhouse kicks but this tough actor also has some nice Jiu Jitsu grappling moves. So rest assured, the American martial arts legend can strike or grapple. Chuck is also a good ambassador for the martial arts and we think that if there ever was a potential fight brewing, Chuck would do his best to prevent unnecessary violence. Still, don’t be in a hurry to spill his pint!
Thailand is well known for its tough kickboxers and so when we mention our next choice, you can be sure that this screen fighter knows how to throw some mean knees and elbow strikes. He has also demonstrated some of the most amazing stunts ever to appear in a film. When Tony Jaa appeared on the scene, he showed the power and grace of the Thai martial arts in an outstanding, visually dynamic way. He also has the type of jumping agility that fans of Hong Kong films enjoy. He is perhaps the most agile screen fighter of this era.
Our final choice for today may be a surprise to some fight fans because he is an actor best known for his comedy role in the TV show King of Queens. But we think that Kevin James would be good to have on our side in a bar fight. His funny comedy lines might calm down a tense moment but if not; no worries. Kevin seems to be a big fan of MMA and maybe he gets some intense training from fighting legend Bas Rutten. Bas even appeared on an episode of King Of Queens. Hey, if Kevin is friends with Bas, then there is another useful person to have in your corner!
Ninjutsu Blog (Session 2) [Posted 2nd November 2006]
My first few months lessons.
These were strange days.
I had been teaching Judo, Karate and Ju Jutsu, along with taking part in Judo and Karate competitions for years. I thought I was quite good at the various disciplines and had a good understanding of what represented the “art” in Martial Artist.
20 years study of martial arts, practising my techniques in the Dojo, teaching them or using them in competition had given me an answer to most questions and I felt reasonably comfortable with my knowledge and my ability.
It came as quite a shock when I was shown techniques I had no answer to. I had no counter, no defence and very little idea of what was going to happen next.
Everything I had ever learnt about my arts was shredded, literally before my eyes.
My first few months classes were in the foundations of Ninjutsu, the fundamental Kata. This concept of building good foundations is so important. Translate it into building a house, without good foundations the whole construction will fall down, very quickly.
Like 99% of everything we do throughout our life, I assumed these first techniques were “the basics”, the simple stuff. So I was even more confused when I was told no, these are the advanced techniques.
My first thought was, “if these are the basics my God the advanced stuff must hurt like hell”, followed by “well that’s confusing, why start with the hard stuff”?
Even now after all these years it’s hard to explain. But I guess I should try.
These “foundation” techniques are much much more than that. They are full of lessons which help us understand every other technique. The more we understand about everything else, the more we learn about the foundations. The more we understand the foundations, the better we understand the rest, and so on for infinity.
It then becomes a self fulfilling cycle. The more we understand the more we understand. Simple eh?
Now this was back in 1985 and it turned my conventional “wisdom” upside down. The funny thing is, it makes complete, logical, sense.
The foundation techniques are taught in Kata form and Kata was nothing new to me. Every martial art has Kata, but Ninjutsu Kata really does have a different feel. Nothing I can put my finger on and describe, no matter how hard I try.
Anyway, the purpose of these is give us a set of guidelines, tactics and lessons.
In order to be able to defend yourself well it is not enough to know a selection of techniques. To apply them correctly it is important to understand what a technique is made up of.
Balance, Timing, Positioning, Distance, Technique, Posture, Footwork.
These are only a few of the skills you will need.
The three fundamental Kata of Ninjutsu are Kamae no Kata, Kihon Happo and Sanshin no Kata.
These form the triangle of knowledge necessary to correctly apply your technique.
Kamae no Kata will teach positioning and posture. Kihon Happo will teach fundamental techniques. Sanshin no Kata will teach how to deliver your weight and footwork.
All techniques are made up of elements of these three Kata. For example, it is not enough to know a selection of techniques if your foot positioning is not correct. Equally it is not enough to have good footwork but poor positioning.
Kihon Happo comprises of eight fundamental techniques and is divided into two sections. From these eight come all other techniques.
These eight techniques teach timing, distance and balance, among other things. Kamae no Kata teaches us posture, plus how and where to place our body. Contrary to popular belief and teaching,
these are not fighting postures.
The San Shin no Kata teaches us footwork and how to correctly apply our body to a given technique.
The five techniques of San Shin no Kata are based on the five elements.
The mental attitude attached to each of the techniques relates directly to its element. For example; when practising Sui, water, imagine how water ebbs and flows, rises and falls. It is rarely motionless and its movements are directly related to its environment.
To fully understand the concept of relating the technique to the element, it is useful to spend some time meditating on an aspect of each element.
To say the effect these techniques had on me and how they related to my own ability and knowledge was profound would be an understatement.
These few simple techniques negated EVERYTHING I knew.
When I was told that I had been accepted for membership and these Kata would be the basis of my first grading, they became the most important thing I had ever studied.
I even integrated some of the teachings into what I was doing at my other Dojo. That’s how revolutionary, powerful, unstoppable and devastating I thought these techniques were.
I couldn’t see how they could be surpassed in martial terms.
My first grading came and went pretty quickly and the first week back in the Dojo bought yet another surprise.
“This week”, said Sensei, “We will be looking at counters to all the techniques in Kihon Happo”.
WHAT?????????? Counters to these revolutionary, powerful, unstoppable and devastating techniques??????????????
Shocked? Stunned? Devastated? All these and more. I have never been so surprised. Until that is I saw the counters and how simple they were.
And that’s another story…........................................
Ninjustu Blog (Session 1) [Posted 4th October 2006]
Welcome to the Martial Arts TV Ninjutsu Blog.
The purpose of our blog is to share our experiences of Ninjutsu, good and bad, and give the reader an insight into the past present and future of Ninjutsu, particularly in the UK.
The study of Ninjutsu is all about blood, sweat and tears. Perseverance and endurance, to quote the Ninja credo. But it should also be about having a good time and making new friends. So I’ll be sharing the pain, the laughter and the downright inexplicable. I hope you enjoy our story.
In true martial tradition I should formally introduce myself first.
My name is Mark Lutman and I am Sempai to the Shinobi Kai Ninpo Bugei Hombu Dojo.
I am also Sensei to the Shinobi Kai Ninpo Bugei Dojo in Portsmouth and Basingstoke . My title is Hanshi.
That’s is the formal view. But I do not stand on airs and graces.
Its not for me to insist on being called by any title, its up to me to show my students I am worthy of being addressed how they feel is appropriate. They have to be comfortable in calling me Sensei. They have to have the confidence that I am Sensei. I am because I am, not because I insist on the title being used.
I guess the best place to start is with the writer, so this is how I discovered Ninjutsu.
In truth it was a complete accident and set of coincidences.
Way back in the dim and distant past the last thing I had in mind was being a martial arts instructor.
But its funny how life turns out and the journey it takes you on sometimes.
Now, I’m not going to claim to have been in Ninjutsu from day one, but day two for sure. I had already been studying Judo, Karate an Jujutsu for some time when I literally stumbled across Ninjutsu.
One of my hobbies was model making and I regularly purchased a magazine called “Military Modeller”. In those days most people who were into modelling chose the second world war or the American civil war as these were the most accessible in terms of what products were available.
Military Modeller constantly tried to show the readers another arenas to study and get involved in.
One month I was stunned to read an idea based on a Japanese group called “Ninja”. The article told stories of seemingly superhuman warriors, invincible in combat. As an experienced martial artist this was news to me; I had never heard of these “Ninja” before.
A writer called “Andrew Adams” and his book “Ninja, The Invisible Assassins” was quoted. That’s was it, I had to have this book and moved heaven and earth to buy a copy.
At this time you couldn’t just go into WH Smith’s and get it off the shelf, I had to go to a specialist book supplier and order it. I also had to wait weeks, which seemed like months.
This article and book were the first parts of my research. The book quoted the only living practitioner of Ninjutsu, a Master by the name of Masaaki Hatsumi, who only taught in Japan , to Japanese students. Little did I know how the future would change this.
So here I am, article and book in hand. But no Dojo, no instructor, no Gi, no “ninja sword” and to be honest, no idea. I had no way to get to Japan and even if I did, I had no way of finding out where Hatsumi taught. Not that it would have been much use, as the article said he only taught Japanese students, plus I didn’t speak Japanese.
It was a few years later and coincidence reared its head again.
Having spent a weekend in Eastbourne with friends I was driving back through Polegate and saw a mannequin outside a business unit. The mannequin was dressed as a Ninja and I made a mental note of where to find the unit again.
As soon as I got home I called a friend and fellow martial artist and told him what I had stumbled across. The following weekend we retraced my route and found our way back to a company, now known throughout the world; Battle Orders. Well done Graham by the way.
Where we proceeded to spend just about everything we had. One Saturday of every following month was spent driving all the way back and spending as much as we could afford “stocking up”.
Still a couple of small problems though; no Dojo, no instructor, no idea. Loads of equipment though, just nothing to do with it.
One visit to Battle Orders cheered us up though, they were closing the business unit and opening a shop in Brighton . Brighton was a hell of a lot closer to home and they would be stocking a lot more Ninja “equipment”. Music to our ears.
As soon as the shop opened there we were, money in hand. The shop was full of people, I hadn’t seen so many people crammed into such a small place before. There was a noticeboard on the wall for local instructors of any art to put their cards and posters up.
Over the next few months we got to know the shop manager quite well and one day saw a poster for “Ninjutsu”; classes starting soon, plus the details of where and when. I nearly fell over.
The following Tuesday saw us back in Brighton , in a dusty hall, hidden behind a church. Our first exposure to a “Ninja Dojo”.
The biggest surprise for me was the instructor. I had imagined a superhuman figure, large framed, imposing, dressed all in black, his features concealed behind a “mask”.
Imagine my shock when he seemed to be just like me. But smaller. And skinnier. And no mask.
By this time I was teaching Judo, karate and Jujutsu and taking part in Judo and Karate competitions all over the place.
I was fit. I was strong. I was very competitive.
My main idea was to find out out a bit about “Ninja techniques” and use them to help me win competitions. (of course I never took the next logical step to realise that had I done so, I would have been thrown out of the competitions. One thing Ninjutsu has taught me is to think and ask questions).
The other surprise about the instructor was how familiar he was. After months of getting to know the shop manager it turns out that he is the instructor. All this time and he never once told me what he did in his spare time.
This was my first experience of actually training in Ninjutsu and it was also another shock.
I cannot begin to describe how easily I was thrown. Or hit. Or locked up. Or kicked. Or how damn painful it was.
So there I am, a reasonably good and experienced martial artist, fit and competitive, with more than one martial discipline under my belt, being thrown around like a rag doll by a chap half my size.
Suddenly it all falls into place, this is a true martial art, everything I have always looked for. Size really doesn’t matter, technique and tactics are everything.
On further questioning it turns out that the instructor, Peter Brown , has been travelling to Sweden (and we complain when its raining and the Dojo is half a mile away) for years to study with Sensei Bo Munthe, the first European Dan grade.
Luckily for me Peter was one of the first two people in England to be awarded a Dan grade in Ninjutsu. It also transpires that Peter also wrote one of the very first articles I read, all those years ago.
Funny how life goes around in circles.
Daisuke Togakure [Posted 20th September 2006]
Born Daisuke Nishina into a family of samurai heritage, in the village of Togakure around 1161. During his early life, Daisuke studied the Tendai Shugendo sect of Buddhism at the Tendai monastery on Togakure Mountain [Mount Hiei-zan] that centres on the purity of one’s self by trial and hardship.
While in Iga, was discovered by Kagakure Doshi, the third Soke of Hakuun Ryu, one of the original Ninjutsu systems. Daisuke Togakure studied Doshi’s warrior teachings, and added them to his own Shugendo beliefs. The beginnings of Togakure Ryu were forged.
Daisuke was not alone studying under Kagakure Doshi. Another fellow student was Shima Kosanta Minamoto no Kanesada, a high-level samurai retainer who had also fought at the battle of Awaza no Kassan. Shima had been wounded in battle, and was saved by Daisuke. Shima, after Daisuke’s death, became the second Soke of Togakure Ryu re-naming himself Daisuke Togakure II.
His son Goro Togakure, the third Soke, is recognized as being the person who actually named and formalised the teachings of Togakure Ryu. Daisuke Nishina’s father, Yukihiro Nishina, was a highly ranked samurai in the service of Lord Yoshinaka Minamoto, the cousin of the first Shogun of Japan.
The battle of Awaza no Kassan, fought in 1184, claimed both the lives of Yoshinaka Kiso and Yukihiro Nishina. The conflict between Yoshinaka and his half-brother took place near Kyoto.
Daisuke, master less and fatherless, was forced to flee into far-away Iga to escape persecution. He hid in the mountains and thick forests, changing his name to Daisuke Togakure.
Shinobi Kai Ninpo Bugei Dojo (Instructor)
Togakure Ryu Ninjustu [Posted 20th September 2006]
In an era of more than eight centuries ago Japan was composed of many independent feudal states. As warlords struggled to gain power, war was frequent, with many losses on all sides. One samurai, Daisuke Nishina, became disenchanted with war and the seemingly endless waste of life. He left the fields of war and retreated into the mountains. His aim was to leave behind the death and destruction of war and to find peace for himself.
Whilst living in the mountains he met the warrior priest, Kain Doshi. With the new understanding of life and religion he learned from Doshi he decided to spend the rest of his days living in the remote mountain area he now inhabited.
During this time Japan underwent a form of unification. Those refusing to follow these new doctrines were persecuted and many fled to the hills to hide. While hidden they continued to follow their accepted beliefs and were generally left alone. Soon word spread about those who had fled and it was decided that they too should be converted to the new ways.
During this time Doshi and Nishina, being worldly wise, had foreseen this event and had trained the refugees in the fighting system they had created. And so were born the Yamabushi, or mountain warriors.
Many years passed before the Yamabushi became known as Ninja. Because of their total split from society the Ninja families went underground. In order to counter act the constant harassment they endured the Yamabushi [Ninja] formed various strategies for their own defence. These measures ranged from spy networks, disguise, self-defence and assassination.
Eventually the warlords of Japan saw the advantage of employing the Ninja rather than fighting them. The ninja could be used to assist the warlord with his personal disputes.
Nishina had by now returned to the place of his birth, the Togakure village. To celebrate being “re-born” he took the name of the village as his own. So was born the Togakure system of Ninjutsu.
Shinobi Kai Ninpo Bugei Dojo (Instructor)
A Hungry Old Man [Posted 12 June 2006]
It is said that a fight is won in your mind. If you think you are going to lose you have already lost, but if you truly believe that you can win, you will. This saying reminded me of a story I have read a few times that shows that we should never under or over estimate our opponent, empty your mind, looks can be deceiving. It’s not the size of the man in the fight, but the size of the fight in the man. If you doubt yourself you have beaten yourself. Please read this story and learn from its meaning.
One day a hungry old man entered a small village and noticed a sign proclaiming the name of a local sword school.
Knowing that it was customary for a dojo’s teacher to accept all challenges the old man decided upon a very dangerous plan.
If he could entice the sensei into a duel and be defeated but not killed, he would then by tradition be offered food and drink, as well as a place to sleep for the night.
Summoning up all of his courage the old man approached the dojo and then walking boldly in he proclaimed his intention to challenge the sensei to a duel. In response a senior student stepped forward, introduced himself, and said that his sensei was at home resting but that he would gladly accept the challenge in his place. The old man refused and instead asked that a student be sent to the sensei’s home to tell him of the challenge.
Upon hearing his students report of the events that had just taken place the sensei immediately put on his swords and hurried to the dojo. When the sensei arrived he and the old man politely bowed to each other and in turn introduced themselves, after which the old man re-issued his challenge, but explained that it was not his intention to challenge for ownership of the dojo as was sometimes the case, this duel was merely to be a test of each man’s skill with a sword. The sensei accepted and because of the nature of the challenge and they agreed to fight using only wooden practice swords so that if a customary fatal cut was made neither man would be killed.
The old man in truth had no skill at all with a sword, he was simply seeking a meal and a place to rest and this plan had seemed to offer the best prospect for success and so as he stood facing the dojo’s sensei across the tatami mat he just held the wooden sword very casually at his side. The sensei upon observing how open the old man was to an attack and how unbelievably foolish his defensive posture appeared, suddenly began to believe that this duel might not have been such a good idea after all. Slowly in his mind he began to wonder about the old man’s skill and in turn he began to doubt himself and his own chances for victory.
He knew, however, that his own reputation and that of his dojo was at stake and so he took an aggressive posture. For what seemed a very long time the two men just stood there facing one another, neither of them made even the slightest move. The old man for his part could not understand what was taking so long, but he knew he had no choice in the matter all he could do was wait for the sensei to attack and claim his victory. The sensei on the other hand had by now thoroughly convinced himself that he did indeed face a true aikido master, but even so he knew that he must do something very soon and so he started to move towards the old man, determined to press home his attack with all of his skill even though he felt sure now that he had no chance of winning.
The old man seeing the look on the sensei’s face and sensing that he was about to be attacked in full force quickly dropped his sword and falling to his knees he broke down and confessed that he in fact had no skill at all with the sword, going on to explain that he had not eaten in days and that he had hoped merely to survive the challenge and then be offered a meal and a place to sleep for the night.
Upon hearing this, the sensei was suddenly overcome with the realization that by allowing his own doubts to fill his mind, and by fantasizing about his opponent’s abilities, he had almost defeated himself.
He decided then and there to change the name of his sword style to “Mu Nen Ryu” meaning – “The School of No Thought”.