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Truths of our Art
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I have been thinking of writing this for some time now, so here it goes.
Our art of ninjutsu will adapt to any situation as long as you apply the principles that are imbeded within it. It is in no way dependant on any physical characteristic and does not require any level of physical conditioning. This is why it will work for a small person, male or female, for an out of condition person, old or young, even for one who has physical handicaps. Those who say you MUST be in good physical condition to practice our art just don't understand it. That said, it is always better to have your body,mind, and spirit in the best condition you can achieve.
This art is combat, not sport. It is for serious self defense and in that area really has no peer. Yes there are other combat arts and they also need to have respect. Anyone who spends time and effort to become skilled in any art should be respected for that effort, whether or not it is combat or sport.
Power or strength does not come solely from muscles, in fact one's muscles are a very small part of their power. Power comes from how well the skeletal structure is used to deliver that power and how fast the movement is. Speed has its genetic component, but that is a SMALL part of speed. The greatest part is in relaxed movement. The reasons and ways of relaxed movement should be learned in order to develope power.
Much of our basics are only a way to learn this art, they are not the art. In the kihon happo we have the method to learn all about joint locks and manipulation, also ways to avoid attacks and control of balance. Those are critical lessons to learn. Kata hold within them the principles of our art, that is the only purpose of a kata, to teach the principle it demonstrates. The form itself is unimportant, only what it teaches. A person can memorize kata after kata and have nothing, It is only when they learn what the kata teaches that they gain skills.
Our art does a very important service for those who learn it. It gives power back to the individual, the power to say no and make it stick. It gives the confidence and capability to resist forced imposition by making such an attempt just too "expensive" in pain to those who would attempt it. In so doing it teaches others what is just not acceptable and by so doing makes for a more gentle society.
This art always goes on, one cannot learn everything available within it, but the longer you continue to train the more you will learn. It may start off being hard but eventually one learns that soft is much more effective then hard and often harder.
For a technique to work it must be a total surprise. That comes from trained muscle memory and speed of movement, relaxed movement.
The fastest way to gain that muscle memory is to slow your training so your movements can be correct. It takes correct movement to implant proper muscle memory and incorrect movement must be 'overwritten' by correct ones. So to speed your learning, slow your training.
Another important aspect is that EVERYONE does their training for their Own reasons. Those reasons probably won't be the same as another's and that is OK! Each student is seeking their own ends and goals as they should, an instructor merely helps them achieve those goals. Some will attain them rather soon and leave, again that is OK, they either got what they wanted or decided no longer to try. It is inappropiate to criticize another's goals, instead work on YOUR OWN and don't worry about what another is doing. A person's rank does not insure equal skill as another with the same rank, again because of their INDIVIDUAL goals. You can get "rank" rather quickly, skill is different. Make certain you know the difference. Rank is not the certificate you have on the wall or the belt around your waste, it is what is in your taijutsu, your heart, your skills, and your spirit. That is what is important.

Posted on: 2008/3/24 5:00
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Ed Martin aka Papa-san
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Re: Truths of our Art
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"Our art of ninjutsu will adapt to any situation as long as you apply the principles that are imbeded within it. It is in no way dependant on any physical characteristic and does not require any level of physical conditioning. This is why it will work for a small person, male or female, for an out of condition person, old or young, even for one who has physical handicaps. Those who say you MUST be in good physical condition to practice our art just don't understand it. That said, it is always better to have your body,mind, and spirit in the best condition you can achieve."

==>Isn't part of the art gymastics, climbing trees, and dealing with multiple attackers? None of these things will happen without physical conditioning.

I don't care how relaxed you are, if you have to deal with three guys and are taking the occasional blow it is going to drain you if you are not in good condition.

And what if you have to run away? Does our art deal with some miraculous way of running that does not make you tired when scary thugs are chasing you?

Finally on this point, if one has good strength and conditioning (is athletic) they will be far less likey to injure themselves in training. How this can be looked over is beyond me.


"This art is combat, not sport. It is for serious self defense and in that area really has no peer. Yes there are other combat arts and they also need to have respect. Anyone who spends time and effort to become skilled in any art should be respected for that effort, whether or not it is combat or sport."

==>I see this "its for combat and not sport all the time," but honestly how does it train one for combat? Is it in any way similar to any other nations method for training people to be in combat? Most importantly is it even vaguely similar to how Hatsumi and his senior Japanese Shihan got their skills? Even more important than that, is it the way that the originators of these arts learned it?


"The fastest way to gain that muscle memory is to slow your training so your movements can be correct. It takes correct movement to implant proper muscle memory and incorrect movement must be 'overwritten' by correct ones. So to speed your learning, slow your training."

==>if you only train slow you will perform slow. It may not be a sport, but it is a physical skillset. One does not learn to hit a hole as a running back by going slow all of the time, the speed is cranked up gradually until one is at "game speed."

If you only trian slow, you will always move slow. Look at old Hatsumi tapes, those guys are not training slow at all.

If I trained playing a song on the piano for about a month at a quarter of it's normal speed, and then tried to speed it up to normal after that time period I would be unable to do it. Your body does not miraculously figure out how to do something fast. If you train slow all the time that is how you are going to move.

Posted on: 2008/3/24 12:39
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Bwahaha...
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compulsion to make a post.

If you really think Hatsumi Sensei's art is about teaching bad classes, beating up willing students, and sitting around getting a large gut... You are missing a huge point.

Hatsumi Sensei to this day walks for at least one hour... I have had the privelage of trying to keep up with the man, and failed miserably.

He will give you the leashes of the dogs and watch you struggle... He then takes the leashes back and ask you a question while everything comes back in line.

Sensei also told the same impression of when he trained with Takamatsu Sensei and he had twenty dogs. Unbelievable, but you see that the lessons come from somewhere.

Everyone loves Mr Ed Martin because he is a great motivation for "gambatte" or "keep going"... But I rather look to Hatsumi Sensei and say I want to move like him at that age... No offense Mr Ed, but I keep my focus on my teacher, as you do and we all should.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Posted on: 2008/3/24 14:43
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Re: Truths of our Art
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I forgot to mention that it's kind of hard to put on all that amor and weapons and stand, march and fight in formation for hours without good strength and endurance...

No offense to Ed but most of the people who are against PT training are in horrible shape, and are weak. While using skeletal alignment to generate power is great, lets not forget those lovely muscles that ACTUALLY CONNECT AND MOVE THE BONES AROUND.

Squat heavy for awhile and then tell me that having strong legs and a strong core are not important in our art...

Posted on: 2008/3/24 22:09
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Re: Truths of our Art
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Gentlemen, I think you missed my major point. My point was that this art WOULD work for anyone no matter what their physical condition. It was not to discourage the person from conditioning exercises. Except for my time in the hospital I do these daily. The surgeon told my family that he had never seen a 72 year old man in as good a physical shape as I. It was one of the reasons I survived that surgery. So I have ALWAYS encouraged physical conditioning and its great value to each person. Do you see the difference in this? There are some people that just can't attain the physical conditioning as others, when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's --- even 50's I would have matched any of you still in those age groups. I regularly ran 4 miles in under 30 minutes throughout those ages and did it consistently. So please do not read my words as a RECOMENDATION for not doing all you can to be in good condition! The "truth" is in who can DO this art and that ANYONE can. I see an "elitist" attitude that says if "you aren't in as good condition as I, you aren't any good". That attitude will prove itself really wrong even for the person holding it, time will show you otherwise. I know many will not accept this view, and that is your choice, but tell me you won't accept it when YOU are 60+!!! Time passes for all of us gentlemen, and you too will grow older --- if you are lucky and live well.

Posted on: 2008/3/24 22:47
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Ed Martin aka Papa-san
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Re: Truths of our Art
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
Our art of ninjutsu will adapt to any situation as long as you apply the principles that are imbeded within it. It is in no way dependant on any physical characteristic and does not require any level of physical conditioning. This is why it will work for a small person, male or female, for an out of condition person, old or young, even for one who has physical handicaps.


Hm... I am inclined to agree with you (soft of):

However, saying our art adapts to any situation is making the argument that you can pound in nails with a screwdriver.

In order to be the most effective - sometimes you need certain characteristics - like to pound in nails you need a hammer type tool -- and being out of shape (for example) -- or physically weak -- reduces your ability to get the job done.

Hopefully you don't need to get the job done a certain way - or else you will find out the shortcomings of pounding in nails with a screwdriver.

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
Those who say you MUST be in good physical condition to practice our art just don't understand it.


Anyone can practice it. Using it *may* be a different story, though.

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
That said, it is always better to have your body,mind, and spirit in the best condition you can achieve.


Good point.

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
This art is combat, not sport. It is for serious self defense and in that area really has no peer.


I suspect the Israeli's will disagree... but let's keep going...

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
Power or strength does not come solely from muscles, in fact one's muscles are a very small part of their power. Power comes from how well the skeletal structure is used to deliver that power and how fast the movement is. Speed has its genetic component, but that is a SMALL part of speed. The greatest part is in relaxed movement. The reasons and ways of relaxed movement should be learned in order to develope power.


We have disagreed on this before... so I am not going to rehash why muscle strength is the only attribute you can actively work on improving... And you don't learn how to move fast with out moving fast. Enough on that though...

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
Our art does a very important service for those who learn it. It gives power back to the individual, the power to say no and make it stick. It gives the confidence and capability to resist forced imposition by making such an attempt just too "expensive" in pain to those who would attempt it. In so doing it teaches others what is just not acceptable and by so doing makes for a more gentle society.


I feel this paragraph is dangerous. This is akin to Dumbo's Magic feather... putting faith in "the art" in itself - is extremely dangerous. There isn't a pure transmission of the art - so talking about it without the context / medium of your instructor specifically is intellectual masterbation. And, as is obvious, your instructor is fallible... So...

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
For a technique to work it must be a total surprise. That comes from trained muscle memory and speed of movement, relaxed movement.


This is simply not true. I have been on the receiving end of a technique that 'worked' quite well - and it wasn't a surprise... Try to stay away from absolutes Ed...

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
The fastest way to gain that muscle memory is to slow your training so your movements can be correct. It takes correct movement to implant proper muscle memory and incorrect movement must be 'overwritten' by correct ones. So to speed your learning, slow your training.


And then - once you have your movement correct slowly - speed it up - until you are going absolutely as fast as you can... until you do - you don't know what your capabilities are.

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
Another important aspect is that EVERYONE does their training for their Own reasons. Those reasons probably won't be the same as another's and that is OK! Each student is seeking their own ends and goals as they should, an instructor merely helps them achieve those goals. Some will attain them rather soon and leave, again that is OK, they either got what they wanted or decided no longer to try. It is inappropiate to criticize another's goals, instead work on YOUR OWN and don't worry about what another is doing.


This is true. Complaining or criticizing someone for their own personal goals doesn't make any sense.

It is important - however - to be extremely critical and judgmental when you evaluate someone's goals to see if they match what you want out of your training - especially if they are in a position to guide you. You can't make that person change their goals to what you want - but you can decide what you are going to do with the information they give you... You are responsible for your own training - so don't let this stand in your way of finding what you want.

Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
A person's rank does not insure equal skill as another with the same rank, again because of their INDIVIDUAL goals. You can get "rank" rather quickly, skill is different. Make certain you know the difference. Rank is not the certificate you have on the wall or the belt around your waste, it is what is in your taijutsu, your heart, your skills, and your spirit. That is what is important.


All completely true.

Good thoughts Ed. Not sure I agree that they are "Truths" - but good seeds for thought...

-D

Posted on: 2008/3/25 3:01
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Re: Truths of our Art
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Physical attributes no matter how you want to hash it out are important. They are however, in no way the only things that are important. Timing, distance, angles, skill sets, wisdom, etc. can make up for poor attributes. (if you are fortunate) Still we should all try to have the best attributes that we can so that they can aid us with all the rest. Roughly speaking if all else ie. meaning skill is equal the one with the best attributes will probably survive. Train, train hard and improve not only technically but physically and push yourself no matter your age to be the best that you can be!

Brian R. VanCise
www.instinctiveresponsetraining.com
http://brianvancise.wordpress.com/

Posted on: 2008/3/25 6:24
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Re: Truths of our Art
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LOL, Daniel, you and I are never going to agree on all things, and that is OK. Part of the reason for this, I think, is just our different stages in Life and Life experience. Even so in many ways we seek the same ends and are not that far apart in what we want for ourselves and the benefit of others.

Posted on: 2008/3/25 7:02
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Ed Martin aka Papa-san
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Re: Truths of our Art
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
LOL, Daniel, you and I are never going to agree on all things, and that is OK. Part of the reason for this, I think, is just our different stages in Life and Life experience. Even so in many ways we seek the same ends and are not that far apart in what we want for ourselves and the benefit of others.


True True.



On that note - welcome back Ed. I am glad to see you are quickly recovering - and wish you a speedy return to your health.

-D

PS. Do you know if the pacing device in you is made by St. Jude Medical (Pacesetter) by chance? I work for them...

Posted on: 2008/3/25 11:46
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Re: Truths of our Art
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
Gentlemen, I think you missed my major point. My point was that this art WOULD work for anyone no matter what their physical condition. It was not to discourage the person from conditioning exercises. Except for my time in the hospital I do these daily. The surgeon told my family that he had never seen a 72 year old man in as good a physical shape as I. It was one of the reasons I survived that surgery. So I have ALWAYS encouraged physical conditioning and its great value to each person. Do you see the difference in this? There are some people that just can't attain the physical conditioning as others, when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's --- even 50's I would have matched any of you still in those age groups. I regularly ran 4 miles in under 30 minutes throughout those ages and did it consistently. So please do not read my words as a RECOMENDATION for not doing all you can to be in good condition! The "truth" is in who can DO this art and that ANYONE can. I see an "elitist" attitude that says if "you aren't in as good condition as I, you aren't any good". That attitude will prove itself really wrong even for the person holding it, time will show you otherwise. I know many will not accept this view, and that is your choice, but tell me you won't accept it when YOU are 60+!!! Time passes for all of us gentlemen, and you too will grow older --- if you are lucky and live well.


Anyone can get out on a NFL field and try to run through a hole as well, but they are going to end up as FUBAR as someone who tries to learn a martial skill with a beer gut, and a bag of chips in their hand...

I don't care if you are a Zen Master, fighting takes energy, getting hit drains energy, and pretending that somehow you can mystically overcome all of that is just a lie people tell themselves so they don't have to work hard.

Let's be real, conditioning sucks a$$. I'm pissed off everytime I put on the lycra and have to jog, run sprints or suicides. I'm pissed when I'm doing 25 rep range exercises for muscular endurance. It's the stuff that sucks that pays HUGE divedends in any type of combative action. People don't do conditioning because it sucks a$$, instead they come up with any type of excuse NOT to do it. That is why we have to be the second fattest martial art behind sumo...

IMO conditioning and strength training are the basic basics, and everything else are built on them.

There is a reason that big guys with no skill stomp the ever living crap out of trained guys all the time. Their bodies take more damage, they are stronger and faster, and they can go on long after the fat trained guy falls over sucking wind.

Isn't "enduring" part of the translation of Ninja? I'm sure spiritual endurance is in there, but I refuse to believe that these tree climbing, swimming, running fiends were not in top physical condition. I promise you doing squat thrusts between suicides is an act of spiritual endurance...

I think your ideas are dangerous as they give lazy people even more reason to be lazy, when they need to get off their butts and do some fundamental conditioning training. Sure there are some people who are to old, or handicapped to be in great shape, but since when has the exception made the rule?

Posted on: 2008/3/25 11:56
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