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Jin no Budo (The war path of man)
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Due to some questioning that is being undertaken on the internet about the authenticity of the teachings transmitted to us by Hatsumi Sensei, teachings which he received from Takamatsu Sensei, I gave myself to reflection. I would like to share with my Buyu a little bit of this reflection, and call attention to essential points every practitioner should consider.

I´m not going to use up space with the specifics being questioned, I believe everyone who uses the internet and practices our art are up on the subject. First of all, I would like to draw attention to a fact, that is backed up by historical evidence and that presents itself constantly in the narrative of Hatsumi Sensei about Ninpo – that Ninpo emerged, before anything else, as a philosophy and a spiritual practice. Under the influence of Buddhist, Taoist and Xinto knowledge the Yamabushi developed a culture all their own based on principles they considered sacred. But these influences did not limit themselves to the spiritual, and by the very need for survival, in light of the persecution they suffered, and by contact with all sorts of Ronin and other warriors from foreign lands, they developed a martial system for survival. It´s worth mentioning the prominent influence of Mykkio (Tantric Buddhism), and their devotion to Fudo Myo (The Unshakable King of Light), patron god of the martial arts, that allowed for there not being any contradiction between spirituality and the martial aspect, but this is subject for a whole other work apart.

The above considerations are important to contextualize the idea that if there is a martial system it should exist with the purpose of protecting something. Some practitioners dedicate themselves to the technical aspects of Taijutsu and become great fighters, but they lose the meaning of the art in ignoring that which the Taijutsu was developed to nurture and protect. The situation becomes more complicated with a system that does not see any separation between mind, body and spirit. Therefore, without understanding of the spiritual subtleties, not even the technical practice can be developed correctly. That is, considering that good Taijutsu implies in not fighting, while the opponent fights by himself. It is indeed a technique of evasion. In this context, we have what we could call the Chi (Earth) practitioners.

On the other side of the coin we have the spiritual enthusiasts. Practitioner that search for a spiritual path and find pleasure in seeing exhibitions of the Sakkit Test and practice (or imitate what they can of) Kuji and all sorts of meditation and exotic practices associated with Ninpo. These practitioners would do best in joining a monastery and dedicating themselves to some religion. Considering the fact that they ignore the reality of a real physical combat and even in the presence of obviously deadly techniques that uses swords, spears, guns and explosives, they never put themselves in a position to test if the movement they have been practicing, in slow motion and against zero resistance, works against a real attack. These practitioners could be coined as Ten (Heaven) practitioners.

In such a manner we have people who see the world by the prism of the senses and others by the prism of the symbolic, we have the scientist and the priest, but of the two, who is the Ninja? Could he be the Man (Jin), one that perseveres amidst the realities of Ten and Chi? Could we say that Ninpo (method of perseverance) is a path of growing in perception and understanding of these two dimensions while surviving the titanic forces that confront us from within and from without? And could we say that the key to this is neither symbol nor reason, but rather intuition in action, sudden instinctive knowledge directly related to action. Body, mind and spirit united (Shin Gi Tai)? And if the answer is yes to these questions and we have in deception a central key to survival isn´t it correct for a Ninja to utilize this key to care for the spiritual and technical jewels that he has conquered along his journey? In a tradition where Kuden (Oral Transmission) is key even to deciphering the scrolls isn´t it silly to discuss if the documents are authentic or not? Is it possible that we will become more enlightened beings by means of anthropological verification? Will our ability to defend ourselves be heightened because some intellectual authenticates this or that document? Let´s take these arguments and contemplate the reason why for the carelessness with which Soke approves the promotion of people obviously far from the supposed level of ability.

I believe that true sincerity contains the solution for all controversy. This sincerity to which I refer is sincerity with our very self. Deep down everyone knows where their unbalance is, many just don´t want to put in the effort to work out that which doesn´t come as easily. But regardless of personal inclinations, Soke is constantly pointing towards the right direction, it´s up to each one to follow by merit of their own effort. All of those who have taken a few steps already surely smile at so much questioning, and then suddenly become saddened because they will not have the company of these people to share the indescribable pleasure of being alive that results from traveling on this path.

Posted on: 2011/2/25 10:07
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John Holladay
Bujinkan Manaus - Brazil
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Re: Jin no Budo (The war path of man)
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From Pennsylvania, USA
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Very thoughtful John, thank you.

Posted on: 2011/2/26 12:32
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Ed Martin aka Papa-san
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