Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ninjutsu or Ninja - Human Weapon History Channel

The Human Weapon HistoryChannel's television show about Ninjutsu after posts on Muay Thai, Eskrima Stick Fighting and MMA or Mixed MartialArts, posts on this blog.

The art of Ninjutsu was introduced to the world through many martial arts movies. Often the those who knew this art, or where the masters of this art called Ninja or Ninja warriors where shown as having super natural powers like getting invisible or showing acrobatics skills beyond human limits and the use of various weapons. This perhaps was due to the techniques of stealth, spying and the sudden stealth attacks where used by the actual Ninja warriors.

While the Samurai warriors of Japan were trained in head to head combat, with the use to known weapons like swords. Ninja were the ones who were trained in the expertise of spying and stealth techniques along with the combat techniques with or without the weapons and the training also included many acrobatics techniques dealing with the conditioning and balance of the body in various difficult situations.

In this episode Jason Chambers and Bill Duff travels to Japan to unlock the mysteries of the secret and deadly martial art of Japan called Ninjutsu or popularly known as Ninja. These two guys will travel in Japan, visit some well known schools of teaching the Ninjutsu shadow and deadly weapon techniques and also explore a hidden Ninja camp.

As stated above various, Ninjutsu was born of the battles of supremacy in Japan. It literally means the art of invisibility. While the Samurai battled in the battlefields, Ninjas did the dirty thing spying, sabotage and assassination. Although the spying and the stealth called the dirty work, it is the one of the main aspect of modern day weapons and fighting strategies of all countries.

Ninjas played a powerful role in shaping Japanese history. As Japan modernized, there was no need of Ninjas and the Ninjutsu techniques dissipated in various martial systems like Karate, Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Aikido. All this Martial arts of Japan where influenced by Ninjutsu.

Ninjujstu cannot be a martial sport as it has varied disciplines and fighting techniques like spiritual refinement, unarmed combat, sword fighting, staff fighting, throwing and grappling, spears, bow and arrow, small stars and various other small weapons, explosives, water training, disguise, horsemanship, stealth and entering methods as well as escaping method. It cannot be captured in a ring.

In a modern Ninja Dojo they meet an instructor, Yost Fulton. As always they gets the challenge after they learn few techniques of Ninjutsu. First they meet Sensai Seishi Horibe, the instructor of close combat with short knife. In certain areas of Japan the peasants and ordinary people could not keep weapons. So they developed deadly techniques with weapons found on the streets. Small weapons in the hands of an expert were deadly.

They take few lessons with the short knife strikes and defense, wearing the safety glasses. Here they are shown a technique, with the motto 'attack after a good defense'. which works well with any kind of combat. They are shown a Jiu Jitsu style take down of the opponent with knife, and striking him while he is down in pain.

We get a lesson through a video tutorial for this Ninja Technique.

Some instructive comments from first video clip from you tube

* hatsumi isint the last ninjutsu master , ther lots of ninjutsu master around the world , hatsumi is just the last memeber of an iga family

* Karate would actually be influenced later on once the Japanese took control of Okinawa and Karate started to spread more northward, Judo and Aikido I know nothing of, and ninja were more for information and sabotage, assassinations were more secondary. Also you might wanna look around more because there are many books that attribute ninja's to empty handed and weapon combat...just not in the traditional sense...

* The problem with most books on Ninja is that they aren't accurate. The reason for this is because there is little-to-no historical accounts of the Ninja to back up the many claims associated with them. While they did indeed exist, further details are few in number and often obscure.

* Wow, talk about misinformation. Ninjutsu didn't influence any of the arts they listed. Karate was developed on Okinawa and it was based on the previous Okinawan Martial Arts (which were based on Chinese Martial Arts). Judo and Aikido were based on Jujutsu. And Jujutsu was developed by the Samurai.

* Also, according to historians, Ninja's were more focused on information gathering rather than assassination and sabotage. Believe it or not, there's little information that supports the claims that ninja's were skilled in empty-handed or weapon combat or at least trained in those arts.

Part 2, Jason and Bill goes to learn the technique of moving away from the strike. Not to get hit and avoiding it, still not losing the balance and eyes of the opponent. Very important in any form of Martial Arts or combats.

Here they watch some techniques of falling on the ground and rolling on the ground while maintaining the balance, not getting hurt while falling or rolling, and the vision on the opponent. This i guess is not taught in many martial school, but has it's own importance. My first martial instructor was not a martial instructor at all if i look at the striking techniques he taught. What he did in the beginning was made countless drills of falling down and rolling on the ground. that did not help me much in ring as those were strike based sports competition. But it did helped me during a couple of auto accidents where the body fell in the way that it got mimimum damage and also on the few occasions of slipping down.

Jason and Bill find it difficult in the beginning and then had to perform the technique of falling down and avoiding the razor sharp sword attack. Than the master shows a grabbing locking and take down move. We get a online lesson of this great Ninja move from a video tutorial. It's impressive and practical move.

Than they move to learn some techniques of throwing small weapons. The master there shows them to throw the most iconic weapon fueled by the Ninja Movies, the throwing stars. He shows the few grips and release of the stars before throwing them at the target. Both the fighters get some practice of throwing the stars on the aiming boards. Stars were mainly used to disguise the opponent before the attacks that followed, sometimes they could be a deadly weapons too. The master explains that in ancient Japan it was a crime to own weapons for any other people than the Samurai. So the fighters other than Samurai had to rely on smaller weapons not easily seen. Hence this form of weapons came in existence.

Next they go take lessons in sword fighting. They visit the Dojo of Sensai and Ninjutsu Master Toru Hashimoto. The master demonstrates some real good slashing techniques on the target made of bamboo and fiber. The sword would slash the thing in pieces without pushing it too far giving a fine finish to the cut part. The essential result of a good technique. I use to visualize my hands or kicks as swords cutting swiftly through a bamboo stick so that it does not get pushed far of. Jason later tries to cut the bamboo resulting in pushing it. Also while striking the punching bag with punches or kicks it is essential that as the techniques gets polished and refrained, the bag does not get pushed, unless a pushing technique is being is practiced.

Here they learn some Ninja sword strikes. They find that the swords are razor sharp and learned to respect them a lot while training. They get a dinner at the retaurant of the master himself. Many you tube users found this guys a bit disrespectful cracking jokes at the wrong time.

Then it the time for their training under the eyes of Masaaki Hatsumi.

Time for their testing training in the forests of city called Iga. Here we get to see home on Ninjas, designed for escape, stealth and disguise. With trapped doors, tunnels and cross walls.

The training in the jungle on the river is worth watching. Similar training methods are used by army training by most countries. The training conditions, improves balance and speed.

Last video watch the challenge

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