A Brief History of Ninjutsu, Ancient and Modern
Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu was founded by Daisuke Togakure after winding up on the losing side of a revolt against the oppressive Heike regime in Japan some 800 years ago. Daisuke Togakure was a noble with responsibilities to his people. He could be considered a country samurai. He barely escaped with his life. In Japan, the losers in a war against the state are supposed to commit seppuku (ritual suicide). He didn't do that. He ran like a woman back up the mountain into the forests to warn and hide his children. He took what he learned from the awful experience of watching most of his friends hunted down and slashed to pieces and began a school that teaches how to survive against overwhelming odds when every hand is turned against you and those in positions of authority consider you to be cowardly, of the wrong religion, and an impostor. The Japanese treat history with a revisionist eye now and did in the past, too. The ninja ryus remained underground for nearly a thousand years.
Hiding in the sewers can lead to associations with the rat, spider, and night moves. In that time much knowledge was gained and lost. The Koga ryus, which emphasized combatic training only, had no spiritual component beyond Zen but were able to create many interesting systems of defense and penetration and estab lished a reputation for teamwork and assassination. To the best of my knowledge no Koga school still exists as an unbroken ryu, but there are teachers who can share bits and pieces of their ancient lore. 1 am told that members of the Koga ryus consider Masaaki Hatsumi a traitor for teaching gaijin and revealing the secret training. This could be compared to Bruce Lee's revealing wu shu to Westerners, but the order of revelation is cosmic in comparison.
The Togakure Ryu—according to my informant Hanshi Richard Kim, something of a martial arts historian — broke away from the Koga ryus to establish a school for enlightened warriors who operated as individuals practicing Ninpo (suffix designating a combat-proven way to enlightenment with Chinese roots) over ninjutsu. Takamatsu, the thirty-third grandmaster, was a spy in China for the Japanese during World War II. He was president of the Japanese Busen (professionalscholars of the arts of war) in China and studied and demoed with many fine Chinese martial artists during the years of Japan's brutal occupation. There are many harrowing tales concerning his valor. Like many ancient samurai, when confronted with the darker side of their quest he, too, became a Shingon Buddhist priest in his later years. He was a family man and provided a good life for his spouse and daughter. Takamatsu's paintings reveal a childlike sense of humor, and Hatsumi-san (suffix denoting respectful friendship) describes him as a fiercely tender teacher.
The first task of the Togakure Ryu ninja is spiritual refinement by whatever means necessary. For some facing their mirror is a fearful nightmare. For others it is the Musubi (knot similar to the Gordion that Alexander the Great cut with his mother's sword). It is to be examined layer by layer, for it holds great treasures. It is imaginatively similar in shape to the brain, but leaving the tail hanging would give too great a clue to its nature for a riddle for the not-too-bright, but gutsy. Interpreting legends often provides interesting insights into our own lives, as evidenced by Joseph Campbell's popularity among the spiritually misled.
Masaaki Hatsumi began sharing his expression of the complete art of ninpo in the early seventies and has shared a body of knowledge in Bujinkan that is unmatched in my experience (I have been involved with martial arts for thirty-seven years). Many people regard ninjutsu with great suspicion, primarily because they have been exposed to the viewpoint of the competition, or had the sour experience of being taught by a psychopathic fraud. Ninpo is a living art with an awe-inspiring reputation as a route to enlightenment as well as a system of self-protection par excellence. As I was given a Shidoshi's license by Hatsumi-soke (suffix meaning grandmaster), passed the sword test for fifth dan in 1990, and was granted a nanaedan or shichidan's license (seventh)in 1992, you can take my commentary with some degree of credibility.
There are other practitioners who have far greater taijutsu skills than I and some who have studied years longer. But as a Ph.D. and a psychologist focusing on the transpersonal who has been through the greater kan and li or kundalini, my perspective may be more objective than most, as I only consider ninjutsu my hobby and Hatsumi-sensei (suffix indicating a teacher/student relationship) my rather odd friend. As I do not take friendship lightly I feel no guilt at turning my concentration toward him, as he has shared much with his American students in a very honest and open manner. He is very approachable but really expects you to learn his language. He butchers English far better than I can even contemplate mangling Japanese. I think he spends a lot of time on his riddles and koans. He does some things that make you think hard for a long time.
Ninjas are emotional people with deep attachments. His American organization is growing through the skill of the Bujinkan teachers, and the screening of the guard is becoming harder to penetrate. Ninpo is far more challenging and interesting than golf, bowling, tennis, or Vipassana meditation. It took me five years to get from white belt to ninth kyu green belt—I already had considerable experience in karate, jujitsu, kung fu, and Zen meditation and was beginning to learn Tao Tien Chi Kung. I still consider myself a beginner in ninpo after ten years. It is difficult to give up wrong practice when you learned it young. However, the tools I have taken from ninjutsu have bolstered my strengths and provided time and distance for my weaknesses.
Taijutsu is the physical art associated with ninpo. Because its roots are Chinese, real ninjutsu looks a great deal like the softer Chinese martial arts performed with a more Japanese linear body movement necessary to wearing armor. After thousands of years, the art of taijutsu is, of course, thought of as Japanese. The low stances and lunging body movements of the beginner are modified with time and experience into much more subtle and hard-to-see movements so that the seasoned veteran has exquisite balance and power but in no way resembles a fighter. (Taking deep stances and yelling "kiai" when you are in enemy territory is hardly a sign of skilled intelligence.) You can see this by contrasting the videos of Bussey's Warrior International with any of Hatsumi's Quest videos or the videos available from Greg Kowalski of actual ninja training in Japan by Hatsumi-soke and his Shihan (master teachers who have experienced the lesser kan and li). Once you have witnessed real Bujinkan Ninjutsu you are usually deeply impressed by its flow and how much it does not look like Tae kwan do, Okinawan karate as typically taught, aikido, or jujitsu but does look like some of the combatic kung fu.
The flow of the art is unique and subtle. I might also add that many of the moves are surprisingly funny and take advantage of the more rigid styles' favorite attacks and ways of wearing armor and weapons. The ninjas' traditional enemy was an arrogant, overbearing, well-fed and exercised, armor-clad, sword-bearing samurai who was a product of one of the kenjutsu ryus. Techniques that failed the test of actual application were not passed on, for torture, interrogation, and death greeted the inept, as the Togakure Ryu intelligence gatherer worked alone under the sword of his opponent. The gatherer of intelligence must serve at least two masters well or his or her information will be tainted.
The katas (memorized forms) or Kihon Hoppo (basic moves) in ninjutsu are quite short by Chinese standards (usually five moves) but can be adapted to the eight directions and various weapons in every case. Each of the nine ryus that Masaaki Hatsumi has brought under the umbrella of Togakure Ryu Bujinkan Ninpo has its own Kihon Hoppo variations which can keep the enthusiast busy and happy for a very long time. There are some slight differences from teacher to teacher as to what is considered a base of knowledge worthy of reaching the next kyu or dan rank. The fundamentals vary from year to year as your experience grows and in relation to what point in the teaching cycle you entered the system. The Israeli ranking system used throughout Canada is slightly different from the Kasumi-An ranks used by Stephen Hayes's Nine Gates or Shadows of Iga methods. Detroit Bujinkan—where I play most often — draws its ranking system from tenth dan Daron Navon (Israeli) as well as Greg Kowalski (seventh dan) and Larry Turner (sixth dan) and is supervised by Shidoshi-ho Otto Cardew, a very knowledgeable sandan (third-degree black belt).
With few exceptions ninjas wear traditional black dogi (canvas pajamas) and tabi (spit-toed, cloth boots with a thin, corrugated, flexible sole) while training. The hooded night suits popularized by the theatre and media are usually not worn. Those are actually the suits worn by prop managers in Japanese theatre productions which convention renders invisible when they walk onstage to move a prop. The belt system for adults consists of white, nine kyus (pre-black belt ranks) of green, and ten dan (degrees) of black. Fifth-degree black belt and above (master level rank and a special certification for teaching, shidoshi) can only be awarded by the Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi in Bujinkan, Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu. Grades of black belt are distinguished by the chest patch, not belt stripes or color change. A master's patch is red, with the kanji and perimeter surrounded by a white border. A shihan's patch includes yellow and green to represent the opening of the heart and solar plexus chakras.
All dan ranking diplomas in Bujinkan are hand-brushed in Japanese and have red seals stamped on them identifying Hatsumi as well as the particular ryus. The cover of this book is from my godan license. As there are less than a hundred Americans who have attained master ranking in Bujinkan Ninpo at this time, most of the thousands of people who purport to teach traditional ninjutsu are frauds of various stripe. You may take this book along when you go shopping for a teacher.
Tannemura, who actually claims to be Takamatsu's successor, is an interesting break-away from Hatsumi who was never able to understand the spiritual side of ninpo. He claims to be the true grandmaster of the Togakure Ryu but is given no credence in Japan. I have seen the scrolls of Takamatsu at the shidoshi training in Japan and had Japanese friends read them to me while Hatsumi looked on. A master passes his scroll to his successor so that his exact thoughts will be preserved; there is also the transfer of spirit at death to be considered, and I have seen the spirit of Taka-matsu-sensei in company with Hatsumi-soke. Time is of little importance when expressing genius. Physical skill does not always correspond to mental and seldom to spiritual.
At the end of this chapter I'll praise some teachers I admire, and you can follow up as you like. The real thing is worth pursuing, and even a hobbyist can have a great time studying nin-jutsu. The Warrior International Network (P.O. Box 30338, Stockton, CA 95213) has recently published a directory for $5 of quite a few legitimate teachers and enthusiasts listed by state. This is a big country and the good teachers are thin on the ground. Spellers, too, as you will see when you get to my entry.
Ninpo is a living art and that means the shidoshi-level teachers are all artists of a very physical nature with their own creative viewpoint being exercised to bring the traditional learnings of the schools into alignment with their own personality and the reality of our times. This means that dogi are sometimes replaced with cammies when people are training in the woods or street clothes when training in town. I have even seen the clever application of camouflage to wetsuits for UDT work. I have seen people do some very risky and stupid things thinking they were getting real ninja training because weapons and cammies were involved. The ninja usually trains outside a great deal of time under clement and inclement weather conditions. Some of the most fun I've had has been training with Shihan Kevin Millis (seventh dan) on the beaches below Malibu as well as working on climbing techniques in Joshua Tree. One learns the traditional weapons and tools and then their modern adaptations and applications. It's fun to know how to shoot a flintlock or even make one, but my military experience has taught me considerable respect for communication, aviation, artillery, armor, and automatic weapons. Being invisible when the heavy-weapon folks are around is very useful. Sun Tzu has some very interesting philosophical positions that are well understood and brought to life in the practice of ninpo.
Training in a combat-oriented martial art is a gift that is meant to save your life. It can be regarded as a means for taking the lives of others but that is a perversion of the Way. Some people can only see it in that perspective. I would not like to live in their bodies nor share their poor blighted spirits. To quote Patton, "The object of this battle is to let the other poor dumb son of a bitch die for his country." A martial artist wants to live, not die gloriously. Patton wouldn't even let his troops dig foxholes, as he considered them little graves. Movement was his forte. He taught the Nazis blitzkrieg as a total concept; their racist stupidity would never see a Red Ball Express run by a subject race. Training in an art designated as a "jutsu" indicates the focus is on combat techniques not sport. The knowledge passed on is to keep you alive and well when others are attempting to kill you. Arts that have a "po" suffix have ancient roots in China and usually a concealed developmental component as well as combatic techniques. Arts designated as "do" are supposed to be concerned with developing the self as well as providing a path to enlightenment. I cannot think cf any "do" which has not been perverted by sport in the United States and know of no master living today who achieved full enlightenment following the precepts of that suffix. You have to observe closely.
A teacher provides the skills from his or her experience. The student learns to apply the lessons from their viewpoint. A poor teacher can only convey technique. A great teacher inspires desire to learn with feelings, technique, and self-discovery. A learner soon recognizes fear and hatred are a waste of time and spirit. Only lovers achieve completeness. Love is a learned behavior that is biologically motivated. It's easy to learn when you love what you're doing. Commitment is not the same, but bears a close rela tionship. One is often preparation for the other. Teaching is often erotic in nature when the student and teacher are deeply involved in the subject matter. This is seldom discussed but certainly is true. It is the major reason why so many professors marry their graduate students or have affairs with them.
The traditional skills and eighteen levels of training for a nin-ja are listed in Hatsumi's Ninjutsu: History and Tradition (Unique Publications, 1981). Masaaki Hatsumi, Stephen Hayes, and Jack Hoban have published a whole series of excellent books on nin-jutsu with Contemporary Books. Hayes also published a good series of five basic readers with Ohara that are collector's items now but have just been reissued with gorgeous covers by Greg Manchess. A careful examination of these works does not reveal the unemotional, heartless assassin so often associated with ninjutsu in the popular media by Ashida Kim, Frank Ducs, and Eric von Lustbader, but an extremely well thought out defense system stretching from the individual to the community, having medical, intellectual, political, geographical, and social aspects of survival taken into consideration, particularly from the underdog's viewpoint. The ninja spent a lot more time figuring out how to get out of the ropes than how to tie someone up. (Now that I think about it, I've only had classes in escaping in ninjutsu. You were allowed to tie your own knots.) Kirtland C. Peterson's Mind of the Ninja (Contemporary Books, 1986) gives an excellent analysis of the omote (exterior) concepts and behavioral patterns of the ninja as presented in modern society from a Western and Jungian perspective.
Stephen Turnbull's recent book on ninjutsu completely glosses over the fact that many of the old prints shown there refer to the men and women identified as ninjas as royalty. His text goes on to identify them as Chinese bandits and outlaws who followed Sun Tzu. An extremely secondary-source viewpoint. It's like having a lowbrow Japanese tell you what Koreans are like, or a Klans-man describe Jews, or a practitioner of a sport-based martial art with lots of rules give you an opinion of a combat-based art with no rules. My father, who was a collegiate champion boxer and wrestler, still contemptuously refers to my interests as " Oriental Dirty Fighting." This is after nearly forty years, senility excused, and what he thinks of as judo.
The classical ninja according to Hatsumi—and I have no reason to doubt him as I've had some very interesting experiences hanging out with the upper level ninji—was a mystic, and the Japanese version is not very different from our Western version. The Togakure ninja worked at developing a deep and accurate self-knowledge, and from that mystical perspective of universality granted by satori only engaged in combat when motivated by discovery, love, or reverence. (Righteous warriors are to be greatly feared, as we well know in the West, seeking always to have God on our side.) Spiritual refinement was the primary skill for the traditional ninja of the Togakure Ryu. Taijutsu or unarmed combat skills involving striking, kicking, avoiding, blocking, grappling, choking, and escaping the holds of others as well as leaping, rolling, silent movement, and tumbling were secondary skills. Tertiary knowledge of the sword and a whole slew of other skills, like weapons and pharmacopoeia, continue the list. Like the Oki-nawans, there were periods when the mountain people were not allowed weapons or at least swords by their rulers. The ninja treat weapons as tools for the most part, and the use and creation of unorthodox and concealed weaponry is part of the training.
There's always some debate as to who are teachers of legitimate ninjutsu. If your instructor is putting more emphasis on teaching you how to capture somebody rather than how to get away, I would suggest the lessons of warfare against the government have not yet sunk in. Of course you have to know the former to really accomplish the latter. If all he can do is tie them up then your education is incomplete should you be captured or hunted. Escaping is critical if you screwed up enough to be attacked or got aggressive yourself. I throw that in for the handcuffs and feathers crowd.
The old kanji in the names of the nine ryus have esoteric meanings which were translated for me by Mark Lithgow, an Englishman and translator who lives in Noda City, Japan. He has been a student of ninpo for many years and works often with Masaaki Hatsumi as a translator. The esoteric titles are: The School of the Hidden Door (or Mysterious Portal) ; School of the Jeweled Tiger; The Immovable School Passed Down from the Gods; The Enlightening School Wrested from the Nine Demon Gods; Tiger Felling Dragon School; The School of the Hidden Cloud; The School of the Jeweled Heart; Water and Mountain Spirit Rules; and The Takagi Tree Felling School. Bujinkan can be translated as "The School of the Divine Warriors," as well as "War Spirit Building." Shidoshi can be translated as "Knight of the Four Ways," or 'Teacher of the Ways of Life and Death." (As you may guess from the names, this is not the equivalent of a Harvard MBA even for a Japanese.) My translation of Mark's translation goes this way:
The Way of the Hidden Door. You have to go through the door that is concealed to learn anything. That which conceals the door is something we don't want to look at. In Taoism the corresponding school is called Mysterious Portal, and one of its meanings is to use your rectum as an energy pump when you're moving sexual energy up your spine. The Hindu correspondent has to do with using chitta (living energy which can be directed by the mind) to hide yourself or build an energy tunnel toward your goal with the ajna(third eye/forehead chakra). The third eye is considered a doorway to enlightenment. You can't see it until you have it. Sometimes as it opens one experiences an interesting form of tunnel vision that is like looking into a doorway into another dimension, which it may be.
The Wayof the Jeweled Tiger. Tiger refers to goddess or yin energy, which flows up the front of the body. When a person knows how to see energy, the acupuncture or shiatsu points glow, as well as the chakras, on a harmonized, powerful person and look like little Christmas tree lights or jewels as the energy flows through, sometimes also creating a striped effect along the meridians. There is a method for striping your aura that works as camouflage at night.
The Immovable School Passed Down from the Gods. This has to do with the stilling of the mind. Once you have "killed your ego"
you have total control of your emotional states. You cannot be swayed from your purposes. The preferred state is neutrality or no desires—mushin or no-mind. The "way of death" is a little sexual joke in both the samurai and ninja traditions and actually refers to subduing the personality or learned self. Once you've accomplished this you are considered a living buddha and able to draw inspiration from those fierce enlightened ones who have gone before you. In the West you might be considered a god of rock and roll (Clapton).
The Water or Mountain Rules or Spirit Building School. Water is another term for living energy, and the student of this school seems to flow like water, as does the sexual energy and blood. One of the monster dragons in Chinese lore has a bowl of water balanced on its head. Kappa (sprite/animal spirits that appear almost human) in Japanese fairy tales were water gnomes who had the power to knit bones and regrow tissue. Water is a code word for chi, or in Japanese ki, or spirit. The name suggests flow or movement with power. Rules imply danger. It might also be translated as Mountain Water. That analogy should be powerful and clear. Mountain is a code term for yang sexual energy.
The Enlightening School Wrested from the Nine Demon Gods. I love this name. It's rather like the seven deadly sins plus two. Energy has to move up to the brain for enlightenment to take place, and an enlightened being should rule his or her own demons as well as have understanding and compassion for the foibles of others. I would expect an emphasis on opening the chakras as well as controlling the emotions, with a rich smattering of Machiavellian—like psychology. This school name reflects a yin or darker curriculum. The ninja must understand both the positive and negative aspects of power, where the so—called saint tries to ignore the darker aspects of being human and sees martyrdom as a worthy goal. Inner deities or chakras are sometimes considered demons. Living energy can appear demonic or angelic. A demon god is someone who rules demons.
Tiger Felling Dragon School. Yang energy or dragon energy is considered male. This is an exercise in male chauvinism. Yin is considered female since it is attractive, whereas yang is repelling. This school focuses on the subconscious subsuming the ego or learned self. Learning to be soft and supple like a female. Learning how to receive an attack and turn it to your own use. Learning to use your left side. On another level it may mean the absorption of the sperm's energy for chi, resulting in the death of sexual desire or the little swimmers' ability to go very far. This can be considered too effective a means of birth control if you're interested in having children. You might want to wait a while before studying in this school. Conversely, some of the tantric techniques are reputed to re-energize the sperm. Consult Mantak Chia's books and/or Douglas and Slinger's Sexual Secrets (Aurora). Hatsumi's war name of White Dragon connotes androgyny. There is a school of kung fu named White Tiger Swallows Green Dragon, as well as a very nasty women's school called Black Tiger.
The School of the Hidden Cloud. In the material world this could be thought of as all the ninja's nifty blinders and powders, as well as trickery and deceit to cloud the mind of an opponent. Because the aura looks like a cloud around the individual, I suspect this is where that knowledge finds its home.
The Way of the Jeweled Heart. Opening of the heart chakra is second only to the kundalini in the achievement of enlightenment. In the West we say "follow your heart" when we advise others to do their best in difficult situations. It is associated with wind techniques in the Go Dai and the personality trait of benevolence or open acceptance. In Taoist esoteric yoga the heart is connected to the tongue. When your heart is open it is very difficult to lie. Many wind techniques are specifically for receiving your opponent's attack openly with benevolence so you can take a prisoner or restrain a friend.
The Takagi Tree Felling School. Probably the most forthright in terminology unless I've missed something. Trees are blown down by the wind. Chi again. As one of my early senseis used to try to tell me, "When the big wind comes, the mighty oak falls but the willow bends with the breeze." I was eighteen and in the army. My kindest thought was that Orientals are eccentric. Full-body taijutsu uprooting movement probably comes out of here. In Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, one of the seven makes a joke about this legendary school.
1 once had a long talk with a Japanese sociologist who was amazed that I was studying real ninjutsu. When she looked at the kanji (Japanese iconographs) on the diploma she said they were very, very old, cf a type not used in Japan for centuries. She also said that Iga Province was where all the wild people were sent as punishment during the Warring States Period. Since its mountains are now a well-preserved ski area, the wild people are still enjoying frightening the samurai flatlanders.
As a means of disguising from the enemy the real purpose of these schools, under the discipline of kyojitsu (telling lies that appear to be the truth), each mental and spiritual practice was hidden within a physical or weapon technique. You can master the physical techniques of ninjutsu without having a clue to the mental disciplines. You can also learn the mental disciplines without being shown the internal energy uses. You can't learn ninpo without taijutsu, however.
For example, each of the kamae or fighting postures, which are normally treated as end products of exemplary movement when applying a technique or avoiding one, are also asanas or yogic postures that if held and used for meditation greatly strengthen the body and develop one's sense of balance far beyond normal limits. The physical postures strengthen the spine and encourage the body's electrical systems, while the rolling techniques add to one's flexibility and mobility. When the physical posture is enlivened by an attitude appropriate to that way of standing or being we refer to it as flow or integration, which is often the compelling effect of being completely natural. When done properly, ninjutsu is totally based on natural, relaxed body movement flowing from the subconscious mind without intellectual intervention. In that, it is closely related to tai chi or nei shen kung Fu.
The use of the breath and energy is not discussed in ninjutsu in my experience with the Japanese beyond a simple discussion of different kiai. That knowledge is only passed from grandmaster to grandmaster. You may have noted reading Musashi that when he really wants you to get studying he uses the disclaimer of "oral tradition." However, any chi kung practitioner who has advanced to the macrocosmic orbit will find taijutsu an excellent medium for moving energy.
In the six years I've been observing him Hatsumi has only slipped once and mentioned chi. He was showing a technique for unbalancing someone wearing armor at the Atlanta Tai Kai in 1990 when he said "To make this work you must move your chi down to your feet." It sent his uke (training partner who receives and hopes to survive a training experience) sailing. The statement was edited out of the video. Don't expect a ninja to teach you chi kung. You are supposed to figure that part of the formula out yourself by going into yourself. I asked Daron Navon (tenth dan) about teaching some of this at a seminar; and he said it was too difficult. When I told Hatsumi I couldn't honestly teach ninjutsu without teaching chi kung he replied by giving me a shidoshi license. (In my opinion it is the only Way and I personally recommend the Chinese National Chi Kung Institute.) They had to censor the hell out of this year's Tai Kai video, as Hatsumi-sensei gave away secrets that most of us who were privileged to see will have to work years to get down smoothly. I usually settle for the pragmatic and have been accused of sacrificing green belts to increase my knowledge of how to give pain. I'm a hobbyist and like the short path.
The field of battle is outside the dojo. Only four people that I know of have been killed outside the dojo in training accidents, and I know of no one being permanently maimed or crippled by a master instructor. You are not paying fees to be injured unless that is the only way you will learn. There are many people who put on fatigues or night suits and claim to teach authentic ninjutsu. I was told by one fraud in Toledo, Ohio, that Steve Hayes had given him his red sash in Yin/Yang ninjutsu (my pregnant ass). Only Hatsumi gives the sword test, and there are no red sashes in Togakure Ryu ninjutsu. Nor were there any Kasumi-An diplomas or Bujinkan licenses in his dojo, just a lot of students being ripped off. I occasionally run into a young ninjutsu trainee in Chicago bringing bad and acting macho with his tabi (funny feet for scuf-flers) when I'm out partying. It's pretty obvious he has missed the concept of humility and doesn't understand the true value and danger of invisibility. He brags about his taijutsu and attempts to frighten people. Eventually someone will shoot him. Most Togakure Ryu dojo attempt to follow the tradition of providing some guidance in etiquette, but many students in the U.S.A. have little exposure to the practice of dangerous adult human beings treating each other with respect.
Kevin Millis, who teaches out of Irvine, California, is a great teacher and I recommend him highly for those who live on the west coast. In the Northeast, Greg Kowalski in Wallingford, Connecticut, has taught me many things and I treasure his friendship. Mark Davis in Boston runs a good school. The best bang for your buck in the Midwest can be found near Ann Arbor. Shidoshi-ho Otto Cardew supervises the U of Ms as well as Schoolcraft College's ninjutsu clubs and gives private lessons at his home dojo. I've enjoyed Otto's rough-and-ready brand of taijutsu training for over ten years. Larry Turner, out of Dayton Ohio, conducts excellent seminars. Tucker, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, hosts Bud Malmstrom, the highest-ranked American ninja, who has excellent teaching skills and even a large children's contingent. Stephen Hayes still teaches out of Germantown, Ohio. There are some very good technicians in Texas, but I've never attended any of their trainings, just seen them perform at Tai Kais.
If you are planning an adventure of going to Japan to train, I would recommend traveling with Millis or Kowalski. If you want to soak up the historical culture and see the sights, Stephen Hayes leads some interesting tours. Toshiro Nogato teaches in Tokyo. Tetsuji Ishizuka is in Kashiwa City and both speak English. I sent my son-in-law to train with Ishizuka when he was stationed near Tokyo with the U.S. Marines. You really should have an invitation or escort before you impose yourself on Shiraishi-sensei or Masaaki Hatsumi-soke in Noda City. I've seen visiting martial artists show up uninvited in Noda and expect to be provided for as if they were visiting V.1.P.s. Only ninja kindness kept them from suffering for their foolishness. In the next chapter I discuss chi kung from a martial arts perspective and relate that to the kundalini.
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