What’s in the notes?

There are several ways to transmit knowledge however the most effective is the combination of thought word and deed. In the world of Budo the three has to be used in harmony in order to get the most from your training. In this write up I would like to focus on the “word”. The concept of the word can be further divided into two parts. The first is to be able to articulate a principle, movement, feeling etc. the 2nd is being able to put it down on paper. Throughout the centuries masters regarded recording their experiences in writing so the next generation will have a reference point / a foundation from which to build on. With each generation adding their experiences, feelings essentially gives the next generation an opportunity to build on the previous without loosing the essence. 

Anyone can plot a trip on a map app from point A to point B. But only those who travelled from point A to point B and back can share their experiences so the next person can have a more enjoyable and productive trip. 

When you take notes you essentially repeat the cycle of thought, word and deed in a more intimate setting allowing you to recall important details and principles through the lesson a second time in your head. It is now almost like you have done the lesson twice in one night. For many people writing something down is also a great method of retaining information.  As we age our mental capacity diminishes. Much of the knowledge would eventually be retained in the body through your naruel  memory. However the body does not have the capacity to remember names, dates, historical accounts let alone every detail that was covered in class. For this reason maintaining notes is crucial part of training.  It will have everything you have trained and all the emotions you have experienced, since the beginning of your Budo journey. 

What to Include in Your notes? When writing your journal the key thing is to document the techniques you worked on in class. It is important to explain these techniques to yourself step by step, in wording which you best understand. Describe the emotional relationship associated with each technique both of the teacher and your own. All of this information will not only help you understand how to perform the technique properly but will also allow you to track and understand your progress over the years as you re-read your notes. Essentially anything that can help you grow, develop and eventually pass the knowledge onward. I would also suggest you correlate any life experiences as a direct result of training. These experiences will help you bridge the practice and application. As you mature over the years so will your note taking. Keep your notes organic and proactive update them.

When reviewing your notes It is important to review them frequently. Just like in school, the more you study, the more information you will retain. Budo has a huge psychological and emotional component and therefore it is important to work on your psyche in addition to your physical skills. While it is important to review your notes as much as possible, it is critical to review them while performing the techniques physically as well as mentally by using various visualization techniques. This is your time to study and add any additional steps, information, or insight about the technique. It is also important to look at how your emotions change as you continue to train. 

Take an active approach to your training and keep the passion flame going.

Ueno Takashi Sensei

It is without a doubt that Hatsumi Sensei was the sole inheritor of Takamatsu Sensei martial arts lineages. However Hatsumi Sensei met Takamatsu Sensei late in his career and Takamatsu Sensei has already given several mastery licenses to other senior students. One of these individuals was Mr. Ueno Takashi. Hatsumi Sensei was a student of Ueno Takashi Sensei and it was Ueno Takashi who introduced Hatsumi Sensei to Takamatsu Sensei. It is for this reason that there is a strong relationship between our lineage (Hatsumi Ha) and that of Ueno Takashi and therefore is worth mentioning.

Ueno Takashi was born on February 21、1899 in Tokyo. At the age of eleven he started to study with his grandfather Ueno Nobuhisa who was served the lord of Odawara-han. He learned Shinto Tenshin Ryu which included: kenpō, toritejutsu、jōjutsu、tājutsu、naginatajutsu、juttejutsu、gunyōbō、and suntetsujutsu.

At the age of 13 he received 8th generation master for Shintō Tenshin Ryū。He also studied and received menkyo in Totsuka-ha Yōshin Ryū Jujutsu from his uncle. He received menkyo Kaiden in Tenshin Shinyō Ryu from Yamamoto Tomokichi-sensei. He got his shihan license in Ryūkyū Kenpō Karatejutsu from Izena Yoshitomo、Hunakoshi Gichin、Mabuni Kenwa、and Konishi Yasuhiro-sensei.

He also received Menkyo Kaiden in Asayama Ichiden Ryu, Yagyū Shingan Ryū. He studied with Takamatsu sensei. In 1954 he received full mastery in Takagi Yōshin Ryū Jūjutsu which includes Kukishin Ryū Bōjutsu and Shinden Fudō Ryū Taijutsu. He took on the warrior name Chosui. In December 1959 he further received full mastery in Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu and Kotō Ryū Koppōjutsu. In order to master Chinesekenpō he travelled to Beijing where he studied Shōrin Kenpō at the Shōrinkai. After the Second World War he established the Kenyūkai association along with Konishi Yasuhiro Otsuka Hironori, Fujita Seiko, and Mabuni Kenwa. He passed away at the age’of 78. He is remembered by his followers for his outstanding sense of integrity and giri-ninjō(duty and humanity) and for dedicating his life to the study of martial arts.

Kukishinden Ryu

Takamatsu Toshitsugu on Kukishinden Ryu

この連名簿は、澄水が作成したもの。それ故、右とは別個に、九鬼宗伝之巻(天津蹈鞴秘文武道遍の別称)を直授された高塚理考氏あたりには異論があるかも知れない。けれども、いちおう澄水執筆のままをここに再録し た。

 This register was drawn up by Chōsui (Chosui was one of Takamatsu Sensei warrior name). As a consequence, people such as Mr. Takatsuka Michitaka, who received the Kuki Sōden-no-maki (also known as Amatsu Tatara Hibun (Hibumi Budō-hen) might have a different opinion. However, for the most part it is written here again as Chōsui wrote


 Incidentally, according to a letter sent by Chōsui to his Excellency Kuki Takaharu, he stated that he advocated “Hontai Kukishin-ryū Chōsui-ha”, and was asking for Takaharu’s consent.

 これは、講道館柔道が全国的に普及し、九鬼本来の古道的体術では立ちうち出来かねることを認め、拳当・唐手術(今日の空手道)を加味した九鬼神流柔体術を『九体鬼神道流澄水派』として、世に広める意図によるもの であった。(昭和25・5・15は高松書簡)

 It was because of his intention to make it public due to Kōdōkan jūdō spreading nationwide, the recognition that Kuki’s primary old-way taijutsu could not compete, kobushi-ate, tōdejutsu/karatejutsu (today’s karatedō) added to Kukishin-ryū jūtaijutsu as (Kutai kiShintō-ryū Chōsui-ha) that he sought Takaharu’s consent.


 Jūjutsu techniques of Kukishin-ryū were the ones that featured ate-komi, or punching and kicking that originated in the time when warriors wore armor on the killing field, and when the name of the game was effectiveness. Like other schools of jūjutsu, however, it can be assumed that the jūjutsu techniques of this school had developed from the ones for a fight with armor on into the new style for a fight in an everyday life situation by the early Edo period.

2 –  九鬼神流では、通常、他流で當身と称しているのを、當込という。

 In Kukishin-ryū, the term ate-komi is used instead of atemi unlike other school of jūjutsu.

3 –  戦国時代以前の技法については、口伝の一部に剛法の伝が残り、往古の姿を髣髴させている。

 In terms of techniques of old days when warriors wore armor, Gōhō-no-den exists, reminding us of how they fought on the battleground.

Looking for a needle in a haystack

I was recently part of a discussion that made me reflect. For those of us who have been training in Budo for Avery long time things are often very clear and what we consider as the “obvious” may not be so with the greater population. Unfortunately I would even say that those in them mentioned category represent a very nominal % of the overall world population. There are times when it’s necessary to state the obvious. This is one of them….

With the advancement of technology the world is becoming more connected. Information flows faster and there is a lot to digest. As a result culturally many expect things “instantly”. This leads to a belief that everything can be achieved fast. Although speed has a benefits in the world of Budo when it comes to learning; old values such as patience, dedication and a life pursuit of a purpose become blur. As a result there may be sincere and open minded individuals that get misinformed. It is for those 1% that I still entertain answering requests in the hope that some make try to taste our wonderful Budo and perhaps stay long enough to appreciate the many values it offers.

Souji (掃除)

Attention to cleanliness or cleaning is called Souji (掃除) in Japanese. Maintaining constant attention to your, training space, clothing and equipment will bring harmony and balance.

Why Souji Matters?

In Japanese culture cleaning is not some mundane task that must be undertaken for health reasons alone. It is often considered a way of “cleansing the mind and spirit”. In other words, ‘by cleansing my home – I cleanse myself’. 

Back in the Edo period when most Japanese houses had hearths and fire stoves, the house would rather get dirty by the end of the year. Edo Castle started to be cleaned in December, and people started to believe that the December cleaning was not merely a matter of cleaning the house, but also as a purification ritual in preparation for greeting the New Year God, Toshigami-sama.

The Dojo is a place to cultivate the three essentials, body, mind and spirit. Therefore The act of Souji embodies the physics, mental & spiritual actions of cleansing.

Everyone should feel welcome to participate in Osouji whether they have never trained before, are active members of the dojo.

In our Dojo,there are 2 types of Souji. Daily cleaning or Niten Souji (日天掃除) and Yewr end cleaning or Osouji (大掃除).

The most important part of o-souji, known as susuharai (煤払い, dust cleaning), is the act of cleaning your home and workplace from dust and dirt. While doing susuharai, we also give thanks for the blessings of the previous year and we clean to purify the spaces for the year to come.

Deshi Iri

Teachers are indispensablel notjust for warriors.  If you find a magnificent mentor and train diligently, you will be able tobecome a marvelous warrior, but if you follow a martial merchant, it is highly questionable whether you will be enlightened as to the true martial arts.  In the old days there were two forms of Deshi-iri: those who entered into the martial arts in search of a good teacher (the “questing “type), and those who were discovered by a teacher as they trained in the mountains, unaware (  the “sudden” type).  In each case, the teacher would judge whether or not this person was fit to be a martial artist.  Those applying for Deshi-iri in the old days would first be given duties such as chopping wood or cleaning.  They would chop wood and clean earnestly from dawn to dusk, for several years.  The teacher would be examining the pupil’s potential as martial artist material throughout this period, by discerning whether he had a straightforward nature and sufficient guts to be able to persevere with the martial arts.  Then, picking his moment, he would initiate the next stage: “Come to the Dójó, I’Il give you some training”.  As the fierce training continued remorselessly day after day, the pupil would learn to appreciate his teacher, learn the depth of his affection, and mature into a true student.  Nowadays, the people who come and ask to be my student are quite varied. Some are of a frail type, weak in both body and mind and desiring to become strong; some are of an intellectual type, desired to make their spirit strong; some are of  a combative type who simply wantto be strong in the martial arts- ー but they are all part of the “mood “set, in that they all have an intense longing for Budó.  I tell such people quite unreservedly:

“If you want to forge your spirit, train in religion or the like-in martial arts you learn the top techniques of murderers. You want to strengthen your body? Go for walks, do body building and eat plenty of vegetables.  you hope to achieve by being strong in the martial arts? You can’t win any trophies, and you won’t make a fortune either! “As I say this, Iwatch the aspirant’s reaction.  The reason is that few people, once allowed to enter the gate, will actually be able to persevere with the training.  There are all too few people stupid enough to keep going to the end, following their intentions through and not caring what is said about them or to them.  Takamatsu Sensei accepted one idiot one me-as his student by reciting the following poem: “in Ten’ei Gannen [1110], the martial winds blew, There was an adept of Koppó-jutsu, Intrepid and gallant, felled wild beasts with one blow  , Yet normally as peaceful as a flower or bamboo, Fearless in confrontation with a myriad of foes, Is there none to follow where this warrior did go? The waiting is over, at last he has come, From the land of the gods comes the chosen one”

This is not pride, nor am I boasting.  People who cannot become fools will fail at whatever they do (cf. Edward Phelps: “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything, tis precisely the stylists, who pursue nothing other than “looking good”, who leave everything only half .

What of the relationship between teacher and student? Both must have a feeling of respect for each other. I initially found it irritating, and rather incomprehensible, when my teacher Takamatsu Sensei addressed me as “Hatsumi Sensei”.  Nowatlast1 have become aware of this mutual respect, and again bow my head for the lesson.On the other hand, the teacher is the teacher.and the student is but a student.One should not neglect one’s attitude nor manners.Takamatsu Sensei taught me how  To make life worthwhile. From him I learned life itself. There is a saying in Japan, which I feel contains a great deal of truth: “The parent / child relationship is one lifetime; the husband / wife relationship is two; but the relationship between  teacher and student is three”.

A Moment in Time

Interview with Shihan Eduard Divantman 

I. Sensei Divantman, thank you for taking time of your busy schedule to allowFor this interview. My first question is what drew you into Budo initially.

E. You are most welcome… I always find time for individuals who take genuine interest in what I do. In regards to your question I started training at a very young age. Initially it was for the purpose of self defence, but looking back I think it was much deeper then that.

I. Can you elaborate on that?

E. As a child I never liked fighting and was always trying to avoid conflict as much  as I could. When someone insulted me I just persevered and moved on. So in essence I was naturally  practicing Ninpo before I even knew what it was. So there was an innate relationship that gravitated me towards the art. 

What was your initial training like?

initially I trained in modern Budo (Karate and Judo). They all served a purpose and taught me many important skills. After all both originated from old systems. However because of the socioeconomic and political influences at the start of the century they were forced to change so I felt that something was missing. When I first tried Ninpo I knew that I finally found what I was looking for. 

What was your transition like?

There was an excitement that is very deep and profound…. The minute I stepped on the mat I was hooked and never looked back. I trained 6 days a week up to 4 hours daily. I trained diligently and never missed a class. These habits remain with me today. 

What ranks and titles do you hold?

This is a common question Im asked a lot. I’ve achieved the highest Dan grade in the Bujinkan system (my source for Ninpo and Jujutsu training) directly from Masaaki Hatsumi, Grand Master of 9 systems that form the Bujinkan. I also hold 6th Dan Shihan Dai in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu from Kancho Michio Takase the sole inheritor of Maeda and Matsuda line. I have also received grades in modern Budo and Chogoku Kenpo. Having said that  I refer to mastery as a “journey” not an end goal. The certificate, even the highest, is a recognition of your potential and dedication. A kind of an encouragement to keep going and grow into the responsibility your masters have bestowed on you. So aside of being motivated to train harder and hoping one day to live up to the responsibility bestowed on me the grades and titles serve as a reminder that practice never ends. Not everyone sees it that way of course but if you we’re properly educated you are never satisfied so to speak.

I. That is very deep, I often hear people who reach black belt quit having reached their goal. What are your thoughts on that.?

E. First of all we have a saying when you quit you severe the link so it is if you never trained at all. This is very sad. 

I. How so?

E.  People spend a lot of time, money and effort to reach a black belt only to quit. A black belt means you have achieved a certain proficiency in the basics and are ready to embark on more advanced training. So in essence it’s like getting a promotion at work after working so hard for several years to only turn around and resign. Does that makes sense?

I. No it doesn’t, hence why I raise my eyebrows when I hear these statements. 

E. Yes that is very odd, there are all kinds of people with funny ideas about grades… in most cases it’s a sign of their maturity or lack off. What we teach at my Dojo is different…. it’s not something that can be grasped in words.. It has to be experienced through sweat and tears. For example the common phrase for practicing Budo in Japanese is keiko (稽古). However Keiko does not translates as practice instead it translates, to consider the old in order to acquire knowledge. In this lies a fundamental difference that can not be ignored.

I. Very interesting, are you referring to the practice being something deeper the the mere physical aspect?

E. Yes, you can even take this a step further…. for example I spoke about Keiko which is a common term and denotes one level of practice. However in Ninpo we often user the term Renshu (練習) instead of Keiko. Renshu means to polish, specifically to polish ones character through rigour training. Imagine a diamond as an analogy, when it’s first mined it looks very similar to a regular stone. It is then taken to a polisher who  polishes the diamond until it shines and becomes the final product. Because of its uniqueness It then becomes precious and highly sought after. Just ask my wife LOL. The same holds true for human beings. By practicing correctly you work towards shining like a diamond. So as you improve physically you naturally improve mentally and spiritually. This is Ninpo. This is the difference between Budo and pure violence.  

I. Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful answer. Can you talk about form?

E. Firstly form is very important, it can be viewed as incapsulated lessons of past masters. First you need to have a qualified teacher teach it to you. Then, you need to have the capacity and emotional intelligence to absorb what you’ve been taught . And, eventually to have the ability to master it, understand how to apply it and transmit it onward.Secondly, you need to be able to adapt the form to the circumstances, times, culture you live in. Otherwise it becomes only a historical practice something that is not alive. True form is alive and is constantly adaptive. This is something that needs to be discovered through practice.

I. Can you talk about your Dojo name and what it means?

E. My school name is Heiho Canada which focus is on improving human lives through the practice and experience of Japanese and Chinese martial arts and culture. Heiho in general referred to as military strategy however it can also be referred to as life strategy. The  Martial arts section of our system is formally called Shinbukan Dojo(神武館道場). The name represent the cumulative martial arts knowledge that I acquired in coherent systemic way for growth and development. 

I.very interesting, it appears to be very unique and different then the average martial school. I find it to be profound in some way. Can you please elaborate more. 

E. Absolutely, Shinbu (Japanese: 神武) is a Japanese phrase, meaning “warrior might”. The term consists of the characters shin/kami (神), meaning “something divine”, and bu (武), denoting warrior. The idea of shinbu embraces physical, spiritual and ethical issues and denotes the condition when all basic principles of martial art are applied simultaneously and in balance. It is my unique way to share the knowLedge to the next generation.

I. You’ve mentioned earlier that you’ve learned several styles. Is your school kinda like an MMA school.

E. No, at our Dojo we don’t mix knowledge. In other words I teach each system independently to preserve its authenticity. We have a curriculum for Ninpo and Jujutsu as well Aikijujutsu and Chugoku Kenpo. Students can choose to study one or multiple systems. 

I. Finally what are your thoughts about the situation around the world today and what advice do you have for people.

E. I think there is a lot of uncertainty which leads to fear. When people are in a state of confusion and fear it’s difficult to make good choices. Life is like a wave, you have highes and Lowes, nothing lasts forever. Also the greater the obstacle the greater opportunity for growth. If you understand that then you will know that the current situation will pass and as a result we will have an opportunity to adapt, overcome and grow stronger. So please persevere and have faith. Respect one another and don’t be quick to make choices. I wish that more people can study Budo so they can have the courage and wisdom to understand these points.

I. Thank you for taking the time and patience.

E. You are most welcome.

The Jewel Tiger

“By polished Taijutsu gives rise to Satchijutsu (the art of reading intentions and knowing what will happen). By knowing the reason of nature, the ninja grasped the changes of heaven and variations of earth. By making use of the changes in nature and existing conditions, they skillfully employed Ninjutsu in the manner appropriate to the circumstances. Tenmon 天 門 (Heavenly Gate, Meteorology, Study Of Nature) is just that. Changes of weather, climate and natural features and the like that are supported by various conditions of the land were made use of by nimbly incorporating them into Ninjutsu. For instance, there is in Chimon 地 門 (Earthy Gate, Geography, Geomancy / Fusui) the secret teaching called “Hidori Daihi” 日 取 大 秘 (Great Secret Of Scheduling). Using circles of red, white and black, the fortunate and ill-fated conditions, days, directions and the like for carrying out Shinobi strategies were determined. It is an expedient means for emboldening the subtly preserving heart, for strengthening the subtly preserving power. It is making use of the probabilities of the laws of nature based on the practical wisdom of assiduously attentive insight.”

The Message from big old tree

“Well, Great Tree, for martial arts, we have a teaching of the spirit of three hearts – San Shin No Kata. This teaching is based on the saying that the spirit of a three year old is with a man until he is a hundred years old. We recognize the importance of early childhood and treasure these important years, when one is unaware of ego, independence and consciousness.” “This San shin No Kata (form of three hearts) is described in a section of secret teachings of the Gyokko Ryu, which teaches beginners that we have to train ourselveswith the spirit of a three year old, not forgetting the spirit even though they think they accomplish these techniques.”

窪地へと落ちる 習いの水なれど やがては登り始めなりけり 寿宗

Kubochi eto ochiru. Naraino mizunaredo. Yagatewa nobori hajimenarikeri

“Water falls down to a hollow but then there is rising again.” – Hisamune

Wisdom from the Master

Translated from Hiden Ninpo

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the Ninja. Some Ninja were originally “failed Samurai”;they started out with a bad reputation. The Japanese character for “Shinobi” implies a lack of heart, coldness, and ruthlessness. That applies only to the lowest or worst class of Ninja. True Ninja have very deep and proper emotions. Love and peace is very important to them.

They must, however, learn to be very patient with their bodies and emotions. They train their subconscious (natural intelligence) also. They are not concerned with “saving face”. They strive to win in the end. The Ninja’s emotions are like a flower. Ninja enjoy the peace of nature, and have a peaceful nature as well. They use natural movement to disappear when attacked with a sword. They fight to protect community and country.

Heart is the most important element of my philosophy. It will carry the warrior through confused times. Budo Philosophy: In general, it is used to protect the country, your community, and your own body. The way one approaches and uses this philosophy is very important. People say that the way you cut with the sword is important, but good eyes, strong muscles and bones are not the “way”. Gross technique is more like cutting wood than swordsmanship. Swordsmanship against an opponent involves a totally different “way”. You also need to learn different techniques but the “way” is the important part which sensei stresses. Jutsu means technique, but it also means heart. Jutsu must come from the heart. Therefore, your heart must be straight and honest. If your heart is not clear and straight, your jutsu will be lacking and you will not improve in the martial arts. Lust for victory will not give you the victory. You must receive the victory from your opponent. He has no choice but to give it to you because he will sense your heart as better or truer. Nature is your friend; it helps you to win. Your enemy will have unnatural movement, therefore you will be able to know what he is going to do before he does it.

I refer to mastery as a “feeling” in the individual. The certificate, even 10th degree, is no proof. One must be honest and think on this very deeply. There is no proof, however, if you look for it. When you don’t need to look, that is the proof. When one develops Shin Ki To Ichi (the heart, universe and weapon as one) that is mastery. This is the proof; this ability always allows the budoka to win, his technique always works.

Ninpo protects all of you, your body and spirit. Other budo philosophies don’t have this. In budo, and other philosophies, if your spirit is not straight, you can kill yourself! For example, medicine should protect one’s health, but used improperly, the same techniques will kill. Likewise with eating and drinking; improper habits will destroy the body. The same with the leadership of a country. Leaders should protect the people; a bad leader (poor philosophy, greedy, selfish) can destroy a country. Religion can be good for society, but greed and fanaticism can destroy. Here is a paraphrase of a letter from Takamatsu to me: “The Universe gives you a mission and guides you– no one can stop you– you will gain enormous strength, lose all fear, become as one with all of the natural world, and have total freedom in your movements. Your mind will be straight and honest. If you are truly straight and honest, you can get this power. Common sense, justice, and no surprise: this is Togakure Ryu Ninpo”.

How to learn the gokui (secrets) so as to become Meijin (a master)? Everyone wants to get the Makimono (Ryu Scroll Legacy that is held by the Grandmaster). Only by studying long and hard can you become strong enough to take the Makimono. Once you have it you may find that it is hard to move for several years because the Makimono is too heavy. You begin to understand the commitment that using the gokui entails. The Makimono becomes like a physical weight. Here are some clues to the gokui (secrets). It has to do with Takamatsu Sensei’s return to Japan from China. In China he was known as Mo-Ko, the Mongolian Tiger. The secret is flexibility and appropriateness. When you need to be a tiger you can, and are one. When its better to be a cat, you can be and are.

I was once asked by a friend: “Why don’t you fight a bull like Mas Oyama? You are a very strong Ninja master.” I smiled and said that even though a bull has more muscles, even a farmer can pull it around by the ring in it’s nose. Gokui (the secrets of martial arts) is in a person’s heart and his personal commitment. Be ready to think all the time. If you want enlightenment, practice every moment how to answer these type of questions, like the one about the bull. This means everyone has the capability to learn the Gokui in Ninpo. Practice every day, every moment. Prepare your heart, make it pure in the way that the Universe is pure–natural energy. Then your techniques will also be pure and from the heart. You can learn from anyone if you are sure of yourself. If you are strong you can have good friends and bad friends, and learn from both. I have all kinds of friends because I have no compulsion to judge them. I am not susceptible to bad influences, nor over-influenced by “good” influences. To keep your focus, you must have a purpose–don’t waste your time. Learn from everything.

People like to practice budo in the dojo with their friends. It is very important to go by yourself into nature and work against trees, rocks, with animals. Study the movement of animals and “wrestle” with nature. It is important to have a master, but if he is no good, it could be better than none. Look to nature.

If you, as a teacher, have a student who doesn’t respond to teaching, don’t teach him. Leave his training to him. If he likes Ninpo, he will learn on his own by observing; if not, he will leave. Don’t talk too much: demonstrate. I have many very high level techniques that I never teach. If the student’s are not advanced enough, the training can be detrimental.

You must love before you can create. If you love Ninpo, you can learn with or without a teacher. Strive to find the root of winning. Practice yourself, by yourself if necessary, all your life. Don’t be wishy washy. Use your brain. You can learn many things. Learn them all rather than wasting time between what you think is important to learn. Never give up, even if you get sick. I thought about budo 3 times as much as anyone else I knew, trained 3 times as much as anyone, and spent 3 times as much money in my martial quest. I got strong enough to find out that I was weak. I became very confused, but didn’t give up. I tried to just stop worrying and train. But I got sick anyway. I thought that I would die at one point. I was in bed for five years. I thought that if I died, then I might find peace. After the five years I realized that, no matter whether you are alive, dead, sick or healthy, old or have lots of vitality, you must practice, honestly, according to your situation. Now I don’t worry anymore!

Use natural technique; nature’s power. When you look at someone else’s technique and you feel inadequate, you are probably open for improvement–unless this feeling persists for more than ten years: then give up. Use your practice to gain insight into other things. Techniques are based on philosophy. The fundamentals of both must be strong. Practice the basics. Don’t worry about the flower, worry about the roots. Some day you will bloom into a beautiful flower anyway. Dreams can help you improve your techniques. Dream about the techniques. Practice also, again, again, again.

You have to have a purpose. Why are you studying? Most great martial artists have these purposes: 1) Self improvement. They never quit. They practice all their lives to improve. 2) They realize that it is their own self improvement that is the positive thing that rubs off on others. Both good for themselves, and good for those that come in contact with them.

It is important to know how little you know. When learning Ninpo, keep the fire in your heart. Your technique will then be forged from fire like the samurai sword. Fire and justice are the keys. If you want to change your body and your life, train with fire and live a just life. The number of techniques you know isn’t as important as your attitude. You need purpose and and good eye for those things in life that help your purpose. Takamatsu Sensei was in many real fights and never lost because he was mindful of these important things.

How to become a student: first of all, you need a good teacher. If you have a quack for a “Master” then you are wasting your time. Usually a great teacher will go through many students looking for the ones who have a great sense of the martial arts. In the old days, students had rules–for example, they had to cut wood, clean house, etc. for several years. The master then judged their strength, patience, perseverance, and attitude. If the master decided that you were good, he would invite you into the dojo. There the training would be very hard. Some students couldn’t hack it. They thought that the master was cruel. The ones who could make it were the ones who saw the greatness of the master.

The purpose of each person’s quest can differ: physical strength, mental strength, animal desire to win, or it may be an emotional quest. Practice religion if you want to make your mind/spirit strong, not martial arts. Martial arts can kill. However, to make your body strong enough to just kill or win honors, lift weights, eat vegetables, and walk to become strong. Don’t bother with the martial arts. Only 1 in 1000 will continue to seek the true practice of Ninpo. He is stubborn with a one track mind bordering on stupidity. Student and master must respect each other. Takamatsu Sensei always called me “Sensei”. But master is master, student is student, always. I learned life’s most important lessons from Takamatsu Sensei. Of the three great relationships — Parent/child, wife/husband, master/student, the third is the most important in life.

Soke Masaaki Hatsumi


Ninpo Taijutsu involves techniques of using the feet and Body, Taihenjutsu (体変術) body changing arts which includes, Kaiten(回転) rolling, Ukemi (受身) taking a fall, Hoko Jutsu (歩行術)method of walking, Senko Jutsu (潜行術)concealing arts and Hicho Jutsu (飛鳥術)leaping arts. It important is to develop a nimble and flexible body.