25th April 2023, you’re a math wiz Harry!

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been on my own. Now, that’s never a bad thing in my mind because I get to work on something that would probably bore someone else to tears.

Bruce Lee made a comment one time about not fearing the man that practised 10000 kicks, but the man who had practised 1 kick 10000 times. And it’s all about that practice time, working on the basics, just drilling drilling drilling. So for me, that’s been going up and down the hall practising my strikes with sword, hanbo, and bo etc 1000 times each.

If my sensei was watching, they’d probably be cringing at my form, but you can really feel it when the steps land strong and the swing feels good. I have a blockers/kick shield that I set up for practise hits, so I do know that the weapon won’t bounce out of my hand.

To keep me honest, I’ve screenshot the logs and have put them up of the groups’ FB page, hence the joke from someone about maths instead of martial arts. Well, if this is what seems to be working, I’ll keep logging, and next week, it’s onto the thing I absolutely detest….rolls.

25th January 2023, Sitting on the dock of the bay…

I’ve probably mentioned this before but self awareness and situational awareness should be something that is a constant in our lives. I’m not talking about that heightened state where you expect something bad to happen, but that lower level where you are aware of what’s happening around you, and hopefully, you are less likely to run over by the person fast walking, scrolling on the phone while drinking a hot coffee.

I had 2 new people in the class tonight who are more keen on self defence rather than martial arts in itself so i gave them 2 tasks for homework.

1. When they are out and about and go into a shop, how fast can they identify where all the exits are. If the fire alarm went off, how fast could they realistically get out?

2. Pretend that they are a thief and everyone is a mark, how easy would it be to steal something? Eg a purse in a shopping trolley? Or, since these people are involved in child care, how easy would it (theoretically!) be to tempt a kid away from a distracted parent?

Know your enemy as well as you know yourself.

Stay safe from random coffee encounters my friends 🙂

2nd January 2023, Trying not to be super lazy

While we are closed for the break ( my work is also closed for 3 weeks) I’ve been using the time to practise writing myself an exercise program. Now this may seem odd, but i dislike gyms. Yes i know considering I’m doing a PT diploma that makes for a weird statement. But there is an artificialness and a certain “look at me” vibe that has never sat well with me in that environment, but that’s a story for another day.

My parameters were pretty basic, it’s 10 minutes only and follows 4 principles
– train with a purpose
-train hard and short
-make it progressive and diverse
-focus on functional and core training.
(Bear Grylls)

I already have a good selection of weights etc at the house and in a sneaky way i was interested to see if any of my kids would try what i was doing without me pushing them into it. (No takers unfortunately but I’m still hoping). So the only real change I’m making is to be more systematic rather than haphazard, and avoid that “it’s been a long day, I’m far too tired/comfy/just ate a king size bar of chocolate” mind set.

So, here’s what I’ve been messing about with

6th December 2022, when random things click (not just the knee joints)

Carrying on with the previous weeks Te Hodoki and Tai Hodoki, we played around with these again,seeing what worked and some escapes were definitely better than others. Then it was off to mess about with Keri Kudaki, Ken Kudaki and Henka Kudaki.

By seeing what the body and memory gravitated to, we ended up randomly with Hote Ki, Koku and then we tried remembering which throws were which plus the set ups. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we didn’t have any mats down so we just worked on the first parts rather than the full throw. (I have now decided that I really need to start doing Yoga while telling my 10+ year ago self to write better notes!)

15th November. The 12/6 rule

During a conversation at the dojo tonight the statement “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6” came up.

Now, I have issues with this statement. Apart from the fact that it’s only got 2 outcomes, court case or dead, this thought process can get people into a big pile of legal quicksand and very possibly, a long prison sentence.

Marc MacYoung explains it far better than I ever will so please take the time to read the attached article and maybe rethink what you should do if a situation happens.

Something else to consider, most people’s exposure to violence comes from the movies and as we all know (or should know), these scenes are set up for entertainment and bear very little resemblance to real life. Think about how many times you’ve looked at a scene involving something you understand and how incorrectly it can be portrayed. Point in case, being married to a nurse, watching a dramatic medical moment while he’s practically falling off his chair laughing. Do you want someone who thinks movie violence is accurate to be on your jury?


8th November 2022, stabby stabby, ouchie ouchie!

A fun night! Just 2 of us but managed to make 90 minutes disappear in half that time with wrist locks (omote, ura and taki ori), arm locks (muso and musha), rear chokes, bear hugs and knife strikes. I’ll freely admit that i died multiple times with the knife.

I am a big believer in pushing yourself through “play” and experimentation. I’m not saying that you don’t need formal tuition or to learn the basics, but it’s that ebb and flow with just messing about that can be a great teacher.

Is Batman a Ninja?

(This is an article I wrote as part of an assignment, I thought maybe you would find it interesting, enjoy!)

I know people have asked this before; I first saw it in Ninja magazine around 1989 when Batman appeared in the movie theatres. This was roughly the same time I joined the Bujinkan and started learning Ninjutsu. Yes, I wanted to be a ninja! Although I wasn’t going to tell anybody that. The first rule in ninja school is that you don’t talk about ninja school, unless you are bragging to friends about the cool stuff you are learning, which is how I ended up one night in a freezing cold dojo upstairs in an old brick warehouse on Hobson Street, pretty much where Sky City is now all because my friend was raving about this awesome new martial art that she had found.

Back to Batman, on the surface, he certainly looks the part, dark costume, stealthily sneaks around, has the batarangs, all sorts of cool gadgets, and of course, no one knows who he is. 

Suppose Batman were learning Bujinkan Ninjutsu now, especially if he was in Japan. In that case, he’d actually be learning nine different martial art schools (Ryu’s). These are traditions in their own right that, over time, have been brought under the Bujinkan umbrella. Each of these is a complete martial art and has its own specialities. Such as,

  • Togakure Ryu – They cover throwing stars, blowpipes, and a little pyramid-shaped ball with long points on each side called a Tetsubishi. These will give you a nasty surprise if you step on one.
  • Koto Ryu – A striking system used for close range and designed for maximum bone and joint damage.
  • Gyokko Ryu – This is more about pain manipulation and nerve strikes.
  • Shinden Fudo Ryu – This one has similarities to Aikido, using redirection of the opponent’s strength and size to control them.
  • Takagi Yoshin Ryu – Again, similar to Aikido, but the technique is designed for the opponent not to be allowed to roll out or escape. Think of rugby spear tackles and broken bones.
  • Kuki Shinden Ryu – This is striking and grappling, but its real focus is mainly as a weapons school. sword, walking cane, 6-foot staff, battlefield arms and more.
  • Gikan Ryu – It is a striking art but not taught outside Japan.
  • Gyokushin Ryu – It is a throwing art. But, since it is not taught in open classes, little is known about it. Again not taught outside Japan.
  • Kumogakure Ryu – This one covers field craft and espionage, not taught outside Japan. 

With all this, Batman would get a good grounding in most of his tradecraft, throw in some high-level driving skills, loads of dedication, time and buckets of money. I would say that, yes, Bujinkan could produce a Batman. For one of us, it would definitely be the place to start.

Being Batman would be superb, and having a batmobile would be pretty epic. But all that time and training wouldn’t leave you much time for other pursuits. I love my downtime with my books and am terrified of heights. Sorry, Batman, although it would be cool to have your job, I’ll have to pass and just be me.

18th October 2022, Omote and Ura Gyaku

Working on two of the lapel grabs, Omote Gyaku and Ura Gyaku, tonight. When you first start learning anything, it’s static, slow and semi-uncoordinated while you figure out the mechanics, which is why you learn from an actual grab, not an attempted grab.

After a while, you get smoother and then you can take it up a notch to catch an attempted grab, after that you can start to play with it and see where your body wants to direct your uke (training partner/attacker). Just as you would with a musical instrument, you need to know the scales and the rules to be able to play anything freeform successfully.