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The Dojo # 11 - Perfect Taijutsu

Posted on June 25, 2011 at 4:16 AM Comments comments (1)

Every real martial artist strives for perfection. While perfection may or may not be obtainable, it is the goal. A "perfect" martial artist would meet 2 criteria.

1. Never get hit or hurt by thier opponent.

2. Always be able to attack thier opponent.

Conveniently, the two most important principles in ninjutsu, if mastered alone would turn one into the "perfect" martial artist.


1. Ichmonji no Kata

2. Yoko Aruki


The Ichimonji no Kamae ("figure-1 posture/attitude") is the foundational base of effective self defense. This single position-of-safety is both the defensive posture that affords the Ninja the best level of safety against incoming attacks from a determined and skilled opponent, and...

 

...the best position to launch powerful, full-body attacks to the exposed targets of his assailant's body.

 

And, the Ninja's Yoko Aruki ("sideways walking") method allows for quick, elusive, adaptive footwork that is very different from the conventional bouncing, boxer-like, method that most modern fighters believe to be "it." 

Because Ichimonji no Kata is already mentioned on this site, let me discuss Yoko Aruki

Usually depicted as being used to move past walls and narrow spaces, Yoko aruki is also the ninja's best friend in combat.  It allows body dynamics to not only keep you from being hit but to easily get behind your opponent or wherever your opponent is vulnerable.

Yoko aruki follows these two rules-

 

  • The lead foot is always pointed toward the opponent's center. This would be the spot that is directly between his feet.
  • the angle between the feet is 90 degrees, so that the way one foot is pointing is always perpendicular
To use yoko aruki, simply crosstep by having one foot quickly cross over the other, then reset the other foot. To switch your stance from left to right, step out with the rear foot and point it towards your opponent, thenset the other foot behind it at 90 degrees. Always maintain a reasonable distance between your feet so you don't get tripped up.

This takes some practice, but it will turn your taijutsu from sloppy to magical.

 

The Dojo # 10 - A Ninja Confession

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 10:44 PM Comments comments (5)

 

Just for the record, I am aware that the historical ninja did not practice one style called "Ninjutsu". Ninjutsu was the word that described methods for spying and covert warfare, not a specific martial art.


What we now call "Ninjutsu" is actually a combination of different styles of several clans who were also known to be involved with "ninja" activites. What most people don't know is that ninja were samurai who practiced covert warfare. Ninja is not the opposite of samurai. It's like how both Black Ops. and Marines are soldiers, but they have different ways of waging war. Some clans of samurai believed in being sneaky (or more accurately they HAD to be sneaky), while most did not.


Samurai practiced Jujutsu, or more accurately, koryu (old) Japanese Jujutsu. All of these "ninja" clans had different styles of koryu jujutsu that have now been combined into one system that is called "ninjutsu", because it has been combined together with the methods for covert warfare. So technically I should be calling the martial art I practice "Koryu Jujutsu", but that's more difficult to say and requires me to explain what it is every time I say it. So I call it ninjutsu.


However, what I practice is still "ninja" martial arts because all of these different clans were "ninja" clans, and it is different than other styles of Jujutsu, especially modern ones. So it's not the same thing as "Jujitsu" or "Brazillian Jiujitsu" which is a different thing entirely.


The Dojo #9

Posted on October 25, 2010 at 2:51 PM Comments comments (0)

The 5 Most important ninjutsu techniques:

 


Technique #1: Evade your opponent.

 

The basis of Ninjutsu is counterattacking. Whenever possible, evading an opponent is always best. Fighting should always be the last option. If fighting cannot be avoided, allowing another to be the aggressor and you, in turn, providing the counter attack will give you the upper hand. Blocking, ducking, and backing up are all useful methods of evasion.

 


Technique #2: Strike your opponent’s weak points.

 

When evasion does not work, and you are forced to counter attack, it’s best to incapacitate your opponent as quickly as possible to ensure the least amount of damage will occur. Using a tight closed fist and making a powerful, well calculated strike to particular weak points can easily end the fight right then and there. The neck (throat area), solar plexus (the area between the base of the sternum bone and the navel), or the groin area are the major recommend areas to strike with as much power as you are able.

 


Technique #3: Control your opponent using joint locking.

 

Joint locking is the Ninjutsu technique that involves taking your opponent’s arm or leg joints and extending them to their maximum straightening capacity. By locking your opponent’s joints, you can control their movements by applying pressure which will in turn create a great amount of discomfort. Applying excessive pressure can cause extreme pain. And in extreme cases, when needed, a striking blow can easily break your opponent’s arm or leg.

 


Technique #4: Kick your opponent.

 

Kicking is one of many Ninjutsu techniques that not only provides for an excellent defense, but practicing can increase one’s flexibility and strength. The leg muscles when exercised properly can become very powerful weapons. A well thought out and strategically placed kick, can easily injure your opponent without putting yourself further in harm’s way. Kicking not only is affective because of contact strength, but also because it allows you to keep your distance from your attacker. Keeping your distance allows for greater allowance of implementing technique #1 and avoiding as much of a fight as possible.

 

 


Technique #5: Practice mental and spiritual health.

 

 

By learning the art of relaxation using breathing exercises, you can learn to rid yourself of stress and anxiety. Elevating your mental and spiritual strengths will give you the upper hand when a fight is in your future. Ridding your mind of stress, anxiety, and fear is half the battle. If your mind of void of those obstacles you will be able to further concentrate on using your body as a weapon.


The Dojo # 7

Posted on August 2, 2010 at 1:13 AM Comments comments (1)

I'm finally back, after a long time of being very busy. I'm going to work hard and do several Daily Dojos at once to (sort of) catch up.


Nagare: Flow


In ninjutsu, it is important to maintain a relaxed state of mind and always flow instead of doing things in steps. You can practice this with these exercises. 


1. Practice sanshin no kata.

Sanshin, the combination of the five elemental kata, is a good way to practice nagare. Try to perform each of the elemental kata without pausing.


2. Create your own kata.

Make up a kata as you go, imagining several opponents. Don't pause between techniques, simply blend them together in a natural way.


3. Spar

Sparring is one of the best ways to build your nagare. If you have a partner, try sparring in slow motion. This will help you see how various techniques can blend into each-other.

The Dojo #6

Posted on May 26, 2010 at 1:26 PM Comments comments (2)

This Dojo entry focuses on training.


There are some basic rules to follow when training for Ninjutsu, or in general.


1. Imagine a realistic situation.

 Your opponent will not always be moving in slow motion. Your opponent will not always fight fair. Your opponent will not want to be hit. Train accordingly.

Also, imagining a situation you might possibly encounter helps you be ready for one.


2. Train often.

Training won't do yo very much good if you don't devote yourself to keeping it up.


3. If you don't understand a technique, don't be afraid of it or give up. Keep going back to that technique until you get it right. You will eventually get it right, I promise. Many martial artists stunt their growth by only training the techniques they already know well. 


4. Train the basic things, because without a foundation, you have nothing to stand on. I like to train all my basics and then a few advanced techniques every training session.


5. Technique is important, but body is too.

Don't neglect those good old standbys like situps and pushups. They might be very un-fun, but a stronger body will actually directly improve your technique.

The Dojo #5

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (4)

This lesson goes into depth about a fundamental of Ninjutsu, the art of deception. As Sun Tsu once said, "All warfare is based on deception." This even applies to one-on-one confrontations. The art of deception in Ninjutsu is called Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho.


The art of interchanging truth and falsehood, Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho, is used in more than spying and is also more than a simple "fake out". Instead of how in a "fake out" you try to attack the opponent with a fake attack so that they become vulnerable, Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho is much deeper than that.

 

To understand, imagine that you are your opponent. Your opponent is going to try to harm you, but he isn't going to just let you use your cool technique to finish him off. You can't just wait for him, what if your opponent if faster than you? You can't force the technique, what if they're stronger?

 

In Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho, you use Ninso to analyze your opponent's style, and get him to use a technique so that you can counter it.

 

Confusing? Okay, lets say I'm fighting a boxer. If I momentarily go into Hira Ichimonji, this will look like I'm "wide open" to him. He'll probably take that opportunity to rush in and get as many his as he can. Since he's a boxer, I know this will be some from of punch, so I don't have to worry about his legs. The second he moves in to punch, I drop into Iai-Goshi and his attack goes overhead. Then, since I am now inside his guard, I have many options. I won't wait until he's finished his punch to attack, I will attack while he is still wondering where I went. (Line of Sight)

 

Here are a only few of my options I've chosen one of each of the ninjutsu elements.:

 

• Roll under his legs. This sets me up for more attacks from behind. Void element.

• Punch him in the groin. Ouch. Fire element.

• Stand and headbut him in the chest. His forward movement will make the strike more powerful. Earth element.

• Stand and throw a rising elbow. Since I'm so close to his body, he won't have time to react. Wind element.

• Grab his arm as I stand back up and shoulder throw. Water element.

This attack would not have been effective at all if he'd preferred kicking to punching. In that case, you set a different "trap". You lure your opponent into using a technique, and then you counter it.

 

If you think you understand, post a scenario where you use Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho in combat.

 


The Dojo #4

Posted on May 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM Comments comments (0)

Today's Daily Dojo is all about grappling, known in Ninjutsu as Jutaijutsu.


First of all, with grappling, it is essential to find a training partner. Grappling is impossible to master without someone to practice it on because it directly uses the opponent's own  body against them, and to master that you need to practice on a body. However, even without a partner, a basic understanding of grappling can be had.


4 Rules of Jutaijutsu:


1. Get as close to your opponent as possible. With grappling techniques, the closer you are to the opponent, the more literal power you have. Also, this makes it harder for your opponent to get free by striking you.


2. Don't struggle with strength, fight for position. While strength will greatly help you grapple, like all things in Ninjutsu, it's better to get a good position. Once you are in the correct position to apply the technique, it is usually very easy to complete the technique. If you try to simply force the technique you will not succeed unless you are a good deal stronger than your opponent.


3.  Take your opponent's balance. Without balance, your opponent has no power. For example, it is possible to get out of a sleeper hold, unless your opponent pulls backwards and down so that you are leaning back and off balance. From that position, there is no way you can throw them, among other things.


4. Go for broke. Don't be afraid to take a position when you see an opening. When one technique isn't working, reverse it and go for another technique. For example, if you go for Seoi Nage but your opponent successful resists, you can duck, take their leg, and sucessfully perform Kata Gurama (shoulder wheel). You can even reverse techniques before your opponent begins to resist, as a form of Kyojutsu Tenkan Ho (Interchange of Truth and Falsehood Technique). 


Now that you know the basics, study various techniques. Most of Ninjutsu's throws are taken from Jujutsu and modified only slightly. Since Judo throws are also from Jujutsu, it can be helpful to study Judo techniques to build your technique repertoire. 

The Dojo #3

Posted on May 13, 2010 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (2)

Sorry, I've been very busy lately, so I haven't provided the daily training segment. Today, it's back.


Today, I'll talk about one of the fundamentals of  Ninjutsu: The ancient art of the dodge. Most martial arts lack the dodging skill that ninja have. Of course, there is always some dodging, but it seems a little... stiff. Simply moving backwards, the most common, if not only dodge I seen in some competitions, is only slightly effective. It has two fatal weaknesses.

 

  1. Since it is easier to run forwards than backwards, you can easily be overtaken if your opponent attacks multiple times without pausing.
  2.  You are still directly in front of your opponent, in their line of fire. To counter attack you will have to push towards them just like they pushed towards you. They will probably dodge, just like you did, by moving backwards, setting off anendlessloop of wasted energy.

There are much better ways to dodge your opponent. Here are a few:

 

  1.  The simplest dodge is to step diagonally backwards, not straight backwards. This simple change will force your opponent to change direction instead of just running in a straight line to keep up with you. While they are turning to try to face you again, they are wide open for a counterattack.
  2. The side-pivot. The key here is just to go from feet side by side to one foot behind the other, and let your body follow. This is ridiculously simple yet effective, especially against jumping or rushing attacks attacks such as a tackle or a flying side kick.
  3. Duck. This even works against most punches. But remember, it's faster and less predictable when you duck by bending your legs, not by bending you waist. After you've done that, just spring up like a jack-in-the-box and counter-attack.
  4. The side-step. Shuffle your feet sideways by first moving the lead foot to the side, and then following with the other foot. This works a lot like the side-pivot,  but it gets you more out of the way. The only problem is that it doesn't make it as easy to counter-attack, since they're to your side.



The Dojo#2

Posted on May 9, 2010 at 3:54 AM Comments comments (3)


In this entry, we'll focus on Dakentaijutsu, or striking.

 

Here are your tools for striking. (Watch the video at the bottom of the paragraph)


Remember, Sokogyaku Ken and Sokuyaku Ken are simply parts of the foot to strike with (the ball of the foot and the heel respectively), not strikes in and of themselves. The same idea goes for all of the Hoken Juroppo Ken (16 Secret Fists), they are simply ways to position that part of the body for striking. You can strike with them in many different directions.


These, as I have said, are your tools. Now, let me explain how to use them.


When striking, one must remember not to be tense and rigid, but fluid. This will allow you to actually strike much faster, strike more powerfully, and easily transition between attacks. when you strike, strike as if you are trying to hit through them. Do not withdraw your "tool" too fast or too slowly.


Do not just charge into your oppoenent, use your footwork (known in Ninjutsu as Tai Sabaki, or body magic) to move into a good position and then strike from there. Here are a few good striking positions.


1. From the Omote side of either arm. This effectively takes away the power of any strikes they try to attack you with until they move out of that position. Simply neutralize the closer arm somehow (grabbing, blocking, dodging) and theyn strike either over it (head, neck)

or under it (ribs, groin, knees, ankles).

Sensei's Favorite Striking Technique  from this "Harvest") Grab wrist, Step on back of knee, Chop the neck.



2. From behind. By using either a northeast or a northwest movement, you can dodge an attack that comes straight towards you and  then turn towards them, and end up behind. your opponent. If you manage to get behind your opponent, attack the neck (to disable) or the backs of the knees. (to topple)

Sensei's Favorite Striking Technique from this "Iron Leaves") Punch lower back (use Shikan-Ken) with one hand while chopping the neck with the opposite hand.


3. From below. Simply duck into Hantachi (one knee on the ground) and attack a low target, such as the groin. 

Sensei's Favorite Striking Technique from this "Leaping Tiger")

Jump, double upward Shako-ken to the face,  then while falling, double downward Shako-ken, to the face.


4. Extreme Ura. This means being literally right on your opponents centerline. You want to be between both arms, and as close as possible, so that you can strike forward but your opponent has to attack towards them-self, which doesn't allow any of ther body-weight to be behind their strikes. Strike as quickly as possible, never giving your opponent a chance to counter, back away, or grab you. If they do grab you, continue striking until they let go. Target the face, throat, solar plexus, and groin. All of these are centerline targets. when this close, use knees for the groin and elbows and head-butts for everything else.

Sensei's Favorite Striking Technique from this "Avalanche") Swing elbow into side of opponent's head, while at the same time grabbing their throat with Shako-ken. Grab the back of their head with both hands and head but them in the face repeatedly.


Daily Dojo #1

Posted on May 8, 2010 at 3:23 AM Comments comments (1)

Welcome to a new feature on the Ninja News Page, the Daily Dojo.


Here, each day we will focus on two specific parts of Ninjutsu, and you can give me feedback in the comments section. Think of it as a Dojo.

You can thank Moderator Fumasu for this since it is was his idea as winner of the photo contest.


Today, since it is the first lesson, we'll focus on the fundementals.

 

Physically, ninjutsu is based on footwork. I've explained each stance in the Advanced Ninjutsu section, but here I'm going to go more in-depth.


Here's a quick review of the stances:

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


Now that you're up to speed, you should know that's only where we begin with Ninjutsu footwork.


The first thing you should always remember is that there are not 2, not 4, but 10 directions your legs can take you. 


Let's pretend the way you are facing is "north". That means moving forward would be moving north. (There's a good reason for this, just bear with me.) Once we've esablished that, we know you can go in 4 directions already.


North- Forwards

South - Backwards

East- Right

West- Left


Where do the other 6 directions come from? Well, like on a compass, there are intermediate directions to move as well.


Northwest

Northeast

Southwest

Southeast

 

These four are called the diagonals. Diagonals can make you literally twice as good of a fighter simply because they allow you to move in two directions at once. This is good for evading an opponent, because it forces your opponent to follow a zig-zag path to follow you. This often leads to them tripping over themselves, literally.


The next two should be obvious, but people often don't think of them. 

 

Up

Down


This basically means ducking and jumping. Remember, we live in a three dimensional world, so use that to your advantage.



In addition to that, you have two ways of moving compared to where your opponent is. These are the fundemental concepts of Ura and Omote, or Inside and Outside.


Imagine your opponent has a line drawn down the middle of the front of their body. Now imagine this line extends from them like a giant,.paper-thin wall. This is called the centerline.

Most martial arts (and opponents in general) focus on attacking the centerline. Ninjutsu breaks these boundaries.


Simply put, moving towards or through the centerline is Ura (inside), and moving away from it is Omote (outside). Ura is more direct, while Omote is more subtle, even invisible. 


Putting the stances, the directions, and Omote and Ura all together is the first step to mastery of footwork which is the first step to mastery. A true master of Ninjutsu rarely has to even move his/her arms at all. But when he/she does... just hope you aren't their opponent. 







Translation

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