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Monday, July 21, 2014

FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT: Protecting online copyrighted works

There is nothing I like better than to fight the good fight, no matter the odds right is right and wrong is that just wrong. I have made stands and stuck to my guns whether it was popular to do so or not. It's principle.

Deliberate plagiarists and content thieves or scrapers lurk on the web they know that what they do is illegal and damaging to others and they just don’t care. But like I have already stated it's principle damn it.

Just recently someone copied and pasted some of my older articles and had them reposted online on other websites. This person also took credit for my copyrighted articles, claiming that he was the author.  Basically stealing the articles and claiming that they were his. After filing Takedown notices and having all the infringing and plagiarized articles removed I was able to find the person responsible and contacted him directly.

The violator at first denied that he stole and plagiarized my article. He changed his story and claimed that his email was hacked.  After several excuses he finally admitted to copying the articles and sending them to the different websites. Realizing he was caught dead to rights he then claimed fair use. However fair use does not give any person the right to take someone else’s copyrighted material  and claim it as their own.

Not stopping there the violator then tried to tell me that since my articles were on a free blog that my copyrights didn't apply. It was obvious that he had no understanding of the scope of fair use or no understanding of copyright or the Digital Millennium Copyright act (DMCA) which protects those who produce works online.  

There are an incredible amount of misconceptions out there, concerning the use of images/text and articles on blogs, websites and other social media. Just because you search for information on the internet and it pops up, doesn't mean you have the legal right to use it.

People will take information found on the net and copy and paste it somewhere online and assume that if they credit the source on their website, then it's legal. This is completely incorrect. Any "original work of authorship" is subject to copyright protection the moment that it is "fixed in any tangible medium of expression." Similarly, blogs readily qualify as copyrightable literary works as long as they contain some your own original works. The author’s entries are "copyrighted" as soon as he or she writes them.

Some mistakenly think that if they credit the author of an article or image they are not violating the copyright law. The bottom line is that you can only use copyrighted material if you have permission from the author to do so.

Copyright infringement is incredibly serious and there are lawyers and legal services that specialize in it. If you are found violating someone's copyright, a civil lawsuit can brought against the infringer, with monetarily devastating results and even jail time.

A lot of people copy images and text on the Internet mistakenly thinking that the worst that can happen is receiving a takedown notice from the author and remove the material from the website. The removal of the copyrighted material will not remove the copyright infringement at all. Should the author decide to go after you in court you will be in trouble all the same.

To those that think I won’t fight the good fight to protect my copyrighted works you are really taking your chances…… as the rights holder I get to decide how my content can be used. Yes I do hire lawyers and procure legal services. WHY???? Because I can.

IT’S SIMPLE AND IT’S THE LAW DON’T “BORROW” OR TAKE SOMEONE’S ONLINE WORKS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION

Sunday, July 13, 2014

THE LAST KOGA NINJA

Did Fujita Seiko pass down his Koga ryu Ninjutsu? Did he appoint someone to carry on his Koga ryu ninjutsu?

I have been asked this question several times and the simplest answer is an emphatic and resounding “NO”.  Fujita personally went on record stating that he would not appoint a person to become his successor to his family’s Koga ryu Wada Ha Ninjutsu.

In 1959, Fujita wrote a book, which he titled Doronron: Saigo No Ninja (The Last Ninja), recounting how his grandfather had passed on the secrets of his family Koga Ryu Wada Ha system to him. Fujita’s family name used to be Wada, and so the art they passed down in the family was called Koga-ryu, Wada- ha. In his book Fujita Seiko made it quite clear that he DID NOT pass on his Family’s Koga ryu Wada Ha Ninjutsu to ANY of his students or colleagues.

THE BUGEI RYUHA DAIJITEN - FUJITA SEIKO THE LAST NINJA

Four years later in 1963 Watatani Kiyoshi and Yamada Tadashi were gathering information for The Bugei Ryuha Daijiten (武芸流派大事典?) or "Encyclopedia of Martial art schools", a catalog of Koryū Bujutsu (old schools) and Gendai Budō (new schools) of Japanese martial arts. It is composed both of active and inactive schools, chronicled over the lifetimes of the authors Watatani Kiyoshi and Yamada Tadashi. The Bugei Ryuha Daijiten is Japan's official "Martial Arts Directory," a publication that is considered the authority in all matters of Japanese martial arts.

 The entry of Fujita's information for the Koga Ryu Wada Ha, which appears on the top of page 273 of The Bugei Ryuha Daijiten  is as follows: "This ryu is one of the 53 Koga families. Moreover, this ryuha is one of the Minamiyama Rokke of only 6 families, and nobody knows this ryuha." Watatani then attributes the quote to "Fujita Seiko, 1963."

In an interview with the Sankei Shimbun in 1964, Fujita again made it clear of his intentions to be the last ninja of Koga Ryu Wada Ha. Fujita said that the art would die with him (“Ninja: The True Story of Japan’s Secret Warrior Cult” Stephen Turnbull, pg. 144).

The 1978 revision of the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten states that Fujita Seiko was the last soke of this ryuha and it was one of 6 ryu that belonged to the Minamiyama Rokke, maybe 6 strong families or an organization and that nobody knows this ryuha today.

An additional entry on the bottom of page 921 of the BRD, that is entered as "Wada Ryu," and which is said to be the same as Koga Ryu Wada Ha. The entry mentions that a Wada Iga Morishinori founded the ryu, [and that] Fujita Seiko is a descendent of Wada Iga Morishinori. The entry provides a very compelling piece of evidence that the Koga Ryu Wada Ha was transmitted through Fujita's family, and coincides with the evidence that he was soke of the last Koga ninja tradition.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

IN SEARCH OF THE NINJA: The Historical Truth of Ninjutsu

BOOK REVIEW:  IN SEARCH OF THE NINJA: The Historical Truth of Ninjutsu.

Article By Phil Elmore

 I’ve tried. I’ve tried more ways than I can count to review In Search of the Ninja: The Historical Truth of Ninjitsu.  I’ve attempted to do so in good faith but, honestly, this book has defeated me. Its prose makes my brain hurt. The claims of its author Antony Cummins make my brain hurt. Its author’s self-important presentations make my brain hurt. (In his most recent video, Antony appears wearing a t-shirt with his name, CUMMINS, emblazoned across the chest). Ultimately I simply cannot take seriously what is in this book because the claims of any “historian” rest on his credentials and his credibility. Mr. Cummins appears to have neither, at least not in the traditional sense.

“To begin with,” writes Cummins early in the book, “this will be done by exposing what is believed to be the origin of the ninja and then replacing it with the facts. Like Hansel and Gretel we will then trace the breadcrumbs into the darkness, through the grammatical gore and the slippery surface of syntax…”
Is this a realistic goal? Mr. Cummins’ Internet critics frequently cite the fact that he is not fluent in Japanese — which would seem to be a prerequisite for translating and understanding ancient Japanese texts on war, warfare, and ninja business of whatever stripe.  Apparently Mr. Cummins is also on the outs with the most significant of the latter-day ninjitsu schools, too — that of the Bujinkan, an organization he seems to spend a lot of time denigrating online.

Add to this the fact that Mr. Cummins associates, at least through the Internet, with a number of characters from the Koga-ryu ninja crowd that I would consider people of extremely low character and credibility, and this, at least by association, does him no favors.  A historian must have your trust before he can tell you about things you have no way to verify or to know. He can easily lie; he can make things up as he goes; he can befuddle you with BS as readily as he can baffle you with brilliance. In reading through the tortured prose of In Search of the Ninja, I can’t help but conclude that, while a very entertaining story about the history of said ninja, I cannot afford to believe anything written in its pages.

By what authority would I check its validity? Shall the reader learn Japanese and then compare Antony’s work to the source material? Those who speak Japanese and who have compared Cummins’ translation of the document called the Shoninki (a translation Cummins calls the “definitive work” on the topic) say it does not hold up favorably to other translators’ work. But we shall have to take their word for it, too… won’t we?

Cummins is the man behind the “Natori Ryu” and “Ichigun Ichimi.” The latter is a loose confederation of every half-baked Koga-lineage YouTube-ryu ninja school and practitioner you could ever want. Its Facebook page quotes a Natori Masatake, who allegedly said, “Later, the people from Kōka甲賀, next to Iga伊賀, followed this path of ninjutsu and having made the oath of Ichigun Ichimi一郡一味, the friendship oath of ‘one district and one band,’ joining the people together. They went out expansively to various provinces to utilize their skills…”

As you can guess, there’s a link here: Cummins claims that the last descendants of the Natori family gave him their permission to “resurrect” the “Natori-Ryu” under Cummins’ guidance. “The school manuals will be translated and published in English for students to enter the school and study the military ways of the Natori Family,” says Cummins, who at this point has essentially appointed himself as the head of some kind of ninja and/or samurai school of martial arts or feudal traditions.

Where does a dedication to historical research end and a smug, self-important cult of personality begin? It’s hard to say. Certainly the line blurs here.  I don’t normally review the author of the book to the exclusion of the book itself, but frankly, there is no other means available to me. Anthony asked me to review the book; he encouraged me to trash it; he wrote, in an inscription, that I should “take my best shot;” he then called me a liar and demanded I ship the book back to him in England when I didn’t review the book on his schedule (which I told him would not be possible).

When you buy a book written by Antony Cummins, I fear you have no choice but to buy the man as well. There is no quantitative measure by which we can gauge the accuracy of his research if we are not both fluent in Japanese AND have access to his source materials. Neither is possible.


Either you belong to the cult of Cummins and you laud his work, or you are vaguely suspicious of everything he does. Either might constitute a truthful evaluation of In Search of the Ninja. Don’t ask me which, though. I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

NINPO SECRETS: Philosophy, History and Techniques by Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura

BOOK REVIEW

Ninpo Secrets (Hiden Ninpo) is published by the Genbukan World Ninpo Bugei Federation and provides an excellent overview of Ninpo as it compares to Ninjutsu. The book covers a complete historical background of Ninjutsu from the early beginnings to it's modern legacy. Shoto Tanemaura  does a fantastic job of dismantling all the myths and illusions and brings the truth to light.

Ninpo Secrets  is divided into five major sections; Part 1 - What Is Ninpo?, Part 2 - Ninpo Philosophy, Part 3 - Ninpo History (History section includes a history on Koka/Koga ryu as well), Part 4 - Ninpo Techniques, Part 5 - Others (i.e. Glossary, Bibliography, Genealogy of Ninpo), each of which provides a great deal of information about the Ninpo way of life.

Shoto Tanemura explains that the enlightened warrior (Shinobi) will not be content with just a way (do). The enlightened warrior's goal is to live within natural laws, to fully develop martial techniques, and to understand the eternal truth. This art should not be called "Ninjutsu," but instead it should have a spiritually significant term, "Ninpo".

The Ninpo Techniques section of this book is well written and heavily illustrated with photographs demonstrating Taijutsu as well as weapons techniques such as hanbo-jutsu, biken-jutsu and shuriken-jutsu. The book also covers techniques such as kiai-jutsu (power yelling for breaking an attacker's spirit), jumon and ketsuin (incantation and finger entwining), gofo (talisman) and ho-jutsu (illusion techniques).


I honestly cannot say enough about this book, IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE, AMAZING BOOK!!!!! Ninpo Secrets is a a source book that will never age, a very essential book for any practitioner of Ninpo or student of ninjutsu. The detail, depth, and accuracy of this book is simply outstanding. Ninpo Secrets is the best book on Ninpo/Ninjutsu written in english.  It is a very good looking paperback book indeed, well put together with tons of photographs. It is in print and can be ordered from Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura from his website.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

THE NINJA DEFENSE: A MODERN MASTER'S APPROACH TO UNIVERSAL DANGERS

I am always on the lookout for books that teach honestly, truthfully and effectively. They have often been hard to find.  Stephen K. Hayes is well known in the Ninjutsu community and in the martial arts field and has numerous books and videos on Ninjutsu. I have read most of his books and seen several of his dvds.  I like Mr. Hayes approach and teaching methods. His coaching skills are excellent and very professional. Most importantly any good coach or instructor has to have the ability to communicate with his students and get his points across.

There are many things to like about this book. Besides the clear instructions and the color photos showing each technique, this book also includes an excellent (almost 70 minutes) DVD which reinforces the techniques and tactics explained in the book.  The book and Dvd set approaches the subject of self-defense in a unique and interesting way. Mr. Hayes has created a simple and effective method for the average person to avoid trouble and defend themselves in numerous situations by applying traditional principles of ninjutsu to the possible conflicts we may find ourselves in today’s world.

“The Ninja Defense” covers preparation for real threats and not just from a physical aspect but from a mental and psychological aspects as well , making the choice to fight, winning mentality, how danger escalates.  Also  defense postures, five phases of the fight, forward strikes and kicks, front arm captures and restraints, front body holds and restraints, captures and restraints from behind.

Mr. Hayes is open and honest that this is level one training or a beginner level and that there is more, much more to learn.  I believe this to be for anyone interested in learning a simple and effective self-defense method but also for the serious martial artist.

The material on the DVD ties in directly with what you're reading in the book and brings it to life. The DVD shows each technique numerous times and again the instruction by Mr. Hayes and his instructors are clear and concise. The teaching and coaching style again is excellent I see a lot of positive reinforcement which makes for a more productive presentation of his modern ninjutsu applications.


The last chapter deals with why the ninja approach may in our day and time be better than the samurai approach. Ninjutsu has very little to do with proving yourself the toughest guy on the block at every chance.  Mr. Hayes applies traditional ninjutsu to modern self defense as well as takes into account things like the laws we live under.  The Ninja Defense by Stephen Hayes book and DVD  is full of quality information and quality instruction and for the price is an absolute steal.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

KUNOICHI: FEMALE NINJA

Kunoichi (くノ一?) is the term for a female ninja or practitioner of ninjutsu (ninpo). In Japanese, the 'ku' is written in hirigana, 'no' in katakana and 'ichi' in kanji. Interestingly if you add the three together you get the Japanese word (in kanji) for woman.   So the term kunoichi, or simply female Ninja, stands for a Japanese woman, a professional Ninja from the Ninja class of warriors who are adequately and specifically trained to become a perfect killer and spy.  

 A Kunoichi is maybe more mysterious than any male ninja and her weapon skills are perhaps just as deadly as of the male ninja. Women, just like men, were perfect killers, but the kunoichi had to demonstrate their ability in a world dominated by men. Trained from childhood like their male counter parts  the Kunoichi trained in unarmed combat and a variety of weapons just as the male ninja did. Typically, because of the different situations they faced, smaller close range weapons were more often utilized. Weapons like shuriken, blinding powders, poisons, knives, rope, hair pins and even the fan were often carried because they could be used at close range and easy to transport without notice.

Poison was one of their priorities and a kunoichi learned this mastery very early as they made her weapons deadlier and gave the ability to kill faster, so the victim could not ask for help. When she used her seduction techniques, she would often camouflage her weapons. It was very important to have small weapons so she could kill somebody in just one blow, and using the poison would of course facilitate the task.The kunoichi were trained to safely fall down and get up swiftly this is the art of taihen-jutsu (body movement skills).

Probably the most lethal weapons  the kunoichi  possessed was her beauty, and  the art of seduction. A female Ninja could use her own femininity to get very close to the enemy. Using psychological warfare and mind manipulation as weapons, the kunoichi could get in close enough to gather intell, protect herself or even kill or assassinate. The kunoichi knew how to control a man’s desire and handle it as she pleased. If it was necessary to spy on a man, being a beautiful and seductive woman made that task much easier to accomplish.

Women are attributed to more charm and power towards men and thus, there are places closed for men but for the charming and seductive woman all the doors are open. The kunoichi would take advantage of this very often. Sometimes she would marry him to earn his confidence and make her espionage purposes easier.

Today Ninjutsu can be a great form of self defense and exercise for women. I think women progress well in this style of combat (if they have a good teacher). Though the conditioning  is demanding the techniques 
don't require a great deal of strength or muscle. 

Modern training today continues to utilize the same skills and powers inherent in women. Building  not only a strong body and spirit but also intelligent confidence and awareness, women learn to utilize everything at their disposal to remain safe in a conflicted world.

Women training in ninjutsu in the modern world are just as likely to be found in roles and professions that in former times would have been limited only to men. Women training in ninjutsu can be found in fields such as: law enforcement, military, executive protection, legal, medical and private investigation as well as any other field out there.

SHINOBI IKKI

By Barron Shepherd

We are well into 2014 and like every other year the blog continues to grow expand evolve. Several times I have thought why does the blog continue?  It is almost as if the blog has a life of its very own. It lives it breathes it finds directions and meanings. It even feels as if it beckons me.  Perhaps it is simply just me as I mature and grow and my research continues my outlooks change or expand and evolve.  It is almost as if it is a movement, a uprising, an “ikki”,…..A SHINOBI IKKI.

Blog readers may also notice I don’t use the term "Koga ryu ninjutsu" on the blog banner anymore I have changed the banner’s artwork and heading.  Quite frankly its time to move past the term and just delve into what ninjutsu really is about. What is the true nature and heart of ninjutsu.

Shinobi no jutsu/Ninjutsu shows the innovative ability of the mind. Anything and everything can be modified and used for other purposes. Some people say ninjutsu died, and others say it only lives in the manuals or thru lineage. It seems to me that ninjutsu lives in the creativity of any human mind, just waiting to be coaxed to the surface.

SHINOBI: Ninja
Throughout the world the Shinobi, more commonly known as the ninja, has always been that of a black clad assassin, a shadowy wraith, a demon that appears from out of nowhere and disappears into the darkness, an ultimate warrior, capable of explosive skills, intellect, and diverse fighting ability. Despite this dark iconic image one would be surprised to find the virtues of the real ninja indicate quite the opposite and diverse.

The Japanese character of "Nin" means to endure (the character is a heart under a blade).Whether this blade is a ‘sword of justice’ or a ‘sword of evil depends’ on the heart below.  And "Ninja" is a person who endures. "Jutsu" are skills or techniques, and ninjutsu would be the techniques to endure. This is the way of the ninja. The fundamental concept of ninja is ‘Empty Hand’, which means that even without a weapon or shield it must find the way to overcome.

The essence of nin is the correct heart and mind. Without first having a correct heart, it is impossible to take advantage of strategy. It is said that not cultivating the proper heart will cause confusion and distress. The meaning of "correct heart" is the adherence to virtue, righteousness, loyalty, and sincerity. Without maintaining virtue, righteousness, loyalty, and sincerity, it will be impossible to have intrepid spirit.

IKKI: a league, a uprising, a insurrection.
 In Japanese history, “Ikki” referred to uprising groups of low ranking samurai, farmers, and monks that were against the Japanese daimyō in Japan. (An ikki is an alliance formed for the purpose of military security against invaders, mainly from the feudal lords.) This belief fostered a democratic spirit among the population by negating all differences arising from economic or social class and stressing the equality of all people.  It is also means "riot".

SHINOBI IKKI:

So the term “Shinobi Ikki” could be defined as;  1. A league of ninja. 2. An uprising or insurrection of Ninja. 3. A league, a uprising or insurrection of people who endure. 4.  A uprising of the proper or correct heart and mind. 


I believe this to be the course of the blog, it has taken years but its objective is still being sought, the ‘duties’ and ‘missions ‘of ninja are also known as ‘The Truth’ and ‘The Grass’. ‘Truth’ is in the immediate actions, ‘Grass’ may take years of preparation beforehand, maybe 1 year, 10 years or 20 years settling in some place ‘developing roots’ like the grass.