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Saturday, April 4, 2015

THE REAL DANGERS OF FAKES AND FRAUDS IN THE MARTIAL ARTS


By Barron Shepherd

People who make exaggerated and unverifiable claims when it comes to their martial arts back ground are in deed dangerous. These individuals do real harm. Ultimately they turn the unsuspecting potential students into victims in various ways.

 Just recently some young guy took it upon himself to discuss the martial arts at work and in my presence. I just stood there quietly and listened to this guy as he talked. Then one of the guys asked him what his black belt was in. He then explained that he was a master of his own style. He went  on to to bash traditional and established styles of the martial arts. This young man was 20 or 21 years of age. So I was of the mind to just ignore this guy and go on about my business. Then he made the comment that those who have trained in established Martial arts are not only ineffective in a combat situation but went on to say that studying a martial art for any length of time was an utter waste of someone's time.

This young man's conversation reminded me of another encounter I had a few years ago while I was attending a friends Black belt test at a questionable martial arts dojo. I actually had the instructor approach me, now again this was a younger guy with vastly exaggerated image of himself. This guy was out of shape extremely over weight and even though he was wearing his gi he could no longer fit in it. My friend introduced us and he explained to his instructor that I was a 7th degree black belt in American Kenpo. His instructor basically puffed up and proudly informed me that he had studied American Kenpo in California for only eight months when he was eight years old AND that he had a complete understanding of the American Kenpo system.

I really only see this type of behavior from those who DO NOT have legitimate martial arts backgrounds in established styles of any kind. The first guy I mentioned had made it clear that he "made up"  his stuff and the second  guy well he had literally 30 plus very cheap looking certificates on his wall all from organizations that I had never heard of.

Needless to say the idiotic statements of these two individuals didn't illicit a very good response from me at all. I found them repulsive and it was down right insulting to me that they thought that they were somehow not only equal but according them superior to established martial artists.

Online and in social media the problem is just as bad if not worse. Liars, con men, diagnosed psychotics, pedophiles, convicted criminals seem to permeate the martial arts. The main problem is that the martial arts isn't really regulated in the United States anyone can buy a Black belt for a few bucks and set themselves up as an instructor. The ones who take advantage of this are indeed a danger in more ways than one. They only look to take any and all advantage they can of unsuspecting potential students.

They hide behind aliases, try to hide their criminal records, or explain their criminal pasts away by claiming elaborate set ups by police and police conspiracies against them. Using any ruse necessary to set themselves up as experts and instructors so they can take advantage of others or seek out potential future victims.

Make no mistake if they are not legitimate instructors and they are claiming to teach martial arts or self defense they are stealing your money. An instructor who is exaggerating or lying about their back ground and what they teach are in one word a THIEF. They are indeed stealing from you. I don't care if the person in question is teaching in a school or out of the garage or whatever. If the person is misrepresenting himself, his knowledge and his background. He is conning you out of your hard earned money, he is stealing it from you, cheating you.

If a guy sold you a bottle of wine and when you got home you opened it to have a drink and it was only water how would you feel? Would you feel cheated out of your money? Would you feel like the guy stole from you? Wouldn't you feel victimized, taken for granted, played for a fool?

What harm do these types of individual cause? Well for one they are teaching a subject that they honestly have no real understanding of, teaching techniques that probably wont work and could get you hurt or even killed and they are charging for it. If you went to a Home Depot and bought a tool of some sort and the tool you bought didn't work properly you would want your money back wouldn't you?

There is a person who claimss that he is a shito ryu Karate instructor and Karate champion. This person is not only grossly over weight but he also has a criminal record and is currently on probation for robbery and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. Even if this guy is a legitimate Shito Ryu Karate instructor there are his claims of learning Fujita Seiko's style of Ninjutsu in the shito ryu karate system which is a very spurious  and exaggerated claim. In a word unverifiable. Barring criminal records for the moment, there are those who say that this is nothing more than just a form of advertising.  But this is basically like dealing with a used car salesman who says he is selling you a great used car but in reality he is selling you a lemon.

As for this particular instructor's claim of learning and being able to teach Ninjutsu learned from with in the Shito ryu system this is in fact NOT true, Not accurate. In fact it is well documented in the Shito ryu system what Seiko taught to  and passed on to the Shito ryu system thru Manzo Iwata was Jo-Jutsu, Kenpo and Shuriken-Jutsu, NOT ninjutsu.

Fujita Seiko made it very public that he did not pass on his ninjutsu. He made it very clear that he had never found anyone worthy of it. There is literally no mention of Seiko teaching his ninjutsu to ANYONE. All that was ever mentioned and again is widely documented was that Fujita taught his Nanban satto ryu kenpo, Daein ryu Jo-jutsu and Shingetsu ryu Shuriken jutsu.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzo_Iwata   http://shitokai.com/shitoryu-karate/manzo-iwata

http://www.shitoryu.org/bios/iwata/iwata.htm

What REAL danger do these people present? What REAL harm do they do?  I am a firm believer in the fact that if you have a desire to teach the martial arts either commercially or privately that first and foremost potential instructors be able to pass a criminal background check. There is indeed a real need for this because there are some dangerous individuals out there trying to operate as instructors just to lure in potential victims. 

One such person claimed to be a koga ryu ninjutsu instructor and claimed he was advocate against domestic violence toward women. This person offered what he claimed were women's self defense programs. This so called instructor and "anti domestic violence advocate" actually used and operated under an alias hiding the fact that he was a convicted habitual domestic violence offender. He had restraining orders against him and had been convicted of physically abusing his ex wife and his children. Last year he beat his girlfriend.

Under the guise of helping abused women this fraudulent instructor was obviously attempting to set himself up as an authority in domestic violence and abuse just to get closer to more potential victims much like the pedophile who sets himself up as a coach or teacher to get close to and take advantage of children. What is even worse  he could continue to victimize unsuspecting already traumatized women. 

Sadly there are some out there who cant pass a background check. Some even use aliases to hide the fact they have a criminal past. Hiding charges like child molestation, contributing to the delinquency of minors, child pornography, domestic violence, rape, armed robbery, threats of terrorism, the list just goes on. Some even attempt to claim a vast police conspiracy against them. In one particular instance a diagnosed psychotic claimed to be a persecuted christian the target of an elaborate state wide conspiracy against him.

Would anyone want a loved one to be exposed to such a person or be influenced by such a person? These people are not harmless. Yes, they do have victims, and yes they are at the very least stealing money from their unsuspecting students.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

LIFE IS GOOD: BLACK BELT TRAINING AND SETTING NEW GOALS AT 50



By Barron Shepherd


For everyone who told me 50 is old or those who call me an old man. To the guys who are half my age and feel they are better stronger and faster because they're younger. LISTEN UP!!! The question isn't can I keep up with guys half my age, the question is... CAN THEY KEEP UP WITH ME.

All I can say nowadays is that.... LIFE IS GOOD. 50 isn't old. Ever the eternal student  I am still training and still learning.

My goal in the martial arts has never been to be a 10th degree black belt or a GRAND MASTER. It has always been about being effective and being the best I can be. It hasn't been about riding the skirt tails of a known martial arts personality. It isn't about notoriety. It has always been about blood sweat and tears hard training and putting in the work needed to be in shape and be the best that I can be.

My whole life has been about finding new challenges and learning as much as I can. One of my black belt ranks is in Judo which I didn't start training in until later in life. The judo instructor told me from the beginning that he only tested once a year. 7 years later in 1998  I earned my shodan 1st degree black belt in Judo.

 I continued training in judo and earned my nidan 2nd degree black belt in 2006. To this day those two ranks are the ones I am most proudest of. It didnt come easily nor did it come quickly. Some people would like you to believe that the secret lies in the mysticism of the martial arts but the secret is really in the time and effort and hard training. This is the brutally
simple truth. Some find difficulty in realizing this.

 I decided to remove myself from a lot of chat groups and face book groups and just deal with myself and what I want out of my life and my training. Quite frankly I am enjoying my life, my family and training hard. What others are doing or saying or claiming just doesn't effect me or my outlook.

I also made a conscious decision last year to quit talking about certain individuals with shoddy MA backgrounds and made up bullshit, criminal records, fat lowlife pedophiles and those who operate under aliases to hide their criminal activities from the public.  I am a firm believer in MA instructors being able to pass a criminal background check before being allowed to teach the martial arts.

I have heard and dealt with enough dishonesty in the martial arts. Liars, fake CIA agents,  fat stolen valor lowlifes with a penchant for 13 year old girls and phonies to last me a life time. They all are the same just sociopathic, lazy and despicable lowlifes who make up their own style and make fraudulent claims. It is in their karma to be exposed as liars and frauds over and over again. 

They lack the will, drive, the integrity and the work ethic to train in an established martial arts style. These individuals simply couldn't hack it when it came to training in an established MA style so they just made up their own.

These individuals who lie and make up their own styles will never know the joy or satisfaction of setting and ultimately reaching a goal. They will never experience a real sense of achievement. No real accomplishment. I have nothing in common with these lowlifes nor do they have anything in common with me.

I once encountered a guy who claimed that by simply making a few gestures with his hand that he could disrupt my chi and render me so helpless that he would then be able to beat me in a fight or sparring match. This guy was overweight and extremely out of shape and claimed that with his knowledge he would never have to do any type of hard physical training or physical conditioning. I just shook my head at that point.

When I asked him to step in the ring the "chi master" folded like a lawn chair. He immediately started to backpedal on his previous statements and said that his techniques to disrupt my chi would not work on me because my chi was too strong.... The crap people spew out of their mouths is mind boggling sometimes. Some douche bag (whose name almost rhymes with douche by the way) stole some french martial artist competition footage from a website and then the douche bag tried to pass it off as his own online. Pathetic and even typical of this lying lowlife.

Defiance is ageless. Your never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. Be a wolf, be a lion, set goals and smash them. Take advantage of no one. Don't lie. Be a better person. Live right. Eat right. Take no shit. Don't apologize for being awesome. Defy the odds and most importantly stay the mutha' fuckin' course. 

At the age of 50 I am still not only training but setting new goals, and taking up new endeavors, yes, learning yet another MA. Setting new goals for myself and challenging myself both mentally and physically. I don't expect to walk into another style wearing my black belt rank or having it honored or even recognized. I go into my training as a student, a beginner. I want or expect no special treatment. I am a blue collar guy who believes that hard work keeps a man honest.

A lot of people out there want a black belt, some think they just automatically deserve one, some even lie about earning one, but ONLY a few have the discipline, dedication and tenacity to EARN their black belt. The truth is wearing a black belt doesn't mean you're invincible. It does mean that you never gave up, you worked past the pain and you didn't cave into to your doubts. What is a true black belt? A true black belt is NOT someone who lies about their knowledge and experiences. A true black belt is a white belt who never quit!!!!!!








Saturday, January 17, 2015

THE RETRO IMAGE OF THE NINJA

Article by Barron Shepherd

It seems that the retro image of the Ninja from the 80's has made their way back into the lime light in recent years with block buster movies such as "Batman Begins", "Ninja Assassin", “Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear” which starred Scott Adkins "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" a 2014 computer animated full length feature film, the “G.I. Joe” films that featured the ninja Snake Eyes and his counterpart Storm Shadow. 

This retro image of the black clad assassin is what initially brought me to the art of ninjutsu. Now, it was always known that the image may not be entirely accurate and more Hollywood driven. On the contrary what the image really is and what it stands for is quite more accurate than not.

Even Documentaries on the ancient ninja of Japan depict more often than not, an intimidating vision of a black clad ancient elite special forces operative capable of  demonic like stealth who possess almost super human combat abilities and as master assassins. The ninja are back and are more lethal than ever.

During the late 70’s to the early eighties I was a teenager. My Kenpo instructors were heavy into the ninja boom during the eighties and nineties. My instructors would travel to go to ninjutsu seminars and camps given by people like Stephen Hayes, Ronald Duncan and Robert Bussey. It was always a treat for us in class when they returned to share what they had learned and picked up from these instructors.

The real ninja boom in the United States was brewing back in the '70's. According to Black belt magazine Stephen Hayes, Robert Bussey and Ronald Duncan were responsible for the spread of Ninjutsu in the united states. These men became predominant and highly regarded by the leading martial art magazines.

According to Black belt magazine Ronald Duncan was teaching Ninjutsu in the 60’s and 70’s before the ninja craze hit America. In the 70’s Stephen Hayes and Robert Bussey had traveled to Japan to train with Massaki Hatsumi in Togakure ryu ninjutsu. Hayes had a successful run with several books and videos helped to bring traditional ninjutsu to light. Bussey who had also traveled to train in Japan with Masaaki Hatsumi brought back a more progressive and openly aggressive and modified form of Ninjutsu.

The Ninjutsu world exploded some martial arts schools took up training in ninjutsu as a separate discipline, Bussey, Duncan and Hayes were highly sought after and highly regarded by the leading martial art magazines such as Black belt, Official Karate, Fighting Stars, Ninja Magazine and others. 

The name Ninja has been associated with an ultimate warrior capable of explosive skills, intellect, a wide range of infiltration skill and diverse fighting ability. The Ninja were for all intensive purposes were the forefathers of the special forces operatives and espionage agents used by military forces around the world today. These elite units combine combat skills, stealth, and technology to infiltrate enemy strongholds, gather secret information, and spread disinformation and operate in small units very much like the ninja of feudal Japan.

The word “ninja” is more of a modern term. In Japanese, during feudal Japan, were called shinobi no mono, though in contemporary Japan people will also say "ninja". According to The Oxford English Dictionary, which tracks the emergence of new slang into English, one of the first western uses of the word "ninja" may have been in Ian Fleming's 1964 James Bond novel You Only Live Twice.

The first appearance of a ninja in a popular western work was in 1964 in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “You only live twice”. In 1967 Fleming’s book was turned into a movie and presented the ninja for the first time to the English speaking world in a way that no book could ever do.

My earliest remembrance of the eighties ninja came about in September of 1980 the TV miniseries Shogun aired and featured a scene of a raid by ninja. In 1981 "Enter The Ninja" starring Sho Kosugi set off the ninja explosion of the 80's which is still with us to this day as evidenced by Snake Eyes in  the “GI Joe” movies, “Elektra” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” all still being around as they were birthed by it.

To this day, the iconic image of the ninja stretched far beyond that of the martial arts into pop culture. In fact, the influence of the image of the ninja on pop culture and martial arts was and still is massive!  Who didn't want to be a ninja back then? How many American teenagers from the 80’s were inspired to train in the martial arts because of Sho Kosugi. How about the 1985 cult classic “American Ninja” starring Michael Dudikoff. I was a young man in the service when I saw that one. Still is one of my favorites albeit a guilty pleasure.

The iconic  image  of the ninja not only determined how most school kids and pretty much everyone here in the west imagined ninja to be but it also motivated students to train harder to become better  at their perspective martial art it didn't matter if it was ninjutsu or karate. The image of the ninja was adopted whole heartedly in the 80's and has since become almost inseparable from mainstream American heroism. Never has there been such a greater force than the blade wielding black clad ninja assassin.

So what’s wrong with the retro image of the ninja or ninjutsu?  Answer: NOT ONE DAMN THING!!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 NEW YEAR MESSAGE

We are now into the New Year and the blog continues to grow, expand and evolve.  The blog gets approximately 3000 views a month and over 160,000 views total it is almost as if it has a life of its very own. It lives, it breathes, it finds directions and meanings.  Perhaps it is simply just me as I mature and grow and my outlooks change or expand and evolve that I am able to continue to write. Last and definitely not the not least by any means, I owe it to those who have taken the time to read the blog. Thanks to them the blog seems to have become a force.

Needless to say what I have attempted to share on this blog has definitely rubbed a handful of individuals, whose names really aren't worth mentioning, the wrong way. Quite honestly these individuals' attitudes, criminal records, fraudulent claims of military service and bogus martial art experience really doesn't matter they are just, for all intensive purposes, insignificant. In a word, IRRELEVANT. What they think or feel or say has no effect or influence on me personally, my writing or my training.

The constant student I learn and keep learning so that I may grow and evolve. I don’t claim to be a “Ninja” and I don’t claim to be a “grand master”. Getting a “black belt” was never the goal, being effective was.  The black belts were more of a “byproduct” of my training. My sole pursuit has always been one to better myself, to stay strong in my beliefs and not to “sell out” or sell myself or others short.

My motto is a simple one: Surround yourself with the things that truly bring you joy and train hard so to develop an enduring spirit. Quite simply, I disassociated myself from negativity and from those who are nothing but slaves to their own narcissistic egos.  I just keep the things that truly enrich my spirit close and the hard training just helps to strengthen that resolve of living my life in a correct, positive and fulfilling way.

It goes without saying that the great additions that have not only enriched my life but have enriched this blog is the artwork of David Conway and Lorant Pataki this past year. David did some stuff that was specifically for me and the blog and it has indeed been a thrill to see him come up with the different works of art. Their artwork is a significant contribution to the blog. Their art is just simply outstanding and a joy to have I cannot thank them enough.


So what is coming up on the blog in the New Year? Well more articles on ninjutsu and the ninja of course, more reviews of books and videos.  I will also be sharing some diet and fitness routines solely for the purpose to help others get into better shape. I am 50 years old and follow these very same routines that I will be sharing. These diet and fitness routines will be a great way for anyone regardless of age or fitness level  get in better shape using bodyweight training routines and of course a proper diet. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NINJAFIT©: BODY-WEIGHT WORKOUTS


“Do not limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as you mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.”

Due to the extreme nature of the missions that a ninja of feudal Japan were called upon to perform, being a Ninja  required a level of physical and mental fitness that bordered on the phenomenal due to the extreme nature of the missions. The ninja of old were the perfect all around athletes.   These shadow warriors lived a rugged and often Spartan like existence from a young age. An existence that allowed them to develop physical skills that modern Olympic athletes and Elite military organizations today would be envious of. 

Physically the ninja of old Japan trained extensively using body weight types of exercises. Physical and functional fitness, plus speed and endurance, as well as combat readiness were important to the ninja. For fitness there is no better way of building an athletic, fully functional and toned physique than your own body weight as the resistance.  Flexibility enhancement, Strength and Conditioning as well as Aerobic and Anaerobic cardiovascular development were physical enhancements that ninja needed to survive.

Many martial arts schools use body-weight exercises and calisthenics but only as part of a warm up before class.  However if you utilize Body-weight exercises as a full blown workout the benefits can be immeasurable.  Many body-weight exercises can be progressed or regressed to meet the individual's need. This progression/regression strategy allows nearly all levels of fitness to participate. Regardless of your present physical condition you can start your physical training program at any time and if you want to, you can take it to a point where you are as fit as a NINJA.

Body-weight exercises when performed vigorously and with variety can benefit both muscular and cardiovascular fitness, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility and coordination. Body-weight training offers excellent and numerous benefits that range from keeping the body slim to preventing heart problems and other disease.  

Basic movements, such as push-ups, sit-ups and squats, can be modified by altering the leverage and weight distribution of your body to meet any level of conditioning.

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds take a 30 second rest and move to the next exercise for 3 sets of each. The forth set will be a superset-flow from one exercise to the next no rest period between exercises. You can increase or decrease the number of sets depending on your own level of fitness as well as modify the exercises. You can also add an additional superset or more if needed. Remember no rest between exercises or sets with the superset. 

PUSH UPS
To strengthen you arms more, and the muscles around your collar bone, do some pushups. These are the simplest yet the hardest workout to do because of the work it takes to push yourself off the ground.
1. Lay on your stomach, then place your hands so your fingers face forwards, and they are just beside your ribcage.
2. Push until your arms are fully extended, then lower yourself so your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle.
3. Hold that position for 5 seconds, then push back up. Repeat this as many times as you can. Don’t forget to breathe exhale on the way up inhale on the way down. Perform as many as possible within 30 seconds and repeat.

SIT UPS/CRUNCH
Another simple but hard exercise is the classic sit up/crunch.
1. Lay on your back with your knee bent at 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Put your right hand on your left shoulder, and your left hand on your right shoulder.
3. Hold onto them tight, as you use your abs to pull your shoulders towards your knees. Do this motion slowly, and then hold the upright position for 5 seconds.
4. Slowly lower yourself so your shoulders are back on the ground. Do these as many times as you can in 30 seconds and repeat.

LUNGE JUMPS
1. Stand with feet together and do a lunge with the right foot.
2. Jump straight up and while in the air switch the legs landing in a lunge with the opposite foot forward.
Repeat and continue switching legs at a moderate pace to get the full effect of the lunge. Do this for thirty seconds then rest thirty seconds and repeat.

BURPEES
Burpess are a great finisher of any type of work out and should be added to your workouts. Few exercises hit as many muscle groups and deliver as intense a cardiovascular workout. After performing 10, no matter how fresh you are, you will be breathing heavily.
1. Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
2. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended.
3. Then do a push up
4.  After the completion of the push up immediately return your feet to the squat position.
5. Jump up from the squat position.

Remember God gave us only one body and we owe it to ourselves mentally physically and spiritually to treat our bodies like a temple. Take advantage of the body that God gave you and condition it to be as strong and healthy as you can possibly make it. For the best results possible it is important that you maintain a proper diet, drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest in addition to an exercise program. Consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

Friday, November 14, 2014

THE WAY OF THE WINDS MARTIAL ARTS SYSTEM: MY PERSPECTIVE

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” – M.L. King

Nov. 19 2014 will be two years since Prof. Duncan passed away and this upcoming week will be filled with reflection and remembrance and great sadness that he is no longer here. 

First off I want to say that out of the years I knew Prof. Duncan he relayed a lot of stories personally to me. I honestly believe that outside of the Duncan family I know more about O’ Sensei Duncan than quite possibly anyone else.  Since Prof. Duncan’s passing there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about him. So, it really bothers me personally when I see things repeated on the internet that quite frankly I know to be not true and are in stark contrast to what I personally know and was told. 

One of the “stories” I hear is that Donn Draeger taught Ninjutsu to Prof. Duncan.  He always maintained to me that his relationship with Draeger was from his days involved with Judo in the United States Marine corp.  Prof. Duncan had studied and trained under Ernie Cates an officer in the U.S. Marine corp from 1957 to 1959 learning Judo, Jujitsu and Knife. At this time Donn Draeger was with the Shufu Yondanshikai.

A lot of so called Koga ryu grand masters have dropped Prof. Duncan’s name giving the impression that they were speaking on sensei Duncan’s behalf or trying to insinuate and give the impression that Prof. Duncan was a part of their cause. In all honesty Prof. Duncan had nothing to do with them. Even some of the people who formerly trained under Prof. Duncan have said and done some things that have quite frankly left me scratching my head.  I see people on the net dropping his name just to lend some sort of credence to themselves or their own personal agenda who didn’t even know Prof. Duncan.

As an example, most recently someone on facebook took it upon himself to add Gregory Duncan’s picture  to half a dozen “Koga ryu Masters” in a collage implying that Gregory Duncan was in league with the others in the collage and even implied that Gregory Duncan was teaching Fujita Seiko’s koga ryu Wada Ha. Both implications were completely inaccurate. Gregory has nothing to do with these people in the collage or the person who put this collage together nor had Gregory ever spoken with this individual. Most importantly Gregory has never claimed to teach Koga ryu Wada Ha.

Even a few members and former members of the Way of the Winds system have said and done some things that have quite frankly left me somewhat bewildered.   So, I am going to share my own perspective of the Way of the Winds martial art system. Part of The Way of the Winds system MAY have a very unique and intriguing modern history going back to WWII thru Naraki Hara who MAY well have been trained at The Nakano spy school.  The potential POSSIBILTY of this, at least in my mind, is a extremely fascinating and intriguing one.

Hara Sensei was born into a samurai family in the year 1919 from the information that I have been able to gather from different sources he trained under Okuyama Ryuho in Aiki Jujutsu and Hakko ryu Jujutsu. Hara taught Aiki jujutsu, Hakko ryu Jujutsu,  Taiho Jutsu and created Nippon Goshindo Kempo.( I have also heard it referred to as Goshindo Karate and Goshindo Kempo jujutsu.)  According to several people there just wasn’t a weapon that Hara sensei wasn’t an expert at. He seemed to have a vast knowledge of not only several different arts but several styles within these arts as well.  By all accounts Hara Sensei was a hard physical man who was an excellent martial artist whose executions of techniques were brutal and effective. 

 During WWII The Imperial Japanese Army command had become dead set on developing on shortest terms at Nakano a system of Killing Techniques, a close quarter combat system that would put the enemy out of commission quickly and efficiently. Hard, fast, powerful BLOWS and KICKS to vulnerable areas.  A primary Killing method of unarmed or minimally armed combat for battlefield use especially for the nature of covert operations. Get IN and get the JOB DONE WITH as quickly and brutally as possible! The soldiers of the Japanese Army were trained in Karate and Judo or at least the basics, however the Japanese Command felt this was not enough.The main principles that guided Japanese Military Combatives were HAYAI-SATSUJIN (or KOROSHI) the idea of the immediate or sudden KILL and  ICHIGEKI-HISSATSU  the idea of ONE ATTACK – ONE LIFE.  http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articled1.htm

Naraki Hara’s Goshindo (Way of Self Defense) MAY be a surviving VARIATION of the self defense system he learned at Nakano. According to students of several instructors who trained under Hara Sensei in Goshindo Kempo and Hakko ryu Jujutsu, Naraki Hara had relayed to some that he served in WWII and was trained at the Rikugun Nakano Gakko, the Imperial Japanese Army’s elite espionage training facility.  I believe that Prof.  Duncan whole heartedly believed in this as he whole heartedly believed in his instructor Naraki Hara. This to me is an extremely more interesting and as mentioned before a very unique possible history of Prof. Duncan’s Way of the Winds System, therefore  a more modern military history than an ancient Koga ryu ninjutsu lineage or even a Japanese Budo.

In June of 2012, a story broke out of Japan about the curriculum taught at Nakano.  Military records were discovered shedding some light on what was taught at Nakano. These documents revealed that Ninjutsu amoung other subjects were part of Nakano’s curriculum. I believe Naraki Hara may very well have thought of himself as a modern Ninja during his days as a young and enthusiastic Nakano recruit. http://japandailypress.com/wwii-ninjas-secret-spy-school-taught-ninjutsu-skills-to-soldiers-214830/

As a former Military policeman in the Army,  I was young and enthusiastic going thru basic training and A.I.T.  I still remember my training, the people I trained with and under.  During my training as an MP, I was taught the history of the United States Army Military Police Corp. We were told of battles in which the MPs had vital roles in. I remember having a sense of connection and kindredship with the men who served as MPs before I was even born. To this day, I feel a connection to my MP brothers and sisters who came before and even after me.

With this in mind looking at Naraki Hara as a young recruit training at Nakano learning espionage and covert warfare I for one can certainly understand and find it very logical that any Nakano trainee would liken themselves to and feel a connection to the Ninja, especially with the addition of Fujita Seiko teaching Ninjutsu at Nakano.  I also very easily relate that this concept would be a source of epsirit de corp and great pride among those young Nakano trainees.  I certainly find it understandable and logical that Prof. Duncan and others who trained under Naraki Hara would grasp this concept as well.

Lastly and most importantly, I had to ask myself; would this mean that there is a historical lineage to Koga ryu ninjutsu or Fujita Seiko or even a Japanese Budo?  No. Simply put, from everything that I can determine from military history books written on the subject of the Nakano spy school the training and curriculum was synthesized and experimented with at Nakano so I would NOT consider it a budo or a martial art, I would say rather that it was a military systemized form of close quarter combat training which included Hand to Hand combat and Knife.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NINJAFIT©: BODYWEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM

PART ONE

Want to get in shape like a NINJA? The answer is simple, you train like one.

Let’s get NINJAFIT©

Physically the Ninja trained extensively using bodyweight type of exercises.  They walked on felled trees and logs to develop balance, hung from the branches of a tree by his hands to develop strength, muscle endurance, mental toughness and combat fatique. Special training in climbing developed strength, flexibility and endurance in the arms and legs. Jumping, running, swimming were all part of the ninja’s training regimen to develop strength, stamina, endurance, balance, agility, and coordination. The physical skills needed to carry out their missions.

Bodyweight movements do offer a lot of the benefits that other forms of resistance training can't match. They are super-efficient workouts. High output bodyweight training yield fantastic fitness gains in very short workout durations . It is easy to transition from one exercise to the next because there is no equipment to use in bodyweight workouts. Shorter rest times mean it’s easy to quickly boost heart rate and burn some serious calories.

Bodyweight exercises are easily modified to challenge any fitness level. Adding extra repetitions, performing the exercises faster or super-slow, and perfecting form are a few ways to make even the simplest exercise more challenging.

Body weight exercises combine cardio and strength training. Performing a minute of burpees in between strength Bodyweight exercises such as push ups will keep the heart pumping while still encouraging muscle and strength development .  Try adding a few quick sets of these amped-up burpees into any workout routine for FAST FAT BURNING!

Improved core strength. The "core" is more than just abs, twenty-nine muscles make up the human core, and many simple bodyweight movements can be used to engage all of them. Such exercises improve core strength for better posture and improved athletic performance.

 Increase flexibility. Bodyweight training for strength and flexibility can go hand-in-hand. Completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion is a great way to ensure joints are moving freely, can lead to improved posture, and might even reduce the chance of exercise-related injury.

 Better balance. A regular bodyweight squat can be ramped up by swapping it for a single-leg squat. Super-functional exercises like a single leg squat can improve balance through increased body awareness and control.

There are countless  variations  of the type of exercises that can spice up any workout routine. Working with a variety of exercises not only relieves potential workout boredom, it can also
help break through exercise plateaus to spark further fitness progress.

Bodyweight exercises get results partly because they often involve numerous joints and muscles that are engaged in each move. Exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and chin-ups have been shown to be extremely effective for strength gains and performance improvements. The results from bodyweight training are amplified even more because of the core strength they develop. Improved core strength gained through bodyweight training translates into improved strength gains throughout the entire body. Bodyweight training can actually be an effective option for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Take advantage of the body that God gave you and condition it to be as strong and healthy as you can possibly make it.  For the best results it is important to maintain proper diet and nutrition in addition to an exercise program. Consult your physician before starting any exercise program or regimen.