Today is superbowl Sunday. Here in New England watching and following all things Patriots is virtually a religion. So even though Tom Brady has deserted the Pats as some fans think, there will be many households here routing for him at the superbowl today.
I am a bit of an anomaly here as I don’t follow any of the sports teams. I do like to watch hockey so occasionally I will watch the Bs. I don’t mind watching basketball or football but it makes no difference in my life who wins or loses and I ‘d rather do other things. Of all the sports I think baseball is incredibly boring. People have told me you just need to go to the game. It's exciting! I’ve been to a few games, still found it like watching paint dry. Or as one of my friends says they don’t make enough beer for me to sit through that again.
I have made it quite clear my dislike of baseball but it is the only Boston sports team schedule I check. Why? It’s part of training. Before the...
We have 2 feet of snow and got another dusting this morning. As I walked today looking at the large snow banks around me I decided to throw myself on one and make a snow angel. It was lovely. I am now asking anyone that is coming to training tomorrow outside at the dojo to bring sleds if you have them. We have humongous snow mountains at the back of the parking lot. Let’s go sledding!!
What does this have to do with training and learning the art of ninpo? Everything. If you can keep the child's eyes and mind of seeing the wonder in the world and the everyday amazing fun things you are more receptive to learning. The minute you believe you have mastered or know a skill, kata or technique you stop learning all of the nuanced lessons it has to share with you.
I was fortunate enough to go to several Tai Kais and learn from Grandmaster Hatsumi. He would teach, then look out at all of us and say, “UNDERSTAND? GOOD. PLAY!” Then we would break and train. At one Tai Kai I...
So it’s Thursday. As the pandemic continues to restrict our training indoors, we continue to teach online two days a week and train with our local students outside on Saturdays. More than enough to deal with as we work to build our online training community and keep Shinobi going.
But that’s not how things are right now. It seems the times we’re in like to shake it up a little more.
Last night at 5:05 pm as I was heading out to the car I got an email from the landlord saying they were going to deliver the new heating unit today and could I clear the back room so they could store it there. Twenty minutes before that I had got a call from the new tenant above us in our building asking if his plumber could come in our dojo to look in the ceiling and check out the plumbing for his unit.
All of this between the two hour class at 11:30 this morning and the 6:30 pm class tonight, which by the way is thirty-one minutes from now. This is why I love our training. It’s...
After training for just a year I was a single mom with a two and four year old who lived with me all the time.
I could no longer drive to Boston during the weeknights and take classes. I could no longer meet with my training partners at any time. My daughters who always came first became my sole responsibility, I had no partner to rely on. I no longer had someone I could leave my girls with unless I hired a sitter or I took them with me.
Luckily both of the training groups I was in wecomed my daughters. My training partners and teachers, all male were very supportive. They understood that there were times I needed to take a break in our lesson to attend my daughter's needs. At times they would graciously tell me to go back to training and they would entertain my daughters.
A year or two later they were old enough to take the kids class in Boston on Saturdays and I could take the classes after. I then added Saturday classes in Boston to our routine. I also brought them to seminars and...
It’s snowing today in New England. The plows are out and it’s time to shovel. While many people don’t like shoveling snow, I actually enjoy it because I get to train the entire time.
The last few weeks we have been training with Jack Dempsey’s boxing concepts and one of his strikes is called a shovel hook. Should be kind of obvious how snow shoveling helps that one and there’s much more. We have something we call smiley science which is a way of moving your hips to turn the potential energy of gravity into kinetic energy. This is great for pushing the snow like a plow with your shovel.
Then there’s our ninja aruki walking methods. Depending on the type of snow we get determines what the surface will be like, icy, packed powder, light powder etc. I get to practice different walking methods with each one.
I can practice using gravitational leverage while throwing the snow up over the bank. I’ll more than likely at some point practice my ukemi,...
Minus seven degrees, seven people at Saturday's training. It was so cold, one of our students who normally wears shorts wore pants! It was so cold we decided not to record as we were afraid the camera might be damaged.
It was a very sunny day which is an incredible gift at this time in winter. Those of us that were able to make it to class were not only enjoying the training but were enjoying the sun. I even put sunblock on my face, yes I burn that easily. When we started training I realized it was completely unnecessary as I had on a mask, sunglasses and winter hat, there was no part of my face exposed to the sun at all!
The training was fantastic! We were all in good humor, laughing and training. It was great being together. This all came together because each one of us decided to take the first step. We decided to go and showed up.
Maybe you have been or are interested in the martial arts. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try it. Maybe you used to train and took a break for...
Yesterday we wrapped up the Jack Dempsey boxing classes. The morning class we explored what he terms snapback/pull aways which we would term riding the energy of the punch. The evening class we explored feinting and drawing.
What became glaringly clear is that to be successful at any of this you needed to understand the taijutsu movement and body dynamics/shapes of all of the punches. You don't pretend or fake a punch or movement to feint or draw the opponent out. You actually have to throw it, commit to it ,to the very edge of where the punch launches. You balance in gravity at this edge; it's actually more of a teeter in gravity and then figure out what other punches can be launched at this point. So you launch one punch and if your opponent reacts to it finish with a different punch. If your opponent does not react you just finish with the original punch thrown.
When learning this there is a pause when teetering in gravity to figure out what other punch or punches can be launched...
I love this art but there have been aspects of it that I was not eager to embrace. When I first started, rolling/ukemi scared me, especially dive rolls. I asked one of the Boston seniors who had incredible and beautiful rolls how he got there. His response: “Practice, practice from different kamae, practice different directions, practice on different surfaces, practice in different environments, practice, practice, practice in any creative way you can come up with.”
So I did. I practiced 8 directional rolling from one kamae/shape and then another. I practiced from standing, kneeling, laying down, sitting in a chair and on the ground. I practiced getting to the ground and getting up from it. I practiced from running, walking and standing still. I practiced inside and outside. I rolled sideways, up and down hills, with and without weapons, in class and outside of class. I rolled with and without breathing because in the beginning sometimes I would forget to breathe....
Today as we continued with Jack Dempsey boxing evations we worked on the clinch, sneaker, little bobs and apple/cork bob. I have watched little to no boxing so these terms mean nothing to me. They evoke no picture of what we were going to train on.
The clinch was like weird, close in, bad dancing. Dennis explained what it was and demonstrated. He walked me through how to do it with him. It was a powerful way to hold off the opponent and then release them into a strike. The whole maneuver, clinching them in, then using the release to launch the strike is what Dempsey called a sneaker. When we applied the concept with ninpo adding different strikes, kicks and the whole body as a target. It became Wicked!
If you would like to know more about all of these concepts and join us in training on some of the coolest stuff ever click the link below.
It was a beautiful sunny day today for training outside. Although it was only about seventeen degrees and the wind was blowing. The regular local training members were still there despite the cold weather.
We continued to work on Jack Dempsey’s boxing material in Ninja Lab. This week we worked on his deflections of strikes and countering in the same movement. Despite the wind and slippery conditions everyone was doing well working on keeping balance and allowing gravity to move their bodies into the correct shape to both deflect and attack.
It was a good day of training. Makes you feel good as a teacher when people come out to train despite the weather. Then we finished up and like a bunch of little kids all my students made a beeline to T to get some of the baked goods she brings each week for everyone.
Maybe it’s not my teaching…
If you’re interested in more information about Shinobi Science or you’d like to get a cookie each week after training,...