On December 15th I got a letter from the IRS, never a good thing. I opened it up and it tells me they are charging me a late fee because my return was late, which I was sure it wasn’t. The date of this letter is November 9th and they say I have to November 30th to pay them $410 dollars.
Please remember I’m reading this in the day’s mail on December 15th.
I not only got a letter in the mailbox from the IRS but there is also a card from the post office that says I have another certified letter from the IRS that I have to sign for. Oh and by the way there is no postage mark on the letter from the IRS, remember this I’ll get back to it.
So I jump in my car drive down to the Plaistow post office and show them the notice for the certified mail. The nice man comes back and tells me I have two. I sign, start to walk out and realize he has given me certified mail for someone else in our building. I give him back one and take mine out to the car.
Rip this one open and...
Today is the winter solstice so the days will start lengthening. That said there is still a lot of winter to weather. I walk every day and the thing about this time of year that I notice the most is how quiet nature is. Quiet. Winter quiet. Everything that is not dormant is listening, is quietly paying attention to the environment. So focussed to surviving until spring when birth occurs.
As spring approaches nature starts to speak up until it is yelling. The snow and ice melt, streams start flowing. Birds migrate back. Animals that hibernate wake up and start moving again. Animals change their patterns and where they eat and roam.There’s new growth on trees and bushes. Dens and nests are created. There are new babies to nurture and raise. The foundations of future generations are laid.
The quiet I feel on my winter walks is the same I feel when training or when I have had to use our art. When I follow the Shinobi formula my body becomes calm and listens to the environment...
Today’s post is purely a scientific public service announcement.
The great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will occur on December 21, 2020. This year's great conjunction is the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226.
If you would like to view the event you can find instructions here courtesy of NASA.
Enjoy the show and we look forward to training with you.
T and D
We just finished training in the parking lot outside the dojo. It’s a bright and sunny 20 degree day. We were working on more boxing strikes from Jack Dempsey’s book in Ninja Lab today.
While we were training a young man pulled into the parking lot to turn around and from his car far across the lot yelled to us, “you bunch of queers.” Of course our group being the New Englanders they are all starting inviting the young man to join us. He deferred the invitations as he drove away by giving us the finger.
The reason I wanted to thank the ignorant coward is first we kept laughing for the next hour as we trained quoting our young friend over and over. Second and most importantly is a reminder of ignorance being all around us and how it can turn to violence. This one was a coward but there are others out there who let ignorance determine their actions. This is why we train.
So while it saddens us that so much ignorance and anger is out there to deal with, being...
After teaching last night when I got home I sat down to relax a little and Die Hard was on again. Well it is considered a Christmas movie by some. I was trying to figure out the name of one of the actors in it so I hit the info button. When I did I noticed that the Die Hard was released in July of 1988, a month after I started training in ninpo taijutsu.
I started training so long ago Bruce Willis had hair…
Where did the time go?
Thirty-two years and counting. I’ve been asked by friends why I still train and is there anything left for me to learn? The answer to the second question is the answer to the first question. There is always more to learn. Every class we use science to experiment with the principles of ninpo taijutsu and each time we find something new.
So unlike what Hans said, "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer." There is always more with Shinobi Science to explore and conquer.
If you would like...
“This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules. Test ideas by experiment and observation. Build on those ideas that pass the test. Reject the ones that fail. Follow the evidence wherever it leads and question everything.
Accept these terms and the Cosmos is yours.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson from ‘Standing Up In The Milkyway’ Episode 1 Cosmos
Our ninja adventure is made possible by generations of martial arts searchers strictly adhering to the same simple set of rules. The difference being that our martial ancestors put their lives on the line with every experiment. The ideas that passed the test were cleansed by the sword. The ones that failed died on the battlefield.
Our debt to these searchers is paid by continuing to follow the evidence wherever it leads and questioning everything. Shinobi Science is not a new way of doing our martial art. It is not our opinion on how the art should be done. It is our...
Last night in my Togakure Ryu class my teacher was talking about a group of students who had started a discussion about the proper way to do Hicho no kamae. One cited teacher X does it this way, teacher Y this way but then looking at a senior Japanese teacher he does it completely different. Mark's response to them was that’s so cool.
Yes that is what is so cool about this art. I have trained in other arts. Those arts taught me and everyone else to do the exact identical thing for every kata and situation. Those arts didn’t take into consideration that my hands were smaller and that to execute the exact moves to create a wrist lock didn’t work for me or were very difficult. It had to be done that exact way. It was all about what I should be doing, not taking into account the relationship between the two people. Not taking into account the other side of the equation, my opponent.
This art is the exact opposite. What happens to your opponent stays the same no matter...
This past Saturday we were training on the shovel hook punches. As we refined the technique keeping our elbows in and down floating in gravity and figuring out how to deliver the strike we started moving each other around. Not just like a step back but several steps. Especially after we finally figured out how to hold the pads for these strikes. Honestly that was the hardest part, Dennis had us make several adjustments before we got the pads right.
My training partner who is smaller than me was focused and moving slowly but connecting the punch to pad correctly pushing me back a few steps. My partner doesn’t like to hit and definitely did not want to hurt anyone. (I know her children disagree with that statement.) Which was extremely fortunate for me as if she had put any intent or just a little bit of energy or speed I would have been lifted off the ground. Most likely landing on my butt.
These punches are incredibly effective and powerful when done with the Shinobi formula....
Several years ago at a weekend long training event there was a man asking if there was anyone who came from New England. My training partner and I answered yes. Then he asked if either of us knew or trained with Mark Davis. I responded yes every week.
He told me how Mark had done a post on some drills to practice sword skills without a partner and how helpful it was for him. He was not used to training without a partner but now he was stationed in an area where there were no dojos for him to train at. He said he had asked Mark in the comments to post more and then emailed Mark asking for the same but had not seen or heard anything since.
My first thought was well, why should he give you free information? Mark took responsibility for his own training. He has financially invested tens of thousands of dollars, maybe more, and invested decades of time in training to learn and teach this art. What makes people think that they deserve access to his knowledge without compensating him?
Today I used my training again. Not to save myself from injury while falling, which has happened many times for me and many of our students. Ukemi is a wonderful thing.
I used my training against a dog that came charging out snarling and barking intent on attacking my dog. I heard and saw the dog start it’s charge from the yard on the other side of the street. I quickly pulled Mox to my left side, putting my right forward and extending the leash as much as I could in my right hand.
I started to swing the leash like a kusari fundo. As the dog came at us I just kept swinging at its head and moving so I stayed between the dog and Moxie keeping her shielded. I actually was yelling “get back” at the dog. The owner got the dog, apologized and Mox and I went home unharmed.
In those moments the training really paid off. I just did what was necessary to keep the dog at bay and Mox and I safe. I wasn't afraid, just focused and determined that I would do what was needed for...