Over the last few weeks here at Shinobi Science we have looked at bofuri, our staff spinning system for cover, ura gyaku, an inward wrist lock, and kunoichi, female ninja, body alignment and movement. So today at our Saturday outdoor training we had a question about each.
One person had asked about bofuri rotating forward instead of backward. A couple had asked about the rotational shape motion from our kunoichi training. And another was asking about the shape experiments we were doing to have the ura gyaku emerge from off balancing the attacker instead of trying to put the lock on.
What is so powerful about ninpo taijutsu and the Shinobi Science Formula we use to describe it is that they apply to all situations allowing me to answer all three questions with one drill. The kunoichi body movement was used to power the forward rolling bofuri and using one of the ura gyaku shapes as the transition from side to side.
This combination of concepts is possible because...
“When properly applied, the kamae reflects the ninja's heart. This means that our physical nature conforms to our intentions, and there is no division between our interior and exterior aspects. This state of integrated mind and body action is totally natural, and can be observed readily in the movements of animals as they interact with their environment. Only human beings seem to develop the need to be trained in natural body motion.” -Masaaki Hatsumi
Many martial arts have training for the mind in addition to their physical training. However very often these are seen as separate subjects. The mind and its ability to focus and think are seen as one aspect, while training the physical body in techniques and katas are seen as another aspect.
People often say the mind and the body as if they are separate but they are one and the same. I studied morphogenesis in college. It taught that every human starts from a group of cells that then differentiate into other groups...
Today we finished with the science of Ura Gyaku basics. Even though I have trained in this art of ninpo taijutsu for quite awhile, wrist locks can still be tricky for me. Sometimes it happens easily, sometimes not so much. When I studied in other arts and tried to do a wrist lock it failed most of the time. The answer I was given to solve this problem was to do it faster, stronger, have a more precise grip or tighter grip. None of which worked especially against a larger stronger man. Which was the situation 99% of the time.
What was amazing for me while looking at this lock from a scientific perspective was the precise concepts of movement in gravity which created specific off balanced shapes that made the lock emerge versus me trying to put it on.
As Dennis grabbed I created a shape needed to start to off balance him. This moved his hand in a way that it was now available for me to get to the grip I needed. With the grip in place I then moved in gravity creating a...
2020 what a crazy unpredictable year. The future seems uncertain, it’s as if we are looking through a shifting haze of smoke, catching glimpses of shapes ahead and as we move not being able see or perceive the terrain. But we know we have to keep moving forward and we can’t stay where we are.
People are stressed, fearful, angry, depressed and scared. They keep saying they just want things to go back to normal like they were before. News flash, it's never going to go back to how it was. The one thing that is certain is that there will be change.There always is.
The ninja knew that things could change at any point. The art evolved from times of great stress, during battles and conflicts. It arose from families and villages trying to survive during these periods. The art of ninjutsu was not about conquering but about surviving, going on to live and be happy.
How did the ninja do that? They not only trained and had ways to protect themselves...
I love to bake. Breads, cookies, dessert bars, pies and this time of year I start to think ahead to my holiday baking. I usually try to bake something new but there are few recipes that have become holiday standards for me to give to friends and family. One of these favored gift recipes is a Finnish sweet yeast bread called Pulla.
Pulla is a very versatile bread that can be shaped into many different forms. I usually braid it into loaves or sometimes I will roll it into small individual pieces. It can be formed into different shapes, rings, loaves, knots.... It can also be used to make cinnamon rolls, sticky buns or monkey bread. You can spread or dip the dough into butter, maple syrup, honey. You can add cinnamon sugar, brown sugar, crushed nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, chocolate chips.
As you can see the dough can be used/shaped to create a myriad of delicious delectable treats yet they are all Pulla. It is like our training. ...
A lot of people have been telling me they feel overwhelmed and are not sure what they should do with everything going on. It’s understandable. I don’t think it would be difficult to get any of you reading this to agree that things are a little chaotic. If you take a second to think of the things that are going on in your life right now, around the country and around the world, your brain will probably take off like a rocket listing them.
However science and focus can prevail. Last night at 7:27pm EST Spacex and NASA launched Dragon’s first operational crew mission to the International Space Station ushering in a new era of space exploration. Dragon is the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station. Along with the Falcon 9, the world’s first reusable orbit rocket, the successful flight of the Dragon lays the groundwork for future missions to the moon and Mars.
Everything about spaceflight has been rethought, rebuilt and science the hell...
I put a bird feeder up at my house a few weeks ago and thus began my battle with the squirrel. Every time I looked out the squirrel was out there knocking the bird feeder around. It even chewed a hole through one of the plastic sides to get at the seed. I tried a classic defense, duct tape. It didn’t work.
I went on the offense. Every time I saw the squirrel I went out and tried to scare it. Despite my significant size advantage, about two hundred to one, the squirrel was not impressed. It would crawl under the deck and wait until I went back in then start its attack on the feeder again.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of my past competitive sports habits of trying to win but in this case I turned to science and ninjutsu. In evolution and self protection it’s not always the strongest who survives, it’s the one who adapts the best to the situation.
I wasn’t going to defeat the squirrel so I adapted. I got a new bird feeder with a spring so anything...
We train outside on Saturdays at a local park. Four weeks ago we were in rain gear. Three weeks ago it was boots, winter gear and 3 inches of snow . Last week it was over 70 degrees so shorts and t-shirts. Today it was 48 degrees and partly sunny so back to hoodies and jeans.
The weather seems crazy, unpredictable and following no pattern. How in one week do we go from a winter snowstorm to a balmy summer sunny day? It seems to make no sense but to a weather scientist, a meteorologist, who studies wind, humidity, temperature and can see entire systems as they move and interact around the world, patterns emerge which allow them to predict the weather.
Many who see the art we study think It seems as crazy as the weather. It looks like it makes no sense and follows no set pattern. How can training partners create the same effect on each other grappling, striking, or using weapons when one is twice the weight and 10 inches taller? How is this possible?
Our Shinobi Science experiments yesterday were looking at the comparison between doing a wrist lock versus having the wrist lock emerge as a product of the shape of a person while they are being affected by gravity and their position in relation to the defender. Kind of a nerd way of saying are you trying to force the lock on or can you get the attacker to move in a way that gives you the lock.
We looked at the relationship between the attacker’s center of gravity, their center of mass, and their balance line as we moved through the steps of the wrist lock kata model. We found there are particular shapes the attacker’s body contorts to as their balance is broken and the lock appears.
The next experiment was to focus on creating those shapes which led to the lock emerging. Once we understood the shape needed to capture the balance of the attacker we could cause that shape to occur in other ways by looking at the other joints of the body and where they were in relation to...
Recently one of our students was explaining his results from a training experiment. Another student said she had gotten similar results and they began discussing where they thought this would lead. We were smiling because their discussion was heading exactly where the lesson was supposed to.
Now this is not a totally unexpected result when training but at the time none of us were together. One student was at home in California, the other at her home here in New Hampshire and we were at the dojo. All of this was happening live online because of the pandemic.
Makes you think...
What if where students are learning is not as important as how they are learning?
Since 1992 we have been trying to help people see and understand this amazing martial art, which can provide them with a key to being safe, healthy and happy. After all these years of teaching the ninja sciences we came to understand something surprising.
Learning doesn't happen in the space between the student and the teacher....