Yesterday was Tuesday so as some of you know if you have been following Shinobi Science I have a Togakure Ryu leadership class in Boston with Mark. Last night's class as always was fantastic. Mark was going through a Chuden level Koto Ryu kata.
Mark demonstrated how Koto Ryu uses the kata. He then demonstrated how Togakure Ryu would make use of this kata. He demonstrated it with different starting positions and grabs. He also demonstrated it using a hidden knife. He showed us how Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi had done the kata on him.
The results were brutally effective. Yet in each instance his attackers said they felt no threat or force from Mark and then found themselves on the ground. Mark described it as being hit by a sudden imperceptible gust of wind that takes your balance.
I look forward to using the Shinobi Science Formula to take apart, then put back together this kata and learn all the lessons within it. The formula gives me the path to discover the lessons within this...
First shot today, second scheduled for April thirteenth. This means we will be looking into opening the dojo for inside classes at the end of April, beginning of May, depending on everyone’s vaccine schedules.
If you are getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine two weeks after your second shot you would be eligible to come back to the dojo. If you get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine five weeks after your shot you would be eligible to come back to the dojo.
Let us know your vaccine schedule. For those of you that are later in the vaccine schedule, we will be looking into combining indoor and outdoor training depending on the weather. So that everyone who chooses can take classes at the dojo when we reopen.
We look forward to seeing you at the dojo soon.
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Today Dennis and I registered to get the vaccine. We both have an appointment for tomorrow. Don’t know which vaccine but we will be getting one.
At eight this morning I logged on to my computer and started jumping through hoops to register. The system was not optimal, it had glitches that would get stalled in certain places. I tried calling for help, forty minutes later I was speaking with someone but their system was down so they couldn’t help.
All this while I kept trying to register. After another twenty minutes Eureka!! I was registered. A few minutes later I received an email with a link to schedule an appointment. There were still appointments for tomorrow so I quickly chose a location and time and it was accepted.
I want to say we were incredibly lucky to get through, get registered and finally schedule an appointment for tomorrow. It wasn’t luck, there were specific steps that needed to be followed, it was just being thorough and keeping at it until we got...
On Monday the twenty-second of March (tomorrow) at 8am those of us over 50 can register for vaccines at https://www.vaccines.nh.gov/ When registering, please be prepared to answer questions about allergies and medications. Information about health insurance is requested, but this information is not required. You will not be charged if you are vaccinated at a state-run site.
This begins the long awaited process of reopening the Shinobi Science program at Shinobi Martial Arts to indoor training. A couple of weeks after T and I have received our second shots we will begin to open up indoor training for those who have been vaccinated also. As we get closer to that time we will provide more details about the schedule. For now we will continue the online Zoom classes Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30am and 6:30pm and our Saturday outdoor training from 10am to noon.
We look forward to training with you all very soon.
P.S. If you would like more information about Shinobi Science click the link...
Today is the Vernal Equinox or as most of us would say the first day of Spring. Being a Saturday we met outside the dojo and trained in the beautiful weather that Spring provided.
Today we trained on a new drill because of a question one of the students asked on Thursday. I wrote about this in the post yesterday: A Perfect Question. Dennis calls the drill, inchworm. Some of us call it Zee Sea Slug!
In the drill we get balanced in gravity, then move our head slightly forward in the direction of the strike to change our shape and then rebalance. We continue this in small increments until we reach the end of the strike. We did this with a step through strike, a sword cut and rear hip throw.
All the incremental balance points along the way create the gravitational path of the strike, the cut and the throw. It is a fantastic drill and we all found our own specific way to smooth out our movement. As usual our Saturday outdoor training included laughter, movie references, jokes and this...
Part of my early training was how to ask a question properly of the senior Japanese teachers. I was told to first explain what I was working on, the results I was getting, and based on that what I thought I understood, what I was striving for and what felt was not quite right.
Yesterday one of our students did just that. She noticed while training with Juji no kata on Saturday that when performing her sword cuts her movement felt bumpy. She felt like it started smooth then stuttered. She actually noticed this movement in the reflection of her partner's sunglasses. She still had success with the kata at times but wanted to improve.
An excellent observation on her own training. She understood her results but was striving for more. She was asking for the next steps forward.
The answer became last night's class. It gave us all a better understanding of moving in gravity with several examples. Another benefit to this question was Dennis came up with a new drill to test and feel whether...
This past weekend one of my friends' daughters was acting and singing in her high school play. Because of covid only a few people could go to each performance and also because of covid they were selling tickets to the live streaming of the event for the first time.
I bought a ticket and Saturday night sat down with my computer and watched the musical. All of them were wearing masks which at this point is normal. It was easy to pick out my friend's daughter and it was fun to watch her and the other students perform.
As she sang one of her solos I thought how special this moment was, even though I was not attending with my friend I was sharing this moment with her. I thought how fortunate because of the changes of covid this young actors performance was being enjoyed and shared with her relatives and friends in California, Washington, Vermont and New Hampshire. A year ago many of these people would not be able to share in this experience with her.
Covid has changed many things; it is...
Last week’s Togakure Ryu Leadership class in Boston was studying a sword concept on how to take advantage of an asymmetrical situation.
The first example Mark demonstrated was using a short sword against a longer one. He demonstrated the strategy and state of mind needed for success. You need to understand the concepts of surviving an asymmetrical disadvantage in order to use them effectively elsewhere.
Last night at Shinobi we trained the same concept Mark taught but against a grab that put the defender out of range of being able to effectively strike back at the attacker. Given our size difference it was very easy for Dennis to attack me this way. Using the Shinobi Science Formula I was able to experiment and find a solution that matched the principle of the short sword against a longer one.
I used the connection of the grab from Dennis as a weapon to off balance him and take away the danger of his other arm punching me. In the next moment when he went to reacquire control I...
Today we took a “simple” toe kick and put it in Ninja Lab. Using the Shinobi Science formula we started experimenting.
We examined each part separately. We started by using focus and gravity to create the first shape of the kick. Then we moved into the next shape which allowed the back leg and hip room to twist and bring the knee up and through.
We studied the nature of the natural swing and arc of the kick with and without the extension of the leg. Then we studied how to direct this motion to create shapes of kicking for specific targets. And last how to use gravity to create stabbing force with the toe kick and maintain balance so we could step forward or back as necessary.
Putting all these concepts back together we experimented with hitting different targets. If balance was lost, at what point during the movement did it happen? At what trajectory was the kick going? Was it on target? Was the kick sufficient to get the shape breaking result we intended?
You can’t learn online. I hear this a lot and I’m going to agree with an addition. You can’t learn online or in person if you don’t take responsibility for your own training.
I’ve been in the martial arts since 1983. I trained at a dojo but I also read as many books as I could about the martial arts. Those of us around then would have paid anything to have access to information online but it just didn’t exist. Books, online videos, and even a good teacher can’t make you learn. If you’re reading books, or watching videos online and are not training, you will not learn anything. However if you’re just attending classes and not training on your own, you won’t learn anything either.
There’s a process to learning the martial arts.
First you see something that you think is worth learning. If you don’t think it’s cool when you first see it you’re probably not going to last long. This first attraction is...