I just read an article that says scientists have recorded and discovered seven distinct fish choruses off the coast in western Australia. They sing at dawn and dusk. I find this incredible and yes I listened to the recording. Really pretty amazing if you ask me.
There is communication all around us in nature but we have so often for many years ignored it. We have a bias for our human communication thinking it’s superrior. Are we? I think not. We are just different.
Trees communicate with each other with underground root relationships where they can share signals with each other. If a tree is sick the others share nutrients with it. If you have ever seen the documentary Blackfish you know the Orcas have a complex communication system. As do the primates, elephants., wolves, whales, bees….. The more we study and learn about their communication between each other, with the planet and other species, the more we understand how complex life is and how we are all connected.
I saw a video on Youtube about Jack Dempsey. It talks about his early life and how he started fighting very early for survival. Jack traveled around looking for work and opportunities.
He would take up a street fight to earn a few dollars so he could eat. Frequently when he fought then he hadn’t eaten for several days, so his strength was certainly diminished so ending the fight ASAP was vital to him being able to win. The longer a fight went the more likely he would be too tired to be effective. The more likely he would be injured. The more likely he would lose.
His fighting strategy was like the one I have learned from my teachers, if you have to fight, end it as quickly as possible. Each extra moment is a moment that it can go bad for you. All of my teachers Rumiko, Mark and Dennis have stressed this point. Fights don’t last long. We train to be efficient at ending conflict because we don’t want to fight. We just want to make it home.
If you would like to...
Yes, someone brought a sled to Saturday's training. So she and I went sledding on the huge snow hills at the back of the parking lot. We went just a few times but there was much laughter and joy!
The first time I went down I crashed about half way because I wasn’t paying attention to gravity. I was just thinking about getting to the bottom of the hill. The next couple of times I noted where the sled was balancing in gravity. As I went down the hill I made the adjustments with the sled to stay in balance and gravity. No crashing just laughter on those runs.
The training we did in class was the same thing. Using awareness to balance in gravity and change our shapes without our partner perceiving it, allowing us to strike them at the same time. True shadow boxing, ninpo shadow boxing. When my partner got it right, my perception lost her and my mind was thinking “What? Where did she go?” and BAM she got me in the same moment.
So if you would like to know more about the...
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...