“To hide is the defense” – Togakure Ryu teaching.
Self Isolation HAS been and still IS, a part of the serious martial artists training or “shugyou.” For any martial artist, this is a time to practice their art. Depending on their circumstance, there is always a way to practice. Stretching, fitness, kata, meditation, stealth. What do I mean by stealth? I mean distance and anonymity. This is the art of ninjutsu – the way to live freely under restriction of freedom. This is the essence and heart of ninjutsu. No matter what circumstance, we have the heart to endure while under the upraised sword of oppression. This is Nin 忍.
We face this feeling now from an unseen enemy. We must fight this enemy like it fights us. We must remain unseen and maintain distance from it’s affects. This is the very art we practice under the guidance of Hatsumi Sensei – Martial Arts of Distance.
Our martial art is an art of survival at any cost. This goes far beyond the concern of being strong, fast, or technical prowess. In fact, none of these things ( that so many martial artists aspire to have or, place great importance on ) will help you win against this new enemy.
Ninjutsu is an art that is real. It goes beyond what people nowadays think is self defence or what will make them strong to fight. Our Soke became very ill many years ago where he lost all of his power. He himself said he became enlightened to the true way after losing all of his strength.
As a result, Soke for decades now has been teaching us how to concentrate on living, and not fighting. He has been transmitting the way to stay alive when we cannot win purely by relying on our strength, speed or technique. Ninjutsu is the art of prevailing by instinct or feeling and moving freely within the kukan ( space ) with pragmatism and an acute sensitivity to the changes of nature.
A few years ago, Soke talked about the evolution of weapons. The last weapon was “Mujin” or “non human”. At the time, this was interpreted as artificial intelligence such as drones etc but, it also meant biological or viral enemies. In accordance with Kanjin Kaname ( the mind and eyes of god ), Soke saw into the future and taught us to practice budo in this living way, beyond the average martial art that is only concerned with fighting what can be seen.
We are now faced with this invisible enemy ( mujin ).
It’s time to truly practice what we have been studying.
It’s time to be Ninja.
“…The 5th Dan test is not about sensing a killing blow. Rather, it’s about sensing changes in nature…the perils of heaven, earth and man – and to avoid those dangers….”