I had a conversation with one of our students about an experience he had at a recent test (read about it here
). He was testing for his fire level belt and was allowing the adrenaline in his body to power his techniques. It worked very well for him that day but later in the week he noticed that it was easier and easier to just let go and charge forward.
This concerned him because he had been working with his sister, another student at the school, and he felt like the adrenaline was overpowering his compassion for her. We talked about the powerful lure or adrenaline and how it can become addictive.
Look at the current MMA fad in the martial arts. What started as a genius marketing idea by the Gracies to showcase their art against the martial arts establishment has turned into a modern version of the gladiators of ancient Rome. Bigger, stronger athletes fighting to defeat their opponent in front of a roaring crowd. Let the adrenaline run wild!
In a self defense situation adrenaline will pump into your body but fire like charging forward into the fray is only one of many strategic options. Our elemental lessons teach four different options on how to strategically use your body's reactions depending on the situation you find yourself in. They are like notes on the scale to a musician or the primary colors to an painter, they can be combined in to an infinite number of possible works of art.
Will adrenaline help you in a fight? It could but I envision a young, strong, angry attacker and Dr. Hatsumi at almost 80 years old in a fight and I feel bad for the young guy. Having punched in for Dr. Hatsumi, Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, a host of Japanese Shihan and my teacher, Mark Davis (on a regular basis) I have learned that adrenaline against true martial skill is no contest.
I was rereading Theresa’s post
about attending seminars and her recollection of Bonnie Malmstrom. It brought back a memory I have of this amazing woman.
I was at a Ninja Festival in the early 90′s where Mr. Hayes was doing a intent sensing drill with the group. He had separated us into groups of ten or so people and spread us all out around the room. Each group formed a circle and one member of the group had to leave and walk around the room while the group chose another member to be the “attacker”.
When the first person got back to the group they were to stand in the center of the circle and see if they could sense who the attacker was before they actually attacked. Most people would get to the center and then scan the faces of the people around them and try to decide. We went through a few people with various levels of success and then it was Bonnie’s turn.
So Bonnie took off to do a lap around the room and our group chose me to be the attacker.
Now you have to understand that Bonnie was the epitome of Southern hospitality and one of the nicest people I have ever met. However that meant that as she walked around the room she would stop and say hi to this person, give this one a hug or just stand and smile as she watched. So it took her about twice as long to get around the room as the others.
I waited as Bonnie made her way around the room. As she reached our group we made an opening for her to enter the circle. I was a couple of people over from this on the left. As Bonnie entered our circle she veered from the center immediately and came to a stop right in front of me. She smiled and said “Be gentle with me”.
I just stood there dumbfounded. Bonnie had been off on a stroll as if it were a social event where it was her job to meet everyone, walked casually into our group and without hesitation chose me and disarmed me with a smile.
Bonnie was a ninja. I miss her.
I had an interesting week listening to, what would seem to be, two very different perspectives on training. The first perspective was that of three “martial artists” online posting on Facebbook and a forum or two I follow, with all three trying to make it look like they know more than they do.
One of them plays the praise game where they tell someone how much they like the ideas in that person’s post and how well they “feel” that person is doing. And of course there is some reference to “when I was at that stage” as if they are far ahead of the person in training. The problem is they never really say anything about the subject just make it seem that they know it already.
The second one plays the mysterious game. They throw in comments like, when I am training I use the whatever secrets of the mystery scroll to achieve my goal. The collection of exotic names makes them sound knowledgeable but what does it all mean? They can’t actually communicate an idea to others using simple terms.
The third is a keyboard commando. This one goes out on youtube and finds martial arts videos to criticize. They take scenes out of context or just ridicule to build their reputation, not by helping others learn but by tearing down whoever they find.
The cry of all three of these is look at me and how great I am.
The other perspective I listened to was a number of people telling me how bad they are at training. That they are ignorant and will never get the training.
Although these seem like two very different perspectives to me they are different sides of the same coin. Both sides are judging themselves. Their egos are trying to label their actions and abilities to match their perspective of who they think they are. Both perspectives can hold back your advancement in training.
The way to advance in training is to accept that today I understand what I understand. Tomorrow begins my quest to understand more. If each day I acknowledge where I am and strife to improve my training I will grow. If I think I know it all or think I know nothing it is the same I become stuck and stop learning.
Today I am working to be better than me.
Nine Cuts Nine Powers refers to the Kuji Kiri of the ninja, a mind science that helps you give a boost to your intentions to create good and diminish negative. Shinobi Martial Arts Center is very proud to welcome Stephen and Rumiko Hayes to New Hampshire, next weekend, to kick off their seminar series Nine Cuts – Nine Powers.
Mr. and Mrs. Hayes along with Mark Davis and Ken Savage will be presenting information and exercises on the fifth of the nine cuts, Kai, which Mr. Hayes describes as perceiving danger, finding sanctuary, to be safe and secure, and to evade effortlessly the damaging effects of distress, misfortune, obstruction, and dark influence. It should be an amazing seminar.
For more details please click here.
Starting in January 2011 you can follow the Shinobi Martial Arts Student Blog Network. Shinobi students will share with each other and you, through their posts, the ideas and questions they have about training each week at Shinobi Martial Arts Center in Plaistow, NH or via the internet through Shinobi Martial Arts Online Training.
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We recently attended Festival 30 hosted by Stephen and Rumiko Hayes. I really enjoy Festival because for a while I get to just train, my partners and students, Darryl and Theresa along with my teacher, Mark Davis become training partners. We get to do what we all love, train in this amazing art.
The training this year was amazing as always with and added bonus, we get to do it all again in January 2011 at a Mini Festival here in New Hampshire. Mr. and Mrs. Hayes along with Mark Davis and Ken Savage will be sharing ideas based on this years theme of Nine Cuts, Nine Powers.
We look forward to hosting this event and welcome everyone to join us. You can find out more information here.
I’m a bit of a science geek. I was in engineering in college for quite a while before I switched majors. There is a new show on the Science Channel called “Through The Wormhole” with Morgan Freeman. The reviews for it have been up and down but one of the recent episodes caught my attention.
They were questioning what happened before the big bang. One of the explanations is called M Theory. It is a mathematical theory of everything that says there are eleven dimensions and in these are an infinite number of membranes of which our universe is one.
The explanation says that when two membranes collide a new one is created and that our big bang is actually the collision of two of these membranes. The resulting energy creating our universe. Over trillions of years they say the membranes will separate and then eventually run into each other again starting the whole process over. You can see the video of it here.
To me this sounded like a description of universal reincarnation. I’m not saying I understand either or believe in either I just have questions. And in this post I would like to ask what you think.
After Warrior Camp this year one of our students was commenting on how many people they met who had been training for twenty years or more. The seven people who presented sessions this year have around 170 years training time in this art. But it doesn’t stop there, you can add in almost a dozen more who have been training around that twenty year mark.
They said they were surprised at first because from their experience in the martial arts it is rare to have that many people still all training together for so long but by the end of the weekend they said it made sense. When I asked why their answer was that all the senior people they met didn’t have huge egos about it and were glad to help but more than that they still wanted to be students and train.
Why are there so many people in one area training together year after year at this event? I believe it is because of two people. First Ken Savage for creating and running New England Warrior Camp so that we can all get together learn amazing information, rekindle friendships, meet new friends and energize ourselves for another year of training (Ninja New Year). And second Mark Davis, our teacher, who’s dedication to this art and to his students has kept us all going now into our third decade with him. Thank you to both of you, my friends and teachers.
The third part of the TSD Creed is actually my favorite and one that I feel people sometimes see only part of its power.
a whole new family of friends and teachers
I believe in my teachers.
I show respect to all who help me progress.
I have been training with my teacher Mark Davis for twenty-three years now. I have been fortunate enough to train with Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, Dr. Hatsumi and a long list of other senior teachers in ninjutsu. I am very lucky and thankful for all of their teachings but they are not my only teachers.
Every training partner I have ever worked with, especially Paul and Jon, have been my respected teachers over the years.
Every student I have been lucky enough to help in ninjutsu have been my respected teachers.
Learning comes from exploration and finding solutions. You learn best when you do something wrong or have difficulty and then work to find the answer. You learn by fixing your mistakes.
Every question from every student I have ever had has actually been the engine that has helped me progress. So to show my respect I would like to say thank you. So the next time you are in class training be sure to recognize all who help you progress.
When I first started training with my teacher Mark Davis
many years ago he told me he was going to help me become comfortable at being uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure what he meant at the time but this lesson has helped me through much more than just training over the years.
Punching in for Mark over the years has been enlightening but often physically intense. The thing is though, as the years went by it didn’t bother me as much. Not that the physical intensity went away I just didn’t mind as much. I became comfortable with being physically uncomfortable. Anyone who has trained for a competitive sporting event will know the feeling of working through the pain.
The effect it had on me didn’t stop at just the physical. Traffic, rude people, problems at work, loss of a friend, all the things that anger, upset or cause fear in me are still there I just don’t mind as much. It gives me a moment of pause in a difficult situation and allows me to find the way out.