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Modern “No Name, No Art”

Back in the Warring States era of Japanese history five hundred years ago, the ninja secret agents of the time developed a way of living guaranteed to keep their identity a secret. MU MEI MU GEI translates as “No name, no art” and sums up the attitude of the Warring States invisible warriors. If an enemy, or person of questionable motivations, did not know who you were or what you were capable of doing, they had no fear of you and paid you no mind. Just what the ninja of old wanted. Out of sight, out of mind.

These days, a ninja’s career does not rely on secrecy at all. In fact, we who have dojos might actually seek out being known for our name and art we offer. But there exists another form of MU MEI MU GEI that may be appropriate as a strong suggestion for modern ninja.

With the appearance of social media forms such as Twitter and Facebook, a modern day ninja should take stock of just how much to disclose. Sure, it’s fun to “rant” or “vent” or pontificate as to our views on politics or religion. We put our views out and state boldly “if you do not agree with me, then unfriend me immediately”. But is this the best way to be a ninja? Is this the best way to influence potential students?

My strong suggestion to anyone with a dojo who is seeking new students, no matter how big or small, is to lay off the social media political commentary. Don’t go there. Leave everyone guessing as to your political stance.

Look at it this way. If you come out as an outspoken conservative or progressive, you give half of your current and potential students a reason not to train with you. Half of all people are going to read your posts and figure “if that’s the way s/he feels, then I’m not going to have anything to do with them.” Yes, you give up getting to tell the world how you feel and challenging the world to a debate, but you also gain the potential of 100% of people considering your school going ahead and giving you a look.

It’s the same with rants or vents. Don’t go there. As the owner of a dojo seeking students, you need to be above the crowd. Nobody wants to read of their sensei stumped or stymied by small events taking place in everyday life. Students and potential students want to believe in you. They are counting on you to teach them how to generate success. They do not want to read about how the small things in life are getting you down, frustrated, or defeated.

Just some advice based on the old MU MEI MU GEI. If your dojo is jam packed full, and you do not need any more business benefits in your life, then go ahead and be political or rant. Have fun. But if you are looking for a few more lives to brighten, and those folks must make up their minds about enrolling with you, then you may want to cool it and disappear from social media.

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