42 years ago I stood at this Togakure Mountain shrine. I was just beginning my work of promoting the ninja martial art, making my teacher an international martial arts celebrity, and testing myself out in the rough competitive world of martial arts systems. I was full of enthusiasm, confidence, and determination.
Over the decades, I underwent the bright heights of personal accomplishment, fulfilled purpose, and success. I was also subjected to the dark depths of betrayal, jealousy, and cowardly back-stabbing. The ninja martial art turned out to be far more nuanced and complex than the straight-forward karate world I had inhabited in the 1960s.
Now 42 years later, I have come full circle. I understand at deeper levels. I have developed an ability to quickly grasp what an aggressor wants to do, and that allows me to give him what he expects as a way to confuse him. I have also become an expert on the laws and how they are used against good and noble defenders.
Full circle indeed. I am quieter now. I would much prefer to get others talking so that I can learn more about what motivates (and limits!) them. I am quick to compliment and praise the other’s martial art, whether I believe in it or not. I prefer to stay unpredictable by appearing predictable. I am pleased to say I fully got what I set out to find when beginning my martial arts training those decades ago.
From here on out, I serve what advances my life while making the world a better place.