There are so many variations on the ninja’s kuji-kiri and kuji-in, huh? I believe people are hoping to find the “one and only authentic kuji system”, and they are confused by the differing deities and states assigned to the various mudra and cuts depending on where and from whom one learns the kuji. This makes […]
Archive | Teacher Insights
The Unopened Gift
There are people who like to keep things in their original package and never open them. I have friends who do this with toys. They have kept them for years unopened as part of their collection. I’m more a Toy Story type of person, I want to play with the toy. If I could I […]
In most people’s minds black belt is the end game for martial arts training. This is the product of many social and economic influences. Somehow the uninitiated have the idea that black belt means you’re Spiderman. My sense is that the best way to put this in perspective is through an analogy. Black belt in […]
Detachment – The Freedom to Try
As my children were growing up I would sometimes observe that they were afraid to try new things for fear of failing. No matter how much coaxing, they would often stick to their guns, “I don’t want to”. Yet often I could tell that they really did want to try, but that desire was overpowered […]
The Shinobi Science Formula
A Science Haiku of Ninpo Taijutsu Within each moment control space to break their shape balance and focus. Using gravity to change and move your shape throughout time and space.
Losing Makes You Strong
As I watch people training I see them trying to do the kata correctly, to be right. They always want to win. So much so that even when they are in the role of the attacker they often compete with their training partner. Turning what should be a learning experience into a game of tag. […]
Secret Winning Power Within
I was talking with a student recently who expressed some pretty conventional negative thoughts about how her life had gone from childhood. Somewhat unhappy relationship with parents. Managed to graduate high school. OK but not super marriage. Picked up a little weight that will not come off easily. It was a sad but normal take […]
Who is Your Teacher?
Best advice ever given to me as a martial artist? “Know yourself and exactly why you are training in the martial arts, and then carefully select the best role model teacher who directly addresses your motivating passion.” For me, that meant looking all across America for a teacher who inspired me with his skill, ability […]
The Worst Advice I Ever Got
Worst advice I ever got? “Shut up and train. Don’t bother me with silly questions about people or techniques. Just do what I say. Practice the martial arts in their unchanging classical form and you can easily adapt them to modern 21st century self protection; it will be simple.” Wrong on all points. I studied […]
The Harsh Reality Of Self-Defense Training
Self-defense is a big topic. In fact, if you’re honest about wanting to practice self-defense, the training encompasses most every aspect of your life. That’s the hard part. Maybe you read the title and were already thinking of brutal knife attacks, group fight dynamics or what happens to the brain under stress. We practice all […]
Same Conclusion, Different Endeavor
I read this recently, from an interview with Olympic fencer Daryl Homer by Clay Skipper, July 13, 2021, and it absolutely paralleled what we do in advanced To-Shin Do combat. He puts it precisely on the nose! “…with our sport, we really have to understand the opponent’s psychology. Like, you might be a really strong […]
When would now be a good time?
I was sitting at Starbucks having a coaching session with one of my clients. I noticed him looking over my shoulder with a puzzled look on his face. So I turned to see what had caught his attention. A friend that I see at the gym all the time came over to say hello. We […]
Balancing Perseverance with Walking Away
Growing up we’ve probably all heard the words of wisdom, “A quitter never wins, and winners never quit.” “Never give up.” “A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.” And of course, the contradictory wisdom, “You have to know when to cut your losses.” “Don’t throw good money and time after bad.” […]
Force of the Killer
I used to teach this a long time ago. But then I sensed that people could not really understand or grasp it. Anyway, here it is again, the three variations to applying sak-ki “force of the killer” as taught to me in the ninja dojo back in the 1970s: Sak-ki – Experiencing and projecting a […]
Codes in Martial Arts Training?
A friend wrote critically of codes and creeds in martial arts schools. He feels people just want fitness and self-defense and do not sign up for what he calls “Boy Scouts or Sunday School”. He has a valid point. But what of people who want more than fitness and fighting from their martial arts study? […]