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The Many Facets of Ninja Taijutsu

Last year at Festival 41, we emphasized training in a very advanced ninja style combat called Santo Tonko no Kata, or “Method of the escaping rat”. This was a unique form of combat especially suitable for intelligence gatherers. If a spy had his cover blown and had to make an escape, he might have been […]

Guest Contributor: Bryan Toutoshi Griffin

Hello Ninja Friends! This month we are delighted to share a wonderful piece by our friend Bryan Toutoshi Griffin, owner of Quest Martial Arts Raleigh. Originally posted on his web site at questraleigh.com, we felt that Bryan’s experiences gave him a fascinating point of view. Thank you for sharing Bryan!

External Focus

One of our training members asked a question recently while we were experimenting with the body movement for slipping past straight punches coming toward our head. His question was about the sequence of body movements and which body part moved first. The question was a very logical question based on the steps of the experiment […]

How Is This Helping?

Previously I mentioned that our brains are literally hardwired to push us toward focusing on the negative, to be scanning for perceived danger and threats. To make matters worse, our neocortex, which is the seat of imagination, is good at making things up. This is a formula for a lot of negative fantasies. With all […]

COVID Meditation for Restored Health

Let’s look at one action we can all take to diminish the effects of another wave of Covid in the world. Sit comfortably, either on the floor or in a chair. Keep your spine straight. Close your eyes. Place your hands in your lap, palms up, right hand on the left. Enjoy a few relaxing […]

Small Steps, Big Progress

One quick tip I always give out whenever anyone asks me about solo training is to break things down into small pieces. The smaller and more specific the better. For example, instead of thinking about working on a stomp kick, think about contacting with the correct part of the foot. Or concentrate on where balance […]

Check Your Kamae

Unscripted decision-making or free response is challenging. If it goes well you feel great about your training. If it doesn’t go well it can be extra frustrating. Frustrating because you didn’t like the result, and frustrating because with all the moving parts, all the dynamics involved in a fight, it can be hard to pin […]

Curious Attention

I challenged my students to an awareness exercise over the next few weeks. As they head in to the hectic holiday season, I asked them to pay attention whenever they are in a crowd (at the mall, the supermarket, etc.). But specifically I asked them to pay attention to how many people around them were […]

Everybody On The Mat

A question was raised at Festival that required a woman’s touch. So this month I’m going to step aside and let you read a very important post from my friends. -Fuutoshi Everybody On The Mat: Inclusivity Through The Lens of Kunoichi Women Warriors By Theresa Murphy and Amy Tiemann We highly value the benefits of […]

Natural Movement

We talk a lot about having ‘natural movement’ in our martial art. As important as it is, it can be just as hard to describe what that means. Sure, we want natural speed, relying less on fast ‘muscle’ speed. We want to use gravity and not rely solely on strength. We want to take away […]

Mindful Action and Self-Defense

The To-Shin Do Mindful Action Code is a powerful self-defense tool and one I’ve grown to appreciate more and more over the years. I’ve seen as a teacher how many youth and adults find it such a meaningful part of their lives. That, by itself, is enough for me to make sure it is a […]