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I pray this finds you in good health.
We do not know the most important thing about other people’s actions: their motives. So don’t let us judge others. Let us judge ourselves. We do know the motives of our own actions, and judging is very necessary and useful.
How light and shade are interwoven and how difficult it is to see realities through the illusion of appearance. An action may have exactly the same aspect- love, non-indulgence, kindness, etc.- and yet the most important thing, (the motive), may be different. Very often a brutal and a saintly act have precisely the same physical aspect: yet, so many people who call themselves “spiritual,” do not hesitate to judge others.
A person’s example is more important than his teaching. We must live our own teachings. Your whole life is a prayer and your actions are your request. This is “Karma.”
Nothing is high and nothing is low, for the insect is just as important as a small man or a so-called great man. There is just as much turmoil in a kettle of water, which is boiling up as in the creation and downfall of an empire or the creation or the destruction of a universe.
All is a relative. There is merely the passing and the eternal. What will be left of the bones of the greatest men in six thousand years? Time? Not even their memory may survive. All is relative. I am not greater than the bird in the sky or the worm in the ground once life has gone on. The past is immaterial.
I was once asked about the life of past times. I responded: “Can life spring from something that is not life? If the soul of man is created out of nothing, it is likely to go back to nothing. If we will live in the future, we must have always lived in the past.” Therefore, what you do now will affect you forever, likewise, what you allow to happened, good or bad, by others to you will leave its mark forever on you, the Ryu and people who care.
We have those in life who think so highly of them, the idealists, who have occasional fits of idealism and tread the worm while looking for the stars.
What about love? After all it is very simple. Love. Love. More and more intensely, and if your love is free from the poison of ego-centricism, you will not feel superior because you have a deeper understanding. If real love begets understanding, this understanding will be free from the dreadful pitfalls of spiritual arrogance. Is life worth living? Yes, life is great, glorious; there is always that alternative between vertiginous summits and dreadful chasms. All is relative and there is no certainty. To realize this then you may live and make life worth living. You will know many things and yet, not feel superior, for in whole you know little.
What can we do to assist the world? We can be signposts, showing the way to those groping in darkness without understanding. But woe to those who chose to be a hindrance as some have done, for Karma will take interest. Goodness will be your wake of aftermath.
Don’t let other’s slanderest way stop your enthusiastic loving and caring for to stay young you must remain. Live in such a way that I shall never regret having known you. Be a signpost. A man is known by his battles but remembered by his deeds.
In battle remember there are only two kinds of soldiers on the battlefield, the quick and the dead. We are the quick.
Heed the words of the Sun Tzu: “Know the enemy and know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant, both your enemy and yourself; you are certain in every battle to be in peril. Think long and examine longer.
As Mao Tse-Tung said, “To defend in order to attack, to retreat in order to advance, to take a flanking position in order to take a frontal position and to zigzag in order to go straight.” We will choose our position on each matter and stand firm and through our standing firm, are able to attack and counter attack those who attack your integrity.
Sun Tzu stated battle methods to defeat those who came to destroy. War is based on deception, move when it is advantageous and create changes in the situation by desperation and concentration of forces. To be certain to take what you attack is to attack a place the enemy does not protect. To be certain to hold what you defend is to defend a place the enemy has not attacked. Therefore, against those skilled in attack, then the enemy does not know where to defend. Against the experts in defense, the enemy will not be likely to attack and war cannot be won with defense only.
Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no traces; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. v Thus he is the master of his enemy’s fate, therefore master of his own fate by back of influence.
Shape our ways to bring us strength to each change. We will liken ourselves to the Sun Tzu teachings, as quoted: “Now an army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids any strengths and weaknesses. Water shapes its flowing accordance with the ground, so an army manages its victory in accordance with the situation of the enemy.
As water has no constant form, there are no constant conditions in war. Thus, one able to gain the victory by modifying his tactics in accordance with the enemy’s situation may be said to be divine. Of the five elements, (of nature), none is always predominant; of the four seasons, none last forever; of the days, some are long and some are short, and the moon waxes and wanes. In Konigun Ninjutsu it is the belief of everything in moderation.
Frederick the great one who said: “God is always with the strongest battalion.” It is best to be strong willed, but not fool hearted and blind to the facts.
Heart by surprise on the headquarters of the enemy for thus, he is easily defeated and his nerve center destroyed. It is better to be paranoid, than wish you were.
General Ferdinand Foch stated: “My center gives way, my right is pushed back, the situation is excellent, I am attacking.” The best opportunities can come from disfunction for those calm masters of fate.
In the Bible in the book of Job, Chapter 23:10, it is said, “He knoweth the way and that I take. When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Martial arts is a way to reach our and touch people and help them better themselves in spirit, mind, and body, as well as how to protect themselves. We can reach out to the young, in many, and help them to not make mistakes of old.
One can only pray that when your friends need you the most, you will unite and not just think of yourself. Physical courage, which despises all danger, will make a man brave in one way, and moral courage, which despises all opinion, will make a man brave in another way. To constitute a great man, both are necessary. However, all brave men must love, for he only is brave who has affections to fight for.
Sun Tzu said: Nothing is more difficult than the art of maneuver. What is difficult about maneuver is the make, the devious route, the most direct; and to turn misfortune to advantage. Thus, march by an indirect route and divert the enemy by enticing him with a gait. In so doing, you may set out after he does and arrive before him. One able to do this understands the strategy of the direct and the indirect.”
Therefore, bait your enemy with a false security of believing you to be defeated. While they boast about your defeat, they do not prepare their defenses. Do no waste time in voicing anger, but use the time to plan.
All people make mistakes, but review your mistakes first. According to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Nothing is easy in war. Mistakes are always paid for in casualties and troops are quick to sense any blunder made by their commanders.” Yes, I have made blunders and yes they were felt by others. I apologize, but now I refuse to quit and am set out to make things right. Do you judge or give assistance?
General Che Guevara stated: “Attack the enemy from all sides, firing and drawing the enemy out, requiring each flank of the enemy to participate in the dance, with the result that the enemy columns is rendered immobile.” This can be reversed on you and all life’s little problems that can choke you down to where you become immobile and lose site of the goal.
Abraham Lincoln said it best; “to sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” To remain silent when you know wrong is transpiring to agree.
To sum up your existence, better yourself through training and fellowship. Your personal awareness is increased when both physical and mental meet.
Quote Sun Tzu; “They do not engage an enemy advancing with will-ordered banners, nor one whose formations are in am impressive array. This is control of the factor of changing circumstances. Therefore, the art of employing troops is that when the enemy occupies high ground, do not confront him; with his back resting on hills, do not oppose him. When he pretends to flee, do not pursue. Do not attack his elite troops. Do not gobble pro-offered baits.” What is said here applies in everyday life; what is often the easy way may not be the right way.
Sun Tzu, “The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle. For if he does not know where I intend to give battle, he must prepare in a great many places.” Keep your composure at all times.
The enemy prepares in a great many places, defied in only one place. For if he prepares to the front, his rear will be weak; and if to the rear, his front will be fragile. If he prepares to the left, his right will be vulnerable; and if to the right, there will be few to his left. And when he prepares everywhere, he will be weak everywhere. Therefore, there is no need to be negative for it will only attract more negative. Negative is rude. Rudeness is a sign of weakness. Show of weakness will invoke human nature to attack.
I want you to know that I did not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be an uncommon man, if I can. I seek opportunity, not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen by having the government control my thoughts. I want to take the calculated risk: to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the staid calm of utopia. I will not trade dignity for a handout. All I ask is to enjoy the benefits of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.” Well, I will leave you to ponder all I have said. I ask that you carry yourself with the grace of a tiger and pray your dreams and spirits find flight.
PREHISTORIC TIME 1
THE BEGINNING. 1
THE SYSTEM. 2
THE GREAT INVASION. 3
THE BROTHERHOOD. 5
THE GREAT NINJA WARS. 7
THE ORIGINS OF NINJUTSU & THE CHINESE 9
RYU OF DIFFERENCE 11
History Bibliography 12
Dating back to the mid-4500’s B.C., the Japanese islands were inhabited. This culture is known as the Jomon era. The people were a Caucasian race known as the Ainu. The Japanese that inhabit the islands today are believed to have lived on the island since about 200 B.C. and are known as Yayoi. The Caucasian race of Japan is mostly found on the northern islands of Hokkaido.
In 660 B.C., legend has it, a person known as Jimmu Tenno brought about a confederation of clans on the island of Kyushu. Tenno also conquered the people of Kinki, later giving birth to the Yamato state and dynasty. He would be known as, "the divine warrior." The Yamato court from Peakche, (a kingdom in southwest Korea), became introduced officially to the Buddhist religion in 552 B.C. and as with any state or country consisting of religion and government a need for a secret group to keep a watchful eye, and to control corruption gave birth to the origin of Ninjutsu between 500 and 300 B.C.
Militaristic Bushi (samurai) ruled from 1192 to 1333 and were named after the Kamakura Shogunate. Zen would be an important accepted practice in Buddhism to many sects or clans as a state of being during this era. In 1196 a town father and leader would make the name Saija (sometimes spelled Saiga) a page in history. Konigun would arrive as a way for a small village to defend itself. The word Konigun is actually two words in one, “koni” – friendly and “gun” – force.
The period between 1156 and 1221 marked a significant change in Japan and the start of seven centuries of rule by military powers. Konigun would rise and fall many times during these eras. The old imperial government and the estate system it spawned had remained intact on many of the islands, despite the shifting of the imperial military power and it being divided by local warrior bands. The 1180 tiara usurpation for power in Kyoto would flow all over the islands of Japan. The cost of civil unrest was a burden to the farmer and to the rich noble. The finance system of the era was very taxing and this tax lead to a legend and what we know as Konigun today.
As legend has it, a horde of samurai(s) descended upon a tiny village in the foothills northwest of Kagoshima, Japan, which consisted of mostly farmers. The samurai demanded taxes and reminded the villagers of their obligations and the consequences for failure while marking their day of return for the tax payment. The people of the tiny village knew they were too poor to raise the money. It was agreed that some would flee to the mountains while others would stay behind to make the town appear regularly populated, in hopes to trick the samurai(s) into not following those that fled to the mountains.
When the samurai(s) returned the taxes were not paid. The samurai killed or enslaved the villagers during the destruction of the village. The members of the village who fled to the mountains stayed hidden for years. One of the leaders of the people was Saija. Saija left the group and went to find ways to protect his people and to bring back a better way of life. He went to the Yamabushi priests to study and master their ways. Once Saija mastered the technique, he brought it back to the people of the village
Sakurajima, Kagoshima’s volcano. Image courtesy of http://www.japan-guide.com/
The Japanese Imperial Government allotted control over the countryside estates and provinces to different daimyo(s). The daimyo(s) were given a retainer from the emperor to own or control a measure of land, as well as, to employee bands of warriors to protect their estates and the peasants working the estates. In exchange for estates, the emperor would get a small percentage of the crop and a self-contained "national guard army" that he could call on as part of the retainer agreement. The peasant farmer had title to his crop only through his overlord. The domain of the daimyo varied greatly in size. Ranking was based on the national cadastral surveys Hideyoshi had carried out. Rank was issued in terms of their rice production measured in koku, the equivalent of 4.96 bushels. The lowest yield that would qualify a man for the rank of daimyo was 10,000 koku, and the largest “outer” lord had a domain of 1,022,700 koku. The 26 million plus koku yield of Japan was divided giving shogun(s) realm and the “hereditary” domains vassals received a little more than a quarter each. More than a third went to “outer daimyo”; one-eighth went to the “related houses”, with the “hereditary” holding over half the agricultural and forestland and strategic regions (Reischauer). During this era there were two imperial families, the Minamoto and the Taira. Yoritomo led the Minamoto family to victory when the two families clashed openly in Kyoto, in what is known as the Hogan war of July 1156. In 1159, the Minamoto were defeated in the Heiji war. Twenty-one years later Yoritomo (’s) brothers, Noriyoro and Yoshitsune, created the samurai-dokoro, or the board of retainers in eastern Japan. This board imposed disciplinary control on their military vassals. The back and forth war brought many ninja sect to odds. Often ninja sects were employed to spy and carry out deeds that involved combat against another ninja sect.
In 1185 the destruction of the Taira family came with Yoritomo regaining power and appointing military governors (shugo) in all the provinces and military stewards (jito) in both private and government land estates. These shugo(s) and jito(s) were responsible for law enforcement and tax collecting. The collection of dues was imposed on the villagers. If a person could not pay his taxes, the samurai would take the children, wife or even the farmer himself for slaves. Those who protested faceed death.
THE GREAT INVASION
In 1274, a large Mongol force set forth in Korean ships to conquer Japan. The military strategy to overcome Japan, involved seizing certain small islands to able a base to deploy and supply invasions. Therefore, several islands were seized and a landing occurred at Hakata Bay, a short distance from the modern city Fukuoka in northern Kyushu. Due to a great threat of bad weather approaching, the Mongols withdrew their fleet to the continent and had to forego the conquest. Whether or not they would return was a foregone fear that would motivate preparation. For the next several years Kamakura kept many of its vassals within northwestern Kyushu’s waters on guard and remained busy constructing a wall around Hakata Bay to trap and repel the Mongol Calvary.
In 1281 the Mongols returned to Japan with the joining of Korean and Chinese ships, and made another landing at Hakata Bay, beginning the greatest overseas invasion force the world had witnessed. The number of invaders was estimated at 140,000. Having superior weapons at their disposal such as gunpowder bombs hurled by a catapult, the Mongols were accustomed to large-scale cavalry tactics which had met no equal anywhere in the world. To combat this force the Japanese had a mere handful of warriors accustomed only to single combat. The Japanese wall slowed the Mongols and created the opportunity for a combined counter attack with the determined wall defenders and smaller Japanese boats, which maneuvered more easily in the narrow waters of the bay. Before the Mongols could deploy their full forces ashore, a typhoon destroyed their fleet. To the Japanese, the typhoon, also called the Kamikaze or “divine wind”, was a sign of protecting the land of the gods from foreign invaders (Reischauer). The destruction of the Mongolian fleet has lead to a common conviction many Japanese once believed: “their land was sacred and inviolable”.
The financial situation of some of Kamakura’s vassals had become so troubling by the late thirteenth century that many were seriously in debt. Occasionally the bakufu, to help relieve the civil pressure that the lords and their subjects felt, tried to give aid by ordering the cancellation of debts, as notable in the sweeping order of 1297, which was known as tokusei, or “virtuous government”. The financial rise and fall allowed the Saija family to raise in the noble ranking and with this rise the Konigun sect grew.
Mongol Area of Domination 1300-1405. Map courtesy of University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Austin
All across the islands of Japan, priests sickened by the different sanction orders’ pursuit of wealth and power left the order. Too many sanction orders fought and jockeyed for power from the government. Some of the priest went to the mountains. The priests built several shrines all over Japan. Shrines ranged from castle-like to a house type setting. Most of the outcast priest sought a common goal, a better way of life and enlightenment through the understanding of nature. The mountain priest was known as the yamabushi. The word yamabushi is actually two words; yama- mountain and bushi- warrior. The yamabushi(s) would seek this enlightenment by observing nature and testing themselves against nature. The yamabushi would sit under ice cold crushing waterfalls, hang from cliffs upside down, sit in snow naked and run through woods in the dark and much more in their pursuit of wisdom. The Kyushu Island had more than five ninja sects operating by this era and an untold number of sects on other islands of Japan.
The ninja got his name from the feudal samurai (s). Often the feudal samurai (s) hired the ninja to scout and spy because of their special abilities. The ninja were at an era where samurai(s) retained them to destroy other samurai or lords. What they once did for survival now was a paycheck. The era gave the ninja time to grow and sharpen their skills. Although it had its drawbacks, the ninja found that their samurai (’s) enemies had also hired ninja clans to do as they were doing. In time, this brought ninja clans to war with each other
Travelers, woodcutters, sportsmen, and other people often saw the ninja (’s) unusual habits of study. All who saw those unusual acts would go back to the estates and tell of the things they witnessed. This made the lowlanders of the estates look up to the priests and the yamabushi order. As time went by the yamabushi developed higher skills with nature. Some of these skills, such as walking on water and flying, seemed magical. The walking on water technique was no more than standing in two small foot tubs and using poles to keep balance and to propel forward. Flying was by a fall glider, which was somewhat similar to the hang glider of today. Although easy to explain, stories grew with each telling and yamabushi becoming more like gods. The stories and the fame of the yamabushi made imperial priests jealous. With little needed effort, the imperial priests had the yamabushi priests declared outlaws and their practiced priesthood outlawed.
Tengu were born out of the yamabushi mystical power. The myth of the tengu was born to save face and life. The samurai often said the ninja were demons that could change from human form to a birdlike beast. The stories were supported by the way the ninja were said to be able to disappear, fly, walk on water, make fire come from the ground (via flash bombs) and many other things.
Often when the samurai were beaten in combat by the ninja and lived, they would make up stories in order to retain their honor. When they reported to their lords, the samurai would tell stories of the half man-half beast bird demons. Of course, no samurai would be expected to defeat a demon and therefore the samurai(‘s) life would be spared by his lord.
Portuguese traders first discovered the islands of Japan in 1543. After their discovery, they continued returning to Japan and because of their superior ships and seamanship they became important carriers of trade in Asian waters. They set up trading stations at Hirado, an island off the northwest coast of Kyushu (Reischauer). By 1549 the newly founded Jesuit order started missionary work there, having one of the great founders of the Jesuit order, St. Francis Xavier, active in Japan from 1549 to 1551.
To the Japanese, Christianity at first seemed to be a variant of the popular faith sect of Buddhism, and some Kyushu daimyo, noticing that Portuguese traders tended to go where the Jesuit priests were welcomed embraced the new religion and ordered their subjects to follow suit. The port of Nagasaki, which was in time to become the chief port with the outside world, was founded by one of these lords in 1571 to attract Portuguese trade. Konigun, Kobo, Sasanuma, Takeda, and Kankai were ryu(s) on Kyushu that were converted to Christianity. It is believe Kyushin, Fudo, Gyokku, and Koto were in part or completely converted as well.
Abraham Ortelius: Japoniae insulae descriptio. Antwerpen 1595. 36 x 48 cm.
This map, drawn by the Portuguese Jesuit Luiz Teixeira, was the first printed map of Japan to appear in an atlas. Courtesy of Wolfgang, Michel-Zaitsu, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, Kyushu University, 4 - 2 - 1 Ropponmatsu, Chuoku, Fukuoka-City, Japan 810-8560
THE GREAT NINJA WARS
The clan era of history details hundreds of scattered peasant revolts. The revolts were against both feudal lords and wealthy power seeking priests. The daimyo ruling the Amakusa area raised taxes in 1637. With tax collections being severe on the farmers and business people and the mounting tension, Tokugawa Jemitsu decided to prohibit Christianity in an attempt to regain control, giving birth to the rebellions. When the daimyo could not suppress the revolt he called on the shogunate.
Hideyoshi banned Christianity in 1587. Ten years later he began to enforce the ban by crucifying nine missionaries and seventeen of their followers. Ieyasu was tolerant early in this time period however as time would expose, in 1606 he began issuing anti-Christian decrees. Suspects were made to defile Christian icons, (fumie or “treading picture”). He started punishing followers of Christianity in 1612, leading up to full-scale executions of entire families two years later (Reischauer). Nobody escaped, not the old or young.
Photo of Himegi Castle constructed 1601. Courtesy of Eric Obershaw, http://www.samurai-archives.com/links.html
The Hara Castle was a long and bloody siege in 1637-1638 on the Shimbara Peninsula. Some 20,000 Christian peasants, several thousand of whom were members of ninja sects challenged religious persecution and economic oppression in this revolt. Saija (or Saiga), the 18th generation of the Saija family, made his final stand in Shimabara castle in Kyushu, which in turn gave the war it’s name of the Shimbara Rebellion.
The Shimbara Castle was lost when the moats were drained and filled with bamboo and rice stalks which was then ignited when the winds were blowing in the proper direction. The sparks and embers were blown inside the fortification and started a conflagration in which all 20,000 defenders were consumed. Later, 37,000 more were massacred. The ninja were used by both sides during this conflict. The book Samurai Warriors is a good source for a better detailed story.
Ninjutsu was no small item in Japan’s history, for one only has to understand that Oda Nobunaga employed forty-six thousand troops against Sandayu at Ueno, destroying four thousand ninja in the process (Ratti/ Westbrook).
THE ORIGINS OF NINJUTSU & THE CHINESE
The origins of Ninjutsu, placed approximately between 500 and 300 B.C., are commonly linked to Chinese sources. The fall of the T'sang dynasty in china brought many refugees to Japan. The yamabushi welcomed refugees and with them came the knowledge of gunpowder, which was later used to make ninja smoke bombs. Other weapons such as the san-setsu-kon (three sectional staff) and bladed shuriken, as well as hand and foot techniques, were adopted from these Chinese refugees. History shows that these refugees from China had some influence in creating and developing the yamabushi priesthood order and may have been part of its founding fathers.
The ninja reportedly made their first notable appearance as spies in the sixth century, with an employer of royal blood, Prine Regent Shotoku (A.D. 574-622). They were frequently hired by the fighting monks of the mountains, the redoubtable yamabushi, who battled against both the imperial forces at the end of the Heian period and those of the rising military class (buke). Ninja guilds became firmly entrenched in Kyoto and their schools proliferated until there were at least twenty-five major centers during the Kamakura period. Oda Nobunaga is reported to have employed forty-six thousand troops against Sandayu Ueno, destroying four thousand ninja in the process. The last impressive employment of these fighters on the battlefield seems to have been in the Shimbara war (1637), against forty thousand rebellious Christians on the island of Kyushu (Ratti/ Westbrook).
The Chinese may have caused the legendary Konigun colloquialism. Many historians state that after the Shimbara battle the code language used was undecipherable outside the realm of the Konigun ninja. In fact, Konigun still has it’s own colloquialisms remaining today.
Disclosure of ninjutsu secrets to unauthorized persons meant death at the hands of other ninja of the same group. This meant that few records exist to the actual participation of the ninja. Books and documents (torimaki) related to the heritage, arts, and techniques of ninjutsu, therefore, were considered secret family treasures that it was the responsibility of each generation to preserve and transmit to the next. They contained instructions concerning those techniques of combat with which the ninja had to familiarize himself and which he had to master. Members of the Kyushin ryu, a school of ninjutsu, became noted for their unorthodox methods of using a spear (bisento). The Fudo ryu, another school of ninjutsu in feudal Japan, was considered vastly superior in the development of this particular kind of dexterity with blades. A skilled chemist (yogen) in his own right, the ninja often used poisoned darts, acid-spurting tubes, flash-powder grenades, smoke bombs, and so forth, cleverly adapted Chinese discoveries in chemistry and inventions in explosives to his particular requirements. After the arrival of the Portuguese, he even used firearms. The ninja of the Gyokku ryu, for example, were experts in the deadly use of the thumb and fingers against vital centers in the human body. This method became known as yubijutsu. The students of the Koto ryu were particularly proficient in breaking bones, koppo. (Ratti/ Westbrook).
Saiga Magoichi was born to the family of Suzuki and was head of the Kishu Saiga Ninja Group, a master of Tsuda Ryu Kaijutsu, explosives and firearms methods as well as Saiga Ryu Ninjutsu. He based his headquarters on the Saiga Cape. There he recruited men from the Jizamurai (local samurai) from the vicinity of Saiga Castle. He was involved in the Battle of Naniwa Kanzakigawa Gassen in which Oda Nobunaga took part. Saiga employed the tactic of Shakino jutsu “ flag discarding” to win the battle. The Saiga group left their own battle flags behind and moved into position carrying copies of the flags of their enemy. Nobunaga, who saw his own flags, thought them his allies (Hayes).
As late as 1759 ninjas were seen on the battlefield when troops lost the battle of Tensho Iga No Ran against massive ninja clans.
Japan circa 1855, Map courtesy of University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Austin
RYU OF DIFFERENCE
A ninja ryu is a group of ninja(s). To be a ninja ryu, the ryu has to study ninjutsu and follow a form of the bushido code. To this code every clansman must give an oath of loyalty. A ninja clan and/or style of Ninjutsu must have a surviving ninja. If a style has no ninja(s) left, then it is no longer a style of ninjutsu. Ninjutsu has developed over hundreds of years in different areas of Japan, the techniques of fighting and thinking, as well as codes, are different. Hardships caused by wars, treatment from locals, and encountering foreign people with different fighting techniques, had a big impact on each ninjutsu style. Enlightenments adopted from these occurrences make up the mindset of the system. Konigun is not the only style of Ninjutsu nor do we care to police other styles.
Hayes, Stephen K., The Mystic Arts of the Ninja. Contemporary Books, 1985
Ratti, Oscar and Westbrook, Adele. Secrets of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan. Castle Books, 1999
Reischauer, Edwin O., Japan: The Story of a Nation. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1990
Historical Maps Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas at Austin.
Abraham Ortelius: Japoniae insulae descriptio. Antwerpen 1595. 36 x 48 cm. Courtesy of Wolfgang, Michel-Zaitsu, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, Kyushu University, 4 - 2 - 1 Ropponmatsu, Chuoku, Fukuoka-City, Japan 810-8560
Image of Sakurajima, http://www.japan-guide.com/
Weapons of Konigun Ninjutsu
Ashiko: The foot claws are made to walk on ice or slippery surfaces or to gain traction in mud. Most castle walls were made of stone and were therefore too hard of a surface to gain traction. Fingers and toes were all that was usually required to scale the cracks in the walls.
Ashuko: The hand claws were designed to add injury to your grapples.
Bokudo: The wooden samurai sword is a practice sword that has more of the weight and shape characteristics of a daito. A little more lethal than the shinai. Legend has it, that Minamoto Musashi only used a bokudo in his later years to give his adversary's a honorable chance in his sword contests.
Daito: The samurai sword has become legend for it's cutting ability and quality. Whole schools of thought have been dedicated to creating these works of art. These swords are approximately 40" in length today (traditionally length depended upon the era the sword was made and the person weilding it) and are traditionally made of folded steel, although today they can be found in 440 stainless. Examples are: Katana had less curvature than the tachi which was slung over the shoulder.
Fukid'zutsu: The blow gun was made to propel needle darts at both man and horse.
Han-Bo: The half staff is a weapon of common occurance. Whether someone developed the techniques after their staff broke or just adapted to what was at hand at the time is a moot point. Konigun Ninjutsu uses both single and double han-bo. Single is often used for grappling, while the double is often used for weapon defense.
Kaginawa: The grappling hook assists in climbing, however, it is also used for trap designs, dismounting horsemen, lowering self down, and long range grappling.
Kama: The hand held sickle was a rice harvesting implement used throughout the orient.
Mamba: The metal knife was a common implement that everyone carried on their person which was better adapted for throwing. It developed into a flat knife pointed on both ends with no handles for easy concealment.
Manji-sai: The double ended sai was made to climb castle walls by jabbing between the stones and stepping up on. Also it was thrown to cripple and injure horse or samurai as well as close quarter combat.
Manriki: The hawser chain was used to keep an animal from running, by reducing the play between the chest harness and the head harness. If the animal could not raise it's head up, then it could not run off. It was later adapted to tangle up the feet of horses and men or to throw off balance the sword or the arm holding the sword after it had been drawn.
Manriki-gusari: The weighted chain with handles that was used originally as two pins dropped into the yokes of an ox team, with the chain going between the two oxen in order to enable simultaneous turning. Now used primarily as a grappling weapon against blades and other weapons.
Met`subushi: The blinding powder was usually dispensed as a muscle relaxer or a poison attached to a salt through a drying process. This would allow the salt to scratch the eye giving direct access to the blood stream. By poisoning or deadening the eye, the person would not be able to focus.
Mit`subushi: The caltrops were use to throw down to make noise to warn of an approaching attaker or to injure the bottom of his feet. They were also used to slow pursuit.
Ninja-to: The ninja sword was an older version of the samurai sword that had been discarded. The main characteristics of this sword made it for piercing armor rather than slicing.
Nun-chaku: The nun-chaku first had a twenty-inch handle on one side and about a sixty-inch handle on the other side. A twenty-four inch rope in the middle bound them together. The original nun-chaku was used to hull grain. The nun-chaku(s) were later converted to today's style for purposes of being a weapon.
Obi: The sash or belt was another common item that was adapted to protect one self when nothing else was at hand. One usually had one on as an item of every day apparel.
Ogi: The steel fan were used to defend against other weapons and grapple. They developed out of the fans used to circulate the air and cool one's person.
RokuShaku-Bo: The 6' staff is a weapon of common occurance. One just had to step into the nearest woods to fashion something which could be used to defend one self
Sai: The sai was a common rice harvesting implement found throughout the Orient. The main prong was used to cut grain/rice furs. The two small prongs were used to tote two bundles of grain/rice after it had been harvested.
San-Setsu-Kan: The three sectional staff is a Chinese weapon constructed from three pieces of wood which were connected by metal rings or rope. Introduced in the 21stgeneration of Konigun Ninjutsu.
Shaken: The throwing star is one of many in the shuriken family. Started as a Tsubute.
Shinai: The bamboo sword was used to minimize damage during sword practice.
Shinbo/Shabo: The shinbo/shabo is a 10"-12" metal rod with a ring to stick your index finger through in order to release and let hang on the back of the hand to allow the hand to hold another weapon; only to flip it into the palm of the hand and grasp to attack joints of armor. While holding the sword it would be on the back of the hand protecting it from a strike to that area from another sword.
Shoge: The hooked knife with chain and ring was an invention to combine several weapons. The straight blade of the shoge was made to pierce armor, while the curved blade was used for grappling. The chain was made to entangle other weapons, while the ring was made to entangle the legs of horse and humans alike. Other advantages were that the hook could be used like a grappling hook in trees to swing down from limbs. This would allow the Ninja to quickly and singlely whip the chain or rope and the hook fall from the limb allowing for quick exit.
Shoto: The short samurai sword whose length depended upon the era it was created and the person weilding it.
Shurikens: The throwing blades are a category of weapons. This category encompasses all the throwing weapons listed below including the shaken and the mamba.
A) Tsubute: The sharp metal disk or flat stone that was sharpened. The fat stone was sharpened by heating and droping cold water on it's edges. The metal disk was a large coin of currency that was sharpened in order to carry with other currency into a establishment without detection. The stones would often be deployed by throwing on the ground in a high potential area of combat in order to be picked up and used later. Most places the stones were employed a head of time was the front and back door area of a ninja's home or on the path a ninaj would retreat down.
B) Kugi/Kuwai-ken: The spike/dirk started off as wood sticks with weights on one end and a string on the other to drag air to keep it turned in the right direction.
C) Kozuka: The throwing knife was invented as an alternative to the fast draw, one could just push the knife throught the hole in the tsuba and flick it at the enemy.
D) Aikuchi: The 9"bladed dirk was devloped for longer range throwing and often had a string attached to the dull end to control it's flight.
Tanto: The short ninja sword was the secondary fighting blade of the ninja.
Tonfa: The tonfa was a handle off of a manually opperated mill stone used to grind rice, wheat or corn. This weapon is traditionally of Okinawan origin, but was taught by Shidoshi Saija of the 36th generation and we are not sure who introduced it to him, however he saw the need to adapt it to the style.
Uwagi: The cloak changed the shape or silhouette of the person wearing it while protecting against projectiles. It also was used for wind resistance, to slow the fall when jumping off of high objects.
Yari: The Japanese spear is of traditional significance. There are several types of Japanese spears, differing in their construction by their use, geographical location or era. Examples are: Kama-Yari (spear with a sickle shaped head), Naginata ( spear with a 3ft long blade), Nakae (the spear shaft), Nakamaki (a slightly curved blade), Magari-Yari(Similar in appearance of a trident with the side blades set at right angles to the center blade).
Students will follow a sensei that continues to grow and learn. Student moral is built when they see new opportunities in the dojo and on the tournament floor. Camps will build your blackbelt club and tournament teams. Turning your back on knowledge does what for you, your students, and your dojo? Remember the best way to keep them enrolled is to show the student that you dojo has no dead end for learning.