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Re: [SCA-JML] I am beset by pesky ninjas..

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  • Solveig Throndardottir
    Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! From a quick look over, I would say that the ... I am not familiar with the following martial arts book, but in general,
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 2, 2005
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      Noble Cousin!

      Greetings from Solveig! From a quick look over, I would say that the
      following sites are not particularly reliable:

      > http://edisto.cofc.edu/~nmtaylor/history.html
      >
      > http://www.whitetigerninja.com/Ninjahistory.html
      >
      > http://www.ninjabilly.com/html/ninja_history.html

      I am not familiar with the following martial arts book, but in general,
      martial arts books are often poor sources about pre-modern Japan.

      > You might look into finding books by Stephen K. Hayes,
      > an honorable warrior of the Martial ARts.

      Documenting ninja is particularly problematic as there is a lot of hype
      and general commercialism surrounding ninja in Japan. Ninja are also
      fairly popular figures in chanbara, daytime ramen opera, and comic
      books. All of which tends to obfuscate things.

      Your Humble Servant
      Solveig Throndardottir
      Amateur Scholar

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      | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
      | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
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    • T. Carpenter
      ... A very good friend of mine and her boyfriend are both students at a To Shin Do dojo in Arizona, and are consequently quite knowledgeable about Mr. Hayes
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 2, 2005
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        > You might look into finding books by Stephen K. Hayes,
        > an honorable warrior of the Martial ARts.

        A very good friend of mine and her boyfriend are both students at a To
        Shin Do dojo in Arizona, and are consequently quite knowledgeable about
        Mr. Hayes' writings and martial techniques. While I cannot comment on
        the reliability of Mr. Hayes' techniques in a fight, or on how
        'authentic' the transmission of the style from Hayes' master to him was,
        I can tell you the following things about Hayes' style and philosophy:

        1) What Hayes teaches as regards to self-defense seems very applicable.
        Much of it relates to disarming, joint-breaking, grapping, et cetera -
        and seems very similar to other Japanese martial forms, except perhaps a
        touch more nasty.

        2) What Hayes teaches of philosophy and spirituality exists, but seems
        to be in a much more esoteric mode than most other martial arts. Yes, I
        realize what I'm saying. I don't know if this is a function of Hayes,
        his master, or the general attitude of bujinkan practicioners in
        general. By example, while Hayes never specifically says in his
        literature that Ninpo/To Shin Do practicioners are capable of
        supernatural feats, he alludes to it. Similar in many ways to more
        esoteric facets of Tai Chi, Ba Gua, et cetera.

        3) Among the things To Shin Doists practice are: shuriken throwing,
        kusarijutsu, kenjutsu, stealth, meditation, et cetera. Not terribly
        unusual fare, but there seems to be a heavy amount of what most
        westerners would consider 'traditional ninja weapons' in the art form.

        4) Last Estrella, I stopped by this friend's house, and proceeded to
        leaf through some of her books by Mr. Hayes. I was aesthetically pleased
        to see that stealth had 'forms', and he provided methods for stealthing
        through types of terrain. I was less than aesthetically pleased to see
        the pictoral subject of each chapter dressed in black pyjamas and the
        whole 'ninja getup.' Anyone who's been in the military will explain to
        you why wearing all black is a really bad nighttime camoflauge. They'd
        be better served with darkish brown, green, or gray. The books had other
        similar 'modernizations' in them as well, though details escape me.

        In summation?
        I think Hayes and his teacher Masaaki Hatsumi really do have at least
        some measure of effective, old-style ninjutsu. But I also think that a
        lot of what was originally there has mutated, changed, and gotten lost,
        and they either won't believe it or have decided to ignore that fact;
        they're martial artists, not historians. It also seems to me that
        despite the attachment Hayes obviously has to his art's lineage, he's at
        least partially bought into his own hype, and the general hype
        surrounding ninjas and ninjutsu, both due to do what I saw in his books,
        and the attitude his schools encourage: namely that To Shin Do is more
        effective than most martial arts being practiced today.

        But don't take my word for it, hell. Go research it yourself. (See what
        deciding to gun for your PhD does to your brain pattern?) And if you're
        really interested and in Arizona, check out the Dojo yourself. It's
        called "Phoenix Quest Center," and is in Phoenix, unsurpisingly. I don't
        know how good it is, but the students there seem pretty pleased.

        -Mishima no Akikata, of the Hand of the Hunt
        aka
        -Tyler Carpenter, Rogue Academic
        "Cloud-free mountains/Encircle the sea, which holds/The reflected
        moon:/A view of it there changes/the islands/Into holes of emptiness in
        a sea of ice" - Saigyo
      • Scott
        Thank you all for your prompt and helpful answers! I probably won t be researching further into this as it s not an area I have a great interest in and I don t
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 3, 2005
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          Thank you all for your prompt and helpful answers!

          I probably won't be researching further into this as it's not an area I
          have a great interest in and I don't even have access to a decent
          library where I am so the Internet is my primary source of research. As
          you say 99.9% of the information about historical ninjas on the
          Internet is hogwash. I am satisfied to have found even one source of
          halfway accurate information. Now I can do my part to quell the
          spreading of misinformation in my little corner of the world. :)

          It seems asking a martial arts dojo about the history of ninjutsu is
          akin to asking a barber if you need a haircut.

          Domo arigato gozaimashita!!

          Saito
        • Nevin Broz
          Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as legitimate. The Bugei Ryuha
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 3, 2005
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            Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as legitimate. The "Bugei Ryuha Daijiten", (which is the record of all Japanese legitmate schools) lists all the schools, and Dr. Hatsumi as Grandmaster. As well, he is still the only recognized living ninja by the Government of Japan. Here is a link to my Sensei's website. There is quite a bit of info if you are interested.

            http://www.bujinkan.hr/index-en.php

            As we say, "Gambatte ne!" (keep going <training>)

            Nevin Z. Broz
            Shidoshi-ho
            Bujinkan Seishin Ninpo Ronin Dojo



            "Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.)" <tatsushu@...> wrote:
            > I know many of you have knowledge and resources unavailable to me, so
            > I was hoping that you would help me out.
            >
            > This website:
            > http://www.illuminatedlantern.com/cinema/features/ninja.html
            >
            > seems to jibe best with the history as I have come to understand it.
            > What I am hoping for is that some of you might read this and give me
            > your opinion as to it's credibility and accuracy.

            That website doesn't seem too far off what I've seen.

            The problem with 'ninja' is that it has gotten tied up with 'ninjutsu'
            in terms of the ryuha that claim a specific 'ninjutsu' lineage.
            People seem to have the idea that if they were a 'ninja' then they
            followed these teachings. Without getting into the historical
            validity of claims made by traditions today, realize that 'ninja', or
            more appropriately 'shinobi-mono' were not, in our period, anything
            more than a 'special forces' team.

            As an example, during Go-Daigo's revolt against the Hojo regents,
            Kamakura forces at one point scaled the sides of the fortified temple
            where Go-Daigo was staying under the cover of darkness. They
            pretended to be friendly troops to gain access to the inner levels and
            then caused panic from the inside, allowing their friends outside to
            attack.

            This is shinobi-mono. There is nothing Chinese about it. There isn't
            even a special school in this instance. The 'tricks' were simply
            battlefield tactics, and the term 'shinobi' implied that they were
            done with stealth.

            As another example (and forgive me if I forget the names right off the
            top of my head), a castle was beseiged on all sides. A few warriors
            were able to escape undetected and brought reinforcements to break the
            seige. These are 'shinobi', or 'ninja', at least while they were
            being stealthy.

            Now, these 'shinobi-mono' often get confused with a more modern
            concept of 'ninja' that is that of the elite peasant warrior who is
            part of a secret clan defying the buke, using 'ninjutsu'
            ('shinobi-no-sube') and secret combat skills learned from China.

            This latter group I have not yet found any pre-Edo documentation for.
            Kukishinden Ryu claims to have old scrolls going back to someone from
            China, but I've not seen any verification of this claim that would be
            accepted by historical scholars at large.

            I'd love to learn if you find out more--I'd especially like to find
            some references to the Sengoku writings on ninja that I hear so many
            people in the English-speaking world talk about, but have not seen.


            -Ii


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          • Solveig Throndardottir
            Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! ... After a quick look over, I would not suggest giving much credance to these sites. Your Humble Servant Solveig
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 3, 2005
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              Noble Cousins!

              Greetings from Solveig!

              > http://edisto.cofc.edu/~nmtaylor/history.html
              >
              > http://www.whitetigerninja.com/Ninjahistory.html
              >
              > http://www.ninjabilly.com/html/ninja_history.html

              After a quick look over, I would not suggest giving much credance to
              these sites.

              Your Humble Servant
              Solveig Throndardottir
              Amateur Scholar

              +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
              | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
              | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
              | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
              +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
              | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
              | the trash by my email filters. |
              +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Solveig Throndardottir
              Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... To quote a college friend of mine, bull piddle . Louis Frederic in Japan Encyclopedia claims that the Tenchuu gumi
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                Noble Cousin!

                Greetings from Solveig!

                > Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of
                > some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as
                > legitimate. The "Bugei Ryuha Daijiten", (which is the record of all
                > Japanese legitmate schools) lists all the schools, and Dr. Hatsumi as
                > Grandmaster. As well, he is still the only recognized living ninja by
                > the Government of Japan. Here is a link to my Sensei's website.
                > There is quite a bit of info if you are interested.
                >
                > http://www.bujinkan.hr/index-en.php

                To quote a college friend of mine, "bull piddle". Louis Frederic in
                "Japan Encyclopedia" claims that the Tenchuu gumi (not Tenchi gumi as
                claimed in the web site) was a group of direct vassals to the emperor
                who revolted against the shougun in 1863. The members of the tenchuu
                gumi were generally: bushi, peasants, and at least one member of the
                kuge (nobility). The peasants were led by a village chief from the Tosa
                estate. Note. There is no mention of a "tenchigumi" in either Daijirin
                or Nihonshi Kenkyuu.

                I am sure that you are having an enjoyable experience in your doujo and
                respect your sensei very much, but you have been experiencing a
                particular kind of Japanese hype common in the martial arts community.
                The web page which you give does nothing at all to seriously
                substantiate claims for ninjutsu.

                Incidentally, ninja is the generally preferred Japanese word not
                shinobi no mono. Further, the base meaning of "shinobi" is "endure"
                with the circular definition "ninja" appearing as the third definition.
                I rather think that "endure" is the real root of the word and refers to
                special fortitude by spec ops units which would silently ford motes,
                scale walls, &c. Even popular depictions of ninja portray the general
                silence of the ninja. Why would "ninja" be preferred to "shinobi no
                mono" for pretty much the same reason that Greek, Italian, and French
                nouns are preferred to Anglo-Saxon nouns in English. Ninja simply
                sounds more educated, because it uses on'yomi readings. The Japanese
                are especially fond of "night attacks", so moving silently and wearing
                hard to see clothing could make you pretty stealthy.

                As for this "samurai code" preventing engagement in special ops, hooey!
                The Japanese love special ops. There are times when you make a big deal
                about battle and even single combat, and times when you don't. As for
                night attacks in general, you should read about the start of the Genpei
                War, the famous night attack involving the Soga brothers, &c.

                As for fanciful claims of antiquity, you encounter that sort of thing
                all the time when dealing with things Japanese. Everyone has to learn
                to sift through these claims.

                Your Humble Servant
                Solveig Throndardottir
                Amateur Scholar

                +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                | the trash by my email filters. |
                +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Anthony Bryant
                ... It is *today* but wasn t historically. And if we are talking in terms of historical context... Today, they re typically called bikes -- there was a time
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                  Solveig Throndardottir wrote:

                  >
                  >
                  > Incidentally, ninja is the generally preferred Japanese word not
                  > shinobi no mono.


                  It is *today* but wasn't historically. And if we are talking in terms of
                  historical context...

                  Today, they're typically called "bikes" -- there was a time they were
                  called velocipedes, and in the historical context, that term is acceptable.

                  > Further, the base meaning of "shinobi" is "endure" with the circular
                  > definition "ninja" appearing as the third definition.

                  Irrelevent. The term "shinobi no mono" is a locked phrase with one
                  recognized definition. Anyone who wants to translate that as "someone
                  who is enduring" is the one being odd, not the one using it for its
                  recognized meaning of "ninja."

                  > I rather think
                  > that "endure" is the real root of the word and refers to special
                  > fortitude by spec ops units which would silently ford motes, scale
                  > walls, &c.

                  It also has the context of "stealth".


                  > As for this "samurai code" preventing engagement in special ops,
                  > hooey! The Japanese love special ops.

                  Oh, yeah. ;)


                  Effingham
                • Solveig Throndardottir
                  Baron Edward! Greetings from Solveig! I think that you are being intentionally dense. Ninja is the preferred word today. I made no great claims about
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                    Baron Edward!

                    Greetings from Solveig! I think that you are being intentionally dense.
                    Ninja is the preferred word today. I made no great claims about
                    historical usage. If I had, I would have cited a kogojiten. As for
                    etymology, that is generally problematic. I am reminded of my Classical
                    Japanese professor going on about the verb saburau and how that leads
                    to samurai. The question is why are they called "ninja" or "shinobi no
                    mono" (big deal - that's just the kun'yomi reading and doesn't even
                    change the order of the kanji involved)?

                    > Irrelevent. The term "shinobi no mono" is a locked phrase with one
                    > recognized definition. Anyone who wants to translate that as "someone
                    > who is enduring" is the one being odd, not the one using it for its
                    > recognized meaning of "ninja."

                    It's a locked phrase which at this point is almost hopelessly muddled
                    by popular culture. The question is where does the locked phrase come
                    from? If we just go by the understood meaning, then it refers to those
                    guys in the black pyjamas that you see in ramen operas on television.
                    In short, nothing more than a modern flight of fancy. As for
                    "stealthy", the question is why does "shinobu" relate to "stealth"? I
                    think that I addressed it, you didn't. Yes, there are oodles of
                    homonyms in Japanese, but they usually don't share kanji! The root of
                    the kanji in question is "heart" with the rest added for sound. The
                    root meaning is "especially strong fortitude".

                    While Kogorin attempts to trace "shinobu" with the sense of being
                    undetectable to Genji Monogatari, the quote does not actually include
                    the word or any variant. However, it does relate the special notion of
                    not being detected. The art of "invisibility" is the one central aspect
                    of ninjutsu that is generally encountered. Not the costume, not the
                    weapon forms, &c. As you yourself once wrote, "At Pennsic, a ninja
                    would wear norman or tudor."

                    The earliest appearance of "shinobi no mono" appears to be in the
                    Taiheiki 20 where we encounter:

                    "Ichimotsu no shinobi no mono wo Hachimanzan ni irete"

                    This business about the ninja being a T'ang import based on the
                    teachings of Sun Tsu seems to me to be entirely specious.

                    Your Humble Servant
                    Solveig Throndardottir
                    Amateur Scholar

                    +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                    | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                    | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                    | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                    +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                    | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                    | the trash by my email filters. |
                    +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Nevin Broz
                    Believe what you will. History cannot be changed. Names can, as our lineages have been renamed many times over the centuries but history cannot. The titles
                    Message 9 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                      Believe what you will. History cannot be changed. Names can, as our lineages have been renamed many times over the centuries but history cannot. The titles Shidoshi, Shidoshi-ho (meaning senior and junior instructors respectfully) didn't exist historically. Hatsumi Sensei created these words, yet every day modern claim to some ninja school and a few samurai lineages use them as ancient terminology. ex: Frank Dux from Bloodsport fame. Search for the truth and do what makes you happy!


                      Nevin Z. Broz
                      Shidoshi-ho
                      Bujinkan Seishin Ninpo Ronin Dojo

                      Solveig Throndardottir <nostrand@...> wrote:
                      Noble Cousin!

                      Greetings from Solveig!

                      > Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of
                      > some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as
                      > legitimate. The "Bugei Ryuha Daijiten", (which is the record of all
                      > Japanese legitmate schools) lists all the schools, and Dr. Hatsumi as
                      > Grandmaster. As well, he is still the only recognized living ninja by
                      > the Government of Japan. Here is a link to my Sensei's website.
                      > There is quite a bit of info if you are interested.
                      >
                      > http://www.bujinkan.hr/index-en.php

                      To quote a college friend of mine, "bull piddle". Louis Frederic in
                      "Japan Encyclopedia" claims that the Tenchuu gumi (not Tenchi gumi as
                      claimed in the web site) was a group of direct vassals to the emperor
                      who revolted against the shougun in 1863. The members of the tenchuu
                      gumi were generally: bushi, peasants, and at least one member of the
                      kuge (nobility). The peasants were led by a village chief from the Tosa
                      estate. Note. There is no mention of a "tenchigumi" in either Daijirin
                      or Nihonshi Kenkyuu.

                      I am sure that you are having an enjoyable experience in your doujo and
                      respect your sensei very much, but you have been experiencing a
                      particular kind of Japanese hype common in the martial arts community.
                      The web page which you give does nothing at all to seriously
                      substantiate claims for ninjutsu.

                      Incidentally, ninja is the generally preferred Japanese word not
                      shinobi no mono. Further, the base meaning of "shinobi" is "endure"
                      with the circular definition "ninja" appearing as the third definition.
                      I rather think that "endure" is the real root of the word and refers to
                      special fortitude by spec ops units which would silently ford motes,
                      scale walls, &c. Even popular depictions of ninja portray the general
                      silence of the ninja. Why would "ninja" be preferred to "shinobi no
                      mono" for pretty much the same reason that Greek, Italian, and French
                      nouns are preferred to Anglo-Saxon nouns in English. Ninja simply
                      sounds more educated, because it uses on'yomi readings. The Japanese
                      are especially fond of "night attacks", so moving silently and wearing
                      hard to see clothing could make you pretty stealthy.

                      As for this "samurai code" preventing engagement in special ops, hooey!
                      The Japanese love special ops. There are times when you make a big deal
                      about battle and even single combat, and times when you don't. As for
                      night attacks in general, you should read about the start of the Genpei
                      War, the famous night attack involving the Soga brothers, &c.

                      As for fanciful claims of antiquity, you encounter that sort of thing
                      all the time when dealing with things Japanese. Everyone has to learn
                      to sift through these claims.

                      Your Humble Servant
                      Solveig Throndardottir
                      Amateur Scholar

                      +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                      | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                      | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                      | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                      +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                      | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                      | the trash by my email filters. |
                      +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                    • Solveig Throndardottir
                      Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! Faking lineages was and is very common in Japan. Your school s lineage may be authentic, however the chances are very
                      Message 10 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                        Noble Cousin!

                        Greetings from Solveig! Faking lineages was and is very common in
                        Japan. Your school's lineage may be authentic, however the chances are
                        very good that it is not. Claiming a lineage going back to the T'ang is
                        automatically suspicious. There are some things in Japan which are
                        traceable to the T'ang, but they are generally preserved in the court.
                        Look, there is even a controversy about the imperial lineage which only
                        goes back about six hundred years or so. The T'ang were long gone a
                        LONG time before that. History means "investigations". This means
                        trying to find things out. The web page which was quoted here earlier
                        was far from authoritative and even spelled the name of a particular
                        uprising in Japan incorrectly in a way which does make a difference.

                        Here is an example from something that I am involved with. There is a
                        controversy over the origin of the Sen family. The Sen have held a pair
                        of adjoining estates in Kyouto since the early seventeenth century and
                        are linked by marriage to the imperial family. The dispute is whether
                        or not they are Koreans or some such thing.

                        Your Humble Servant
                        Solveig Throndardottir
                        Amateur Scholar

                        +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                        | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                        | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                        | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                        +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                        | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                        | the trash by my email filters. |
                        +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


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