a ninja visits the dojo

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

On Sundays there is a training session at Shiramine-jinja and then one at Marutamachi. In today’s afternoon class we had a visit from a ninja. Yes, you would think that if we had a visit from a ninja, we wouldn’t know it. However, sometimes that black gi makes you stand out…

I should resist my temptation to treat ninjas with sarcasm. Perhaps someday it will earn me a deadly attack when I least expect it. But I am prejudiced. The only respectable thing I have ever seen on ninjutsu isStephen Turnbull’s book, which, as far as I’m concerned, says ninjas didn’t exist. Before today, the only other ninja I ever met was an extremely out of shape man who visited my shotokan dojo back home to try kendo. He said he had been practicing ninjutsu for several years (where in rural upstate New York?), but his kendo suggested he had never held anything remotely like a bokken or other training tool.

Our visitor today put in a much better show than his fellow… clan member?… from upstate New York. Carter-sensei was actually able to correct his nikajo to the point that he could make it work quite well, after only 9 years (!) of ninja training and claiming that it was a beginner’s technique in ninjutsu. I hope after 9 years of aikido I can make nikajo work without having sensei position my hands and body for me. You never know, though. Right now, everything feels impossible.

Mr. Ninja was a nice guy despite the high likelihood he is in a money-making scam. I wish him well on his travels through Japan. He another colorful character in the tapestry of my Kyoto adventure.