Ninja Jūhakkei (the eighteen disciplines; 忍者十八形) were first identified in the scrolls of Togakure-ryū 戸隠流, or “School of the Hidden Door”, founded during the Oho period (1161–62) by one Daisuke Nishina (Togakure), who learned a life view and techniques (ninjutsu) from Kagakure Doshi. Togakure ryu Ninjutsu Hidensho is a manuscript in Hatsumi’s possession that is said to document Togakure-ryū. It is the purported origin of the “18 skills of Ninjutsu.”
Ninja jūhakkei was often studied along with Bugei jūhappan (the 18 samurai fighting art skills). Though some techniques were used in the same way by both samurai and ninja, others were used differently by the two groups. The 18 disciplines are:
Seishinteki kyōyō (spiritual refinement)
Koppojutsu Tajutsu (unarmed combat)
Shuriken (throwing blades)
Kusarigama (chain and sickle
Suiren (water training)
 Hatsumi, Massaki. (1988). Essence of Ninjutsu. McGraw-Hill. pg. 173
 Here, “hidensho” simply refers to the secret manuscripts of Togakure-ninjutsu. In this particular case, it is referring to Buhi Kanjin Kanami no Maki (武秘神眼要巻). This particular scroll serves as a sort of mokuroku for the Togakure-ryu, and has been made publicly available in Masaaki Hatsumi’s publication “The Complete Ninja: The Secret World Revealed” (2013, p. 98-99).
A couple of weeks ago I posted a few of observations about Kōfuku No Shiori on Facebook – posting a longer follow-up here at the suggestion of friends.
Kōfuku No Shiori (幸福の栞), which translates as “A Guide to Happiness“, is a short text by Takamatsu Sōke. In seeing the Japanese original again recently, a number of things came to mind and I thought it might be good to post an English translation that will perhaps breathe some new life into this well-known and meaningful piece. Here’s the Japanese original:
Let’s break it down and see what we can find …
In the photo the Sōke of Bujinkan dōjō performs 刀匿礮姿 – Tōtoku Hyōshi, that is to use the sword as a shield against attack of outside or inside, this can be understood inside the Kobujutsu (古武術) as Naka-zumi (中墨) , Shinmyō-ken (神妙剣) or Seichū-sen (正中线). Basically it is the concept of maintaining a center-line with your being, with your body and with the tools that life has to offer, inside of sanshin (三心) this sanshin is an attitude of the being in spite of the external or INTERNAL circumstances (omote and ura / 表裏).
For this there is necessary the transmission and the practice of a corporal attitude of the being inside the one, the unity (一), From the unity to the multiplicity
Shūmoku (撞木), Hitoe (偏身), Ichimonji–goshi (一文字腰), Hanmi (半身) and Ichimonji (一文字) are some of the terms used in the kobujutsu for this corporal attitude inside the science of the art of the war (the art of the peace).
There are multiple guards, but only one guard will give us the victory over ourselves and our reflections projected on the outside.
What time is it? Now.
Where are you? Here.
Who are you? This moment.
Everything is in one, in the unity (一).
In the clip the sôke Masaaki Hatsumi shows the Dragon Body exercises (龍体運動)
The masters of any spiritual or artistic current repeat the forms of their practice habitually, not to establish difference between the regular practice and the daily life. They understand that the art and the artist have to establish a relation of unit that leads to the multiplicity in the interior and the exterior of his life.
The practice of an art is like a Japanese bamboo plant during the first seven years. Is very exogenous to the growth of the Japanese bamboo during his first seven years of existence, scarcely it is possible to estimate his growth, perhaps an ignorant farmer, would not have the patience and give up, however, to reach the seventh year, in just six weeks the Japanese bamboo plant grows over thirty meters.
What happened? Why no growth during the first seven years? It’s not that it did not grow, but during the first seven years of apparent inactivity, the bamboo was generating a complex root system that would allow it to hold when growth began.
Come to this point is important to meditate about this concept used by the masters “Take no uchi” (竹の内), this translates as “the interior of the bamboo.”
How to copy the technique of the master? How to copy something that has been created to keep secret and hidden to the look of the five senses (“mienai” – “見え ない” – invisible) and to the comprehension of the intellect (“wakaranai” – “分から ない” – incomprehensible)?
THE INTERIOR (INWARD) OF THE BAMBOO IS EMPTY.
“The way should not be hidden. To make known is the best means of keeping it hidden” – Yagyū Munenori.
Although there are many nuances in the way to grip a sword with both hands and as described in the various sword schools, so most practitioners recognize the description below as a general generic version, suitable for most beginners in the Bujinkan.
When training with the Japanese sword, one places his right hand on tsuka near the tsuba and the left hand grips the end of the tsuka, with the little finger placed on kashira. This is the basic way in which it holds a Japanese sword, regardless of whether a person is right- or left-handed.
Although it may seem that a left-handed person should keep the sword in the opposite way, with the left hand in front and the right-hand end of the bracket, but this is inappropriate for several important reasons.
A great advantage is achieved by holding the sword with the right hand forward. When holding the sword in front of you with the point towards the opponent’s eyes in Seigan no kamae, the area around your heart protected by the sword, and are less available to your opponent. If you would keep your sword in the opposite way, the area around your heart more exposed and as an easier target.
In terms of distance to the opponent, this can be determined by both parties by keeping their swords in Seigan and moving to positions where the swords overlap by about 10 cm from the tip. This puts each individual within about one step from being able to reach his opponent’s body.
In this position is the basic position of the tip of the sword on the left side of the opponent’s blade, ie, the heart-side of the opponent’s body. This puts the tip of the sword on the line for the shortest distance to your opponent’s heart.
In addition to being within the shortest reach of delivering a fatal blow to your opponent, you are also in a good position for protection. If your opponent would suddenly lunge with force against your heart, your best defense would be a simple twist of the torso and hips. By bringing your right shoulder forward, left shoulder backward avoid the attack. In this way, your sword deflect the opponent’s incoming fade away to the left side, while your own sword would stay on the line against your opponent’s heart.
You can imagine that it would be very difficult to do this if you held the sword with his left hand forward.
With both sides in this strategic position, it may seem that a stalemate could last forever. But even with an almost imperceptible change in breathing or perception of a faltering gaze, the one side sees an opening and suddenly attacks it, by starting from Seigan — and the battle begins. Or, as in our case, we begin our training.
I have over nearly two decades developed a model for self-protection, life protection and prevention I now term the ICE. Here is the latest definition of the model.
ICE [In Case of Emergency] is a program for the protection of life — self defense — Prevention, which can be adapted for different purposes in order to develop an individual’s inherent ability to protect themselves and their loved ones. It consists of three dimensions:
The uncertainty-reducing life protection dimension where you intuitively and instinctively observe and act on pre-incident signals (PINS).
The practical self defense dimension when you improvise the fight or flight response as the situation requires.
The prevention methods needed to practically avoid danger in wait, but also the strategies and tactics to prevent threats, violence and crises.
The ability to protect oneself is natural and instinctive. Our ancestors could fight to protect their tribe, their family or themselves. We persist in the Paleolithic body, but in a modern world with a completely different action landscape. We must learn to let these innate instincts, refine them and trust them.
ICE is an open system of self-protection through the use of appropriate means. These funds are aimed at all the things that are hard to describe in words, everything is intuitive, instinctive and that we must be able to improvise in an acute emergency.
The secret to survival lies not in superior techniques stored in muscle memory. This applies vice versa to enable the bio-based intuitive movements that have kept man alive since the Stone Age.
During an aggressive assault situation the cognitive brain can not process a regular “learned technique” that requires fine motor complexity or download from the cortex. Instead, the reptile brain takes over and produces an escape or fight response for self-protection.
What distinguishes the ICE from other systems is the intuitive behavior — our effort to learn to “overcome the instinct for survival“ and our focus on observing and early action on PINS deviations in the normal picture.
We use problem-based learning (PBL) as a teaching model that reduces the external instructor’s impact on the learning process, because each individual learns to rely on their own innate instincts.
This learning method gives each individual greater ownership and commitment to their own solutions, increased self-esteem and confidence in their ability to develop and grow.
ICE model consists of four basic programs horizontal and five vertical stripes that run across all programs and can be varied depending on needs and environment.
PINS — pre-incident signals
are observable and measurable indicators of behavior alerts of danger in wait. PINS are deviations from the norm and for the moment typical normal image that may indicate that you observe (people, events, vehicles and objects) can hurt you or others in your surroundings.These anomalies are anomalies that stand out from the surrounding area’s normal. This is a program for preventive fix everything that could indicate the emergence of threats and violence.
is information security and digital self-protection for individuals. Constantly, we read the newspapers’ headlines on news of stolen passwords, manipulated ATMs and identity theft. Warning letters from our banks for malicious computer virus designed to silently steal our savings, part of everyday life along with information about the hijacked Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is a program with practical tips to reduce anxiety and take better control of our information environment.
is something you can do as a reaction to PINS, but also something that must be planned in advance as a preventive measure for emergency preparedness. The program consists of nine proven methods primarily for use in urban environments, to escape an attacker. It also covers techniques to escape from the more urgent situations.
together with the run, one of our natural and instinctive responses in danger. The program of struggle include defensive techniques for the situations that arise suddenly and unexpectedly. It also contains aggressive methods when reading of ambient PINS and find that you can not escape and the need to defuse the situation by going on the attack.
In addition to the four programs contain ICE model five stripes that run across all applications on a little different way.
In order to be able to decide their own approach to the use of violence, it is useful to live into the role of opponent, and then ask the question “how do I react when I am subjected to threats and violence?” Through such exercises will be easier to put into how the opponent reacts in extreme situations. This realization creates increased conflict management capability. This streak includes among others such as breathing techniques, “fear management” etc.
The human locomotion, just as our nutritional and physical needs, is part of our species-specific biology; the result of evolution. If we want to learn self defense, which is biologically relevant and authentic, we must take a look at how we are touched and moved in the old days, long before modern society affected our movement patterns. This is a primary qualification principle of our model; it is not evolutionary natural nor is it effective self-protection.
In this streak equipment is defined as all the tools, objects and supplies you need to have with them daily to handle situations ranging from the most mundane to the catastrophic. The concept of equipment also includes the concept of being prepared through the choice of the equipment they have with them. The choice is individual and based on needs and environment.There is no standard kit.
If you behave tactically right can usually avoid being attacked. If a confrontation do occur can often be solved with a low level of violence. This is about to take the right distance when standing and walking, setting his vehicle and when you are in the buildings.
is a strategy and lifestyle of preparedness and based on personal risk and vulnerability. We live in an increasingly vulnerable society and in a time of threats and risks that are transnational. Serious pandemics, terrorist threats, natural disasters and collapsing social system are events that we have to prepare ourselves. Overall torque for this streak is vigilance, intelligence gathering and personal preparedness.
From: Essence of Ninjutsu, Dr Masaaki Hatsumi (1988)
Iga-ryu ninjutsu is a tradition. Along with Koga-ryu, Iga ryu is the most famous. It origonating in the Iga region, The area around today’s Iga-Ueno, Mie Prefecture.
According to legend, ninjutsu was founded in Japan by a former Chinese general in exile called Ikai 異勻, the name means “different stranger from abroad” and was very probably not his real name. There are also many links to Shingon Buddhism and Shugendō, but as these are esoteric sects, there is little recorded about this.
During the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573) the people of Iga region were independent of central control, and they established a form of republic called Iga Sokoku Ikki.
Men from Iga (Iga mono; 伊賀物) were mentioned in historical chronicles of 1487 when Shogun Ashikaga Yoshihisa attacked Rokkaku Takayori. Iga mono opposed Rokkaku’s side. Since then Iga mono been synonymous with ninja.
(This article originally appeared in the Bujinkan Sanmyaku Densho in 1996)
How many years ago was it? It happened on an evening as hot as this year’s summer. Shiraishi-san and I were called to the dojo by Soke. We had some time in hand, so Soke decided to grant us some training and for a few minutes we practiced responding with Sabaki (body movement) and shuto strikes to an enemy who hurls himself at you, thrusting with a tanto (knife) held at his right hip. I was called up to do the next technique, and Soke told me “Stab at me with all your might from the Kamae you were just in.” For an instant I thought “Perhaps I’ll be made to fly through the air with the momentum of my thrust”, and internally I pictured how I would take the following ukemi. I was around thirty then, my body moved quite adequately and…
According to one theory, all martial arts are divided into three development areas:
Our movements are defined as taijutsu and its movement quality is described in Sanshin no kata. We call our weapons for “ken” (fist, or what is in the fist; 拳) can simply translate to “effectors” to be used in various forms of combat situations. There can be different types of weapons and tools in the physical situation, but even such abstract misinformation, psychology, etc. on the logical information – and behaviorism.
The Target that we attack with our “ken” is commonly known as “kyusho” (急所).
Kyusho is the general term for martial targets and critical vulnerabilities found on the enemy. The term, however, could vary depending on region and tradition, and was called for example “kinketsu” (禁穴) – dangerous hole – in Koto-ryu and “shiketsu” (死穴) – deadly hole – in Takagi Yoshin-ryu, while in Kukishin-ryu more generally called “atekomi kokoroe” (当込心得) – knowledge of the targets in the body (atekomi is synonymous with atemi 当身 = blows to the body).
Checkpoints to grab the sword and knife called “kirisho” (also read as Sessho; 切所) – cut points. These were taught in the inner secrets (hiden; 秘伝) in each school and the number of points could vary from a few, to hundreds, even if in reality the during the ongoing struggle there’s not so many to choose from.
When it comes to punches and kicks against these points, you have to understand that there are individual differences in the effect on the opponent. One must also be aware that some of these points can also be used to mitigate the effects of enemy impact on your body and to speed up recovery after an injury, it is then called kappo (活法).
The manipulation of these points could be done with a strike (atekomi/atemi) with hand edge (Shuto 手刀), fist (kobushi 拳), fingers (Shito指先), open hand (hirate 平手) toes (ashisaki 足先), ankle (ashikubi 足首) etc. The effect that was desired was to put the enemy in temporary shortness of breath, confuse him or to temporarily paralyze the body’s movement.
Within our Koto-ryu koppojutsu it is described in the book Shoden Chugokui (初伝中極意) where Koppo kinketsu is named, diagrams and effects are described. It contains:
Manipulation of kappo points,
Manipulation of points that destroys,
Knowledge of the things that kills instantly,
Strikes cause damage long after the hit,
Points that temporarily prevents life “ki”
items that prevents full mobility for three to seven days,
Points that paralyzes the movement immediately
Points that stops the movement temporarily
Painful points, and so on.
This method is called gomon no kei 五問之形 – the doctrine of the five approaches – in this little book, it is shown that each item can be manipulated in five different ways for different purposes. It says that when you have trained in the ability to atekomi the points, you will start to develop the mental capacity (Seishin ryoku 聖心力) to Tōate ( “strike at a distance”; 遠当) .
Kyusho is thus not only to physically manipulate the points that give pain. People are designed so that they may be unable to move if they manipulated the points that feels comfortable. Therefore, says the book, “that it is important to study humans and animals [eg. moving things, and would now also be able to include vehicles, etc.], in order to understand their function and their weaknesses.” This achieves the mysterious abilities described in ancient legends.
Today, everything around us in society amounts to kyusho points: vehicles, buildings, information systems, logistics systems, power grids, etc., and knowledge of these are also included in our goshinjutsu exercise for us to prepare ourselves to protect from them.