Since Japan is celebrating February 22, 2015 is National Day of the Ninja in pop culture. I decided I would write a post about my inner ninja and how it has shaped my life. Early in my childhood ninja’s captivated me in the movies, cartoons, and video games. As an adult I am still fascinated by ninjas and the art of ninjutsu.
My inner ninja began to evolve when I was a child and I’d spend anywhere from a few weeks and to a few months of lying in a hospital bed or in my own bed. Usually I had some type of orthopedic operation that required me to lie around for a long period of time. – Hmm…in writing this I just now realized why I am good at jujitsu. – I watched a lot of movies during my many horizontal vacations. Some of the movies or cartoons featured ninja’s or where about ninjas. I can remember watching movies in the 1980s such as the American Ninja series and The Octagon with Chuck Norris.
Now that I am an adult and a historian; I realize that the 1980s depiction of the ninja in cinema does not accurately portray the real ninja. Though that didn’t stop me from asking my parents if could take some form of martial arts and secretly hope that I would train as a ninja. I have always felt I would be a great ninja and that I possessed a special skillset as a dwarf. I am short, I am easy to conceal; I can fit in small spaces. Most people do not look down when they are walking and it has always been easy for me to walk up next to someone and surprise them. This happened a lot where I used to work. No one could see it was me when I would enter the office. I would walk around the corner and someone would be walking from the opposite direction. Of course they would be looking over the walls of the cubical and not down at the ground. I would get next to them and simply say the word “hi”. I have never seen people get startled so bad they jump 4 feet into the air. This was a common occurrence in the office. After a while I was considered to be the office ninja.
The mysticism of the ninja culture is very fascinating especially with the art of stealth, disguises, and “black magic”. In recent years I have come to appreciate the actual fighting style of ninjutsu. Thanks to YouTube I have been able to watch Ninjutsu instructors such as Yossi Sheriff and the Masaaki Hatsumi. The techniques I have been watching online are similar to the ones I like to practice in jujitsu class.
Hmm – jujitsu a samurai based martial art. Umm – could the ninja’s have infiltrated the ranks of the samurai? Happy Ninja Day Japan.
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