This year, as you know, we are focusing on the ninpo aspect of our art. This is not a new concept since the mindset of the Bujinkan is based on the concept of ninpo. However, Soke is putting specific emphasis on the “escape” aspect of ninpo and the art of not being there. On a physical plain the aspect of kyojutsu is critical and how it influences the aspect of escape. In a sense, this is the ability to escape conflict or the need to fight. The Ninja of old were focused on their mission and therefore needed to successfully escape in order to preserve their acquisition or information. Capture or loss of life meant failure of the mission.
The Iga Ninja were especially adept at the art of munitions and the mixing of gun powder. To hold that technology meant to have a considerable advantage in war and therefore this technology was protected with the lives of the bearers. Experimentation was constant as well as new recipes were developed secretly and in result the ninjutsu was deployed to protect this technology and knowledge from falling into the wrong hands.
This purpose was so important that warriors were sent to crush the people of Iga.
So in our modern day, we need to understand how we can incorporate the teachings of ninpo and how it influences our training. We are obviously not going to mix up potions of gunpowder, but have to adapt the MINDSET to our present day of peace. (in some countries)
Ninpo was developed as an “outside of the box” thinking mindset and thrived in a culture, country and time that was strictly set in policy and standard.
I strongly feel that to think of the teachings of the Bujinkan as a normal martial art, is to miss the point entirely. If not a normal martial art-then no way bound to the definition of what people to believe a martial art to be.
Therefore fixed ideas of what is a “martial art”, means nothing and completely out of context when speaking about the Bujinkan.
Recently Soke has been writing the terms for Ninpo Ikkan replacing the character of “po” with the “po” meaning treasure.
Takamatsu Sensei told Soke that what matters in Budo is the heart of the warrior.
Development of this heart is the treasure that we all seek.