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Jim Gould - The mystical art of Ninjitsu and the secrets of Ninjas

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Jim Gould

gould

Sensei Gould practices and teaches the rare and deadly art of Ninjutsu. Unlike many who claims to teach Ninjutsu just to attract students and their money, sensei Gould teaches the art as close as possible as it was taugh in ancient times. His dojos are mainly situated in New Zealand, where he resides.



Who did you learn ninjutsu from?
Lineage: Hatsumi Sensie-Doron Navon-Peter Brown-Me
Direct Teachers: Peter Brown and Mark Lutman (Shinobi-Kai, England)


What exacly is a ninja?
This is a hard question. The word Ninja does not really exist, or rather did not until recent times. But using the term means that people know what we are talking about.
Ninja were used as spies, tacticians, infiltrators, assassins, advisors. A Ninja could be deemed 'a survivor' as that was the original purpose of the art.

 


Many people know the art of Ninjutsu through Hollywood movies ( such as The 3 ninja, American Ninja or even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle...). Is there any truth in them?
I have never seen a Hollywood movie that represented the Ninja at all. In fact there has never been a single Hollywood movie that even showed Ninjutsu techniques as such. Hatsumi Sensei was involved in a series of movies in the 60's called Shinobi No Mono that did a better job.
ShinobiNoMono
Film series in which Maasaki Hatsuri participated in the first film as a martial art advisor 
Photo taken fromhttp://123nonstop.com

What are the origins of Ninjutsu?

Most of our teaching tells us that the Ninja lineage probably comes from the Yama-Bushi. These warrior monks originated in Kyoto region, which at the time was heavily Shinto dominated, but also later became integrated with Buddhist beliefs.

Because one of the main practices that the Yama-Bushi trained in was the fighting arts their numbers were often swelled by the influx of 'Sohei', who were often peasants, as this made the monasteries "armies" grow to considerable size.

Yama_Bushi
Drawing of Yama-Bushis
image taken from http://www.buddhachannel.tv

The priests were originally called 'Gakusho' but the name that stuck was Yama-Bushi (mountain warriors) due to the fact that they came from Mount Hiei (Unfortunately the term Yamabushi was/is the name of a sect of Buddhist friars and means mountain sleepers, although written with different Characters). Buddhism was originally introduced in the 7th century but was not popular until it was reintroduced by Eisai in 1192.


The Ninja came to be during the 11th Century at about the time the Samurai came to power. The Ninja decided that they did not wish their lives (and deaths) to be controlled by some all powerful warlord. The Ninja relocated their families to the mountain regions in Japan and set up a counter culture. Here all the family members worked for the good of the Clan.

In order to protect their families the Ninja developed many skills. Expert fighters taught Martial arts (Tai-jutsu), Great riders taught Horsemanship (Ba-jutsu), and the Learned taught Academic and Science skills (Ten-mon, Chi mon).


The Ninja also became experts in explosives (Kayku-justsu), as well as many weapons. In fact of all the Martial arts Ninjutsu has the most diverse array of weapons.

igaueno-ninja_museum
Photo of Ninja weapons showcased in the Iga Ninja Museum
Photograph taken from http://www.guillaumemorel.com

 

The Ninja believed that learning was for everyone and not just the rich. Children were taught the same skills as adults. The Ninja were also great Philosophers (Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho).
Because of all these skills the Ninja became feared warriors and tacticians. The warlords who had even one Ninja in there employ were deemed to be powerful and dangerous.

These skills and powers became the eventual downfall of the Ninja. By the 17th Century, the Warlords and Samurai had become so afraid of this alternative society that they set out to destroy the Ninja completely. The stories of these "wars" are legendary and are told elsewhere on the web and in many books. But as testament to the power of the Ninja it cost the lives of many thousands of Soldiers and Samurai before the Ninja were beaten.


What can you tell us about Ninjutsu's philosophy
The art of Ninjutsu is based around thinking and strategy as well as fighting skills.

The fighting art is divided into many parts but the most common taught today is Tai-Jutsu. The principle here is moving your body in such a way as to utilise movement against strength. The smallest person can defeat the largest if the battle is not fought on strength alone.

4351_02
Reenactment of Ninjas sparring
Photo taken from http://www.japan-guide.com

The weapons systems are built around the Tai-Jutsu movements so that there is no need to learn a new art or movement just to study a certain weapon. Ninjutsu probably uses more weapons than any other martial art and probably also has the largest variety of henka.

The philosophy is based around seeking knowledge and protecting ones friends and family. Striving to be the best you can possibly be. Ninjutsu is not named the art of survival for nothing.


What techniques do you mostly use?
As mentioned above, Ninjutsu use a very large amount of techniques and weapons. These are grouped as follow: Punching, Kicking, Striking, Locking, Pressure Points, Holds, Throws, Avoidance, Restraining, Mental. Weapons range from Sword, Kusari-Fundo, Spear, Stick, Sickle, Shaken, Shurinken, Knife, etc etc Extra things taught can be explosives, poisons, medicines, espionage, disquise etc etc


Are there forms or Kata in Ninjutsu?
Ninjutsu does not use Kata the same way as other martial arts and therefore most of the 'Kata' are for practice with 2 people. However, the Sanshin No Kata can easily be practiced alone.
Bo Munthe introduced a Kata called 'Kamae No Kata' to Europe in the 80's that allowed a student to practice the stances alone in the same way that a Karate Kata does.

kamae-no-kata
Kamae No Kata depicted in drawings.
Image taken from http://www.bujinkancornwall.co.uk

 

Do you condition your body like ancient ninjas would?
There is really no need to do this now as we are not living in a warring state. What I don find with Ninjutsu is that as you are constantly moving every muscle and joint in your body that this actually conditions it far better than any gym could. We do not attempt to strengthen our bodies in the way a weightlifter or boxer would as much of our techniques are about flexibility and movement and not strength. In fact, too much muscle restricts movement and provides a lot of extra targets for Kyusho strikes.


I have notice that you use the term Dim Mak in your webpage, isn't Dim Mak the Chinese term for pressure points striking?
Yes it is, the Japanese term is Kyusho. I use Dim Mak as a heading on the web site as many more people recognise this term.


Dim Mak also includes certain mythical techniques such as "The death touch". Do you believe in that?
There is nothing mythical about the 'death touch' but it is much more than this. If a certain part of the body is struck in a certain way at a certain time of day much harm and even death can occur. I would prefer not to go into this subject on the interview though.
delayed_death_touch-02
Dim mak is based on knowledge from Chinese medicine
Image taken from http://www.fightingarts.com

 

Do ninjas really have stealth ability ?
Yes, the art teaches quiet movement and the ability to move undetected.


I have heard that ninjas could not be locked in any ways because of their ability to dislocate members of their body.
Well you know, there are many legends about Ninjas as indeed there are about all martial arts. It is surely true that some of them could do this, but I would doubt that every Ninja could. This legend may have sprung up due to the Ninjas ability to escape from just about any captive environment. Again it must be remembered that not all Ninja escaped and many were killed or taken prisoner during a mission or battle.

The Ninja were also experts at picking locks and climbing walls, hence the legends about them walking through wall came about because they could get into many areas that seemed impenetrable to others.

 

To learn more about Mr. Gould or Ninjutsu, please visit Yamajutsu-Kai Ninjutsu

 


Interview done by Hao Wong
Copyright ©2000 MartialLife. All rights reserved



 
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 March 2011 11:33  

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