Do you agree with Antony Cummins' perception about both Ninjutsu and the Ninja?

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by thegoodguy, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. thegoodguy

    thegoodguy Valued Member

    I watched some of his videos. Basically he says ninja were never a group of people different and separated from the Samurai and the rest of the Japanese society. The distinction between a samurai and a ninja was just about occupation or role. That means that some of the samurai were involved in the shinobi role or occupation. And that the belief that both samurai and ninja were enemies is false.

    And as to Ninjutsu itself, it was never a fighting art or style according to his research. It was just a set of special skills used for espionage, sabotage, infiltration, breaking and entering, etc. And if there were ninja who were very good at fighting, it was because of their previous training in fighting arts.
     
  2. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    So while not a huge fan of his work, this is pretty much the consensus view within Koryu and Japanese history mainstream circles.
     
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  3. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    It’s pretty much the consensus within the Bujinkan too

    There are, however, schools from Iga that due to their history a) focus more on escape in their fighting methods, b) utilize certain weapons appropriate to “ninjering”, and c) do contain some elements of disguise, entering buildings etc (bear in mind that even in koryu circles many schools contain much more than just techniques for personal combat)

    Anthony likes controversy, but unfortunately hasn’t come up with anything new....
     
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  4. Nojon

    Nojon Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein

    Didnt he "resurrect" a ninjutsu school after buying a scroll and asking one of the family's descendants for permission?
     
  5. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I decided a while ago not to devote any more energy on Anthony
     
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  6. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    To be honest , I thought he’d dropped off the radar years ago.
     
  7. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award



    I disagree with his principles of training wear.....
     
  8. pgsmith

    pgsmith Valued dismemberer

    Wishful thinking. :)
     
  9. John R. Gambit

    John R. Gambit The 'Rona Wrangler

    The first part was accurate. The second part has no basis in reality. The shinobi were covert imperial bodyguards for the man who united Japan and are actually the reason he survived the shogun wars that got him there. So yeah, they could kinda fight. The man is a moron.
     
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  10. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Whoa! I been away so long Antony is subject of a post?

    Deja Vu.
     
  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Hey John, nice to see you again! :)
     
  12. John R. Gambit

    John R. Gambit The 'Rona Wrangler

    It'll be short-lived I'm afraid. As an American who will have Trump reelected for a second term according to Allan Lichtman's opinion regarding the Democrats history with trying to remove incumbent Republican presidents using career politician moderates Democrats suggest, I expect I'll have a year to be having any sort of Internet presence remaining. Barring any unforeseen events. Da comrad.
     
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  13. Crucio

    Crucio Valued Member

    It depends how you look at it. Different regions had their own spies, ninja, and they would likely learn whatever martial arts were available in that region. There are documents from different regions that state fairly clear and direct that Iga and Koka were by far the best. These people, like all the other warriors, had their own fighting styles. These styles, it stands to reason, were adapted to their own situation and needs. Gyokko ryu and Koto ryu are supposed to be the fighting arts from these regions and if you look at them it makes sense; they have a big emphasis on getting away rather then stand and fight, while they work in armor, they are clearly made to deal with people without it; there are techniques that teach attacking someone from behind, etc.

    The samurai vs ninja thing i think came from SKH. Families from Iga and Koka would think of themselves as warriors, thus samurai. After Iga no Ran, the invasion of those lands by Nobunaga, they migrated to different regions, many of them to the soon to be Shogun and became his bodyguards (guess they knew a thing or two about fighting if they were trusted with that job).

    I actually think that Antony did a good thing translating( paying) the text that he (Yoshie Minami) did. Are they the best, no, but they give a decent enough understanding of the texts. For a good translation, i would go with Don Roley, The Tomes of Ninjutsu (Bansenshukai, Shoninki, Ninpiden, poems of Ise Saburo Yoshimori). ACs opinions on Ninjutsu are clouded by his repeated rejection from both the Bujinkan and the Genbukan to accept him as a student and reveal what he wanted to know. Maybe at some point he was a young man wanting to know Ninjutsu, now he is in it only for the money, reason why he mellowed on the vs x Kan, making interviews with Ashida Kim, etc; the more people he can get on board the better $
     
  14. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Nah. The whole Dichotomy predates SKH from way earlier, though Mr Hayes certainly popularised the notion and considering the paucity of information in english by 1975 when he first went to Japan. Two Individuals are particularly responsible more than SKH in my opinion.

    Andrew Adams looms large in this. His series of articles in Black Belt beginning from Dec 1966 are the first real English sources for ninjutsu (Not counting Jay Gluck or the early 1930's translated articles of Gingetsu Itoh) please see:

    Black Belt

    Adam makes references to Ninja being a secret society with links from Yamabushi priests along with tropes of them being different from the "Samurai who fought openly on the field of battle" and that their services "might be employed at one time by a lord seeking to free his subjects from oppression"

    In the Jan 1967 issue

    Black Belt

    They are presented as 'assassins' rather than their actual fundamental historical role as Intelligence gatherers with a hint of sabotage thrown in. By 1970 he published Ninja, the Invisible Assassins where many of these salient points: their division as a society from the Samurai and their 'counter culture' morality where they fight for the oppressed against the societal rigid structure in that age was solidified. Its almost certain that SKH went to Japan with this worldview already embedded and just ran with it, mixing it in with his fascination for Mikkyo Buddhism.

    However Andrew Adams may have only been reflecting how Japanese Media was already looking at the Ninja in the 1960's Ninja Boom:

    Vintage Ninja has an excellent article on the film Shinobi no Mono (1962) which along with the Tv series Shinataro really set the scene for the feel of Ninja in the 1960's Japan (Hatsumi and Takamatsu were hired as advisors for the (first two?) films before they washed their hands of the project)

    SHINOBI-NO-MONO: The Lost Essential?

    The Black suit, the ninja stars are all there rather as opposed folklory magician that turned into massive frogs which was in the popular imagination in the original ninja boom of the 1910's-20's, and while Shinobi no mono didn't invent the stealthy infiltrator image, it did however insert the counter culture morality and aesthetic that simply wasnt there before;

    "Out were the magical special effects and jaunty heroes, in were gritty, realistic ninja films that saw socially oppressed little guys in black cloth suits with specialized shadow skills trying to shirk the foot of the armored spear-wielding samurai climbing over them for upward mobility. The Murayama Tomoyoshi pulp novels SnM was based on wore its socialist agenda on its sleeve, and director Yamamoto specialized in tales of anti-heroes subverting authority. Feudal warfare would stand-in for the capitalist system, conquest of land doubled for corporate greed, rival ninja were the guys in the next cubicle competing for what should have been your raise, and warlords played with innocent lives like the most jaded of corporate middle management played with careers."


    This (ignore the hip hop)



    replaced this



    All this as you can imagine fed into the narrative that Andrew Adams and later SKH funnelled into the western world consciousness.

    Funnily enough, while Hatsumi may have borrowed the black Gi look (He certainly wasn't wearing black in 1961 The Earliest Hatsumi and with Takamatsu he trained in white) However if If you read his earliest and even later material he definitely isn't culpable of propagating the Ninja Samurai Division. If anything there is an undercurrent of environmentalism counter culture an emphasis on the importance of Nature in Ninjutsu rather than the Robin Hoods of the east against dastardly Samurai.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
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  15. IronMaiden1991

    IronMaiden1991 Active Member

    I forgot he even existed
     

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