My time training at the Bujinkan Hombo dojo in Japan was both monumentally testing and extraordinary inspirational. For me, the two weeks were very hard partially due to the training being both focused and lengthy (many days I was training for over five hours solid) and partly due to my having to completely change my attitude and approach in order to be able to grasp the teaching of this art. In Japan, the training is serious and disciplined. If when applying a technique someone punches at you and you fail to block, you will be hit. The training is for combat, not for fitness or for fun.
One other thing I found hard was adapting to a new way of life. Japan is so very different to anywhere in the world I have ever been to. The culture, the food, the attitude nothings is remotely similar to our western world. The culture shock was unbelievable. Nowhere else in the would you have squid guts as part of the breakfast or share your morning bath with Japanese businessmen. But nowhere else in the world has such beauty, wisdom and spirituality entwined with there everyday culture.
During my time in Japan, I was honoured to be taught by martial artist the calibre of which I have never seen before. Grand Master Hatsumi and from long-term personal students of his such as Pearce Sensei, Nogichi Sensei, Oguri Sensei, Seno Sensai, Nagato Sensei. These men led me to moments of epiphany that I could never have experienced in England. In fact, for me, the whole trip was an enlightenment experience.
During the day I trained in every aspect of our Ninja art. Strikes blocks, pressure points, locks, sweeps throws and countless weapons, cat claws, hanbo, bo, blow darts, throwing stairs, Kusuri-Gama, and various types of sword. My whole time was full on unbelievable adventures both mystical and martial.
Before my return, I was honoured to be awarded a black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. This for me, however, signifies the start of my training in this art, not the end. After 5 years of practising this art, I am still just building my foundation.
In Japan, after 26 years of practising martial arts, I learned what it truly means to be a martial artist and how best to learn the art.
To find out more about my lessons and adventures in learning the true Ninja Art and the extraordinary things I have witnessed be sure to buy a copy of my book Becoming the Ninja available early 2010 Art and the extraordinary things I have witnessed be sure to buy a copy of my book Becoming the Ninja available early 2010