Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Understanding Kata

The term Kata means Dance, but it is not always used the same way. In Karate for example Kata are forms practiced by an individual such as Shodan no Kata, the first form taught in Classical Shotokan Karate. In Shotokan Waza (meaning technique or method) is drill performed by 2 people such as Ippon Kumite or one step sparring & Sanbon Kumite or three step sparring. The exercise of Ippon Kumite & Sanbon Kumite is to teach waza or technique. To help the reader I point to the video below, where one is perfecting technique such as a high block and counter strike. Sometimes in the term Waza is used to describe exercises such as Sanbon Kumite and Ippon Kumite in the west.

However, in Jujitsu, Aikijutsu, Aikijutsu or Taijitsu (all different terms for basically the same art of unarmed combat) Kata is a training method. Here Kata is executed by applying a series of waza or techniques against a non-resistant opponent. Below is a comparison of Shotokan Karate's Heian Shodan no Kata & a random Jujitsu Kata.
Heian Shodan Kata:
Jujitsu Kata:
The reason for the videos is simple, it makes the differences easy to understand, the term is the same, the kanji is the same and meaning is the same. But, the core principles are very different, as is the reason for the existence of kata in the two forms. In karate, Kata refers to solo practice drills in China and Okinawa these drills wee practiced much like the scene from Enter the Dragon, were each person is amassed and executes the actions in unison. This was an Asian form of Drill & Ceremony for older times, Western armies used marching. Likewise, the kata could be practiced by individuals alone and was a form of moving meditation, physical exercise and a "text book" for martial arts where Bunkai (literally "to disassemble") is used to analyze the form to discover alternative applications and techniques. Here a single form taught lower ranking soldiers might have a totally different meaning to the initiated higher ranking soldiers. Kata Bunkai has three ways of viewing Kata... Omote is literally "surface" so Kata Bunkai  Omote is the first form of initiation, the surface application of the form. At the Omote level what you see is what you get, a punch is a punch, a kick a kick and block a block. Here kata forms the process of exercise and teaching basic fighting techniques.

In our ancient Asian army we would call our "NCOs" (Non-Commissioned Officers) or "Sergeants" (if you are a civilian) would be initiated into the Ura Bunkai, Ura literally means "Behind" and it I what is behind the form. Here techniques are not just techniques, a Juji-uke (cross block) and pivot may be a trap and break or throw. This is the "secret" teaching of the Kata. And finally our last level of initiation is for our "Officers" this is call Honto Bunkai, Honto literally means "true" or "truth" for the largest part because few Karateka wrote down their teachings much of Honto Bunkai has been lost to history, but this is where the intentionally "hidden secrets" in kata are laid bare. 

Many times throughout history in both Okinawa and China this level of initiation was used due to armies having conscripted soldiers. Many of the documents which survived to present day are written in a form of metaphor that served as a code. Understanding these metaphors was part of the Honto Bunkai level of teaching though not directly related to Kata where strategy and tactics could be concealed in the form at the Honto level. One claiming to know the secret codes would have to be initiated at various levels. This of course is like a ancient form of security clearance. That prevented misuse of knowledge by those who would seek to overthrown their leaders.

By comparison, Feudal Japan during the Sengoku period when many schools were formed into codified systems. The primary differences in Jujitsu and Karate Kata, is the about Mid-Tokuagawa era the Bushi became a specific class and "migration" between classes was ended. Prior to the Tokugawa shogunate (bafuku) a merchant could become a warrior or a warrior could become a priest. Many farmers were conscripted to become Ashigaru (literally Light Feet) or Light Infantry, some becoming Warriors (bushi) or more correctly mercenaries. When after Oda Nobunaga the Ashigaru's position became fixed, making the Ashigaru members of the Samurai class, though this was not in all domains. Mainly in rural areas were Ashigaru could be "promoted" to the rank of Ji-Samurai or country samurai under a Kokujin. Such Ashigaru might still be farmers but considered Bushi was well, think of supply line soldiers who be drawn from the rear to fight on the frontlines. Meaning the Ashigaru were considered Samurai class & their primary role was warfare but they still supplied the army with other duties.

Bujitsu (to include jujitsu) became a skill only of professional soldiers (the samurai class) and as such teaching was more direct to produce warriors of skill compared to the conscripted warriors of the preceding era. As such a school could have branches among various classes because members of the same family existed in different classes. Families were locked in the position of being warriors, so techniques and application became more direct in study but also more closely guarded. A technique, waza, was practiced through kata, with the focus less on whipping a conscripted army into shape to follow orders through drill like the Kata of Karate and more on perfecting individual skill at arms. These direct but rote movements lead to an understanding of Ura, the principles of technique that work "outside the technique" and finally the Honto or "true meaning" of a technique.

In Jujitsu the Ura is understood by practicing Kata and testing one's skills in battle. Sometimes, Warriors would engage in duals called Shiai. Shiai is made up of two kanji Shi means literally "Test" or "To Test" and ai means literally "to gather" or "join" and one interpretation is "to test to gather" or perhaps "test each other." As such shiai can mean anything from a game or contest to a bout. Experience leads one to understand the principle behind the techniques, such contests were often limited by few rules meaning injuries were common. Honto was achieved only by understanding the higher meaning of the technique.

 What is this higher meaning you may ask? What is the Truth of Kata? The truth of Kata is found in doing, not reading. I can tell you the secret and you will never know the truth of it without training. You see the Honto, the Truth of Kata is that it is the beginning of wisdom and not the end result. This is the point when one can invent techniques, not by making things up and applying a name to it but by creating it in a moment of need in the Shiai of self-defense or the Randori of sparring match. This level truth is known as Mushin, the no-mind state of being without thought or emotion when one acts without knowing to act.

Mushin exists in Karate as well, in fact I wrote this blog to address the differences in the term Kata, for a friend. Its does not mean different is either good or bad, it means different paths to the same summit.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ninjutsu: The Selling of a Warrior Fantasy...

Now I have apologized to a friend about being a dick when it comes to calling out his Martial Art as a modern creation of Takamatsu but I feel the way I feel regardless. Of course the reality is only two of the nine schools exist outside of the claims of Takamatsu. Takagi Yoshin Ryu which Takamatsu was named Soke of and, Kukishinden Ryu which is a splinter school of Kukishin Ryu started by Takamatsu who only held a Menkyo Kaiden (a master teaching license) which means one ha gained a total transmission of the art. So if you know me, I don't dispute that Takamatsu was capable martial artist, I doubt his claims to ninjutsu... as well as his many other claims to martial arts lineage.

In the Tenchijin Ryaku No Maki (Book of Heaven, Earth and Man Strategy) later republished as Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu by the American Bujinkan Dojo has a section entitled Shinden Gokui in which Hatsumi talks about learning and understanding martial arts, he refers to art with a vague term of " this Ryu" but doesn't specify which of the nine. Now at the time of Tenchijin Ryaku No Maki publishing (1964) Hatsumi refered to his art not as Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu but as Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu. This is important because only Togakure Ryu is mentioned in the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten of the nine schools. However, Hatsumi in the Shinden Gokui chapter says that according to Takamatsu "It was against the previous master of this ryu to put the ryu to pen and paper."

In good Bujinkan tradition they go back and change things in an attempt to alter history and claims. However, the Jigoku Dojo does include a version of the Shinden Gokui found in the Tenchijin Ryaku No Maki which states very plainly...
"On the occasion of publishing this book, I introduce for your information the part of the book which Takamatsu Sensei had taught me. As a rule of this Ryu, writing down is forbidden."

You can find the whole article at and a screen shot above, at a later date I will include images of the Tenchijin Ryaku No Maki text in the original Japanese and the American Bujinkan Dojo's English translation. But it is clear that before Takamatsu compiled the Togakure Ryu Densho no documentation of the Ryu existed.

So the Densho originate with Takamatsu, no record exists before Takamatsu and unless one wishes to say Hatsumi is mistaken or a lying no densho will ever be produced. More importantly, of the Nine Schools three were merged into Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu prior to Takamatsu, if one believes Takamatsu's lineage, meaning that Koto Ryu, Gyokko Ryu & Togakure Ryu are all one art from 3 different roots. So from the Akban Wiki at as "Myth describes Cho Gyokko as the teacher who brought the school to Japan from China during the Tang dynasty. It was handed down from generation to generation. Sakagami Taro Kunishige organized Gyokko Ryū shitojutsu; in the Tenmon period (1532 - 1550), he taught it to Toda Sakyo Isshinsai who created Gyokko Ryū kosshijutsu. Its sister school is the Koto Ryū, also created by Toda. Both Gyokko Ryū and the aforementioned Koto Ryū were taught by Toda to Momochi Sandayu, who carried on the traditions within Iga Ryū until the late Tokugawa period (mid (19th Century). Techniques from Gyokko Ryū and Koto Ryū became the foundation for techniques of Togakure Ryū."
Using a different source of information from the Jinenkan Ottawa Dojo at Paragraph 4, which states a little more clearly "Within the Jinenkan, the accepted history of Koto Ryu acknowledges Toda Sakyo Isshinsai as the founder: he received the traditions of both Gyokko-Ryu Shito-jutsu and Koto-Ryu Koppojutsu in the Tenmon period (1532-1550). Though the Shitojutsu apparently already existed, it is unclear to what level the Koppojutsu was organized, formalized, or even named. However it seems that Toda passed them to Momochi Sandayu as Gyokko-Ryu Kosshijutsu and Koto-Ryu Koppojutsu; this suggests that as he had received them as separate traditions, he saw value in keeping them distinct from each other, as opposed to amalgamating them. Through Momochi the traditions were maintained by the Iga Ryu; at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate (1870s) they reached Toda Shinryu-ken, and entered the Togakure Ryu."

And I will reference a third source, the Adelaide Bujinkan Ninjitsu Dojo at which states this about the three ryu-ha Koto Ryu, Gyokko Ryu and Togakure Ryu:

Gyokko Ryu: "Kosshijutsu means "to knock down the enemy with one finger". Koshi could also mean "Backbone", as if the Kosshijutsu is the backbone of martial arts. Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu, is a distant branch of the Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu."

Togakure Ryu: "The oldest of the nine traditions, the techniques and skills of the Togakure Ryu form much of the basis for the Ninjutsu techniques taught in the Bujinkan.
The Togakure Ryu Ninja were required to master 18 forms of Bujutsu (Martial arts) including various punching, throwing and levering techniques making up taijutsu (unarmed combat) along with the arts of Kenpo (swordsmanship), Yari (spear), Naginata (halberd), Bojutsu (staff fighting), and three school secrets, named Sanpo Hiden, which are Shuko (hand claws), Senban Shuriken (throwing daggers), and Shinodake (bamboo tube for breathing under water).
“To Hide is the Defence”
 ”Violence is to be avoided, and Ninpo is Bujutsu”

Koto Ryu: "The name 'Koto Ryu' (Tiger knocking down) means, to knock down the Tiger (opponent) with the tips of the fingers.
The basic movements in the Koto Ryu, include large exaggerated blocking movements. As you progress through the levels, these movements are reduced, according to your skill. The Kihon movement is the same as the kata 'Ichimonji no kamae', from the Gyokko Ryu Ki Gata (Moto gata). The Koto Ryu has an emphasis on using the opponent’s bone structure and skeleton to defeat him."

So the same man created two different Ryu and merged them with a third Ryu or passed them on to a third to be merged with a third Ryu. Certainly Koto Ryu & Gyokko Ryu have similar techniquesand share same movement forms. The problem is no Densho for these schools existed prior to Takamatsu. Ah but wait, according to Adelaide Bujinkan Ninjutsu Dojo, Gyokushin Ryu & Kumogakure Ryu were also blended into Togakure Ryu prior to it being passed down to Takamatsu.

Gyokushin Ryu: "The Gyokushin Ryu was taught in the Kishu, and Takeda Fiefs. This possibly happened in the 1600's, and it was then that it came into contact with the Togakure Ryu. It is not known in the west as to what the fighting techniques of the Gyokushin Ryu are except that it uses Sutemi (sacrifice) throws."

Kumogakure Ryu: "The third of the ninja ryus, it uses similar taijutsu as Togakure Ryu, and is also known for double blocks and strikes. The taijutsu of this school is very similar to the taijutsu of Togakure ryu. The main differences are that in Kumogakure ryu jumps as well as multiple blockings are used."

So this inspires me to research Gyokushin & Kumogakure Ryu more in depth, what found when seraching for Gyokushin Ryu was and this statement "It is believed that Gyokushin Ryu's founder Sasaki Goemon was originally from the Gyokko Ryu or that the techniques of the Gyokushin Ryu were based on the Gyokko Ryu." and includes this quote "It is a faction of kosshijutsu and was founded by Sasaki Orouemon Akiyari" from Hiden Ninja Submission by Hatsumi. Furthermore, says this about Kumogakure Ryu "It has been said that this ryu was really created by the Toda family, in the 1600's as a Ninjutsu school of thought, centering its techniques on the non-violent side of Ninjutsu. The Togakure Ryu teaches that violence is to be avoided. This would also explain why the school's taijutsu is similar to the Togakure Ryu, as the Toda were also Sokes of the Togakure Ryu."
Gyokushin Ryu can be found  at:

Kumogakure Ryu can be found at:

What we find is the claim of a very long lineage going back to a series of interconnected Ryuha that remained somehow independent of each other. These claims raises the questions of how and why? What is more interesting is that Takamatsu claimed they were all graphed and apart of Togakure Ryu. How are they apart of Togakure Ryu and somehow not part of Togakure Ryu?

Now I will not claim to know the answers to these questions, I do not... however, it is at all impossible for anyone to apply the standard used by the Bujinkan to attack other ninjutsu schools and say "no proof" is "proof" of fraudulent claims. This means that these schools are the product of Takamatsu's own mind, in an attempt to make his claims seem legitimate he invented a very detailed mythology for a lineage. At this point we find not three ryuha in one but five in one. This of course caused me to examine the other Ryuha but I will deal with them later, this will do for now.

What we find is a long and intricate history all connecting the teaching of Takamatsu with various points in the Japanese History. What interesting is that certain claims about Takamatsu are unproven and seem to be direct competition with the other Ninja of Modern Japan Fujita Seiko. Claims such as having instructed at Nakano and having been a spy while in China. Since very little documentation of Toda Shinryuken exist and previous editions of the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten states Takamatsu used fictional characters in his lineage and placed Toda's death before his birth one might look on things with a sense of scientism.

In fact, I will have to address those other ryuha now, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Gikan Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu and, Kukishinden Ryu.

Takagi Yoshin Ryu, practiced by the Bujinkan Takamatsu-den is different from an older art of Hontai Yoshin Takagi Ryu which had a close association to Kukishin Ryu. According to the Hontai Yosin Ryu homepage at Hontai Yoshin Ryu and Takagi Yoshin Ryu have the same founder Takagi Oriemon Sigetoshi, and the Hontai Yoshin Ryu is very limited in the information they give on their art but comparing it with lineage stated on the site at the lineage seems to diverge at Hontai Yoshin Ryu's 12th Master and  Takagi Yoshin Ryu's 13th Soke Yagi Ikugoro Hisayoshi. Why one of these schools lists the same man as the 12th Soke and the other as the 13th Soke is interesting in itself. However, Hontai Yoshin Ryu lineage notes that under the fourth Soke Okuni Kihei Shigenobu (same as Takagi Yoshin Ryu) the Hontai Yoshin Ryu Takagi Ryu was taught in association with Kukishin Ryu. This is o reinforced at ( This suggests that Fujita Fujigoro Hisayoshi either split of from Yagi Ikugoro Hisayoshi lineage and started his own school or Takamatsu learned elements of Honati Yoshin Ryu Takagi Ryu as elements were adopted by Kukishin Ryu & made a lineage for Takagi Yoshin Ryu. To be quite honest it is just as likely that someone who  studied a branch of this lineage in close association with the Kuki family taught this art to Takamatsu.

Gikan Ryu from ( says "The Makimono scrolls of Gikan Ryu have sections on the kata names, history, secret striking points (kyusho), and strategies used by the ryu, but research revealed that the makimono, when referring to techniques, only mention the names, and do not contain the step by step instructions as do some makimono. This was done in order to keep the teachings of the school secret in case the scrolls were stolen. From what we understand there are no densho in the Gikan Ryu. The whole range of kata for the ryu was taught orally." However, an unlisted fact is that Takamatsu's teacher Ishitani Matsutaro Takekage was a Security Guard in the match factory owned by Takamatsu's grandfather. Takamatsu did not mention Gikan Ryu or Ishitani until after Ishitani's death. Certainly the Gikan Ryu Makimono lacking any description of techniques is questionable?

Shinden Fudo Ryu is an interesting subject as it lists Izumo Kanja Yoshitero as it's second Soke it's founder is unknown, Izumo Kanja Yoshitero is also the founder of Kukishin Ryu. However, and interestingly so, Terajima Kunichiro (who is not part of the Bujinkan lineage for Shinden Fudo Ryu) taught E. W. Barton-Wright in Jujutsu and Mr. Barton-Wrights articles on self-defense prompted a Mr. Herman ten Kate (1858-1931) to write an article in a Dutch magazine De Gids in 1905. This information is found at and what makes it interesting is that this school exists outside the Bujinkan lineage. So following the 1905 article we know that Mr. Barton-Wright and Mr. Kate studied Shinden Fudo Ryu in Japan circa 1896.

Interestingly enough, Shinden Fudo Ryu was a popular school in Japan, the Bartonitsu site even notes that the Shinden Fudo Ryu studied is separate from the Shinden Fudo Ryu associated with the Bujinkan. According to the book The Secrets of Shin Den Fudo Ryu which includes many pictures of the Densho written by Izumo Kanja Yoshitero, this lineage is separate from the Lineage claimed by the Bujinkan. The Article Legends of Karate: Mabuni Kenwa (Found here: refers to Mabuni Kenwa as the Soke of Shinden Fudo Ryu Kenpo under Yata Onseisai Noriaki, where as the Bartitsu site quoted above cites Mr. Kate as learning under Terajima Kunichiro a student of  Yata Onseisai. The same Yata Onseisai who passed the Ryu onto Mabuni Kenwa. Further more the article Legends of Karate: Mabuni Kenwa cites the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten as the source. This means whenever the Bujinkan points to Shinden Fudo Ryu in the Bugei Rayuha Daijiten they are in fact lying, claiming a lineage that is recognized and not associated with them. More interestingly so is the fact that according the  Bugei Rayuha Daijiten  in the article this branch of Shinden Fudo Ryu was originally called Shinden Jigan Ryu and then later renamed by Yata Noriyuki. However the citation also says the Ryu was founded by Yata Onseisai Noriaki. Which gets us back to the book; The Secrets of Shin Den Fudo Ryu, of which Izumo Kanja Yoshitero is not the author except of the Densho pictured there in, its lineage is separate from the Bujinkan Takamatsuden. Meaning that by all accounts lacking any substantial proof it seems Takamatsu invented this Ryu claiming himself Soke to an unknown branch of an estanblished Ryu.

This of course brings finally to Kukishinden Ryu, which is recognized as an of shoot of  Kukishin Ryu. However, Takamatsu did hold a Menkyo Kaiden (License of Full Transmission) in Kukishin Ryu but founded his own art of Kukishinden Ryu with a story about the Densho for Kukishin Ryu being burned up in a fire bombing of Japan during WW2. While there was a fire and some scroll cases were only singed the scrolls inside were not destroyed. Since the some of these densho were lost due to age but the scroll cases remained. More so, from the FAQ of the  Kukishinden Tenshin Hyoho Website:

"Q:On the Soke of Kukishin Ryu
A:Apart from our "Kukishinden Tenshinhyoho," there are other lineages of Kukishin Ryu, such as "Kukishinden Happo Hikenjutsu," "Tenshinhyoho Kukishin Ryu" and "Soden Kukishin Ryu," all of which regard Yakushimaru Ryushin as the founder of the school. There is also Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu technique instructed in Takagi Ryu. With hundreds of years having passed after the establishment of the school, it is not too much to say that each individual school of Kukishin Ryu has become independent, and there is no reason that they, who are not the direct descent of the Kukis, should not claim the Soke-ship any longer. We, however, respect the will of teachers including Iwami Nangaku, who established "Kodosenyokai Shobukyoku"; there will be no changes in our stance that Kuki Munetaka, direct descendant of the founder of the school, incumbent head of the Kuki family, should be the "one and only Soke."
( the fifth question.)

Note: Kukishinden Happo Hikenjutsu is the Kukishinden of the Bujinkan lineage, and is not regarded as part of the true lineage of Kukishin Ryu. More so, the existence of the orgional Kuki scrolls is support by this statement (found at "Tanemura Shoto is the one who learned authentic Kukishin Ryu from Teacher Kimura in his late days and was awarded "Sodennomaki."" Shoden No Maki are densho that explain basic techniques of a school or style.

And what we find on the Kuki family site about Takamatsu is as follows.
"2. Variant texts of Tenshin-Hyoho-Shinken-Kakki-Ron, and Tenshin-Hyoho-Taijutsu-Kappo-Ron compiled by Takamatsu Chosui. Each text has two alternate versions. It is, however, hard to rule out the possibility that the compiler's own view is reflected on the content of the text, given that modern expressions are mostly used. We must add that all the manuscripts by him were transcribed on the premises of Kuki at Uenomaru in Akashi city in the Taisho period. In compliance with the wishes of Kuki Takaharu, Chosui compiled the documents and made a fair copy of them, and presented it to Takaharu (Amatsu-Tatara-Hibun-Kaidoku-Hen being one of the representative transcriptions). We respect for his credible achievement and great pains Chosui took, and there is no criticizing him for the possible alterations."
Note that, the Kuki family states that each densho has "Variant texts... compiled by Takamatsu Chosui. Each text has two alternate versions." thus without getting into specific detail we see that there were three densho created, one original and two alternative versions and goes on to add that "It is, however, hard to rule out the possibility that the compiler's own view is reflected on the content of the text, given that modern expressions are mostly used." So Takamatsu is noted to have used modern language and add some of his own views.

"With the contribution of Takamatsu Chosui and his master Ishitani Matsutaro who learned both schools of martial arts and gave support to the Soke Kuki before and after the War, the ties between Takagi Ryu and Kukishin Ryu have got much stronger..
Ishitani Matsutaro was born in Akashi, Hyogo prefecture. He was a son of Ishitani Takema Masatsugu, who was a teacher of Takagi Yoshin Ryu. Matsutaro left his house at the early stage of his life and studied under Iba Toyotaro, from whom he learned Kukishin Ryu. It goes without saying that he learned Takagi Ryu from his father. The techniques of Takagiyoshin Ryu were passed on to Sato Kinbei in Tokyo from Takamatsu Chosui, and now Tanemura Shoto instructs them in Tajima, Matsubushi cho, Kita Katsu gun, Saitama prefecture."

Now this is very important because it suggests that Takamatsu was a student of Ishitani Matsutaro came into association with the Kuki family and Kukishin Ryu through Ishitani Matsutaro. This of course legitimizes the Takamatsu-den claim to Takagi Yoshn Ryu but we don't know exactly were Takagi Yoshin Ryu split of from Honati Yoshin Ryu Takagi Ryu or if this is just an alternative name. It is my belief that Takagi Yoshin Ryu is a legitimate school.

"In addition to the Takagi Ryu of the Ishitani lineage, Teacher Tanemura learned several kinds of Takagi Ryu, among which is the Shitake lineage that is said to be the real techniques passed on by Yagi Ikugoro. Thus perfecting his techniques, we got an impression that Tanemura has learned virtually every aspect of the original form of Takagi Ryu.
For more information, Takagi Ryu has different lineages from the one mentioned above, such as the Takagi Ryu Takamatsu Chosui had learned from Mizuta Yoshitaro before Chosui learned from Ishitani Matsutara, and other Takagi Ryu handed down in Akou, Kobe regions."

This is an interesting statement because it addresses that Takamatsu learned different styles of Takagi Ryu from Mizuta Yoshitaro, Ishitani Matsutara and other schools in Akou, Kobe regions. This hints at the possibility that Takagi Yoshin Ryu is/was compiled by Takamatsu and is a modern school of Takamatsu's own devises. Perhaps of the multiple Takagi Ryu styles studied by Takamatsu (a more likely answer) he only became Soke of one such Ryu. This raises some interesting questions.

"According to Takamatsu Chosui, an anecdote regarding the relationship of Kukishin Ryu with Takagi Ryu goes as follows: "Because of the untimely death of Nagatonokami Moritaka's son Kuki Sadataka, who was supposed to be appointed head of Kukishin Ryu instead of the bed-ridden oldest son Yoshitaka, Kuki Kihei took over the position. Later on, he became a mountaineering ascetic and traveled across Japan. Kihei happened to meet Takagi Umanosuke's son Gennoshin in Akou, Hyogo prefecture and competed their skills. Takagi exceeded in Yawara(Taijutsu) and Kihei in Bojutsu. Jujutsu has been handed down as Takagi Ryu and Bojutsu, Spear, and Naginata techniques have been handed down as Kukishin Ryu."(Watatani Kiyoshi and Yamada Tadashi. Bugei Ryu-ha Daijiten Tokyo: Tokyo Copy )"

This is a quote of a quote, the Kuki family site quoting the Bugei Ryu-ha Daijiten, this is interesting as the Kuki family neither confirms nor denies the story of how Takagi Yoshin Ryu and Kukishin Ryu are connected. They merely cite the Bugei Ryu-ha Daijiten which credits this relationship with Takamatsu. The Kuki family is very quiet on the subject of Takamatsu and has in the past been harassed by members of the Bujinkan concerning Takamatsu. Certainly, if Takamatsu invented Takagi Yoshin Ryu from three other Takagi Ryu-ha that he did study, claiming it to be part of the Kukishin Ryu through some long elaborate history would serve to imply a greater (older) lineage then just something he created.

One might ask why would Takamatsu weave such an elaborate web of lies, if that is what they were, to not only invent one school but nine? Certainly, claiming Gyokko Ryu & Koto Ryu became part of Togakure Ryu would allow Takamatsu to pronounce various elements of his martial philosophy as separate schools of though entirely. Furthermore, we see the same thing with the three "ninjutsu ryu." By claiming that Gyokushin Ryu, as a Kishu domain art (the home of Natori Ryu) where it came in contact with Togakure Ryu, Takamatsu could use the Shoninki written in 1683 by Natori Masatake and claim it resembled the Kishu Ryu Ninjutsu style because it was connected to a Kishu Ryu style. Interestingly enough Gyokushin Ryu was founded by same man who founded Gyokko Ryu. Kumogakure Ryu uses the same Taijutsu as Togakure Ryu (which includes Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu & Gyokushin Ryu) Kumogakure Ryu is not even defined as a full school but as "It has been said that this ryu was really created by the Toda family, in the 1600's as a Ninjutsu school of thought, centering its techniques on the non-violent side of Ninjutsu. The Togakure Ryu teaches that violence is to be avoided. This would also explain why the school's taijutsu is similar to the Togakure Ryu, as the Toda were also Sokes of the Togakure Ryu." from So Kumogakure Ryu is an idea of the application of ninjutsu (following the School of Thought definition) tat stems off from Togakure Ryu. This in itself means that 5 schools/ryuha are in fact a single school Togakure Ryu.

Now if you are lying and spread you lie among 5 sources, with each one claiming to be unique & separate causes one seeking the truth to research several different areas and elements of history to find the truth. So that the answer to the question, why would Takamatsu weave such an elaborate web of lies? To better muddy the waters of truth conceal his falsehoods among scattered bits of truth found throughout history. This certainly seen with the Kuki family's statement about Kukishinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsulisted among other off shoots of schools claiming a lineage to the Kuki family.

Add to this the Shinden Fudo Ryu Kenpo/Jujutsu art which claims its founder as  Izumo Kanja Yoshitero but maintains a completely separate lineage from the Bujinkan Takamatsu-den, this was an art that popular at the time and was taught openly (including non-Japanese such as Mr. Barton-Wright and Mr. Kate circa 1896.) With Takamatsu claiming to have learned Gikan Ryu from Ishitani Matsutaro after his death, with the Makimono containing only a technique list and claiming to be a secret art taught only orally. Ishitani Matsutaro who the Kuki family stated "Matsutaro left his house at the early stage of his life and studied under Iba Toyotaro, from whom he learned Kukishin Ryu. It goes without saying that he learned Takagi Ryu from his father." clearly the association of Kukishin and Takagi Yoshin Ryu comes from Ishitai Matsutaro and his training in Kukishin Ryu under Iba Toyotaro. So only Takagi Yoshin Ryu is supported by a third party independent of the Bujinkan to Takamatsu's credit, with the Kuki family awardig Takamatu a Menkyo Kaiden however they do not feel Takamatsu is heir to the Kuki family art and certainly not qualified to call himself a Soke of their name sake Ryu-ha.

Certainly Hatsumi and the Bujinkan has made a great deal of money off teaching Budo/Ninpo Taijutsu and claiming to have a combat proven koryu art form. This is a major marketing line here in the West but only 1 of the nine ryu-ha Takagi Yoshin Ryu has any kind of supporting evidence and verification by a third party independent of the Bujinkan. So I leave you to examine the evidence and decide for yourself, is the Bujinkan Takamatsu-den a legitimate collection of Koryu arts or a corporation selling Westerners a Warrior Ninja Fantasy? I'm betting the Latter but, that is me...

I do not own copyright to these sites the images are posted for review and commentary in accordance with United States Federal Code in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Failure of Martial Arts... Martial Arts Cults

1. subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion:
an arbitrary decision.
For a few days I been having fun Ninja Quest a facebook group because the group's "owner" wanted me to sack things up and I'm bored at the moment so I did. One of the things that cause quite a stir was that I do not believe in the Bujinkan's lineage and along other things some lies I told in the past. Of course that's only because without proof of the Bujinkan lineage, they boiled down to person attacks and even outright lies. There used to a video of me admitting to such on a 2010 video on YouTube but, my old buddy Phil Failure had it taken down for copyright infringement. Either way, I once again stated I lied about being a Force Recon Marine and actually explained why. Origonally, to one up some troll giving bad advice in an online forum, then people started demanding proof. What is funny is that no one can support their own claims and expects others to account for everything when they themselves can't. But this comes back to what martial arts are and, what we pretend them to be...
From Wikipedia (it'll get the job done in this case): Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.
Notice the word entertainment? Yes, that refers to martial arts schools that are basically baby sitters for children. Many people like to point to Tae Kwon Do, but having leaved in Tongduchon South Korea for 3 years I have a bit better understanding why this is the case in tae kwon do. It is the national sport of South Korea, all young men at 18 are required to serve in the military & they teach them a more combat oriented version of tae kwon do in the military. It is a nation under constant threat of war with its counter-part North Korea.
Regardless we often pretend martial arts are more then they are, as belonging to a martial arts organization will make better or special in some way. I love people who study arts claiming to be of the samurai or ninja and claiming to be warriors. Its like saying that if you learn Navy SEAL hand-to-hand combat, you are a  Navy SEAL. What you choose to study and why is completely arbitrary, based on your own choice. I've along ago abandoned any hopes of finding a legitimate ninjutsu school with a proven lineage. Why because no such school exists, what one finds instead is schools claiming to offer you "ninja secrets" but only want to teach you jujutsu/taijutsu instead. Oh and my favorite that ninjutsu is "esoteric." Meaning given only to a rare few or practiced by a select group...
A big problem with those claims and the martial arts in general is that martial arts behave more like a cult, especially when no one else can use the cult's "catch phrase" in the case of the Bujinkan that catch phrase is "ninjutsu."
Cultic warning signs     
Here are some example of what Cultwatch believes represents mind control and cult warning signs:
  • Single charismatic leader.
  • People always seeming constantly happy and enthusiastic. Especially if you discover that they have been told to act that way for the potential new recruits.
  • Instant friends.
  • If you are told who you can or cannot talk to or associate with.
  • They hide what they teach.
  • Say they are the only true group, or the best so why go anywhere else.
  • Hyped meetings, get you to meetings rather than share with you.
  • Experiential rather than logical.
  • Asking for money for the next level.
  • Some cults travel door to door during times when women are home alone. They, and this is rather sexist, think that women are easier to recruit and once they have the woman then it will be easier to snare the husband or partner.
  • Saying that they have to make people pay for it because otherwise they will not appreciate it. This is of course a very silly reason, plenty of people are able to appreciate things which they did not pay for.
  • They do not allow their teachings or practices to be questioned. If you question, then automatically the group assumes that something is wrong with you. It can never be the case that anything is wrong with the group’s practices or teachings. Often they will try to shut you down by accusing you of having a “bad attitude”.
  • They will push you to obey by using guilt. They will demand complete “submission” to the group, its leaders and its teachings. They will do this by making you feel absolutely rotten about yourself. They will ridicule you and attack any weakness you might have (or invent weaknesses you might have if they can’t find any). Their goal is to break your will by causing you mental anguish.
So if we look at any martial art out there do they claim a single charismatic leader? Certainly, the Bujinkan claims Hatsumi is the one true Soke. How about students or instructors who seem always constantly happy and enthusiastic? Instant friends? Has anyone ever been told been told who they can or can't associate with? "Stay away from Koga Ryu they are all fakes" perhaps...? I know both times I stepped in a Bujinkan Dojo they were pretty much everything sucks but us. Do they hide what they teach? Well if you joined the Bujinkan because they advertised ninjitsu out the ass, only to be told its me esoteric knowledge, that's a yes... Does the Bujinkan claim to be the only source of ninjutsu? You bet they do... Over hyped claims about training and events... I think I will refer to the two videos below.
Video 1: Hatsumi Tougher Bujinkan Training Days
Here we see a younger Rchard Van Donk and Hatsumi training in Japan. These are the tougher days look a lot like more modern and, with this being the "tougher training days," relaxed training days. Which prompted this video by a YouTuber named Bujinkult... Is the Bujinkan a scam.
Warriors... effective techniques... secret ninja arts... or just martial arts, good or bad I'll let you decide.

Do they claim you need to experience it? Who has ever questioned the Bujinkan and been told to train in it? That's what it means when we get to, experiential rather than logical, on our list. Asking for money for the next level? Ok all martial art do that, so we may be can let that ne slide. Saying that they have to make people pay for it because otherwise they will not appreciate it? Again all martial arts make you pay, what matters is do you get what you paid for. How about, they do not allow their teachings or practices to be questioned? If you question, then automatically the group assumes that something is wrong with you. It can never be the case that anything is wrong with the group’s practices or teachings. Often they will try to shut you down by accusing you of having a “bad attitude”. That ever happen to anyone? You can look at the Ninja Quest RC vs PDF to see just that even going so far as to lie d exaggerate to attack my character. I was quite clever to add some spice (an incomplete listing of my ranks achieved I limited myself to "ninjutsu") to make sure Phil Failmore will spread it around. And last on that list, they will push you to obey by using guilt. They will demand complete “submission” to the group, its leaders and its teachings. They will do this by making you feel absolutely rotten about yourself. They will ridicule you and attack any weakness you might have (or invent weaknesses you might have if they can’t find any). Their goal is to break your will by causing you mental anguish.
Rick Ross from the Cult Warning Signs Institute lists those warning signs as;

Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

  1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.
  2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.
  3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".
  4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.
  5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.
  6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.
  7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.
  8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
  9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
  10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

So with all this addressed don't think my picking on the Bujinkan is just limited to them. I think the Bujinkan is a cult, plain and simple. I do want address what Black Dragon Ninjitsu is however, firstly I use the term ninjitsu rather freely. Black Dragon Ninjitsu is modern system developed by me from the  ninjutsu I learned as part of Omoto Ryu Budo, my US Army infantry training, Jeet Kune Do Concepts, Boxing & a few hard learned lessons in life. I also started modernizing it with some elements researched from Sociology and Psychology. I started calling it Black Dragon Ninjitsu because I was a member of the Black Dragon Fighting Society of Ashida Kim before he other students of John Keehan/Count Dante reformed it into the IFAA/BDFS.
I'm not calling it traditional and don't want to get caught LARPing the past. I wanted an effective combat-survival system. I'm not offering "Ninja secrets" or "warrior Bull Shit." What I'm offering is a functional system. I never claimed to be a Force Recon Marine to my actual students and just used it as a dare to one up the "fraud busters" online, no ever got proof and just waited to try to get me to prove it to them. As long as, I never proved anything. I added to it because only an idiot would believe anything from an internet forum or anywhere else without checking their facts. I had fun with it to but it got out hand.
You see the failure of martial arts is that they are only ways fight, they offer no secrets of enlightenment, no great understandings of the universe or no lineage that will make you or anyone else special. They can't redefine you or make you more then human or, even a better person and, won't make you special. You are already special if you choose to be you don't need someone else, even if they are claiming to hold the secrets of the universe to tell you so. Its a flaw of human nature to spend so much time trying to look special or unique and not realize how special we already are, if we so choose. 

Martial arts will teach you how to fight and, that is all. Asian martial arts are often associated with Asian religions and philosophies, I am not calling these religions cults. I am saying that many times, more so then people want to martial arts becomes a transmitter for cult personalities that often claim to transmit "secrets." More often then not people simply wish to expand their social circle and repeat the mantra of the martial arts cult & schools of great traditions (those of a koryu nature) do not claim to be the sole source of some great truth, only a specific tradition. Certainly the real martial artists don't run about claiming others frauds and starting online drama... a thing I noticed about criminals is that they will betray others on the spot to pretend to be "legitimate" offering the line "I exposed so & so, so you know I'm not a (enter type of criminal here)." This is especially common among sex offenders, who expose and even assault other sex offenders to claim they aren't sex offenders. Makes you wonder about the state of "legitimate martial artists" online...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Civilian Counter Terrorism

In light of both the Baltimore Riots & the media creating a narrative of race and class warfare. In light of the Garland, Texas attack & the media (certain parts of the mainstream media anyway) who are using it to attack the 2nd Amendment, I've decided to make this blog.

Four years ago, looking at both history and future I developed a Civilian Counter-Terrorism doctrine. This doctrine is based on Level 1 Counter Terrorism training I received from the US Army & my own initiative. Before you get all "yay US Army Counter Terrorism" let me put this into prospective, it was done via an internet course taken over a computer in the office. I was 11B US Army Infantry in an Air Assault unit (1/503 Air Assault out of Camp Casey Korea) which is now an Air Borne Unit out of Italy. I got out the US Army in 2005. Here is a brief history of 1/503: All this is background information to the fact I already had Infantry training which included room clearing and urban warfare similar to what SWAT teams get. What the Level 1 Counter Terrorism Course gave me was a factual reference to spotting terrorist threats in a civilian environment.

So for civilians I don't consider the tactical combat stuff valid, after all you have cops and military personnel with the right training and experiences. It is their job (bluntly put) to kill and to die, so you don't have to. A civilians best bet for fighting terrorism is simple; Be Aware to Threats, Avoid the Threat before it Becomes a Danger & Report the Threat providing as much detail as possible. So four years ago I made these videos...

Everyone loves the Tactical Moniker & guns are cool, sexy and tough guys carry them... In truth, the people who carry guns have to able to use them. I fully support Concealed Carry, Constitutional Carry & Open Carry they are manifestations of our God given right to self-defense. But, like in Garland, Texas, the "bad guys" sometimes show up with bigger guns and wearing body armor, and you might be out gunned. So use common sense, use the system.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The "Martial Arts Community" & Martial Arts Culture

Martial arts can range from a passion and way of life to simple hobby. Martial arts community is a bunch of people who like talking about martial arts online. Martial arts culture are the people who train daily and fight (here I give credit even to competition martial artists) using their art. The legitimacy of the martial arts community lies in certificates and what someone else did. Because of this they like to call people frauds. Martial arts culture finds it's legitimacy in knowledge, hard work, training and self-discipline.

This train of thought began with me when I watched a video by James Yeager (we have no association) about the "gun community..."

I laughed a bit when I first saw this because much of the same arguments heard from Yeager's friend is much the same "problems" claimed about me and my "dangerous" training methods. Things like sparring full contact in the dojo, sparring multiple opponents, using "war games" to practice infiltration and stealth and of course the combat survival course I use for testing for black belt. In which case

Yeager's video has prompted several other videos about the gun community Vs gun culture, NeverEnuffAmmo from YouTube has a great take on the "gun community" and "gun culture."
Likewise, I share his opinion in regards to the "martial arts community" as being an online community; web forums, YouTube, Facebook groups, etc. where as the Martial Arts Culture is based a set of ideas and values.
  • Strive for perfection of character
  • Be faithful
  • Endeavor (demonstrate Hard Work)
  • Be Respectful of Others
  • Avoid Violence
  • Be Humble & Polite
  • Train Considering you Physical Strength
  • Practice Earnestly with Creativity
  • Be Calm & Swift
  • Take Care o Your Health
  • Live a Plain Life
  • Do Not be Too Proud or Too Modest
  • Continue Your Training with Patience
  • Strive for Good Moral Character
  • Keep an Honest & Sincere Way
  • Cultivate Perseverance
  • Develop a Respectful Attitude
  • Restrain Physical Aggression through Spiritual Attainment
  • Loyalty to Duty
  • Courage
  • Valor
  • Faithfulness
  • Simplicity
US Army Core Values:
  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage
  • Show Courtesy, Respect & Honesty toward others
  • Develop Confidence through Knowledge, Honesty & Strength
  • Never use Violence for Personal Gain
  • Seek Perfection of Character
Martial arts communities are based on so-called online experts interested in claiming legitimacy through up holding the status quo without understanding the context on which it is built. I've already dealt with subject in previous blog: 21 Foot Rule, Tactical/Speed Reloads & other Internet Expert dumb shit... & Self-Defense Awareness Philosophy (to a lesser extent) & (more directly in) The Absurdity of Martial Arts on the Internet. A martial arts culture is built around a certain philosophy of self-discipline, self-improvement & self-responsibility, courage and hard work.

 Webster's defines Culture as; The act of, or any labor or means employed for, training, disciplining, or refining the moral and intellectual nature of man; as, the culture of the mind.
In our specific context this means The act of training, disciplining, or refining the moral and intellectual nature of man.

 Webster's defines Community as; A body of people having common rights, privileges, or interests, or living in the same place under the same laws and regulations; as, a community of monks. Hence a number of animals living in a common home or with some apparent association of interests.
In our specific context this means A body of people having common interests, or with some apparent association of interests. We can't say they live in the same place but are connected due to their online activity.

Ultimately, the individual must decide what is for them the culture (values) or the community (association). They don't have to be mutually exclusive but one must be dominant. What dominates your approach to martial arts, having a community to discuss the martial arts and feed your self-gratification or having a culture of values and self-improvement to make you a better person which is far less glorifying. The martial arts community tries to decide what martial arts culture should be with talk and discussion however, martial arts culture is found in training & defines is culture by doing.

So are you apart of martial arts culture or the martial arts community?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Planning Your Survival Strategy Part2:

We covered what you need to prepare for in part but not what might trigger said breakdowns to occur. If you didn't read part one, I'd suggest going back and reading it. Just to save time and recap there are only 5 events to prepare for (1) a breakdown in social order, (2) a breakdown in communication, (3) a breakdown in transportation, (4) a breakdown in energy and/or fuel infrastructure  and (5) a breakdown in the availability of basic resources. What can cause one breakdown can cause others. No power means gas pumps don't work and causes a fuel shortage. A fuel shortage can keep coal from getting to power plants, causing a electricity distribution shortage. No power communication like TV, internet and even simple 2 way radios goes out. Its all interconnected and as it all breaks down the most basic resource we all take for advantage; food and water, doesn't get to us. When the machine of society breaks down, people fall back to their most basic nature. They become opportunistic and savage & as I have already stated I believe the criminals in our society will organize in the chaos far quicker then many preppers.

So lets examine what can cause those breakdowns and examine how that effects survival preparedness.

(1) a breakdown in social order:
  • Loss of trust in local government, once people no longer trust their local government or federal government on a national level can cause people to turn to crime outright.
  • Terrorism, the specific targeting of civilians is called terrorism. Any mass attack on civilians is likely to cause certain members of society to take their self-defense into their own hands. This in turn causes others to feel threatened and old hostilities flare up leading to skirmishes and violence.
  • Civil Unrest, we can just chalk this up to large scale crime like the riots and looting taking place in the US currently Baltimore, Ferguson, etc. in the name of justice. A large violent outbreak is by design a breakdown in social order and can lead to more such social chaos.
  • Natural or Manmade Crisis effecting one or more of the other crisis elements, people who are starving will take food they cannot purchase or that is refused them. Take away other critical resources and elements of our functioning society and people are likely do whatever it takes to get by.
  • War, Rebellion or Invasion, not so much a single terrorist act but a protracted bout of fighting between two or more side such as what is happening in the Ukraine at this present moment.
  • Institution of Martial Law, the government dissolving and maintaining its order via the institution of military powers, martial law quite simply means military rule. This can lead to rebellion, terrorism and civil unrest causing a breakdown on social order.
  • Economic Collapse, the de-valuation of currency, seizure of private assets, inflation, stagflation and other economic chaos that makes currency worthless in its value can be lead to riots, looting, rising crime, and other social chaos as people attempt to acquire basic necessities they can no longer buy with currency. 
A breakdown in social order is the primary crisis element as it is the most extensive and destructive. Hurricane Katrina did not last as long a the social chaos that made matters worse after the storm ended. In some cases, letting neighbors know you are have preparations is ill advised. I certainly let my neighbors know I have US Army infantry training, weapons or a HAM set up during martial law or an invasion. I would want to help organize the neighborhood during civil unrest or a natural disaster by highlighting my military training and ability to organize, weapons to help defend my community or a radio set up that permits me to gather information. Operational security doesn't mean clandestine preparedness, it means limiting available information where pertinent.

You can address preparedness from the FEMA recommended stand point and withhold information on one's personal preparedness beyond standard of a FEMA Basic Disaster Supplies Kit 3 days of stored food (page 35/Slide 23). Either way, you as an individual must prepare by getting self-defense or martial arts training and getting training to use a firearm. Most importantly you must own a firearm or at least a bat ball bat, a big ass knife & bow and arrows but guns are best. Stock plenty of ammo and practice at least once every 3 months or more.

(2) a breakdown in communication:
  • Disruption of Power, remove electricity and most communication systems; cell phones, internet, landlines, and radio communications are dependent on electrical power to function. 
  • Natural or Manmade Disaster, a natural disaster can knock out lines of communication. Since most currency is nothing more then electronic signal in a computer network and not tangible cash, gold or silver disruption of the communication system(s) could effect other areas like finances and transportation. A disaster could effect not only effect communication lines directly, utility lines and transportation lines keeping the utility and communication lines from being quickly repaired.
  • EMP & Solar Flare, an electromagnetic pulse often associated with a nuclear weapon and a solar flare could disrupt power lines but are capable of burning out any computerized electronic device.
  • Cyber-Terrorism & Hackers, a direct attack on communication lines from cyber terrorists and hacker can disable communication and compromise sensitive information.
  • Terrorism or Military Action, the US military attacks enemy communication lines to isolate enemy soldiers. Terrorists can and have repeated this operation by disabling power and communication lines in some attacks.
  • System Overload, during the Boston Marathon terrorist attack people were calling 911 and trying to reach family to check on their welfare. This overloaded the communication system & caused an unintended communications breakdown.
(3) a breakdown in transportation:
  • Natural or Manmade Disaster Cutting Utility and Communication Lines, everyone thinks of road ways but communication disruptions can disable air travel and shipping as well. Plus of course travel along waterways and through our nations ports.
  • EMP & Solar Flare, an electromagnetic disturbance can effect communications (yes) but what about other systems like GPS, engines and voltage regulation systems that can disable cars, boats, ships & aircraft.
  • Traffic Disruption, not just limited to ground traffic and roads ways, I am also thinking of air traffic and sea traffic that can be effected by sabotage and terrorism.
  • Civil Unrest, Terrorism & Crime, protests in California over "racial violence" stopped traffic on the interstate this disrupted (only momentarily) shipping and infrastructure keeping "just in time" deliver of goods, including food and medicine, to be late and prevented people from getting to their jobs.
  • System Overload, yes too many people on the road, river, leaving the docks and trying to file flight planes to leave in private planes or simple overbooking of flights in mass could conjest and cause a transportation breakdown. This is confounded with traffic accidents, vehicular malfunction and human nature tat will lead to conflicts.
There is another element to a breakdown in communication that emergency services may or will be disrupted or non-existent. What happens if you can't travel from your location and an ambulance can't get to you while a loved one needs medical attention? What happens when you can't leave and the police can't come to save you from a criminal? In those cases, a disruption in transportation can cause a breakdown in social order. Hence why I suggest gun ownership.

(4) a breakdown in energy and/or fuel infrastructure:
  • Natural or Manmade Disaster Cutting Transport Line, cutting transport lines (yes this was mention under transportation breakdown) but if you can't get oil to international ports, fuel to airports and gas stations or coal to power plants, electricity isn't s readily available. No electricity and fuel doesn't get pumped or communication to ensure delivery doesn't occur. Its an interconnected system; energy and fuel. 
  • EMP & Solar Flare, again all those computer regulated and controlled system can be damaged or disabled with an electromagnetic pulse.
  • Traffic Disruption, a simple traffic disruption can cause delays and disrupt services without the need of a disaster to cause them.
  • Civil Unrest & Crime, as we've seen in a civil unrest scenario parts of a city can be isolated by the unrest and property damaged. Criminals have disrupted power to disable alarms in part of the city, arson can effect an area especially where gas lines are involved and so on.
  • Terrorism or Military Action, the military forces of the world have had a long standing tactical tradition of cutting off supply lines, that includes electricity and fuel lines to effect communication and travel. 
With a breakdown in energy (including fuel infrastructure) comes loss of a lot of technology we take for granted. Without a power grid your cell phone might have a battery but no juice is getting to the cell towers, traffic lights won't work beyond their limited battery life and fuel pumps won't work either so if you need gas for you generator.

(5) a breakdown in the availability of basic resources:
  • Lack of Utilities, how long will food last if you can't keep it cool? How long will social order last when you get the most basic necessity, water? You can buy all nonperishable foods like canned goods, ramon, pasta and so on but I love a good steak & a fresh salad.
  • Economic Collapse, food & clothing are basic resources we all need. In an economic collapse scenario you won't be able to buy a coat to keep you somewhat warm or food to eat because you money will have less value and de-value even faster. This is why gold and silver are important investments but so are acquiring barter value items while your money has value. 
  • Natural & Manmade Disaster, whether it is a wildfire, flood, a tornado or nuclear blast and radioactive fallout it is possible your garden could be lost. Its possible your home, preparations and local shopping centers could be destroyed. Imagine is all you have to eat is the food in your home, how much do you have? What happens if the water coming out your sink is toxic or not running at all?
  • Civil Unrest & Crime, civil unrest like we've seen recently where stores were burned, plus criminal activity of a less grandstanding nature. Looting after a crisis or disaster such as in the fictional account of World War Z with the store scene might leave local shelves bare causing people to rob one another for basics like food, medicine and clothing. This it can't happen, it did in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
  • Traffic Disruption, of course disrupt shipping and supplies don't make retail outlets. No retail outlets you can just order from Amazon, except they can't deliver either.
  • Communication Breakdowns, likewise remove communication no one know where to ship supplies and deliver basic resources.

Desperate people do desperate things, fear dominates most people's thoughts the world is threatening and more so to someone who panics. Values and good reputations mean nothing when people are hungry, and desperate. There logic de-evolves to primal and savage thinking. Leaving a person to face a life threatening event (even if only to them), will be considered no different then killing them yourself.

Stuff I didn't cover...

Nuclear war, the Yellowstone Super Volcano, Zombies, Space Aliens and other shit are massive "End of Days" events. I know I briefly brought up nuclear weapons but a nuclear war is a no win option meant to ensure mutual destruction. You need a bunker, hydroponics bay, staffed with security and medical staff and an exercise room & 20 years of stock piled food and ammo. Even then you're still gonna die, the mountains, caves and coal mines of West Virginia might shield me from the blast, stuffing my survival laptop, radios and inverters in an old microwave may protect them from the EMP (might not), I still get to live in a toxic Mad Max world. I might be better off smoking a dooby and dinking a cold one at ground zero for all I know.

Minus radiation, toxins, the T-virus, undead and aliens wanting to anal probe me, I think much of elements over lap. My best safety measure is self-sufficiency and careful planning. You take precautions for fallout, Falling Skies and being the Lost of Us which means everything I just covered plus, gas masks, hazmat suits and a means of growing food and raising animals (including feeding them) indoors. Even in those highly improbable scenarios the basic breakdown structures will be largely the same.

Now that we've covered what to prepare for and what can cause such breakdowns you need to apply the Strategic Planning Process...

Strategic Planning Process:
I will briefly outline the strategic planning process, and provide a sample using this process. You of course will have to adapt it to your needs and develop your own plan. We start with our end goal, use reverse planning. In other words, we decide on an end result and establish a time table, then figure out what we need to do to reach that point. Those things we need to do become long term goals and then work back figuring out what needs to happen to make those possible and so on. In some cases we may need to break goals down into steps or phases.

Each objective has a specific tactic to achieve it's end. So each goal has a list of acceptable tactics to meet that goal. Like chess, we may achieve our ends through circumstances we did not plan for but adapt our strategy to account for that success. One must plan for success and for failure in each stge of the planning process.

Overall Mission Objective: To Survive a Crisis that will alter my way of life for the next 20 to 30 years... Plan for a 30+ year effect. Achieve self-sufficiency in all 5 areas of critical survival elements.
Tactics Used:
  1. Order: Establish a community information network, a community support & defense network & an established emergency protocol for crisis events.
  2. Transportation: Develop alternate travel routes, alternate fuel sources & alternate modes of transportation. 
  3. Resources: Develop a long-term food storage, long-term medical storage, develop alternate sources of food acquisition & develop alternate medical care acquisition. 
  4. Energy/Fuel: Develop alternate fuel sources & develop alternate/off grid energy sources
  5. Communication: Develop long-term community relationships, develop alternate means of spreading local news, develop alternate means of local communication & develop alternate means of long range communication. 
Long Term Mission Objectives:  Develop means of/foundation for "life long" survival after a crisis event. Plan for 15 to 20 year term investment.
Tactics Used:
  1. Order: Use pre-crisis support groups, not for profit organizations and association with community leaders to develop network and crisis protocols.
  2. Transportation: Take up hiking, backpacking, BMX riding to learn alternate routes off known roadways, develop alternate fuel stockpiles: Bio-Diesel, Alco-line, etc.
  3. Resources: Develop stockpile of  food of purchased and self-prepared/self-raised food stuffs. Take a medical first-aid class and research alternative medicine, stockpile and raise medical herbs and stockpile purchased medical supplies. 
  4. Energy/Fuel: Develop and  stockpile alternative fuels (yes, I already mentioned this), develop off-grid power supplies, solar, wind and hydro-electric.
  5. Communication: Develop a community relationship, become associated with community leaders, local organizations & become associated with the CB and HAM local communities.
Mid Term Mission Objectives: Develop a specific series of plans for major life altering crisis events within 5 to 15 Years.
Tactics Used:
  1. Order: Find a small group of trusted friends who are also preppers to get together for training & teamwork development. Each team member should have a primary and a secondary role, with free cross training in other roles so that everyone can do someone else's job if need be.
  2. Transportation: Acquire a BOV (Bug-out Vehicle) that is secondary to your POV (Personally Owned Vehicle) as an emergency vehicle to be used for evacuation. This BOV can be an ATV, Motorcycle, Boat, RV or other vehicle that allows flexibility in your ability to remove yourself from a threat and safely leave an area. Store at least 10 gallons of gasoline per vehicle & do not let tanks fall beneath 1/2 so that you can use your vehicle in an emergency.
  3. Resources: Store X amount of purchased foods & grow Y amount of food at home with Z amount of grown food stored in canning jars.
  4. Energy/Fuel: Invest in an alternate source of power for off grid emergency use, solar, wind, water or a generator. With additional fuel storage for the generator if you use one.
  5. Communication: Establish a "call tree" for trusted friends & alternate communication methods such as Citizen Band (CB) radios in home and vehicles.  
The difference between mid-term and short-term objectives is the difference between individual and community preparedness. One's priorities change from generalized to specific individual needs.

Short Term Mission Objectives: Develop and acquire a specific preparedness plan customized to local geography, local social/cultural acceptance & work with others to develop community support for preparedness within 1 to 5 Years. Here considerations like Order are replaced with Security and other changes.
Tactics Used:
  1. Security: Off grid alarm systems, acquire advanced tactical firearms training and barriers for defense.
  2. Shelter: Begin to acquire own home and/or arrange safe locations with friends and family away from home in case of emergency evacuation (bugging-out). 
  3. Food/Water: Acquire and stock pile additional food supplies and water, that is rotated "first in, first out" & a water collection system, as well as begin a garden and produce your own food stuffs.
  4. Transportation: Maintain good working order of POV and store at least 10 gallons of gasoline & do not let tanks fall beneath 1/2 so that you can use your vehicle in an emergency. Build a car kit with blankets, extra fluids for the car (oil, transmission, anti-freeze & so on), water & food, road flares.
  5. Communications: Set up a CB Radio in one's POV and at home, establish a presence on citizen band radio & use internet to continue research improve your knowledge base.
  6. Skill Development: Develop skills in gardening, raising animals, plumbing, electrical wiring & food preservation.

Immediate Term Mission Objectives: Develop a basic preparedness plan and acquire basic equipment within 6 months to 1 year.
Tactics Used:
  1. Security: Get basic firearms training, take a self-defense combatives course & knife training.
  2. Shelter: Create a bug-out support kit (in addition to the bug-out bag), items to buy for support kit: Axe, Shovel, Saw, Tarp, Pry Bar, Solar Kit, Batter & Inverter System. Add 5 changes of cloths, anti-bacterial soap, military cot(s), large first-aid kit, lanterns, cooking burner and fuel. Create Secondary Support Kit: With only food and water. These kits can be used in the house or loaded into your POV for emergency evacuation. 
  3. Food/Water: Buy more canned food/non-perishable food items. Cycle out of Bug-Out support kits every month "first in-first out" cycles.
  4. Transportation: Maintain preventative maintenance of one's POV and if possible acquire a POV with 4-wheel or All Wheel drive capability.
  5. Communications: Acquire a wind up emergency radio & walkie talkie handheld radios.
  6. Skill Development: Survival skills, First Aid Skills & basic vehicle maintenance.

Initial Term Mission Objectives: Develop a means of basic survival preparedness & initial planning can begin from Zero-Minute (right now, literally this second) to 6 months.
Tactics Used:
  1. Security: Acquire a firearm & hunting style knife for self-defense usage. Research a good self-defense based martial art or combatives system. First Aid Kit, Have a Bug-Out bag for each person in your household; cheap premade bug-out bag are good for children.
  2. Shelter: Acquire a Good Tent or learn to use a tarp for shelter. Minimum 2 methods of starting a fire. This goes in the bug-out bag.
  3. Food/Water: Buy a Water Filtration Straw, a minimum 2 qt water storage container, mess kit, & store 3 to 5 days of food.   
  4. Transportation: Rather then bug-out on foot, I suggest a good BMX bicycle with off road capability as a back up for one's POV, in case it needs to be abandoned. Otherwise buy a good pair of hiking books or running shoes.
  5. Communications: Buy a flare gun, road flares, glow sticks or a handheld emergency radio to get information.
  6. Skill Development: Develop good Physical Fitness; to help prevent injury and illness, take up hiking, back packing and camping; to get used to the outdoors and, learn to fish and hunt; for basic outdoor living skills. 
Note: A minor investment of $70 you can acquire a Wise Foods 5 Day Survival Backpack, but you have to add the Water Filter Straw (an additional $20), a small tarp, trail tent or Emergency Survival Tube tent, Emergency Radio, Flares or Glow Sticks and, a personal firearm. Allowing one to meet many of the Initial Objectives. There is also freely available information on self-defense that one can research and practice from online sources. That can give the beginning prepper something more then reliance on a weapon they may not always have at hand, these free sources of information are nothing without hard work and self-training and even then will not make you a martial arts master.
Basic Self-Defense Moves from Lifehacker

You are not fighting a war, you are trying to stay alive. You may find that your bug out bag makes you are target for unprepared bullies & criminals. After Katrina people were being killed in the streets for supplies in garbage bags and in the ultimate end you will do what you have to survive. Work with what you have, a buddy to train with can make the basic techniques demonstrated in the videos above more effective then just watching them alone.

I know there are holes in the plan I set out, they are there because I tried to keep things generalized. My goal wasn't to give you a plan but you give you the framework to develop your own plan. Some of you (most of you) may not (will not) need to plan for 20+ year of a crisis. Not all preppers are doomsday preppers expecting the end of the world as we know it. Surely having more then a bug-out bag is important for those who look at the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and hurricane Sandy. Use what works and disregard what doesn't.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Planning Your Survival Strategy Part1:

Everyone wants to be Tactical or Tacti-Cool but no one wants to be Strategic. What does it mean to be strategic anyway? Strategy is plan to reach a specific long term goal, by meeting various other goals. Most people think of strategy in the terms of warfare or strategy games but, strategy also plays an important role in starting & running a business as well. So lets treat this much like a game of chess, you begin by prioritizing options based on odds of success (odds and options) and you plan out your moves in accordance.

Lets start you plan with one question... What are you preparing for?

The answer isn't important, because it doesn't matter. You may think "What the is he talking about?" when you read that but lets keep things simple. Our society and infrastructure is based on key elements and if anything that breaks down those key elements creates a crisis event, otherwise known as the proverbial "Shit hitting the fan." Those key elements are;
1) Transportation
2) Energy/Fuel
3) Communication/information
4) Rule of Law/Societal Order
5) Basic Resource Availability

Knock down one and you might knock down all of them. In the past we travelled by horse back and cooked with wood, using oil to light our homes. Transportation advancements like the intercontinental rail road and wire telegraphs allowed people to travel safer and information to be transferred at a faster rate. Advancements in cars, computers, aircraft and in other areas have exploded everything but one key element Rule of Law/Societal Order. Societal Order is maintained under those other four elements. A breakdown in order can also occur when it appears the rule of law is invalidated by the appearance of corruption. The purpose of the Rule of Law is not ideological but purely function, to create order where in a society functions.
Yeah the image sucks but it serves its purpose...
Order can collapse on itself through corruption and when it does it can knock out the other elements. Transportation isn't just about people moving about but the movement of resources, without the basic resources other elements collapse as order breaks down. Energy (this incudes fuel) is required to transport resources and people to maintain social order and the rule of law. Communication is a key element to keeping transportation, energy & resources following through a society and social order functioning. It doesn't matter if an EMP, a nuclear war, hurricane, earthquake or economic collapse breaks down one or more of these elements, as prepper you need to prepare to lack one or all of these elements.

So lets get to basic planning... How do we prepare for breakdown in Social Order and a lack of transportation, energy, available resources and communication? One word by becoming self-sufficient and using alternative means to do so. Lets get something straight most preppers are urban and sub-urban types, people in rural communities often lack having these things so readily available. So rural people have more then 1 way to light, heat their homes, cook, travel, acquire food, fuel and medical treatment, communication with their family and friends and so on. Once you have a general understanding of how to make up for a lack of supply and support in one of these areas, the reason(s) for the deficiency can be addressed.

So what are alternative means of maintaining Social Order?
  • Uniform Social Code based on belief structures (i.e. religion, culture, etc.)
  • Local Community Organizations (Neighborhood or Town Committees, Militias, Volunteer Organizations)
  • An Armed Community: Simple logic if people can defend themselves criminals will pass them over for easier targets, why else do gunmen shoot up schools and churches (gun free zones) but never attack a police station or hunting club?
  • Sense of Community as a Social Environment: There was a time when people got out and met their neighbors, today TV and internet make it easier to be entertained in our homes. Internet allows us to communicate with people across he world with similar views and interests to our own, so we talk to our neighbors less and know less of our community or the people within. Now Preppers fear the hordes of "zombies" coming for their supplies and keep it all a Secret under the idea of OpSec.
  • Guard Dogs & Simple Non-Electronic Alarms: I have an interesting story about my "guard cat" (another time perhaps) but my neighbor's dog bars when anyone comes near his house at night. This means the same dog barks when anyone comes near my house at night. This kind of community alarm deters night time burglary. So do neighbors looking out for each other, a uniform social code... 
So what do we need to do to help maintain social order? Become involved in local groups and clubs, churches and so on to develop a simple uniform social code. We can become involved in a local community organization to help organize people in a crisis to organize the community. We can be armed, I suggest everyone own at least one, rifle, shotgun and pistol. We can get to know and associate with our neighbors in and outside of local organizations develop both a report and a reputation within our local community. All of this can be used to help maintain social order if the Rule of Law breaks down.

How cheaply can you get these three weapons? (examples)
Handgun: Hi-Point C-9 9mm $189 or Hi-Point CF-380 380ACP $151
Rifle: Savage Mark II F Rifle .22LR $229.99 or
Browning A-Bolt III Composite Stalker Rifle .270, 30-06, 7mm Magnum or .300 Winchester $519.99
Shotgun: Maverick Model 88 Pump Shotgun 12 gauge $206 or
Remington 870 Express Shotgun 12 gauge $367

Rifle Shotgun Combo: Rossi Youth MP Combo Gun .410 or .22LR $199

Totals: $586.99 to $1,075.99
Totals using Rossi .410/22LR Combo Gun: $350 to $388
Firearms serve 2 primary uses, acquiring food and self-defense.
Bows and Crossbows can of course be used as well.
You don't need to dump $1,000 on one AR15 style rifle.

What are alternative means of Transportation?
  • Animals: horses, mules and ponies we all know but I have a cousin who used to ride a bull. We all have forgotten the Ox Cart in the US.
  • Motorcycles, Mopeds and ATVs: Just because a car or truck can't get through doesn't mean a smaller, less computerized vehicles can't be used. Roads might be impassable but what about hiking and off road trails. This includes electric cars and motorcycles.
  • Boats & Rafts: If waterways are available or you have access to a coast you can make use water travel, in the case of roads being cut off after a crisis event.
  • Bicycles, Tricycles and Peddle Cars: EMP Proof and doesn't need gasoline, you can pack more on them then just yourself.
  • Walking & Hiking: Finally you can walk out or hiking out and well that means you need to practice backpacking and get used to act of walking out.
In China, they carry a great deal on their tricycles, so yes you can get your preps out on one of these.

This image comes from presented here as an example of what most preppers think they can load on a bike.

 What about alternative means of Energy and Fuel?
  • Gas Generators: Gas generators need fuel but can make a great short term power source in or after a crisis event. The issue is fuel for the power. 
  • Solar, Water & Wind Generators: Solar doesn't require fuel nor do wind or hydro-electric generators but require batteries and converters to run electronic devices. Basic devices without a lot of circuitry like light bulbs, heating filaments & such can be used even with an EMP.
  • Manual Operated Generators: Bicycle and hand crank generators can be bought or made and require you to manually rotate a magnet over a copper or other metal coil to generate electricity. A converter is needed to convert the direct current into alternating current for most electronics but charging a battery for lighting is another easy enough.
  • Cooking & Heating Fuels: Using cooking & heating fuels to include coal, wood and oil is an important buffer. Many people do not realize the same grease that comes from cooking meat can be saved and used as a cooking or heating oil.
  • Candles & Lamps: Using and making candles and lamps, as well as fuel for such is a skill one should develop to help with cooking, lighting and heating without normal services due to a crisis event. 
Here is an example of a home made Bicycle Generator from YouTube:

 What about alternative means of Communication?
  • CB, Walkie-Talkie & HAM Radios: Without cell phones or a power grid to power cell towers and land lines, citizen band radios and handhelds as well as HAM radio may be an available alternative. Many Preppers consider this already.
  • Message Delivery/Curriers: Before the US Postal Service many people depended on couriers, hired to deliver messages and merchants travelling between settlements to deliver messages. Some people included messages sent by family who travelled to other towns. In a post crisis world, which might only last weeks or months, you could send a letter with someone travelling to check on their family headed in a direction. 
  • Alarm Bells & Community Message Boards: Another old pioneer and pre-TV & radio means of communication was using church bells to signal an emergency and a community message board (where online message boards get their name) that allowed anyone to post a public notice. In the inner city, graffiti acts as a kind of public message board to those who know how to read it.
  • Community Meetings: Just getting together within your community and talking, passing along information via verbal discussion. One should be cautious of rumors & misinformation but that is true in all communication with other people.
  • LAN Networks: Even if the internet is down, a wi-fi system can support a local area network between computers. Provided one has power, one can send messages to another person computer provided they are networked together and as I have been told over greater distances uses a CB or HAM radio.
  • Smoke Signals & Flares: Signal fires and smoke have been used to send messages over a great distance. In a post crisis event, burning an old tire and using a blanket to create breaks in the smoke (yes, like "indian smoke signals") can be used to send Morse Code. It can also be used to signal people within area, in a flooded area or stranded in a blizzard, that black smoke from an old tire can signal your location. We all know flares are used to signal people a sea but its been used in The Walking Dead.
  • Morse Code, International Maritime Flag Signal & Semaphore: Used with lights, bangs on a object like a gong or with hand flags and road flares, these signaling codes are used send messages over a great distance.
Morse Code:

International Maritime Flag Signal:

Admittedly, I don't know any of these either, haven't used Morse Code since I was kid but, I'm learning them as part of survival preparations.

 What about alternative means of Basic Resources?
  • Farming: Farming growing crops and raising live stock admittedly is something many people consider. In many third-world nations, their middle class rely on low consumption animals like goats for meat, milk and making cheese or yogurt and gardening to buffer their food stuffs. These can be used by Americans without a lot of land at their disposal for cows. Most Americans are aware of rabbit starvation (where the lean meat of rabbit lack essential fatty acids and consumption actually burns more calories then it provides) which makes squirrel a better animal to farm for meat then rabbits.
  • Gardening: Growing crops is fine but lacking those essential fatty acids and oils, you can lose calories. However, you can get pretty good carbohydrates (a source of calories) out of potatoes, sweet potatoes, basic vitamins out of green beans and protein from pinto or dried beans. An herb garden can also add flavor and plants that are useful as medical herbs.
  • Hunting & Fishing: Hunting and fishing are always something someone suggests. Trapping of course falls in the hunting category since you have to find a location where your target animal is likely to travel to set a trap. However, how long until other with a similar idea deplete natural resources in the area? One can hunt and drive animals to an enclosed area to "farm" them such as Boar, Deer, Squirrels and catch fish from rivers and creeks to stock a pond. Table scraps can be used to feed the fish, depending on breed as well as natural plants and algae, some of which you can eat yourself.
  • Trade & Barter: Trade and bartering for supplies is also possible but just remember that ounce of gold that trades of over $2,000 you are carrying now could only be worth 3 potatoes & jar of pickles to someone who has food and little interest in gold. Barter requires skills and/or items to trade in exchange for other items or skills. Here things like tobacco, alcohol, bio-diesel, charging batteries, first aid and medical herbs, cooking spices, gun powder, archery equipment, ammo, guns, bicycles and several others explained in a Poorman's Guide to Prepping all have value and depending on a person's needs can more value then money.
  • Canning, Curing & Storing: Storing food is a common act of Preparation, but few people know how to can food themselves. Canning food can be used to store food from your garden and curing a means of storing meat.
  • Collecting & Filtering Water: Having a alternate means of collecting water, such as collecting rain water, well water and so on can provide off grid water you a) don't have to pay for (everyone needs water so that's a barter item, if you want to be an asshole) and b) it is sustainable, meaning you aren't dependent on someone else to provide like the utility company.
Assess Possible Threats to said Key Elements:
This will be covered in Part 2, once you realize you can subsist without depending on others to provide you those key elements and have prepared yourself to provide those elements on your own, you only need to look at possible case for those elements to de disrupted.