Monday, June 29, 2015

Interview with Ashida Kim

This was an interview conducted with Grandmaster Ashida Kim conducted via e-mail. This is probably the most thorough interview about Ashida Kim's background ever conducted, perhaps due to my friendship with him & wealth of personal knowledge. There will always be those who question Ashida Kim's past or say that he is hiding something. I think Ashida Kim was pretty open and honest about his past. However, I wanted to address elements about his philosophy & training methodology.

There has been a lot of questions asked about your background as of late, I want to start there... Where did you learn Ninjitsu?
My answer would have to be, "on the fly." Never really had a specific Ninja Dojo per se, just a lot of good teachers that I met along the Way. The first one was at university, but he only hinted at what could be done. The next real instructor of what I consider the Art, was in the Army. He explained that, like the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, "the world is your school."

But I'm sure people are very curious as to how you were "picked" (assuming picked is the right word) to learn Ninjitsu? I'm sure you have to answer questions like this all the time, so please I'm apologize if I seem to be pushing you.
Well, what happened was, someone found out about me being in the BDFS from Chicago. So they asked if I could break a brick with my bare hand because they knew Count Dante taught that. Next day, he had a brick for me and a witness. I was able to break the brick for them. They took that as a sign I had some real martial arts training. Because I was not really a very good follower, they decided to train me in Ninjitsu to keep me out of trouble and to be used as a private agent.

What was your training in Ninjitsu like?
Mostly like hunting with my father. Many of the stealth techniques can be practiced that way. Because I was already skilled in some of these things, learning Ninjitsu was much easier for me than for many others. The trick is to learn to be quiet. Then you can hear things, like the sound of one hand clapping or the breathing of a hidden enemy. That's why they call it the Silent Way. Then you can begin to see a pattern to the nature of things, and understand your Self and your place in it all.

In Forbidden Fighting Techniques of Ninja, your mentioned teacher Shendai. Would care to tell us a little more about him?
Shendai was the "club name" of my Sensei. He told me it meant "spirit body" and was awarded him by his teacher because of his ability to "act invisibly" and leave no trace. He didn't really want me as a student, but was told to train me because his master had seen me break a brick with a Sword-hand one time. We did eventually get along quite well and became good friends.

Also come on, you can give us some more information on Shendai & what your training was like?
Lots of memory exercises, like the Game of Stones, flash cards, some art history type classes to learn to see details. Yoga and Qi Gong exercises that I didn't appreciate at the time as being the real basis of the Art. Some stealth practice, playing hide-and-seek, tips on vital and fatal pressure points, invisibility practice. Like learning to move quietly without attracting attention through a crowd; or how to move swiftly through the crowd through tiny openings most people don't see. It is a "river exercise." The crowd is a river of people, you can go with the flow, or against the flow, or let the flow go by you."

For example what kind of Club did you publicly attend to learn Ninjitsu?
Didn't really attend a club or dojo for any length of time. Just trained here and there with good teachers. That is the real key, finding good teachers. My Sensei was one who had trained in many places all over the world, tried many styles and systems and settled on the one that he liked best.

The big question is people want to know what connection your ninjitsu has to Japan?
My understanding of the history of the system I was taught, is that the Kimitake clan was one of those wiped out in the "sword hunt" massacres or the medieval Shogun. But, of course, there are always a few survivors. These made their way to the feudal cities and joined forces with the local Yakuza for protection and to fight back against the warlords. Their special skill was invisibility. Some say this was because they were trained in Chinese Pa-Kua Chang, which is called by Grandmaster Sin The Kwang of Kentucky, one of GM Day's teachers, "the disappearing art." The principle is to "turn the opponent's corner" and get behind him so you can "ride the tiger's back" and not be killed. The main principle is to throw sand in the enemy's eyes so you can run away and hide. Of course, once you are invisible due to his temporary blindness, you can easily pick up a brick and bash him if you choose. So, with one simple trick, you have the power of life and death in your hands. I have tried to reference the clan online, the only mention I can find of it is in Yukio Mushima's biography as the host of a winter Ninja camp he attended.

In Secrets of the Ninja, at the end you mention a Philosophy or Philosophic principle you call Mugei Mumei no Jutsu (No name, no art) and you also discussed the "Game of Stones" you mentioned in Ninja Secrets of Invisibility. I would talk about those, you mentioned your Sensei trained in different places and different styles is that key to the Mugei Mumei no Jutsu philosophy?
Mugei Mumei no Jitsu , means, "no name, no art." It is one of the code words for Ninjitsu when it was forbidden to speak the word in Japan. Part of that is having a style that is hard to boast about. "I know kung fu, I know karate, what's your style?" No style. Part of diminishing the ego, like wearing the mask. The game of stones is still used by the Boy Scouts as a memory exercise. A shallow basket is filled with stones and small articles and covered. The student is allowed to look at the display for a few moments. The it is covered again. The student is asked to name how many of each stone or artifact there is. Of course, since he didn't know he was going to be asked this, he must do it from visual memory. It is a test and an exercise.

Any Advice you'd like offer for the prospective ninja students out there?
Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy, Avoid rather than check, check rather than strike, strike rather than kill, kill only in self defense. For all life is precious, nor can any be replaced. Remember, the Koga region and Koka City from whence this Art came has always been known as the "City of Medicine" because they grew mugwort for moxibustion and knew acupuncture and massage healing methods. They didn't want to hurt anybody. That is why our form of Ninjitsu is the ONLY non-violent martial art known to man. It is not about fighting, it is about invisibility, about healing and helping others.

Have you read Stephen Turnbull's thesis on Ninjutsu, he makes the argument that Ninjutsu as a set of skills was a made tradition. Examining the historical records of battles he found that anyone who did scouting missions was referred to as being a scout but that they "shinobi" into an area. So he believes the term shinobi was originally used to mean something someone did "one sneaks in" and later came to be used to denote a special class of warrior "one who sneaks in." Following this samurai tried to reclaim the glories of the past by repeating the actions of their ancestors and codifying the skills as the art of "ninjutsu." An interesting read, I was wanting to get your thoughts on this?
Every army has its special units, the Rangers, the SEALs, etc. Some people are better hunters than others and work better alone or in small teams rather than on the battlefield. To me, Ninjitsu is a martial art because it is codified and has a historical lineage just like all the others, like Shotokan, for example. Teaching people sport karate in the form of Shotokan was a great way of looking for new recruits. People who did well and became good fighters could be given the chance to learn special skills that they had shown an aptitude for. Just like a radio man or medic in the modern army.

Also I have to ask, even though I already know the answer, but some people have the impression you are Haha Lung, are you?
No, Ha Ha Lung is a corruption of Hai Lung Ryu or Black Dragon School. When I broke with my former publishers because I caught them stealing my royalties, my books like Mind Control were so popular they tried to capitalize on them by having a "house writer," a salaried employee who would get no royalties, assume a similar name and write a bunch of lame books about how to manipulate people through neuro-linguistic-programming, a pseudo-psychological fad that only lasted a few years because it was ineffective.

So what is the difference between your Ninja Mind Control methods and Haha Lungs?
The techniques of my system teach you how to control your own mind, so that you can be silent and listen to the wind and hear the music of the spheres. They you have no need of conflict or controlling the minds of others.

Now you mentioned those who "imagine other people's motives" so I'm guessing (I'm really not guessing because we talked about this in 2010 at the Fort Walton Beach event) you are opposed to Haha Lung's Ninja Mind Control methods using NLP?
Yes, because like many who demonstrate Dim Mak without really understanding that it is medicine and not for show, trying his method can lead to harm, to yourself and others. Hypnosis is not a power given to just anyone. It is a tremendous responsibility.

I am sad to say Grandmaster Lawrence Day passed away some time ago, he is still missed by many. I had the pleasure of meeting his son Brandon at the Fort Walton Beach seminar. I'd like to ask if the many great things the IFAA/BDFS is currently doing would approve with Grandmaster Day's vision of the organization?
Yes, I think he would be pleased. He was the one who brought us all back together for a higher purpose. To unite martial artists of all styles and systems, because even the worst has some value. To stop all the bickering over whose master was best and just respect the individuals and what they learned. To have a system based on merit and skill, not prejudice or fear.

The IFAA/BDFS is hosting a Karate Tournament in Chicago this October, so how does it feel to be back in Chicago with the BDFS?
Feels great! Think it will be a wonderful Homecoming event. First Gathering where we have had Kumite, not many people up for that level of competition. Always fun to see old friends and take care of business, LOL We always have a nice dinner and awards ceremony and lots of dynamic seminars. Lots of guests coming in from out of town and country for this one.

Having lived through the Civil Rights riots and protests of the 60s, even took part in the Democratic National Convention of 1968 with the BDFS, what is your opinion of race relations today in the US? Do have any personal experiences or insights you'd like to share?
We have come a long way. The recent tragic events in Charleston that have led to a reunification of the nation in a humble and Christian way, is proof that we can live out Dr. King's ideals in peace. God bless the UNITED States of America.

Which gets us to this question, do you think the issue of race is being use to divide us (the American people)? If so why do think that is?
There are those who capitalize and profit from unrest who will never admit any progress has been made. They fuel the flames of hatred and distrust. Then there is the media, they insist on the narrative that America is a racist nation that must be punished. There is plenty of proof to the contrary, but "If you tell a lie often enough, people, even if they don't believe it, will pretty much go along with it."

The IFAA/BDFS has recently started an Anti-Bullying Program, what can you tell us about that?
Yes, in cooperation with GM Jay Blanton, to promote his book Prevailing Against Bullies, My Life Story, that is now in production to be a movie. Dojo Press helped him put it together and the IFAA/BDFS is helping to promote the program because bullying has become a major cultural problem lately. Hearing some of the things he went through and learning some of the martial arts techniques he used to free himself is an important step for lots of youngsters.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Martial Arts & Children...

A lot of people don't agree with the fact that I was awarded a black belt as a child, at times I'm not sure I do either... then I look at the fights I got into as a kid and realize I don't agree with it. I was almost expelled in the 2nd Grade because I nearly killed a kid with a Rear Naked Choke I refused to let go of. Teaching potentially dangerous techniques to a child is, well... dangerous. Not only because a child could easily hurt another child without an in depth moral understanding of the ramifications of the result but there is a legal responsibility as well. Which takes precedence over any colored strip of cloth and what it means to someone else.

Now I am not against teaching children nor am I saying martial arts for children is a bad thing. In my case, the other boy was bigger then me and had the teachers been more concerned with telling me to let go rather then freaking out and trying to force me to break the hold, I'd have let go. You see my teachers didn't do a good job in maintaining discipline and, discipline is a corner stone for teaching children. Martial arts for children teaches confidence and self-discipline. Self-Discipline has another term Personal Responsibility, being responsible for yourself and your choices. My teachers were many times racist, clannish, and played to their favorites.

Most often the Doctors and Lawyers kids who could freely bully other kids and be excused for doing so while those who defended themselves were often labeled trouble makers. Of course some teachers were known to grab and pull kid's hair, grab & pull their ears and yell at and belittle those same kids. Years after I left that school my younger cousin who attended that same school told me the same teachers where still acting like bullies and tyrants. They didn't inspire trust and didn't maintain discipline, in fact when the teachers let the bullies be bullies, many kids (myself especially) used more force to defend ourselves then required. When parents became involved and the school was looking at being sued, discipline broke down due to the school board becoming involved. Because the draconian tactics used unnecessarily to maintain order, could no longer be used. Perhaps this is a microcosm for our national debate on police brutality, police militarization, race and civil rights... or perhaps that is just over reading into the situation.

Understanding this environment is critical to why I thought choking someone out and actually tightening the hold on the Hadaka-Shime (Rear Naked Choke in Judo and Jujitsu) when my teacher tried to break the hold, I was afraid that once I let go the bully the would be permitted to attack me. So I tightened my hold on a person who was unconscious, I could have killed someone. Many times parents use martial arts or public school as a surrogate for teaching self-discipline. The fact is that martial arts can teach discipline in the Dojo but, parents need to teach discipline at home. Disciplining a child is the foundation to the child learning to discipline themselves, to take personal responsibility for their actions. For a child to study martial arts, and learn discipline for a few hours a week in the Dojo, they are more likely to only learn to fight and to discipline themselves or to learn only "selective discipline."

In fact, my suspension for fighting and having to face the school board for the unbroken RNC resulted with me showing several letters of complaints from other students' parents. This is what caused the school board to become involved, because I wasn't alone in my complaints about the school's staff. However, that doesn't excuse the fact someone could have been seriously hurt or killed. I took responsibility for not breaking the hold & this highlights how teaching dangerous techniques to children can be a danger in itself.

Many martial arts styles are intended to be taught to children, daycare in a gi. Others have a more combative feel, are designed for self-defense and not appropriate for children. Some martial arts are designed for sports only were as others are a mix of all those elements. Some traditional arts try to teach "warriorship" which can be a very dangerous idea for a developing child, it is certainly a dangerous idea for some adults (I'll have to do a whole new blog on "Warriorship" to address this issue). Some schools exist to teach "cultural understanding" which serve to force Eastern Religion and Philosophy onto it's students. Selecting a martial arts school for children is very important and very difficult unless the parent has a good understanding of what the school teaches, why and how.

I consider boxing a martial art and several martial artists I've met and trained with over the years also boxed, this is true of those mainly dedicated striking arts like Karate & Tae Kwon Do or Hapkido. Basic principles and techniques for a cross are the same as for reverse punch, a jab as for a straight punch and the foot work is pretty much the same. Sure all three use open hand strikes and self-defense techniques like kicking, throws and joint-locks that boxing doesn't. Boxing teaches combinations, distance, timing and "slipping the punch" that those arts don't and it transitions well into self-defense and sparring. Boxing has a clear focus as a competition sport, which is excellent for fitness and exercise as well... I recommend boxing as a starter art for younger children. Many, early Self-Defense systems were a blending a Boxing and Judo.

What I suggest is Child Appropriate:
When I say child appropriate I am stating between the ages of 5 and 12 years old...
  1. Make sure the school does not teach a philosophy or religious ideas that is counter-productive to beliefs and philosophy you are trying to build in your child or children. I dropped out of an Aikido school after only 2 weeks (free lessons) because the instructor kept trying to force his ideology on me, this was considerably more then just studying Eastern Philosophy or cultural traditions. Discipline begins at home so, don't cause a breakdown in the discipline you're teaching your child by paying someone to teach them opposing philosophies to your own. They get enough of that in public schools already. Be weary of schools talking about anything "spiritual" as part of the training.
  2. The amount of physical contact with your child is also important, I know some people who won't enroll their kids in Brazilian Jiujutsu because the guard looks like the missionary position. Both you and your child have to be comfortable with the physical contact used in the class, this includes your child's acceptance of being hit during sparring. I can't tell you what is acceptable for you and your child but this is something you need to observe and discuss with your child. As for the Brazilian Jiujutsu matter, if your child isn't thinking of sexual positions then there shouldn't be an issue and, if they are there is already an issue.
  3. Manner & attitude of the instructor. The last thing you want to do is leave your child in the hands someone who is "Toxic." I'm not talking about frauds, criminals and sex offenders but people who bully, insult and are generally a negative influence. Criminals have a record and sex offenders are on a registry but a "toxic personality" is like a bad relationship with a crazy person, everything starts off all good and goes bad from their as the crazy becomes more obvious.
  4. Set a goal for your child that is to be achieved through the martial arts. I'm not talking about reaching a belt rank but a goal of learning... This is why I think competition arts like Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate & Brazilian Jiujutsu are great for younger kids. Set goals like physical exercise/fitness, improved competition and building confidence.
Martial Arts for Teenagers:
When I say teenagers I mean 13 to 17 years old...
  1. Here is where a child will start gradually moving out into the world and things like self-defense starts becoming more useful in a child's life. Self-defense systems like World War II era Combatives & Krav Maga, become more appropriate.
  2. More so, some of those same martial arts styles like Karate, Hapkido, Jujutsu, Brazilian Jiujutsu, Judo can be treated more combatively depending on the age, physical ability and maturity of the child in question.
Tips of Parents before Enrolling Children in Martial Arts:
  1. Talk to the instructor...
  2. Observe at Least Five to Ten Classes, to see how & what the instructor teaches...
  3. Talk to the students and other parents, particularly away from the school. Remember these are customers at a business, they may feel required to speak well of the instructor or school in front of the instructor. So your best bet for getting accurate information is away from the school... 
  4. Do your research but don't believe everything you hear. Martial arts is a business and it is largely unregulated. Many people in the business of selling martial arts training take to slandering others.
  5. Follow up with the instructor, address things you found out & made a judgment call on how he or she responds to your questions.
  6. Avoid "Hidden Marketing." It is perfectly acceptable to pay a monthly fee, testing fee & buy your uniform. It is "ok" to pay an organizational fee (provided being a member of the organization is an option, usually this is restricted to Black Belts & Instructors) but having to pay this added fee as a low ranking kyu grade is questionable. It is a "No-No" to add requiring a student to buy "Grandmaster So-&-So's" books and require "book reports" for cultural training at each grade. It is even "OK" to have to buy a student handbook, but this is often free with the beginning when you pay for your uniform, etc. Having to buy additional books and materials is a questionable practice. 
  7. Remember you are buying what someone else is selling. Don't be surprised or feel insulted if an instructor doesn't want to "sell." I don't teach children, I refuse and I do so for a number of reasons the main one being that what I teach isn't often "age appropriate." Black Dragon Ninjitsu has been defined by an observer as a "Killing Style" and Street Focus Jujitsu is as named Focused on Street-Based Self-Defense. Either style can greatly enhance a person's odds of survival in a self-defense situation or they can be misused to make a very dangerous person. I often turn down teaching adults.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Who am I?

This is going to be an interesting & extremely honest blog beginning with a simple question of "Who am I?" I will answer that question simply, I am me. I don't go running around saying I am master, guru, shogun, jonin, soke or what have you. Even the infamous "Sensei Ron Collins" label was used by my previous publisher Dojo Press (aka Ashida Kim) who felt just calling myself "Ron Collins" was a bit to low key. I've even told people I am a "White-Trash-Red-Neck-Trailer-Park-Hillbilly" (and I will start marking other on the US census and filling that in the blanks lol). Apparently, I didn't know this but Ashida Kim did, there are several Ron Collins in the World...

Ron Collins the who writes fantasy books... Ron Collins who is football coach (calls himself Coach Collins)... Ron Collins who is a boxer (24 & 5 record, born in 1963 from Texas)... There is a Ron Collins in aviation... and lastly there is even a Drink called a Ron Collins (2 oz. light rum, lime juice, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, soda water/carbonated water & an optional cherry as a garnish) very similar to his cousin Tom Collins.

So here we are back to "Who am I?" I often have so much trouble defining myself because I "wear so many different hats" and play so many different roles in my life. I am a very emotionally unattached person and without that emotional attachment I am more analytical, I am more Spock then Kirk in another words. Without that emotional string to pull me into believing or acting on feelings, I deal with rationalizing, analyzing and hard logic. More so, the emotions are there but tightly controlled, in those moments I do "lose control" I tend to seem a bit extreme. More so, I make cold and calculated decisions... it is vitally important you understand this, I do nothing without a purpose & many times to achieve multiple purposes with a single action. The "good or bad" of that purpose is debatable but, regardless there is a purpose.

Its vital you understand that I am an analytical person because, I look at things without emotional attachment or with less emotion then others. Many times, especially online people who's opinions are colored by their beliefs, desires and what they choose to believe say am I "acting like a grandmaster and treating them like a bunch of white belts" because I analyze and develop my opinion based on the information presented... Now I don't sugar coat things, I am very direct in my statements.

More so, I find the internet culture of online experts and exponents amusing, especially the emotional attachment of some people to an idea or their idea. You see ideas often illicit emotional responses and if you don't control those emotional responses, you are controlled by those emotional responses. This is the basis of Ashida Kim's "ninja mind control" & psychological manipulation in general. There is a reason for the phrase "Looking through rose colored glasses." Emotions alter the way our perception of the world works and cold hard unemotional (this is ultimately impossible but you can reduce the degree of how much your emotions effect you with unattached logic). Very simply, if you are near sighted and wear corrective glasses, you can now see things at a greater distance in more detail. If you are wearing sun glasses, things appear grayer. Sun glasses with a pink, violet, blue or whatever colored hue will effect how things appear to you. The florescent lights of a store (a very light blue in nature) actually alters the appearance of the colors of clothing, a service industry trick to make things look more appealing. Those same cloths will look different in Sun Light.

Your emotions and what you already believe, have that effect on your perceptions of new information as well... Quite simply, I don't believe anyone has a legitimate claim to a Ninjutsu tradition to date. I believe that everyone in the Ninjutsu world either "made up" or learned from someone who made up their traditions. To someone who holds the belief they are learning from a "legitimate Soke" or "Master" I am wrong. If I start stating cold hard facts, I have an "agenda" or "I am attacking someone" because someone doesn't want to believe as I do, they make it a point to "attack" the sources of these facts or me to discredit those who oppose their beliefs. For no other reason then they are defending what they want to believe. And I find some small amusement in aggravating these people, yes I have troll-ish tendencies...

Without any emotional attachment or desire to agree, disagree or be accepted into the group I watched this video;

Now in the online community (Ninja Quest) myself and others, didn't like what we saw, those who claimed we didn't understand what we were seeing didn't explain it to us. They simply declared we had an agenda or already our minds up. Despite asking them with their claimed insider knowledge to explain what e were seeing. So I took it upon myself to analyze the video and here is what I felt was wrong...
Grabbing the hand right off the get, before it clears the holster is smart I even compliment Hatsumi at the point... Previous in the video he explains he is grabbing the hand and establishing a wristlock. And Hatsumi is controlling the thumb to keep from being shot/allowing the opponent to perform a trigger squeeze.
So he has a wrist-lock, the Uke still is holding the gun. So here the gun is pointed down but the Ukes arm is to the outside, away from his body.
The arm is further pulled out and the same elements are still in effect...
Now there is a serious debate on this between me and the pro-Hatsumi crowd, because it seems pretty obvious to me in the video that gun moves parallel (horizontal) to the ground (across Hatsumi's groin/stomach area) and not vertically.
More so, It appears the gun goes back across the groin/stomach area. and from the angle in the still above shows Hatsumi.
Here Hatsumi demonstrates the small-joint manipulation of the Uke's gun hand.
Hatsumi and the thumb still explaining... or if you agree with me still excusing.
And now Hatsumi attempts controlling the gun... I question why he didn't do this sooner.
Here Hatsumi continues the lesson that without a thumb someone can't pull a trigger. Which I disagree with, a smaller pistol (commonly used by criminals because they can easily be concealed) could be gripped with the remaining three fingers and possibly allow the trigger to be squeezed.
I fundamentally don't care what Hatsumi teaches and I don't think my disagreement with him will stop anyone from joining the Bujinkan or learning from him or anyone else in the Bujinkan. In fact, I give myself so little credit in this regard that I've both intentionally and unintentionally ruined my own creditability with others to various degrees. Mostly this has been done for "making fun" of online experts who are committed to "discussing" how great their style and masters are while bashing others.

In fact, if you look at the martial arts world with a bit of honest skepticism you'll find even the "creditable martial artists" are full of lies and exaggerations. In fact, creditable is an empty label because it depends on creditable to who? To those devoted to a particular style, questioning the style is the equivalent of questioning God. Many times, instructors invent answers when questioned on things they don't know. More so, many martial arts instructors make things up on the fly to fill gaps in their training. This is not a bad thing by any means, after all if you find yourself in a self-defense situation and encounter something you aren't accustomed to you have to make it up as you go along.

I once asked Omoto Sensei how to counter a technique he showed me, and his tierce reply was only "How would you counter it?" I was not what you would call friends with Kiyoshi Omoto he looked at our relationship as a duty... it was his job to teach and my job to learn, we were not friends. More so, Omoto Ryu under Kiyoshi Omoto was a job and under Sensei Martin it was not. I was friends with Reginald Martin which is why I learned this style, I even dated his daughter. Under Sensei Martin Omoto Ryu used a simple ranking system that did not have belts, where as Koshi Omoto used belts because Omoto Ryu Jujitsu & Budo was a commercial school... these ranks were simple Deshi (student), Sempai/Sensei (Senior Student/Teacher) and Shihan (Master). A student learns what he is taught, a senior student understands what he is taught and teaches it to those learning and a master understands what he isn't taught and acts without thinking. Omoto Ryu has no Soke in the traditional sense... One becomes a Shihan, as the Shihan who taught him or her no longer teaches them. You may train together but you are no longer "learning" you are "experiencing" this is somewhat like some parents who kick their kids out the house after a certain age. They haven't disowned the child and are there to help and offer advice but the child must face the world as an "adult." This is true of anyone who has to use their art in  real world, whether you are an "operator" on the battlefield or a telephone operator being mugged in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Now isn't that a long winded and pointless way to say "Sometimes in life you have to make it up as you go along?" Sadly, the fantasy of being a martial artist makes it seem like "Master" has to or should have all the answers be filled with stories and anecdotes speaking in riddles instead simple, direct and straight forward. Once you understand this, you have to deal with two facts. 1) Sometimes people make up shit and 2) sometimes others don't have an answer for your questions. Guess what that means, deal with it & go figure it out yourself... I've had to figure things out so much, I don't ask I just observe and analyze, form my opinion and go on. Sometimes I change my opinion and, most times I don't. Do I care what you believe? No... like your sexuality or religion those are things for you to deal with unless your region tells you to kill me or you want to practice your sexuality with me I don't care. Nor should you care what my opinion is, people who seem to care that I don't agree with them or think I "bash their art" forget I don't regard my own opinion very highly. People will believe what they want because they want  believe it... Who am I?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How I Punked Phil Elmore and why he stalks me...

Anyone with half a brain knows I mean Phil Elmore when I call him Ill Failmore. You see Phil is a wannabe "martial artist" and "tactical expert." Phil can't take someone disagreeing with him. Its funny because he disagrees with everyone else. Years ago Phil Elmore had a web forum, he's taken it down I don't know why, be I suspect to conceal evidence of his own illegal activity. As hard as I am on the Bujinkan for trying to be fraud busters when their art is itself full of fraudulent claims; Dr, Karl Friday from the History Department of the University of Georgia said that;

"The generally authoritative *Bugei Ryuha Daijiten* lists Dr. Hatsumi as
the successor to the Kumogakure Ryu (listing 13 generations, with an
indeterminate number of successors between the founder, Iga Ienaga, and
Toda Nobufusa), the Kuki Shinden Happo Ryu (28th generation), the Gyokko
Ryu (listing 30 soke preceeding him), the Koto Ryu (18th generation) , the
Shinden Fudo Ryu (25 generations, although this would take the school back
to the mid-11th century, at least 400 years earlier than any any historian
accepts the existance of any bugei ryuha), and one of 2 successors to the
Gikan Ryu.  The ryuha geneologies recorded in this dictionary, however,
are mostly transcribed directly from records of the schools themselves,
with little or no attempt at independent verification (which is nearly
impossible in most cases anyway--for *any* classical martial art

There is no listing at all for the Togakure Ryu; there are a number of
Gyokushin Ryu listings, but none specifically identified as ninpo schools
and none that list Dr. Hatsumi as a succesor; and several Takagi Ryus, but
no Takagi Yoshin Ryu and no Takagi Ryu listing Dr. Hatsumi.

The term "koppojutsu," is by the way, an odd one.  I can't find it in any
dictionary.  "Koppo" by itself means "bone art", which would make the
"jutsu" part redundant--"the art of bone art."


This is important because Phil has a close association with the Bujinkan online. Phil and I had a disagreement over an online argument he made that because someone is out of shape they should not be told they can't defend themselves. After all no one would tell a little old woman she couldn't defend herself, because she is old. Well I pointed out that a fat person could always lose weight and an out of shape person could always exercise to get into shape but an old woman can't become younger. And from there, how dare I insult the great Phil Elmore...

Then came my address of a closer quarters shooting stance, the concept is similar to what is described below and was taught to me as something done in anticipation of extreme close range conflict. Again it had to b Phil's way or no way at all...
Here is the screen shot of Phil Elmore on his own forum saying our whole disagreement was about me not admitting I was wrong.
This is rather funny because he goes onto say he enjoys attacking me online. He goes on to make a rationalization about how I should not stand up for myself and of course make himself out to be innocent victim. Phil's comment was posted the 2nd of November 2010, which was a few weeks after I was Fort Walton Beach Florida, were these pictures were taken.

And well I get to travel, work with other martial artists and Phil gets the internet... He even admits here, what is funny is this came two months before the comment above.
And its rather interesting because Phil, finds violence "exciting" apparently he gets his excitement through starting conflicts online and harassing people, where it is safe. Of course, he and his "friends" all do this as a team of fat, socially rejected losers. Here Patrick Ferrari (the same who left comments on this blog: More Trolling from Phil Failmore) admitting to having creeper accounts on private forums to "spy" on their "online enemies." This certainly shows a pattern of conspiring with others... We'll focus more on Patrick at a later date & his now self-deleted comments on the More Trolling from Phil Failmore blog...
Of course its even better because under Patrick's comment is someone taking a statement I made out of context. Ah well... conspiracy is bad enough. For those who have seen Phil Elmore posting about online, just remember Patrick admitted he and Phil were stalking me and other Ashida Kim associates in 2010.
Here is a fun one Phil Elmore threatening to sue me, because he is done "fucking around" but he never did. Instead Phil started harassing and approaching anyone who was associated with me. This includes his attacks on Dan Bowen, Brian, Johnny Hunter and others... Here is a screen sot of Phil contacting someone just because I left a comment on his youtube page. Funny how, Phil says I'm a stalker for recording information of him stalking me.
Here is an even better one Phil, as Steve Miller (one of his troll accounts) referencing my Civilian Counter Terrorism class being cancelled. Whats really funny about this is it was an April Fools Day prank, to get Phil to commit a Felony.
And here is Phil as MartialCheckmate, sending me a text video over tube to brag about how the civilian Counter Terrorism Course of cancelled before Steve Miller sent me these messages.
It was kind of funny because I pretended to actually care about a "free course" I was holding on April Fools day. Free or not Phil intestinally became involved in trying to disrupt my business. Why to prove me wrong, because I disagree with what Phil claims to be an expert in. And if that's not enough Phil was not only trying to slaner me name but was actively pushing his lies and half truths to anyone who associated with me. So I left an event mentioned online and allowed Phil to attempt to interfere with it.

And why is all this done? Because I disagree with Phil Elmore. In 2010 Phil Elmore even called me a "fraud & child molester" (well before I was charged with possession of child porn in 2012 and it was dismissed in 2013, due to lack of evidence. This of course leaves an interesting question about how someone can be charged with possession but evidence of possession can not be found) and called in the FBI on Ashida Kim and myself claiming we planned terroristic threats against himself.
Nothing ever happened and to make matters even more entertaining, we filed our own complaints with the FBI for harassment and possible racketeering and definite conspiracy charges. This forced Phil Elmore into retreat were he apologized...

Phil Elmore's apology on Ashida Kim's old forum... the result of being punked into committing a felony and getting caught. There is so much to weed through on all the evidence we gathered.

And of course we halted legal proceedings against him, let Phil have a pass. You see Phil though all this information was gone, taken when we police took my computers. But, it has resurfaced so if the police took all the evidence against Phil and my computers it leave only one question to really ask. When did I get it all back & does this mean I'm going to filed suit against Phil? Or just rub it into his nose about how he got beat by a "fake ninja." You can read more about how I punked Phil Elmore in Never Back Down: The True Story Behind Sensei Ron Collins which demonstrates why Phil and Patrick are adamant to slander my name and discourage others from reading this book. This is also why Phil Elmore tried to have the publication of Never Back Down stopped... he never did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Racism in Martial Arts

Racism has been a hot topic in the news and some have compared todays racial tensions with that of the 1960s. As we do not have another Martin Luther King Jr. I'm going to start this blog off with a quote from the man himself;

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

We know racism was an everyday occurrence in the past... Even Bruce Lee was a victim of Racism, oh here in the US sure but Lee was 1/8  German. He was stopped from going any further in Wing Chun because was an "impure Chinese" and so Ip Man was pressured into no longer teaching him. This is why Bruce Lee fought William Chow over Lee's refusal to "not teach Blacks kung-fu." Ronald Duncan, the Grandfather of American Ninjutsu was teaching it well before Stephen K. Hayes brought the Bujinkan Dojo's Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu (what they called it before changing the name to Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu)  to the US.
It is sad to say that racism is a part of human nature and that racism is everywhere. I had a friend in the Army who joined the US Army to help get his US citizenship & he did not like black Americans. I don't like the term African-American because as I see it, we are all Americans and our entitled to the same rights and respect regardless of our skin color tones. Unfortunately, racism is as much a part of culture as is anything. My friend Harry was black but being born & raised in Africa, he had a different cultural outlook then Americans and resented Americans claiming a culture they had nothing to do with. He'd get angry and start cursing every time someone used the term "African-American." He was interesting to be around, to say the least... but regardless of where your ancestors come from you have to apart of that culture to understand it.
I'm part Cherokee and proud of that fact, almost everyone native to West Virginia is as a matter of fact, this area was first colonized by the Irish and Scotts-Irish so its not uncommon to meet people with Native-American blood in their family tree. I however, actually was taught about Cherokee culture. Before I was born, my mom worked with an older Cherokee woman and they became friends. My mother in her younger days looked like a slightly paler and blue eye Cherokee. This older women taught my mom about Cherokee traditions and my mom taught me. In the Army, I got jumped by three Navajo boys because I was part Cherokee, the Cherokee sided with whites during the colonial era prior to the Trail of Tears. Me being "white" who practiced some of the Cherokee traditions, really upset a couple of them. I guess it reminded them of a conflict they never experienced but was a cultural memory passed down from their parents. What I took pride in knowing about knowing about myself, they saw as a reminder of what they were taught was betrayal.
To call myself Cherokee is an insult to Cherokee, I know bits and pieces of traditions, my bushcraft is most certainly based on Cherokee traditions. I burn white sage and I've learned to "speak to the wind" but I am still not Cherokee. I'm part Irish but I'm not Irish, I know less about Celtic & Irish culture then I know about Cherokee. When it comes to my American history,  know that West Virginia before it was a part of Virginia was territory inhabited by Scotts-Irish and Irish who married into Cherokee and other tribes. Neither Cherokee nor "white" these people developed their own unique culture, half-Cherokee and half-European. And as time went on and technology adapted we "Hillbillies" have developed our own culture. With it comes a cultural memory, stories passed down and tales that everyone believes. It doesn't matter if its true or not, doesn't matter if you have first hand knowledge or not... You know it & have accepted it your whole life or part of you life.
Its funny really, I had a Platoon Sergeant I really hated and he hated me... He hated me because in Chicago he had been told everyone from West Virginia was in the KKK and there were not black people in the state. So when he found out I was from West Virginia he assumed I was racist and being spoon fed these ideas his whole life, I became a target of what he felt was his "pre-emptive self-defense." So when people filed complaints on him with the Sergeant-Major he went straight for me, assuming it was me. Now at certain point I did file a complaint, my Sergeant-Major had me stand in another room and "guard the desk" while he talked to this sergeant. That's when this Sergeant assumed some kind of kinship with my Sergeant-Major because they both had dark skin, said "You know how those people from West Virginia are they are all in the Klan and he probably never saw nigga till he joined the Army." At which point, my Sergeant called me into the room, and dismissed me. My Sergeant-Major was from West Virginia & he was black, so you can only imagine the conversation they had but I didn't have anymore problems except for those I brought on myself. By this point I was in full on rebellious anyway, so caused myself some added hardship being hardheaded.
I address this to address both racism and the cultural memory effect... Much of racism is based on a cultural memory, something learned and passed on. For the Navajo who resented my embracing of Cherokee culture to a racist douche bag NCO who thought I was racist so he had to be racist in turn. How we define were we come from, defines how we see our present. Many white Americans cannot see why their fellow black Americans feel the pains of slavery, segregation and inequality decades and a century after those policies have been removed. Failing to realize it is an aspect of cultural memory... Yes we have people like Al Sharpton who fan the flames but most people don't think about how Martin Luther King day and Black History Month spread these cultural memories. Think about it (I'm not saying drop MLK day), why do we have a special month for famous black people, can't we address their contributions to history and progress along side their white counter-parts? And Martin Luther King should be then a "greeting card" we should study his life work and philosophy on more then just "lip service" for his holiday.
And I'm getting off on current American politics more so then addressing martial arts but I want to leave you an example you can understand. Because if you think this is talking about racism, you've never seen Asians or Middle Easterns at work. They have cultures and cultural memories that span centuries. It hard for Americans to understand, but these older cultures (unlike America) often value older things believing they have survived the test of time. Dr. Karl Friday a University of Georgia Professor of History states that most Japanese Ryu-ha (schools) exaggerate their age to show a symbolic worth... (, more so said cultures tend to define themselves by philosophies of previous years. The Iranians for example, don't think of themselves as being people from Iran an Islamic Republic established in 1979 but as Persians & modern extension of the Persian Empire. Likewise, the Chinese do not think of themselves as a "new nation" established under Mao Zedong 1945 but as the modern branch of the Chinese root reaching back to Xia dynasty of 2100 BCE.

To these cultures, we are merely "children" a young nation of only 239 years, they believe they are superior because they have a longer history. Their cultural memory is filled with a great depth of historical examples. Eastern martial arts, newly favored in Western Nations and the US especially, are seen as superior traditions that are older and more experienced as historical narrative. This explains the reasoning behind Ronald Duncan's story in his interview. More so, cultural pride will never let someone outside the culture be considered to be of greater skill or knowledge of someone from that culture. Meaning whether you are speaking of a Japanese, Chinese or Korean national, they will hold a greater standing then a someone outside the said culture. This was why Bruce Lee could no longer be taught by Ip Man, he was of a greater skill then many who resented him for such skills. Because Lee was 1/8 German, he was not fully part of Chinese culture.

More so, may know the organization of the Kokuryukai, the Japanese Black Dragon Society, was instrumental in spreading the propaganda of Japanese/Asian superiority. The Koyosha & Genyosha were also developed around & colored by the Prophecy of Emperor Jimmu in 660AD (Ashuka Era) called the Hakko Ichiu (All eight corners of the world under one roof) a prophecy that colored the thought of the Japanese Empire that was in place & being developed as a national philosophy/policy since 1868 became a rally cry for a Pan Asian Philosophy. Though at the time of the prophecy the Emperor was speaking only of the Japan, China & Korea what he knew as the world at that time. Judo was a tool used by the Kokuryukai to establish the first spy ring in Russia and to infiltrate Russian military bases as "judo instructors" prior to the Russo-Japanese War 
 Even with the defeat of the Japanese Empire during World War 2, the Japanese traded intelligence on their enemies and allies a like to escape war crime charges. Just as an Filipino, Korean or Chinese citizen (Koreans especially) and they hate the Japanese. The Koreans have a cultural memory of abuses during the second world war. Okinawans, though considered "Japanese citizens" see themselves as a wholly distinct culture from the mainland Japanese. A Japanese-American for example being a lesser Japanese to a native Japanese. And what about the Hakko Ichiu prophecy?
 From: Infidel Bloggers Allience:
Hakko ichiu, translates into English as "all the world under one roof," meaning world dominance by Japan. It was first used as a political slogan in the early 20th century by Japanese nationalist Tanaka Chigaku as his interpretation of a "divine command" issued by Jimmu, Japan's first god-emperor, believed to be a direct descendent of the sun.

The Japanese people believed themselves to be descendants of gods, destined to rule the world and all its people. Their religion of Shinto decreed that all living people must imitate the ways of the gods, in a system as detailed and all-encompassing as that of Islam's Sharia law. And like Islam, Shinto had permeated its culture for many centuries. But since 1870 the state had forced into the practice of Shinto the doctrine of hakko ichiu. The combination was deadly, because to the Japanese it justified any treachery, brutality, rape, and torture used against non-Japanese. In 1940, the Konoe administration proclaimed for Japan "a new order in East Asia aimed at establishment of world peace...". The meaning of hakko ichiu in relation to "peace" was about the same as that of Islam: submission.

And an These on Hakko Ichiu from Teshima, Taeko of the University of Arizona: goes onto explain this philosophy as philosophy of world dominance, even in the post World War 2 Japan.

The simple truth remains there are two elements to the study of Japanese martial arts, one is a cultural aspect of learning about Japanese terms and history devoted you the art and, other is good techniques. However, some Japanese system require an absolute devotion to Japanese culture and historical studies and those that are headed by people devoted to the Hakko Ichiu philosophy believe that Japan will yet conquer the world through the spreading of its culture, philosophy and religion. Yes, there is racism in martial arts and perhaps more so in Japanese martial arts. By contrast if you lo at Brazilian Jiujutsu, students of the art are not required to learn Brazilian language (Portuguese) or culture. Most karate & judo schools do not force the study of Japanese culture or religion upon the student, beyond basic dojo commands and technique names. Yet some schools of Ninjutsu, Aikido & Kendo demand an almost fanatical study & observance of Japanese culture, reigion and history rather teaching cultural aspects along side martial arts, they are teaching martial arts along side cultural aspects. Sometimes these cultural aspects are less about culture and more about cults like the Oom Yung Doe

The Japanese, Chinese and Koreans will never let a non-Asian be considered a master or become Soke of an art, as such many non-Asians establish their own arts & systems. Even Stephen K. Hayes & Robert Bussey had to break way from the Bujinkan and establish their own systems, to become "Soke" of their own traditions, though they never officially used the term. Bruce Lee created Jeet Kune Do as a philosophy that was a counter-cultural movement to the Chinese cultural racism that prevented him from becoming a "master" in Wing Chun. Bruce's words, at 3:38 to 4:39 in the video below, reflect this awareness...

Racism exists, it is a part of the human condition and it is not something to be proud of... It much be accepted however, accepted in the way we much accept cancer or war or, hurricanes. We do all we can to reduce the effect but understand that it is something we can never be rid of. We can educate our fellow man and seek out those who do not share such views. The worst we can do is accept the belief that we are being discriminated against when we are not. Sadly, racism is a large part of martial arts, especially Asian martial arts...