I can see everyone reading this and thinking "WTF Now!?" Did Ron Collins the Black Dragon Ninjitsu guy just say Ninjas are Bullshit!? And the answer is, yes... yes, I did. Ninjutsu is the most bastardized system on the planet and you have to understand why and how...
Now don't go getting your happy in this, just yet. You see, when I say Ninjas... I mean every ninjutsu practicer on the planet is full of it. Allow me to explain this whole problem begins with Fujita Seiko "The Last Ninja." Now that title of "the last ninja" is a shorthand for what he was "the Last Ninja employed by Japan." So Fujita Seiko claims to have been a "ninja" and he tough ninjutsu at the Nakano Espionage School in Japan from the Bansenshukai. However, Fujita Seiko was a Japanese Naval Intelligence Officer. This means his was military intelligence, so to give you an idea there are 3 types of Mission Intelligence;
Tactical Intelligence is gathered, analyzed and prepared at the soldiers in the field level. This is things like using scouts to provide over watch security for a main force of soldiers on their way to engage an objective. If the scouts can find and mark enemy defenses on the map, the main forces can simply avoid them. If they need to hit one position with a raid to draw enemy for there to create an opening this is also produced at the Tactical Level.
Operational Intelligence deals with the support and planning of a strategic operation. So while tactical intelligence deals with providing an idea of what soldiers in the field will engage on their mission and how to complete the mission. Operational Intelligence deals with supporting them so that they can complete the mission and this branches into things like counter-intelligence (providing the enemy false or misleading information or outright denying them intelligence all to gather) operations.
Finally there is Strategic Intelligence, and this deals with forming a strategy to win the war. This comes into evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of an enemy and knowing how to attack them. This means examining the Economic Strength, Technological Strength, Military Strength and other aspects like diplomatic relations, national/religious ideologies and cultural traditions in this as well. A strategy is just a plan and a strategy is simply planning in reverse. Look at the end result and figure out what you have to do to reach that goal. Then what steps you need to take to reach that point and the steps needed to reach that point and you just keep doing.
Given that Fujita Seiko was an officer and an instructor at Nakano, I can pretty safely assume he was dealing with Tactical & Operational Intelligence. So Fujita Seiko was a Ninja Master & a military intelligence officer. So he had the then modern equivalent job of being a ninja and a claim to a Ninjutsu lineage. Now if you understand what I am saying, its like saying you have Army Survival Training from SEREs School and all your merit badges from the boy scouts.
But, Fujita Seiko got some stuff wrong and tried to fill in his gaps with other systems of martial arts and other areas of study. There was a great deal of interest with the historical ninjutsu documents and Fujita Seiko even made a partial translation of the Bansenshukai in the 1930s as well as published his partial translation as Ninjutsu Hiroku (Secret Notes about Ninjutsu in 1936), in 1942 Fujita Seiko published Ninjutsu Kara Spy Sen He (From Ninjutsu to Spy Warfare) & in 1958 published Doronron: Saigo no Ninja. There is no translation for Doronron, it is an reference to a particular Taiko (drum) roll used in plays and Japanese theater when a ghost appears and disappears from stage. Saigo No Ninja means "The Last Ninja." Doronron: Saigo no Ninja is a Japanese phrase for a Taiko drum series and words Saigo no Ninja or The Last Ninja. Fujits Seiko also produced a book on Naban Sato Ryu Kenpo in 1958 called Kenpo Gokui Atemi Sappo Kappo Meikai or The Technique to strike vital points from the kenpo to kill and revive. These same points are reference to Dim Mak points or Kyusho points. Different names but same arts. I have explained the intricacies of Kenpo as a Japanese term already, in Okinawan martial arts, they are drawn from Chinese White Crane Gung-fu which at the higher levels does teach Dim Mak. And Fujita Seiko's Naban Sato Ryu Kenpo was developed from Okinawan fighting systems. So it is possible that those who have read Fujita's works, as well as the many Okinawan martial artists he associated with might have used the Chinese term Dim Mak which was a reference to the original system used in Kung-fu.
Regardless Fujita Seiko was an instructor at the Nakano Espionage School and a Military Intelligence Officer in addition to being a "Ninja." Japan experienced a Ninja Boom in the media akin to the 1980s ninja boom in American media and cinema. Fujita's book Ninjutsu Kara Spy Sen He states that ninjutsu is in essence a form of espionage or intelligence warfare. Je was an intelligence officer and as such will always be the Last Ninja to serve the Japanese Government.
However, the 1960s Ninja Boom in Japan used to hype, the folk image of the Ninja as a Sorcerer or Magician who could fly, shape shift into animals, become invisible or summon demons. Fujita Seiko had no proof of his claim to ninjutsu and he mixed other elements to said ninjutsu. One such element was the addition of Shugendo.
Now this comes from a friend in Japan who has visited the Yamabushi temple in Togakoshi village in Japan. Shugendo and the Yamabushi, specifically those Yamabushi have no connection to ninjutsu except for that a Ninja trained with them a ninja named Fujita Seiko. Fujita Seiko mixed the Yamabushi art of Shugendo, the way of gaining great mystical power. Many people doubted Fujita Seiko and many researchers noted that Fujita's demonstrations of ninjutsu was simply common Yamabushi demonstrations of their mystical powers, by historical researchers in Japan.
Now it could be speculated that Fujita Seiko was playing the role of a entertainer to gather information about the crowd via observations and then tell them these observations. It is also possible that Fujita Seiko lacking the training of a true ninja used Shugendo to supplement said training to allow him to go without food, sleep and withstand long periods of discomfort. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Regardless the Yamabushi temple in Togakoshi is important because Takamatsu "misspelled" the kanji calling it Togakure, as in Togakure Ryu and, claiming an older lineage to a non-existent school of ninjutsu. Takamatsu blended elements of his Kukishenden Ryu, pirated from the Kuki family's shrine and his transcribed copies of the Kuki family scrolls. Bastardizing the Kuki family tradition with elements of his own made up Shugendo style and created 5 other schools of martial arts, including two other schools of ninjutsu. I have already addressed the incestuous nature of these 5 schools coming from Toda Shinryuken (who was a bone setter, like Hatsumi which is only one point of reference that Hatsumi might have conspired with Takamatsu to create this Ninja Mythology).
Now it should be noted that there is a pattern here that shows that Takamatsu used Fujita Seiko's research, and to a native Japanese it would be easy to follow Fujita's research. As well as the work of other researchers...
Fujita Seiko says he learned Ninjutsu from his grandfather...
Takamatsu claims he learned ot from his grandfather or, uncle, accounts vary, named Toda Shinryuken.
This isn't important... But, other similarities exist...
Fujita Seiko adds Shugendo to fill in gaps in his Ninjutsu training and trains at the Yamabushi temple in Togakushi Japan.
Takamatsu claims his ninjutsu is Togakure Ryu from Togakoshi and claims a link to the Yamabushi in Togakushi Japan. This means that Takamatsu is claiming his Ninjutsu is older then Fujita Seiko's ninjutsu and comes from the same root and claiming that he (Takamatsu) gained full transmission means he is insinuating a purer and more complete form of ninjutsu. The issue is the Yamabushi of Togakoshi claim no connection to Ninjutsu, except that Fujita Seiko trained with them and added their brand of Shugendo to his Ninjutsu.
This goes into the bastardized form of Kukishin Ryu Kenpo (kanji here means Sword Law) which refers to the a Sword Combat art and a combat philosophy as well, called Togakure Ryu Ninpo. It is important to note I have addressed this in the past in detail here. So Takamatsu attached his art to Fujita Seiko for legitimacy by claiming an older tradition and using Fujita's research as a base.
Shugendo however also applies a similar philosophy of facing danger to gain enlightenment. These ritualistic tests of courage and endurance are known as Shugyo, such as piercing the body with needles and meditating under waterfalls in mod winter. Shugenja also embark on a dangerous pilgrimage known be the same name, which involves passing along dangerous mountain paths and praying to various gods (kami) at different shrines along the way. Regarded as a form of sorcerery this has nothing to do with the Art of Military Strategy or Ninjutsu the art of espionage, though it might as well...
However, like Takamatsu many modern Ninjutsu schools copy this Shugendo link to Ninjutsu. Additionally, many Bujinkan trolls online began harassing those claiming ninjutsu and demanding they prove their lineage (something Takamatsu couldn't do) and stating that all other ninjutsu schools should resemble their art. Many people did exactly that copying the Bujinkan theme of Ninjutsu.
This is all made up by the way... As the only connection to Shugendo and the Yamabushi is Fujita Seiko. This makes Hatsumi's ninja museum in Togakushi Japan look like a stunt to appear legitimate, especially given that Kawakami of the Koga Ban Ryu (not proven either) would be named an expert by the Iga Ninja Museum. Creating the additional conflict that the Iga Ninja Museum says ninjutsu is not a martial art but ancient Japanese espionage methods.
Fujita Seiko was a Naval Intelligence officer who acting served in Japan's military and as as an instructor at the infamous Nakano Espionage school.
Takamatsu spent many years in China and is claimed to have written letters home describing his spy missions for the Japanese government.
The Fujita Seiko and Takamatsu pattern:
1. Both men claim to have learned there art from a family elder...
2. Both men have a history of covert operations, Takamatsu claimed bt himself by writing letters home about his secret ninja missions in Japan. Fujita Seiko by enlisting in the Japanese Navy and training covert and clandestine operations operators at the Nakano Espionage School.
3. Both men apply certain "mystical practices" to their arts.
4. Both were amateur researchers, Takamatsu copying the Kuki family scrolls, copying various ninjutsu documents available to the public. Fujita published a partial translation of the Bansenshukai, researched various other documents and even wrote books on Ninjutsu.
Where the pattern breaks up is that, Fujita Seiko having studied Naban Sato Ryu Kenpo had a certain respect and favored the Okinawan Kenpo (general term for any striking dominant art) and Kobudo arts as a martial arts system. This goes into Fujita Seiko's huge influence on karate.
Takamatsu and Hatsumi claim their art is better then Okinawan arts of Karate/Kenpo and Kobudo.
While Fujita's ninjutsu was claimed to be a partial study of the art, for which he researched historical documents and esoteric practices to fill in the gaps. Takamatsu researched the same historical documents and plagiarizing Fujita claimed a complete esoteric system of martial arts called ninpo.
The biggest difference is timing Fujita claimed his Ninjutsu before he even published his Partial Translation of the Bansenshukai in 1936. And thanks to Anthony Cummins research we know Fujita got some stuff wrong like the Genin, Chunin and Jonin rank structure of the ninja.
The 60's US Servicemen Ninja Connection:
What gets better is that US Servicemen and women stationed in Japan saw the cinema image of the Ninja during the Ninja Boom in Japan in the 1960s. Many were training in Shotokan, Judo, Aikido and so on.
When Americans showed an interest in Ninjutsu and the ninja. Some instructors offered classes on "ninjutsu." Their information came mainly from the Fujita Seiko's works and research.
For example, Ashida Kim claims he learned Ninjutsu from his Shotokan Instructor in Hawaii. That all he had to do was break a break, to prove he was skilled enough in Karate (which was offered only to Judoka as an advanced course on military posts).
The late great Ronald Duncan learned ninjutsu in the service and used it to create his Way of the Winds system of Koga Ryu Ninjutsu.
Mark Allen who only people in the local area will know, told he learned ninjutsu refering to it as "Japanese James Bond Bull shit." When he studied Karate in the US Army during his time with the 75th Rangers (only Ranger unit under USSOC, US Special Operations Command out of Fort Bragg in Greensboro North Carolina) during his service during Vietnam. As it provided an Asian doctrine of clandestine and covert warfare similar to what the Viet Cong were using.
This is why the Bujinkan, trolls online have demanded any "would be ninjas" online look like their style of fighting. Though it could be argued anyone using anything from the Fujita influenced systems would resemble established arts like Judo, Karate and Kobudo.
In fact, Fujita's association with Karate is why Donn F. Draeger in Ninjutsu The Art of Invisibility on page 75 refers to Karate as the Ninja's martial arts. In fact, the Takamatsu-den claims can also be viewed on page 76 when refering to te-kagi or hand claws.
In recreating ninjutsu Fujita drew a lot from Okinawan martial arts, which have an influence in Chinese Kung-fu and Wushu, as well as Okinawan peasant weapons like nunchaku, sai and kama. It's also possible the urban myth that Karate developed as a peasant fighting art, was also imposed on ninjutsu being invented as a peasant fighting art due to Fujita Seiko's influence.
Takamatsu however seems to have drawn elements from Chinese arts like Chinese Long Fist Kung fu and did invent some rather interesting tools. Te-kagi for example are rather useless for scaling castle walls almost useless for climbing trees but obviously influenced by modern ice hooks used in ice houses. The Shoge is another ingenious ninja device invented by Takamatsu. The Shoge's name means to "run over hills and valley's" influenced by the mitsukagi or three hooked spear mentioned in the Bansenshukai, used to thrust and hook enemies in battle but also to hook onto trees and ledges or stabbed into the ground and pull the shinobi up for traveling up mountain passes. And single hook grappling hook. The Shoge of Takamatsu's design is unique weapon which could be used in the same or similar manner. Best of all it could be easily concealed. And of course always wanting to be unique Takamatsu claimed a 3rd unique item, the four pointed shuriken unique to Togakure Ryu.
Addressing the long fist kung fu aspects, all kung fu can be classed as long fist or short fist striking arts. Long fist kung fu is associated with striking with the lead hand. According to Takamatsu two of his incestuous five arts, are Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu which os the parent art of Koto Ryu Koppojutsu. Gyokko Ryu is a long diatance striking art... Much like Paochui Chaun or Cannon Fist which uses the lead hand like a spear to strike from distance using the advantage of long reach. Koto Ryu claims to be a close range style and both schools claim a lineage centuries before the Japanese codified their arts into fixed schools. With Gyokko being listed as an art brought to Japan from China to explain the similarities. The infamously unique skills of Chinese Chin Na or grappling arts also includes Dim Mak or pressure points (another reason for the ise of the term Dim Mak). The muscle and tendon tearing chin na, is called Fen Jin or Zhua Jin Chin Na. The basis of Gyokko Ryu Kushijutsu and Koto Ryu Koppojutsu seems to focus on the bone misplacing or Cuo gu, which involves not only joint manipulation/destruction, but also the striking the weak points in the bone structure such as the xyphoid process or the floating ribs.
Aspects not seen in Japanese Jujutsu because the samurai wore armor and related more to the Chinese arts Takamatsu would have studied in China. Arts Takamatsu would have wanted to claim as Japanese because the of Ultra Nationalist attitude of the Japanese in the late 19th and early 20th century. Claiming to know Ninjutsu or its "Higher Order" Ninpo to make a quick buck or get some notoriety would also allow Takamatsu to invent some schools tied to his study of Chinese arts and systems in the decade he spent in China.
So if you are looking at Ninjutsu thinking it is all bull shit. Now you know why and what all the childish drama is over... Frauds declaring others, and yes... Other frauds, frauds. All to hide the truth that they are frauds. Ninjutsu and Ninja lineage claims are all Bull Shit... So called "Ninjas" are either liars or lied to.
Stay tuned for Ninjas are Bullshit! Black Dragon Ninjitsu & Omoto Ryu Budo...