It seems that the vast majority of people who are interested in and drawn to the art of Japan’s ancient ninja warriors only seem to focus on the “cool moves” and exotic weapons that they see in the movies. For these “fanatics,” the ornaments ARE the art, and no discussion or test will convince them that the image is not the art.
As I regularly remind my own students, the skills, weapons, masks, outfits, etc. that we see in movies are not art. These things individually are no more Ninjutsu than owning a car and knowing how to drive makes you a professional racing driver!
What makes a Ninja a Ninja? The power that was passed down from the people originally known in ancient Japan as Shinobi no Monkey – not skills, weapons or anything else. In fact, most of these things were also known, used and performed by other warriors of the time.
The difference is not in what you can see, but in what you cannot.
The power is not in the techniques and tricks, but in the way the Ninja thinks and approaches things, regardless of whether we are talking about combat and self defense, or how and where you are. you are going to live your life.
In fact, one of the core abilities of a true Ninja is one that gives their skills, weapons, and tactics the power they have.
Do you understand that?
What makes the Ninja’s skills, techniques, and “moves” as powerful as they are is the mindset that puts them into practice, not the “things” themselves.
One of the Strategies: One of the mental abilities of a true Ninja is summed up in the phrase “munen muso” (pronounced, “moo-nehn moo-soh”). The term itself simply means, “No thought / No action”, but it is what is being pointed out that changes the whole “game” and gives the Ninja his power in any confrontation – against any attacker.
Munen-muso It signals a state of mind that you should have when facing a skilled, determined, and purposeful opponent. It is not something you do, but an aspect of who you are in that moment. You can’t do ” munen-muso, more than you “do” anger. Either you are “angry” or not. And … or are you in a state of munen-musoor you are not.
So what is munen-muso? As I said before, it really has two aspects, but it is the state of being completely neutral when facing a violent attacker. These two aspects are really reflections of a mind, of a state of being.
One aspect is that of munen, “without thought.” This is the reflex of being “neutral” where you are not looking for anything. You are not guessing what it is going to do. You do not expect anything and therefore it cannot surprise you that it does not do what you thought it would do.
The other aspect, that of mu-so, “no action”, is a different reflection of being “neutral”. Where munen represents an internal state of being, muso it represents this calm, neutrality, grounding on an external level.
Mu-so, “no-action”, points to the “stillness” of your presence and external appearance to your attacker. You don’t send any hints or clues about your intentions, so there is absolutely nothing that he can pick up on, nothing that he can use against you.
As you can see, being a warrior, being a true Ninja, is much more than just dressing in a certain way or being able to imitate some step-by-step katas that have been passed down over time.
So … the question is …
Are you just a “fan” of Ninja? Does your idea of what it means to be a Ninja match some kind of movie image, or …