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Traits of the Ninja

Three traits make up a Ninja. The most important one, honesty, is not only required in Ninpo, but also applied to everything. A person with strength, skill and intelligence will lose everything if he is dishonest. Honesty, purity and righteousness are the path to enlightenment. When one walks an honest road, things learned penetrate the body and heart like water entering sand. Then a person can judge what is right and wrong with the heart as a mirror.

Ninja sometimes use a dishonest road, but only as an instrument, diversionary tactics ('Kyojitsu Tunkan') are a temporary means and as such are not important, the dark way is not the true way. The true Ninja has the ability to use both honesty and deception to arrive at an honest goal. Deception is not an 'end', only a 'means' .

The second trait involves taking an interest in everything. This produces common sense, general knowledge, and finally enables critical judgement. The Ninja's essential techniques ('Sanjurokkei') require this special insight or spirit ('Scishinteki Kyoyo'), becase without this, in addition to having had manners, an agent (,an easily fall into enemy traps. Martial art ('Bumon'), religion (Shumon'), meteorology ('Tenmon') and knowledge of the Earth ('Chimon') must be deeply understood, Knowledge of culture equates intelligence, but it is not enough to be only an intellectual. It is important to be able to use cultural knowledge in practical ways. Develop intellect with honest heart, and unlimited wisdom ('Chie') results, leading to spiritual refinement.

The third trait involves effort. To be a Ninja , a person must have a level of endurance that cannot be broken even in the most impossible of circumstances. To achieve this trait a practitioner must train both the body and the mind to the point of regurgitation. It is impossible to explain the way I trained to obtain my patience. However, with this trait the most difficult or impossible barriers can be overcome. Talent is not required for there is no relationship between talent and effort. Effort alone can defeat even a genius. Lack of talent should not bring despair, instead there should be a commitment to try harder. To be a true Ninja, develop these three traits to the best of your ability, 'Dojo' principles should always stress the development of these traits. Consider what these time honored 'Dojo' principles that go back to before the time of Takamatsu Sensei emphasized.

  1. One must learn patience within the time it takes a cigarette to burn.
  2. One must learn that the way of man is righteousness.
  3. Forget desire; forget easiness; forget stubbornness.
  4. Think of sadness and grudges as destiny. One must comprehend the immovable heart ('Fudoshin')
  5. Do not distance one's loyalty from one's parents and rulers. Try deeply to master culture and martial arts.

"What are the martial arts? If you understand the answer, that is the correct way. This the most point which one gains without learning. "

Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura Sensei

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