A good attitude          Is not always enough

 

Ninpo Taijutsu allows an individual to act in a free and spontaneous manner while remaining clear. This idea of "formless spontaneity" is something that dwells within all of us, so it is nothing to be gained as such, but rather rediscovered for each one of us through dedicated practice. The art of Ninpo Taijutsu is not only based upon learning a set of motions or techniques, it is awareness of countless principles that allow a "technique" to happen naturally and approach each situation with a good attitude

 

Even if you have a good attitude when training, and are serious about what you are learning, you still may have an improper understanding of what is required of you. "A good attitude" is not always enough. What is important is for you to realize what direction your training is taking you and to develop your skills appropriately. Your Instructor will watch you progress during training sessions and determine any future grades using the following out line. But remember you must remain Teachable. Some one who is teachable and keeps coming to training will someday get his or her Black belt. They may not be the most talented student in class and it may take them a little longer, but they will get there someday because they are teachable and determined.

 

People who are not teachable skip from teacher to teacher, style to style, and one day they reach their half empty goal when someone just like them gives in and gives them a black belt. Yet they don't have the knowledge of the teachable student who had the desire and determination to really learn and spent the same amount of time training. Take pride in yourself and your training; be good at what you do

 

To this end grades are a marker on the path that you have taken and a reference point on the road to improvement as a person.  In short why would you be given a grade for some thing you have already achieved?  Surely a grade represents a point you must reach. With this in mind, Grades are given to those that show not just technique but body, fluid movement and power. Of course, these are just the physical skills, they will, to some degree, contribute to the growth of your (SHIKEN) spiritual power, however, this spiritual growth depends largely on your life experiences and lets not forget such things as desire, determination as we grow, the ability to self analyse and assess. Your level of maturity is also a major factor in the awarding of your grade. For instance, a person who jokes around with weapons, pointing them at others, or hitting them, is hardly a qualified weapons expert. So, unless you can show the due respect for the techniques being shown and fellow students, you can't get past the lowest levels

 

The dojo          Keeping it and yourself tidy “sojii”

 

A dojo is a term used in Japanese martial arts that refers to a formal training hall. It is typically considered the formal gathering place for students of martial arts style to conduct training, examinations and other related encounters.

 

In Japanese, dojo means literally "place of the Way”. A hombu dojo is a style considered the administrative and stylistic headquarters or a particular martial arts style or group. This does not necessarily mean that they are large or ostentatious. A proper Japanese-style martial arts dojo is considered special and is well cared for by its users. In many styles it is traditional to conduct a ritual cleaning and tidying of the dojo at the end of each training session (called sojii). Besides the obvious hygienic benefits of regular cleaning it also serves to reinforce the fact that dojo are supposed to be supported and managed by the student body, not the school's instructional staff.

 

This attitude has become lost in many modern, commercial dojos that are founded and run by a small group of people or instructors. In fact, it is not uncommon that in traditional (koryu) schools, dojos are rarely used for training at all, instead being reserved for more symbolic or formal occasions. The actual training is conducted typically in a school or in a less formal area.

 

A students good attitude will be reflected in his/her personal hygiene, arriving with a clean and ironed gi shows forethought and respect for the instructors and other students.  Feet must be clean, fingernails and toenails must be short. Respect other peoples training tools and they shall respect yours. Weapons should be in good condition and in their proper place when not in use. Shoes or sandals are never allowed on the mat.

 

Proper dojo etiquette          How to conduct yourself during training

 

It is necessary to respect the way in which the instructor and those more experienced in the class directs the training.  Receive instruction and carry out suggestions for training sincerely, without argument and to the best of your ability. 

           

It is the moral responsibility of each student never to use Ninjutsu techniques to harm another person or as a way to display his or her ego. It is a tool to develop a better society through the character development of the individual.

 

There will be no competition on the mat. It is your responsibility to cause no injury to your training partner or yourself. The purpose of Ninjutsu is not to fight and defeat an enemy, but to fight and defeat your own aggressive instincts.

 

The strength of Ninjutsu is not in muscular force, but in flexibility, timing, control and modesty.  Be aware of your limitations. Everyone has different physical abilities and reasons for study.

 

A few minutes before class time you should be warmed up and formally seated in quiet meditation to rid your mind of the day's problems and prepare for study. It is important to be on time for practice and participate in the opening ceremony with a complete, clean, ironed, gi and your belt tied correctly.  If you are unavoidably late you should wait, formally seated beside the mat until the instructor signals his/her permission for you to join the class. Quietly perform a simple bow as you get on the mat.

  

Do not leave the mat during class without asking, except in the case of injury or illness.

 

During class when the instructor says “Yamestop and demonstrates a technique for practice, sit quietly and attentively in Seiza. After the demonstration the instructor will say “Asobimas” play, immediately begin to practice.

  

No jewellery should be worn during practice.

 

Bowing-sitting and standing                  

 

At the start of the session the most senior student says “Narande”: line up in ranks, students sit in Seiza no kamae (kneeling posture).

 

The teacher then faces the students, and the most senior student says, "Sensei ni rei" (to the teacher, bow), The student’s bow and say  "O negai shimasu" then after bowing the teacher says “Tachimas” Stand.

"Onegai shimasu." Loosely translated it is a request which when spoken by the student means, "Please give me your instruction."

When spoken by the teacher it means, "Please do what is expected of you"

 

The words spoken by the student to the instructor at the end of practice are, "Domo arigato gozaimashita."  "You have my respect and gratitude for what you have just done."  This is the most respectful way of saying thank you.

 

Please do not resent it if you are corrected on a point of etiquette. One day you may be the Instructor!