September 26th, 2006


Baja Reef at Marineland

Baja Reef at Marineland of The Pacific
Palos Verdes, CA

At Marineland, formerly located in beautiful Palos Verdes at the invigorating Pacific shore, I swam through the Baja Reef attraction, which was a swim-through aquarium containing a variety of sea life including sharks, which would gracefully float about one in the deeper quadrants, octopi, manta rays, jellyfish, and stingrays. One was provided with snorkels and a wetsuit to skim the surface, but could plunge deeper as long as one could hold one's breath. At one point, a girl dropped a bracelet which drifted all the way to the bottom by some starfish, so I gallantly retrieved it for her, to which I was rewarded with a smile and a peck on the cheek.

The aquarium was viewable to onlookers through thick glass down on the deeper level, to view the divers swimming with the denizens of the watery depths. ∞


Enter The Ninja...


Enter The Ninja
{XV A.S. Directed by Golan-Globus. Starring Sho Kosugi, Franco Nero, Susan George, Christopher George, Alex Courtney, Will Hare}
"It's a Ninja. Professional soldier. Specializing in espionage & assassination." - Sho Kosugi.

The film begins with a very impressive display of weaponry skills by none other than Sho Kosugi in full Ninja uniform, including sai, shinobi-gatana, tonfa, nunchaku, manriki {bola}, blowgun, shiroken, bow & arrow, and spear-staff. Blend into white ninja {color indicative of novice/apprentice} amidst the wilderness undergoing his final "law of the jungle" test until recognized as full Ninja calibre; he is attacked by several red ninjas on his way back to the dojo, expertly defending himself until facing the Shidoshi himself, shockingly beheading him before entering in for judgement {this was a mere test to decipher whether or not he would be able to assassinate someone familiar to him to fulfill a mission, as many times an enemy would employ such illusionary tactics to distract from the task at hand}; in quite a moving scene, he is admonished by the shidoshi {teacher/"master"} to proclaim the Kuji-Kiri, The Nine Levels of Power while gesticulating the symbolic finger-knitting, which are:

1. Rin - Strength of mind and body.
2. Kyo - Direction of energy.
3. Toh - Harmony with the universe.
4. Sha - Healing of self and others.
5. Kai - Premonition of danger.
6. Jin - Knowing the thoughts of others.
7. Retsu - Mastery of time and space.
8. Zai - Control of the elements of nature.
9. Zen - Enlightenment.

The Ninja is a highly-disciplined "mystic warrior", as it were, a veritable "Assassin Warlock", utilizing the forces of nature to one's benefit, both manipulating and cooperating the Chi-Energy within and without, permeating matter and ether as one. Practicing the multi-levels of mind and body to develop absolute harmony and grace with one's inner and outer nature. Ninjitsu-Ryu, or Ninpo, is a true Martial Art.

Unfortunately, due to ignorance and probably fear, cinematically at least, ninja figures seem to be sometimes erroniously depicted as mere hoodlums or fumbling dime-a-dozen henchmen. Obviously, with some research on the subject, one will realize that this is not the case.

Historically, the Ninja was hired as a private assassin for rival families and rulerships - because of the feudal environment, the Ninja had to be the foremost martial artisan, and was in fact, the most advanced of the kind.

Turns out the white-clad Ninja is an American {an obvious Frank Dux inspiration} named "Cole", who gains the animosity of another student named Hasegawa {Sho Kosugi}, who holds an grudge against westerners learning the ancient secret art. He is a descendant of the original nine Ryu {families}, and feels divulging the art is sort of a sacrelege. Although Cole certainly proved worthy and earned it by merit, which is the sign of superiority. "Merit, not inherit", as a certain Magus so precisely and concisely stated.

Now that he is Ninja of the highest order, Cole departs to the Phillipines where he meets up with old war buddy Frank Landers, and soon learns of the local corruption besetting a village comitted by the resident Mafia, whose rather bratty boss desires the oil-enriched land for profit. A vile little toad of a man named "Siegfried Schultz" with a hook for a hand harasses a local shopkeep who did not "pay on time", and thus begins the contention between that underground organization and the one-man army Cole has become, who dispatches all antagonistic forces geared his way, which angers unscupulous CEO Charles Venarius, and through a deceitful subordinate, hires his own Ninja from the very same dojo, none other than Hasegawa!

As a side note, Cole eventually attracts the amorous attention of his friend Frank's wife Mary Ann, a sinewy blonde despirate for affection, upon which they indulge in a tryst after she radiates the mating signal through a sheer neglige.

Hasegawa abducts Mary Ann, and Landers meets his end by Hasegawa's shogi blade. Memory sequence includes a couple of memorable quotes (both in Vietnam):

Landers: "Now that the war is over, I'm gonna' find myself a good woman and live 'til I'm a hundred. You?"
Cole: "Find another war."

So, after gaining justice by lethal punishment upon Venarius, Cole and Hasegawa battle to the death with honor, tenacity, and skill.

Liberal uses of smoke bombs, extraordinary acrobatics, stealth and bloody kills. One particularly notable kill was Hasegawa's extermination of a guard using shuko, or the metal claws also used for climbing. Two genital attacks, including Schultz's hook on a thug and Cole's tonfa on a guard.

"Enter The Ninja" was released during the latter part of the martial arts pop-fascination of the 70's and early 80's, and distinguished itself by presenting Ninpo principles such as the afore-mentioned Kuji-Kiri, indigenous weaponry and some techniques, all under the expert supervision of Sho Kosugi {also "The Master" technical advisor}, an actual Ninpo practitioner, who along with Frank Dux, earned some ire from traditionalists in the old country, but did manage to add an enhanced perspective on this enigmatic historical character known as Ninja.

This is the first of the trilogy. The other two are "Revenge of The Ninja", and "Ninja III: The Domination". Also by Golan-Globus, the "American Ninja" trilogy.