February 24th, 2009

Devil, incubus, gentleman, martini, scoundrel

Mardis Gras

The Eccentric Spotlight: Mardi Gras

'Fat Teusday' marks the beginning of Mardis Gras carnival celebrations of the flesh. Traditionally, Catholics celebrated this period of excess between the 'holy-days' of abstinence of Ash Wednesday and Lent, although it has evolved to become hedonistic events of indulgence for all to enjoy devoid of blindlight connotations featuring parades, costumes, feasting, and what amounts to a glorified Halloween-like spectacle, observed the world over at near approximate times by salaciously enthusiastic revelers. Carnal nature will out! Sin well!


Ninja Rising

Teshikamimototokiari Zutakamimechirimoshitoku

Dux NinjitsuNestled in a rather unassuming space with a sign simply stating "KARATE - Dux Ninjitsu" {pronounced "dukes"}, and having been fascinated with the Ninja, the assassin, this was truly an exciting dojo to consider. Obviously, "Karate" became a more or less buzz word in western culture, with various styles included beneath that term, but here was something extra special, which proved to a be a true discovered gem, even with the release of the subsequent Ninja trilogy films.*

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.

One wall of the dojo was covered in weapons - nunchaku, tonfa, shuko, shogi, katana, bola, tri-staff, grappling hooks, and others, even armor, while on the other side, the usual mirrored wall, but in one corner of the mat, a knotted climbing rope, which one had to learn to effectively climb. Classes also involved field trips to various natural locations such as the beach and wilderness, to train in survivalism. Students were allotted some basic supplies carried in a backpack to last the weekend. Students accepting this option to ascend in 'rank' stayed overnight, with surprise 'assailants' appearing from time to time along trails while hiking. Here it was learned to combat in various environments, surfaces, and circumstances, utilizing nature to one's benefit, applying that learned in the dojo towards practical potential circumstances.

At the time, the Dojo did not participate in 'official' tournaments per se, largely considering them pretentious events, instead holding private 'kumite' contests among fellow students, as well as the previously mentioned outdoor activities.

What impressed Me most about this dojo and martial style was the story related of the day when a black belt in Kung Fu San Soo entered to 'challenge' Shidoshi Dux. This was at a time when martial arts movies were all the rage, and such antics were de-regeur therein, like challenging the "Big Boss Man" to up fighter reputation. Amused, Dux actually accepted the challenge, provided the challenger could take on a yellow belted Ninja. The yellow belt floored him, and thus with an attitude adjustment, left with much to consider.

Additionally, what I also found was that the training I had previously experienced in other Martial Arts forms were essentially merely "warm ups" on a basic level to transcend into Ninjutsu.

For a bit of historical reference, Shidoshi Frank Dux was trained in Koga Yamabushi Ninjitsu by Master Senzo Tanaka, then joined the Marines, eventually earning various accolades in several government narcotic task forces as a covert operative, contributed to the Navy Seal Special Warfare Manual, sponsored child MA programs for achievement and merit, and eventually became the subject of the film Bloodsport and The Quest, and is the author of his autobiography entitled The Secret Man.

He would formulate his own modern Ninjutsu style partly based upon the traditional koryu, named "Dux Ryu Ninjitsu", which features Koga Ninja root principles of adaptability and consistent change, with an emphasis on bridging the 'gap' between the Conditioned Reflex Response, and attaining the desired Practiced Reflex Response, akin to what Japanese martial art masters refer to as mushin. A concentrated augmentation called 'Dux FASST' {Focus-Action-Skill-Strategy-Tactics}.

* "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 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.