Shinryu Masamitsu Toda, 32nd Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, New Year’s message 1891
1. Know the wisdom of being patient during times of inactivity.
2. Choose the course of justice as the path of your life.
3. Do not allow your heart to be controlled by the demands of desire, pleasure or dependence.
4. Sorrow, pain and resentment are natural qualities to be found in life; therefore work to cultivate an immovable spirit.
5. Hold in your heart the importance of respect for your seniors and pursue with literary and martial arts with balanced determination.
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi
Masaaki Hatsumi, 34th Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu
Essence of Ninjutsu
I believe that Ninpo, the highest order of Ninjutsu, should be offered to the world as a guiding influence for all martial artist. The physical and spiritual survival methods eventually immortalized by Japan’s ninja were in fact one of the sources of Japanese martial arts. Without complete and total training in all aspects of the combative arts, today’s martial artist cannot hope to progress any further than mere proficiency in the limited set of muscular skills that make up his or her training system.
Personal enlightenment can only come about through total immersion in the martial tradition as a way of living. By experiencing the confrontation of danger, the transcendence of fear of injury or death, and a working knowledge of individual personal powers and limitations, the practitioner of Ninjutsu can gain the strength and invincibility that permit enjoyment of the flowers moving in the wind, appreciation of the love of others, and contentment with the presence of peace in society.
The attainment of this enlightenment is characterized by the development of the jihi no kokoro, or “benevolent heart.” Stronger than love itself, the benevolent heart is capable of encompassing all that constitutes universal justice and all that finds expression in the unfolding of the universal scheme. Born of the insight attained from repeated exposure to the very brink between life and death, the benevolent heart of Ninpo is the key to finding harmony and understanding in the realms of the spiritual and natural material worlds.
After so many generations of obscurity in the shadowy recesses of history, the life philosophy of the ninja is now once again emerging, because once again, it is the time in human destiny in which Ninpo is needed. May peace prevail so mankind may continue to grow and evolve into the next great plateau.
Gambatte (Keep Going!)
Forget your sadness, anger, grudges and hatred. Let them pass like smoke caught in a breeze. You should not deviate from the path of righteousness; you should lead a life worthy of a man. Don’t be possessed by greed, luxury, or your ego. You should accept sorrows, sadness and hatred as they are, and consider them a chance for trial given to you by the powers…a blessing given by nature. Have both your mind and your time fully engaged in budo, and have your mind deeply set on bujutsu.
The Nine Rules of Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu
1. The character ‘NIN’ means to guard the nation, even with one’s life.
2. Forget yourself, be patient, do not fear dying.
3. When in danger, say or show nothing
4. As a strong enemy comes at you, maintain an indomitable spirit.
5. Serve and protect the master, as you must your parents.
6. Vices dissipate your proficiency.
7. Being drunk affects your judgment.
8. Destroy your enemy’s power, but leave his life.
9. Do not teach other’s without the master’s permission.
Toshitsugu Takamatsu, 33rd Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu
The Essence of Ninjutsu
The essence of all Martial Arts and military strategies is self protection and the prevention of danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes the fullest concept of self-protection through martial training in that the Ninja art deals with the protection of not only the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. The way of the Ninja is the way of enduring, surviving, and prevailing over all that would destroy one. More than merely delivering strikes and slashes, and deeper in significance than the simple out-witting of an enemy; Ninjutsu is the way off attaining that which we need while making the world a better place.
The skill of the Ninja is the art of winning. In the beginning study of any combative art, proper motivation is crucial.Without the proper frame of mind, continuous exposure to fighting techniques can lead to ruin instead of self-development. But this fact is not different from any other beneficial practice in life carried to extremes.
Medical science is dedicated to the betterment of health and the relief of suffering, and yet the misuse of drugs and the exultation of the physician’s skills can lead people to a state where an individual’s health is no longer within his or her personal control. A nutritious well-balanced diet works to keep a person alive, vital, and healthy,but grossly over-eating, over-drinking, or taking in too many chemicals is a sure way to poison the body.
Governments are established to oversee the harmonious inter-working of all parts of society, but when the rulers become greedy, hungry for power, or lacking in wisdom, the country is subjected to needless wars, disorder or civil and economic chaos.
A religion, when based on faith developed through experience, a broad and questing mind,and unflagging pursuit of universal understanding, is of inspiration and comfort to people. Once a religion loses its original focus, however, it becomes a deadly thing with which to deceive, control and tax the people through the manipulation of their beliefs and fears.
It is the same with the martial arts. The skills of self- protection, which should provide a feeling of inner peace and security for the martial artist, so often develop without a balance in the personality and lead the lesser martial artist into warped realms of unceasing conflict and competition which eventually consume him.
If an expert in the fighting arts sincerely pursues the essence of Ninjutsu, devoid of the influence of the ego’s desires, the student will progressively come to realize the ultimate secret for becoming invincible – the attainment of the “mind and eyes of god”. The combatant who would win must be in harmony with the scheme of totality, and must be guided by an intuitive knowledge of the playing out of fate.
In tune with the providence of heaven and the impartial justice of nature, and following a clear and pure heart full of trust in the inevitable, the Ninja captures the insight that will guide him successfully into battle when he must conquer and conceal himself protectively from hostility when he must acquiesce.
The vast universe,beautiful in its coldly impersonal totality, contains all that we call good or bad, all the answers for all the paradoxes we see around us. By opening his eyes and his mind, the Ninja can responsively follow the subtle seasons and reasons of heaven, changing just as change is necessary, adapting always, so that in the end there is no such thing as a surprise for the Ninja.
The way to experience ultimate happiness is to let go of all worries and regrets, and to know that being happy is the most satisfying of life’s feelings. Reflect back on all the progress in your life and allow the positive, creative and joyous thoughts to outshine and overwhelm any sorrow or grief that may linger in the recesses of your mind. Knowing that disease and disaster are natural parts of life is the key to overcoming adversity with a calm and happy spirit. Happiness is waiting there in front of you. Only you can decide whether or not you choose to experience it. Take this to heart.