The Art Of Ninjukai
Ninjukai (the Spiritual Component) | Taijutsu (the Physical Component)

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Sensei Paul meditating  To many people, doing martial arts is a matter of learning techniques in a specific and regimented manner. The more techniques you learn, the higher ranked you become. The focus here is in mastering the subject and demonstrating that mastery by winning in competition. It becomes a subject matter to be studied and perfected. And once an art becomes a subject matter, it becomes contained and regimented. It enters the realm of a discipline, with definite rules and guidelines to ensure that no-one goes across its boundaries. Martial arts are therefore relegated to being a mere sporting activity, where the players are only concerned about competitions and winning. They long to be recognised as experts or champions in their field. It becomes just another avenue to boost one's ego. The desire to prove that one is better, and the need to demonstrate this, becomes the source of motivation as one sweats it out in the local dojo. Martial Arts are no longer looked upon as a natural and intuitive response that is a manifestation of one's being. If one is happy with this idea of what a martial art is, then don't read further because Ninjukai Taijutsu is nothing like that..

  Ninjukai Taijutsu is different. Ninjukai Taijutsu is a living thing. It is a discipline that has no boundary and is infinite. Because it is alive, it is constantly in a state of fluidity and flow. Like flowing water, it continually blends in with its environment. It understands that no living thing can be a thing unto itself; it needs to strike a relationship and be in accord with its environment. So, Ninjukai understands that techniques per se are really of not much use unless we can see the relationship they need to cultivate with the environment. Ninjukai is about the study and understanding of this relationship, which cannot be arranged, nor dictated, nor governed by rules. One must understand that this relationship is the study of spontaneity. Ninjukai understands that techniques are 'relative'- they only have significance when one can relate them to the situation at hand. And the obvious truth about situations is that they are random and infinite. So the point is, it really is futile to learn techniques vis-à-vis planned situations, because situations are not going to happen in real life the way you want them to. It is therefore imperative that one understand and experience spontaneity so that one can relate techniques to "infinite situations", and not be confined to techniques for "pre-planned situations".

Ninjas sparring on the bridge  The practitioner no longer looks at Ninjukai as a method with a list of techniques to master. It is pointless trying to fool ourselves into thinking that these "all-mighty" techniques are going to work unless one starts to look at them from a different light. Techniques are not tangible things like a hair-dryer. Techniques are alive: they are always in a state of unfolding and becoming. They only exist as energy in the minds and bodies of its practitioners, to be manifested when a situation arises. Its manifestations can take infinite forms. And they are spontaneous.

  So when we see the name Ninjukai Taijutsu, we must learn to perceive the deeper meanings and vitality of those very words, so that we can start to experience them. When we talk of Ninjukai Taijutsu, we are in effect referring to the two dimensions of a greater whole.

  • Ninjukai represents the Yin, the spiritual component of the Art.

  • Taijutsu is the Yang, or the physical component of the Art.

As Yin and Yang, they are inseparable. They are complementary; one needs the other: the passive Yin and the active Yang.


Ninjukai (the Yin, or spiritual component) Ninjukai is a composition of three different words. Combined, they provide the spiritual flow of the art. Ninjukai, taken as a whole, is a manifestation of the Tao. The process involves the discovery of the self, and is the foundation for one to go deeper into this discovery until, ultimately, one finds that there is no self, that the self is really only an illusion.

  Through meditation and contemplation, one slowly learns to 'let go' of the self (MU-SHIN). One meditates to gain this state of freedom and liberation: one frees oneself from mental inhibitions and hindrances that prevent spontaneity when techniques are manifested. Let us now examine the three words separately:

Nin

NIN: This word is often the subject of many interpretations. In the context of Ninjukai, the word is best described as balance or harmony in relation to the MIND. Through the Tao, one starts to examine the workings of one's mind and see the conflicts, the perpetual state of insecurity, fear, uncertainty and attachments found there. Techniques can never be in the state of flow that can allow blending with the environment if the mind is in a state of turmoil. Understanding the NIN, one transcends the conflicting mind to a level of higher awareness; through meditation one slowly learns to 'free' the mind.

Ju

JU: Again, this word means harmony & balance, but in relation to the BODY. It is about the spiritual flow of the body. A mind filled with conflicts inevitably brings tension to the muscles, which causes slow responses. Understanding JU, we learn to let go of our muscular tensions, to cultivate the balance and harmony in our movements. Our movements then reflect an efficient use of energy.

Kai

KAI: This word is about the ENVIRONMENT. It means an assembly of people. It is about the need to relate and harmonise with the people or the environment around us. The NIN and the JU must therefore relate to the KAI. The harmony and balance that one experiences in one's mind and body must now be related to the surroundings.


Taijutsu (the Yang, or physical component) There are two words here, TAI and JUTSU. Taken together, they refer to the physical techniques of the art. Many martial arts start and end here. But to the Ninjukai practitioner, learning the physical techniques alone can only make one a sign-board writer, and not an artist. One draws a sign in accordance with strict instructions; one is guided and one deals with the finite. The sign writer performs the techniques necessary to produce the products. But the artist is the one whose harmony and spontaneity comes to guide his hands when he produces a great work of art.

Tai TAI: Literally, this means the body, which is looked at in a holistic fashion. It is regarded as ONE unit and not a break up of many different parts that are somehow joined together. As a whole, the body can be an extremely potent force. The TAI, or body, is therefore about understanding movements that are both natural and necessary. They are natural because the movements are derived from a spontaneous response to a situation, and 'necessary' because the movements are manifestations of one's survival instinct.
Jutsu JUTSU: Often translated to mean 'techniques'. In this context, though, the word is taken to mean POTENTIAL. Taken together the word Taijutsu refers to the potential of the human body taken in the physical sense. Through the Tao we will discover that once we remove most of our inhibitions, anxieties and fear, a state of natural and spontaneous movements can start to flow through our bodies.

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