T Nation

Ninja Bird!


#1

Hi buddies,

Im new to this part of T-Nation, but many of you will know me from other areas.

Anyway, Im a 30 year old soccer player that is about to retire,. I want to keep active and I am thinking about taking up a martial art to compliment my gym work. Only going to the gym would became boring to me.

Anyway, Im thinking ninjitsu for something different. Anyone here do ninjitsu? Am I too old to take up a martial art? Any other styles that would be better for a "older" guy like myself? Only experience I have hd with martial arts is 1 year of tae kwon doe when I was a 6 year old.

Thanks in advance.

Sensei Bird.

tweet


#2

Hi Bird, welcome to the Combat Sports forum. :slight_smile:

I am actually a black belt in Togakure-Ryu Ninjutsu under Shihan Walt Lysak/Grandmaster James Rosenbach. If you can find a Ninjutsu instructor with legitimate lineage (mine goes Walt Lysak Jr->James Rosenbach->Robert Bussey->Masaaki Hatsumi), then it can be a great martial art and definitely one of the most diverse and fun arts to practice IME.

Be advised though that there is a lot of “nonsense” out there being passed off as Ninjutsu, and even some rather cult like organizations. I will also say that the traditional unarmed skills found in Ninjutsu, while effective given enough practice, aren’t as refined or effective as more modern empty hand skills (like boxing, BJJ, wrestling, Muay Thai, etc…). The weapons skills, mindset/cerebral skills, and things like camouflage, stealth, disguise/espionage/grey man, climbing, awareness and use of one’s environment, etc… more than makes up for that though in every day usage IMO.

If I were you I’d search out a Ninjutsu school/teacher that has lineage to either Rosenbach, Bussey, or Stephen Hayes as all of those men have legitimate lineage and skills.

Good luck


#3

Hey Bird. IMO 30 is definitely not too old to take up a martial art, especially if you are just looking to keep active and have fun. I practiced Ninjutsu myself for about 2 years and thoroughly enjoyed the art. I would echo everything Sento says.

Regarding the suitability of Ninjutsu for the “older” practitioner, I would say it’s actually a pretty good fit. The physical skills involved tend to emphasize balance, mobility and core stability as opposed to raw athleticism in the traditional sense. Traditional Japanese Jujutsu or Aikido/Aiki-jujutsu would be a good fit as well for similar reasons. That being said, neither of these arts have a competitive, sporting element of any kind, so if that’s important to you you may want to look elsewhere.

As with any martial art, the challenge is really in finding quality instruction in your local area.

All the best in your practice.


#4

Start a martial art at 30? Go home Bird, you’re drunk.


#5

Just kidding. If you can find a good teacher, go for it. I have no idea how you do that, and I’m famously disparaging of TMA’s, but like Sento said, if a guy’s “lineage” appears good and he doesn’t come off as a total crook, it’s worth a shot.


#6

I come off somewhere in the middle of either side here (on the Irish/Sentoguy continuum). It depends on the reasons you want to learn martial arts and what’s most important to you IMHO. If you want to take a new skill set, a sort of philosophical or all-inclusive approach then I think what Sento said is most appropriate.

However if your drive here is to get the absolute best physical skills to defend yourself quickest, and also perhaps seriously compete, then I side more with Irish and echo what Sento said about the physical skills of boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, being superior and more refined.

It’s not that I think ninjutsu is bunk per se, or that I dislike TMAs in general (not true and I have a TMA background), but that difficulty in finding a SERIOUS minded teacher and not a bullshit marketer or poser is much harder in certain traditional martial arts (TMAs). Also that there are typically more techniques to learn in older arts vs. say boxing where it’s pretty much only jab, straight, cross, hook, uppercut.

Whatever you decide to go with, remember that just as with your soccer the results you reap from ANY martial art are directly proportional with the amount of seriousness, consistency, and SPEED with which you practice and analyze the art you pick. Note that I am not talking about the speed with which you pick up techniques–they are often slow to master regardless–but the speed with which you practice proper fundamentals. Can’t play a game at 50% speed. You can practice tackling, or setting up shots, but ultimately you have to scrimmage full speed with proper fundamentals in mind to be good in the sport right? To be good at any art you need to go beyond rote memorization “he does this I do that” and into spontaneous creation, just like you do with creating scoring opportunities and passes in soccer…do you actually think about those are are you just responding automatically? Same with martial arts, no matter which approach you take.


#7

Thanks for the replies friends.

Im not really looking to compete and I am more interested in more of practicing a skill and learning new things. I don’t plan to get into street fights, but I suppose it will be an added bonus if I do learn some self defence skills. Im 30 now, hence Iwant to be kinder to my joints, so heavy bag punching is not really appealing. Although balance and agility is something I want to preserve.

I suppose Im drawn to ninjitsu due to the beauty and romance of the hollywood ninja taking down 10 men without a sound and then disappearing into a shadow(or cloud of smoke). Maybe I watch too much hollywood, but that style of martial arts would better match my personality, which I could describe as “quiet but alert”. In all aspect of my life that I have succeeded I have always planned and executed with stealth and prefer to catch my opponents in surprise. I use my “pokerface” often.

Bird.

tweet


#8

I wouldn’t recommend Ninjitsu.
There are no “Ninjas” left. Nobody truly knows what they did hand-to-hand wise, if they trained that at all.

If popculture came up with “Pirate-buttkicking” and it looked like a more awesome Taekwondo, then it wouldn’t be less ridiculous.
Doesn’t mean that you cannot pick up real skills in such a school.
Just sayin’.

You have strong legs and a good base for footwork. Pick up muay thai (or some kickboxing or karate style with low kicks since you have an ideal base for that technique) . And while kicking is fun , don’t neglect your hands.


#9

retire at 30? go for centre back and practice the dark arts


#10

[quote]theBird wrote:
Thanks for the replies friends.

Im not really looking to compete and I am more interested in more of practicing a skill and learning new things. I don’t plan to get into street fights, but I suppose it will be an added bonus if I do learn some self defence skills. Im 30 now, hence Iwant to be kinder to my joints, so heavy bag punching is not really appealing. Although balance and agility is something I want to preserve.

I suppose Im drawn to ninjitsu due to the beauty and romance of the hollywood ninja taking down 10 men without a sound and then disappearing into a shadow(or cloud of smoke). Maybe I watch too much hollywood, but that style of martial arts would better match my personality, which I could describe as “quiet but alert”. In all aspect of my life that I have succeeded I have always planned and executed with stealth and prefer to catch my opponents in surprise. I use my “pokerface” often.

Bird.

tweet

[/quote]

Yeah, Hollywood has sensationalized Ninjutsu (heck, it has sensationalized all combative arts), but the Ninja really did (and still do) practice stealth and infiltration skills, camouflage and concealment, disguise and deception skills, and a bunch of other espionage (which was their primary function) skills. Many of the tactics that modern spies and special forces personnel use are simply more modern variations of skills that Ninjutsu was utilizing hundreds of years ago.

Judging by your mindset and demeanor portrayed in this post I think you’d enjoy Ninjutsu very much. Unlike the Samurai of the time who walked around with their martial prowess in full view for all to see (on display), the Ninja preferred to appear unassuming or sometimes even disabled (sometimes portraying themselves as crippled or elderly and utilizing a cane/Shinobi Zue) to allow them to utilize the element of surprise to their advantage.


#11

I don’t know what’s so bad about learning some good old fashioned Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (or ninjutsu if you want to call it this way)
Have been practicing for 3 years now but will be forced to stop because I will move this autumn to a different country.

Now before any of you give me sh*t, I have been training for competive Kickboxing and have seen both sides of the spectrum. Both TMA’s and MMA’s (the first M stands for modern) are fun.
As everybody already has pointed out: It’s difficult to get real self defense skills with ninjutsu.

But for anything else, hey before you end up in a wannabe Shotokan Gym-pick ninjutsu!
Why is Ninjutsu so much fun?
1.) You get to position yourself in these cool come-at-me-bro stances you know out of kung fu movies while doing f.e. the Kihon Happon and other traditional Katas. (Hicho no kamae is almost as good as the white crane posture. Almost.)
2.) You get to play arround with weapons. Long swords, short swords, knives, sticks, staffs, throwing stars and throwing darts… the list goes on! The coolest thing I ever learned was doing jointlocks with my belt or with a towel. By the way, nothing is more fun than picking up a staff and swirling it arround you like a mad man. Nothing. Except for firing a handgun maybe or shooting an M60 from the hips.
3.) You get to wear a sweet black Gi and if you are lucky a pair of Tabis. The only thing that is missing now are a couple of karate friends who want to do some full contact randori with you outside at the park. With bows and all that stuff so you get to feel like you are on Han’s lonely Island.

It’s a great hobby, and it satisfies the 8 year old inside of me. (There, I said it)
If you want to learn selfdefense do some thaiboxing or other full contact combat sports and practice something cool like ninjutsu or kobudo along the way.

All the best


#12

[quote]Quiet Warrior wrote:
I don’t know what’s so bad about learning some good old fashioned Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (or ninjutsu if you want to call it this way)
Have been practicing for 3 years now but will be forced to stop because I will move this autumn to a different country.

Now before any of you give me sh*t, I have been training for competive Kickboxing and have seen both sides of the spectrum. Both TMA’s and MMA’s (the first M stands for modern) are fun.
As everybody already has pointed out: It’s difficult to get real self defense skills with ninjutsu.

But for anything else, hey before you end up in a wannabe Shotokan Gym-pick ninjutsu!
Why is Ninjutsu so much fun?
1.) You get to position yourself in these cool come-at-me-bro stances you know out of kung fu movies while doing f.e. the Kihon Happon and other traditional Katas. (Hicho no kamae is almost as good as the white crane posture. Almost.)
2.) You get to play arround with weapons. Long swords, short swords, knives, sticks, staffs, throwing stars and throwing darts… the list goes on! The coolest thing I ever learned was doing jointlocks with my belt or with a towel. By the way, nothing is more fun than picking up a staff and swirling it arround you like a mad man. Nothing. Except for firing a handgun maybe or shooting an M60 from the hips.
3.) You get to wear a sweet black Gi and if you are lucky a pair of Tabis. The only thing that is missing now are a couple of karate friends who want to do some full contact randori with you outside at the park. With bows and all that stuff so you get to feel like you are on Han’s lonely Island.

It’s a great hobby, and it satisfies the 8 year old inside of me. (There, I said it)
If you want to learn selfdefense do some thaiboxing or other full contact combat sports and practice something cool like ninjutsu or kobudo along the way.

All the best
[/quote]

Tai Jutsu is actually only the unarmed portion of Ninjutsu/Ninpo (of which there are 18).

I’d also argue that skills like stealth, disguise, awareness, weapons skills, and camouflage/concealment can be just as beneficial (if not more) in terms of self defense as kickboxing or wrestling skills (especially depending on the individual practicing those skills).


#13

I also think that Jeremy Horn would argue with you that Ninjutsu lacks a full contact component.


#14

Sento
All the things you mentioned are true. There is a full contact aspect in the mix and stuff like weaponstraining as well as simple acrobatics (like Kiten) definitely make you more of a complete fighter.
It was not my intention to talk smack about this martial art in general.
I never meant to say that Ninjutsu is useless for selfdefense. It simply is not as effective as… let’s say Thaiboxing- the way it is trained in most Dojos (but this is true for many TMA).
Hence the martial arts bad reputation… But that doesnt mean all gyms are bad!
Many dojos have taken over modern aspects of martial arts training. (Look at akban’s dojo for example)

So I’d say if you are looking to learn self defense or simply broaden your horizon, Ninjutsu is a great addition on top of a style that teaches you wrestling and/or boxing.


#15

[quote]Quiet Warrior wrote:
Sento
All the things you mentioned are true. There is a full contact aspect in the mix and stuff like weaponstraining as well as simple acrobatics (like Kiten) definitely make you more of a complete fighter.
It was not my intention to talk smack about this martial art in general.
I never meant to say that Ninjutsu is useless for selfdefense. It simply is not as effective as… let’s say Thaiboxing- the way it is trained in most Dojos (but this is true for many TMA).
Hence the martial arts bad reputation… But that doesnt mean all gyms are bad!
Many dojos have taken over modern aspects of martial arts training. (Look at akban’s dojo for example)

So I’d say if you are looking to learn self defense or simply broaden your horizon, Ninjutsu is a great addition on top of a style that teaches you wrestling and/or boxing. [/quote]

Well, to be fair you are probably right about the way a lot of schools teach Ninjutsu (that’s why I mentioned the importance of trying to find someone who has lineage to the 3 men I mentioned before).

That said, again, I’d argue that the cerebral, weapons, and awareness skills found in Ninjutsu would make it just as good of a choice in terms of self defense for the average person as something like Thaiboxing. Yes, Muay Thai’s actual unarmed combat skills (the kicks, knees, punches, and elbows) are more refined and in a one on one unarmed fight (like a sport match) are superior to Ninjutsu’s. But, since real self defense encompasses so much more than just actual full on unarmed combat, IMO Ninjutsu more than makes up for that disparity.

If Bird’s goal was to compete though, I would definitely agree that boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, or BJJ (would be his best bets).


#16

Thanks for the advice friends.

For your info I have no intention in competing in martial arts. I did a quick google search for ninjitsu dojos in my area and there are only 2-3 options to choose from.

Does “bujinkan budo taijutsu” mean anything to you guys?

tweet


#17

[quote]theBird wrote:
Thanks for the advice friends.

For your info I have no intention in competing in martial arts. I did a quick google search for ninjitsu dojos in my area and there are only 2-3 options to choose from.

Does “bujinkan budo taijutsu” mean anything to you guys?

tweet[/quote]

Yes, as Quiet Warrior mentioned above, that is the official name of the organization headed by Masaaki Hatsumi. It is actually a mix of 9 systems (some Ninjutsu and some of Samurai origin).


#18

Bird,

At 30 you are not too old to take up a MA. Given that you are coming from an athletic endeavour to begin with you will do just fine physically. Before trying to pick an art academically, consider what are the things you want out of studying. If it’s an activity or recreational sport, many MA’s will fit the bill. Some of the most exhausting workouts I’ve had were muay thai or boxing. The question is what appeals to you and is readily available in your region. Take a look around at the styles and schools in your area. Take a trial class or week and see how you feel about them. You may have a greater draw towards a grappling style or a striking style.

If you are looking for something more ‘defense’ oriented some styles have a higher probability of meeting your needs. Not to say you can’t find a great defensive minded teacher in a TMA but the likelyhood of finding one in a ‘combative’ is higher. If weapons hold your facination…Silat, kali/escrima or the Japanese sword arts get blades or stick in your hand on day one. Not saying kung-fu doesn’t have weapons but it may come later in the study.

Just some thoughts.