September 14th, 2014
Nin Do: The impossible way that makes all things possible
It has been said that one cannot make a “Do” or way of Ninjitsu as was done with other martial arts, like Kenjutsu yielding Kendo, by one “authority.” I have lived the way for decades building my career on it and using it as a lens in every area of my life from health and dealing with society to spirituality and the development of power as an individual. It depends on what one means as to living the way that makes it possible or not; if one means that one is running around in a black mask acting as an assassin then that is not a way but a crime. If one uses the skills of the Silent Way to legally bounty hunt or to protect a paying client that is a way that can be lived which is realistic and genuine to the path. Nin as a kanji stems from two kanji one for blade and the other for heart or Ken and Kokoro forming a term that can be read as stealth or as to prevail or to endure making a full reading of it: “to endure and thus prevail through stealth” as symbolized by the blade over the heart. The “blade” is also the fist or rather the individual trained and the “heart” is also the spirit or essence and the blade stems from that essence as much as it guards it. To make a Jitsu or method into a “Do” or way is to find life options in the principles of the art that said method belongs to rather than being trapped by what the technique is for in a literal sense. No method can be taught as a way said way must be found within the student of that art and its path making the means of whatever art an illumination of and a guide to what it is to be alive.
By training and refining one’s essence, forging the blade of one’s heart, and acting on the insights that arise through the application of one’s training technique is transmuted into practical or actionable philosophy rather than dogma. The heart with its sword is a living and vital thing, able to feel and flow as nature does being both creative and destructive, able to give and take at will, making one’s existence into what one would have it be using any and all tools. Dogma is a trap, an ideal that is always beyond one’s reach and thus an excuse if one allows it. Actionable philosophy is a school of thought that can be enacted in life which has the foundation of proven results in the past. A way or philosophy enacted is a form of Saiminjitsu or “the unity of thought, word and deed” freed of the traps of dogma. The methods used against a sword if one is not armed with the same can also be used against any sort of blade or strike with the hand or any modern sort of baton such as a baseball bat or a nightstick to give but one example. Dealing with large social groups can be done using the same methods the Art of War gives for dealing with or managing armies if one translates the terms from the battle to social discourse and this is even truer of one to one interaction and the Book of Five Rings. If one can win in the dojo or in the street then one should be able to prevail in all those spheres that the methods that birth one’s way serve to preserve.
One that has made Ninjitsu his Way is able to use a sword strike with the eyes or apply the knowledge of restoring life flow in the body, on an emotional or mental level, with one’s words. The same knowledge that allows one to know an enemy fully by the silent speech of his body and breath can be used to know when to speak and what to say to gain a job or an introduction to a person that one desires and the key to them if one does the work to gain such. The Mushin or “no mind” of the warrior can lead to understanding without requiring the pretense of empathy giving one the option and such options are the freedom of the way. Nin Do is as much a way as Bushido and it up to the practitioner to reveal that way or “Do” to and through himself and the world by his use of it.