Antony Cummins is no ordinary man: he’s a modern day ninja.
The author of Ninja Skills: The Authentic Ninja Training Manual, Cummins is also the founder of the Historical Ninjutsu Research Team and works as a consultant and co-presenter on National Geographic.
Internationally recognised as a leading authority in the discovery of military arts of medieval Japan, loaded got Antony to offer up a few handy tips on how to live like a modern day ninja in today’s increasingly hectic technological world – here’s what he had to say.
“The ninja were Japan’s military commando-spy. They were a branch of the samurai war machine which dealt with those dark operations that regular samurai would avoid. They were the special forces of their day and their name means ‘men with iron hearts.’ Even though the true ninja are long gone, there is no reason we can’t harness their ancient skills and apply them to modern life. The following steps will guide modern men to becoming ninja today.”
Form a brotherhood
“In order to function with the efficiency and camaraderie of the ninja, you must get other likeminded people to join your ninja band. Divide yourself into various jobs for whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, and give everyone clearly defined roles which function separately but harmoniously. Playing to everyone’s strengths, having good communication, and being part of the same mission will help you run smooth operations.”
“The ninja of history did not wear those black suits, carry throwing stars or use straight bladed swords like in films. They dressed the same as all other samurai, but they did have some cool gadgets. They had sandals coated in soft cloth to sneak inside houses making no sound, lines of cord attached to the exit so they could find their way out of dark houses, and spiked caltrops to cover their escapes. Whatever it is you’re doing, make sure to think of every possible obstacle and prepare for it accordingly. Think creatively about how to overcome these barriers, and always come equipped for any challenge.”
Bond with the boss
“A ninja is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the military commander. If you want to rise in the ranks and get ahead you must form a bond with the boss to a level where you can read each other’s thoughts, so that you know what he wants you to do when you are deep in enemy- or client- territory. This trust and understanding between you will help you get out of tricky situations with ease, and help you ascend the ladder personally and professionally.”
Sharpen your sleuthing skills
“The ‘arts and skills of the ninja’ covers a wide range of subjects: travelling in secret in the wilderness, scouting enemy territory, observation of enemy fortifications, creating secret codes, spy craft and more. If you’re looking for a win against an adversary, be sure to scope out their advantages and find their weak spots in advance, so you can take them down effectively at the right moment.”
Push yourself to the limit
“The original ideogram for the ninja is a heart with a blade above it. It has two meanings, the main one is ‘endurance’ and the second is ‘secretly’. Therefore, ninja or shinobi no mono is a person who moves in secret but has great endurance, it means a man with a heart of iron that can keep secrets and remain hidden. They should refrain from desire and greed, they should be loyal and not be able to be bribed, they should be involved in the underworld of drugs, sex and money yet while being inside of it, remain true to their war-lord in their hearts. Work on improving your endurance and your ability to keep secrets and blend in with the crowd.”
Study the fighting arts and practice them honourably
“One of the biggest misconceptions about the ninja arts is that it is hand-to-hand combat but this is a modern myth. In truth, the ninja would fight the same way as all samurai did, by studying the ways of fighting from their family arts. They would have known the standard archery, spear, sword, dagger and unarmed combat. However, they would try to not enter into combat and if they had to kill, they would kill people indirectly through poison and the like. It’s great to sharpen your skills through things like jujutsu lessons, archery, and horse-riding- or anything else relevant to your mission- but remember never to seek out harm for others, and always act with honour.”
Study the way of religion
“A ninja is always close to death. They are deep inside of enemy territory or they mix with enemy agents, playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse in the espionage world. They have to kill people by devious ways or risk death themselves. To combat this, study the ways of Buddha, Confucius, Shinto (the native Japanese religion) and some aspects of Taoism. With all of these elements inside your mind, come to terms with death and find a way to not allow danger to intimidate you.”
Ninja Skills: The Authentic Ninja Training Manual is out now and comes highly recommended.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.