DisinfoCast 47: Ninja Myths and Facts with Antony Cummins

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The Secret Traditions of the Shinobi and In Search of the Ninja author Antony Cummins is here to clear the air regarding the mysterious assassins known as the ninjas. Were there ninja clans? Did they actually use those masks and funny shoes? Are there any practitioners of real ninjutsu today? Learn all this and more on this episode of the DisinfoCast.

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  • echar

    So no running on lily pads?

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Those are only the Super-Ninjas. But they are literally invisible and live in space.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Those are only the Super-Ninjas. But they are literally invisible and live in space.

      • Calypso_1

        Clarification: That’s Super-string Ninjas & it’s Astral Space.

        You need to first get the Tengu to teach you how to replace your earthly body with a Tulpa.

        The Tulpa is the Lilly leaper…as to the rest I need the tongues of 7 Basan to tell you.

        • Matt Staggs

          I just had tapas for lunch. That close enough?

          • echar

            So I need string and tapas to run on lily pads?

          • echar

            So I need string and tapas to run on lily pads?

          • Matt Staggs

            We’re getting confused here. You need to string together some lillypad tapas.

          • echar

            Do I tie them to my feat?

          • Matt Staggs

            Thai them.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            so let me get this straight: tie thai lilipad tapas to your feet… and run on custard in the astral plane?

          • Calypso_1

            I heard that’s what David Carradine was trying for in Bangkok.

          • Matt Staggs

            I think we have a new Disinfo meme. Ninja formula.

          • Matt Staggs

            I think we have a new Disinfo meme. Ninja formula.

          • Calypso_1

            Colonel Mustard & an invisible Jin the Ninja ties up the Pope on a TACA plane to Thailand.

          • VaudeVillain

            That is DEFINITELY the easiest way to run on them.

            Next easiest would be putting them in a pool of custard (or some other non-Newtonian liquid), but that can get messy.

          • Calypso_1

            Here too is a way that may be possible, not as fraught with danger, though difficult nonetheless:

            1) The Tapas Bar must be in a former Masonic Lodge. Preferably Scottish Rite.

            2) You must order rooster livers with tarragon and sherry sauce.

            3) The rooster’s will all have been killed by a Champion Fighting Cock owned by a
            one-eyed Salvadoran named ‘Chucho’. The Cock’s spurs will have been fashioned from the shards of a tanto made by Bizen Kanemitsu.

            4) 7 new moons before the next Great Conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn you must
            fashion a piece of copal into a rooster & light it with a Zippo which you will have acquired from an associate of Chucho’s who will have asked you for a favor in exchange.

            5) That night you will have a dream. In that dream you will meat a giant – he will try to help you. Perhaps nothing in relation to ninjas, ninjas are tricky, but that is how these things work.

          • Calypso_1

            Here too is a way that may be possible, not as fraught with danger, though difficult nonetheless:

            1) The Tapas Bar must be in a former Masonic Lodge. Preferably Scottish Rite.

            2) You must order rooster livers with tarragon and sherry sauce.

            3) The rooster’s will all have been killed by a Champion Fighting Cock owned by a
            one-eyed Salvadoran named ‘Chucho’. The Cock’s spurs will have been fashioned from the shards of a tanto made by Bizen Kanemitsu.

            4) 7 new moons before the next Great Conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn you must
            fashion a piece of copal into a rooster & light it with a Zippo which you will have acquired from an associate of Chucho’s who will have asked you for a favor in exchange.

            5) That night you will have a dream. In that dream you will meat a giant – he will try to help you. Perhaps nothing in relation to ninjas, ninjas are tricky, but that is how these things work.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stonemirror David Schlesinger

          Hm. You’re getting a Japanese spiritual being to replace your body with a Tibetan one?

          How do you say, “Thank you!” when it’s done? Arigato? Tashi delek?

          • Calypso_1

            Esoteric Buddhist practices developed in parallel in Japan, India & Tibet. The practices of Vajrayana, Shingon, Tendai/Mikkyō, all share many concepts & if you take any of the higher elements of the teachings at face value the geographic localities are (largely)
            inconsequential.
            Beginnings with Toate No Jutsu – striking through the void, then pouring the rays of your heart into space. There is cultivation of the void body within the traditions of ninpo as currently practiced. The terminology is not as familiar as ‘Tulpa’.

            The proper thanks would be a nice Takaashigani

  • emperorreagan

    I quit going to a bujinkan place largely because I thought the claims of lineage were so weird and the trips people made to Japan to achieve rank were weird. Switched to a hapkido school where the guy really doesn’t give a shit about lineage.

    Very interesting interview.

  • emperorreagan

    I quit going to a bujinkan place largely because I thought the claims of lineage were so weird and the trips people made to Japan to achieve rank were weird. Switched to a hapkido school where the guy really doesn’t give a shit about lineage.

    Very interesting interview.

    • Matt Staggs

      You should Google “konigun” and “bryce dallas” one day if you you have enough time to slip into a rabbit hole of chicanery decades in the making.

      • emperorreagan

        Wow. The konigun website has a 19 point list of articles about cyber hate alone. That will be something to do one day I don’t have much going on at work.

      • emperorreagan

        Wow. The konigun website has a 19 point list of articles about cyber hate alone. That will be something to do one day I don’t have much going on at work.

        • Matt Staggs

          The short story is that this Dallas guy trained with a couple of real martial artists in his little Mississippi town, and when the ninja craze of the eighties started he introduced a claim that he had been taught a heretofore unknown kind of “ninjutsu” known as “Konigun” by a Japanese immigrant named “Saija”, who had trained him and declared him its heir. From what I hear, neither Konigun nor Saija mean anything in Japanese, and that there’s absolutely no historical evidence for anything Dallas claimed. It gets much, much worse from there. He set up a couple of dojos teaching this mysterious martial art (Did I mention that it was Christian?) in Mississippi and it quickly spread from there. My time with Dallas and his crew was thankfully very short – maybe two or three months – but it put me off of martial arts for decades. The whole thing was sketchy from the get-go, but my breaking point was when they closed the dojo and tried to move the entire class to someone’s back yard. I split and never came back. “Shidoshi Dallas” called me at home a few times and told me that I owed him money for breach of contract. I felt that expecting me to practice in somebody’s meemaw’s backyard twenty miles away from town was a pretty big breach on his part. He eventually stopped calling when it became clear that I wasn’t going to cough up any more cash. What I recall of the class was that it was haphazardly conducted, and dangerous to boot. There wasn’t a mat, so everyone drilled and sparred on thin carpet over concrete floor. There was no sparring equipment, either: no pads, helmets or even gloves. You’d leave with your feet covered in blisters, and believe me, if you slipped and fell, you certainly felt it. What I recall of the style was that it reminded me of a karate class I took as a kid, and that I felt like some of the blocks and strikes were kind of weird. Dallas had a criminal past as a counterfeiter (and future – he was busted as part of a burglary ring after my time with Konigun), and local law enforcement showed up at the school a few times. None of them were happy he was there. Dallas was too big to fit into the standard issue black gi, and his girth was NOT muscle. He was a rather rotund fellow. The idea of an obese ninja did strike me as odd, even at the time. There are those who describe Konigun ninjutsu as a “cult”, but I’m not going to throw that word around. I expect a few of those guys to show up here to argue pretty soon. They’ve lost some adherents in recent years, but there are still a bunch of practitioners who become extremely angry when you bring any of this stuff up.

        • Matt Staggs

          The short story is that this Dallas guy trained with a couple of real martial artists in his little Mississippi town, and when the ninja craze of the eighties started he introduced a claim that he had been taught a heretofore unknown kind of “ninjutsu” known as “Konigun” by a Japanese immigrant named “Saija”, who had trained him and declared him its heir. From what I hear, neither Konigun nor Saija mean anything in Japanese, and that there’s absolutely no historical evidence for anything Dallas claimed. It gets much, much worse from there. He set up a couple of dojos teaching this mysterious martial art (Did I mention that it was Christian?) in Mississippi and it quickly spread from there. My time with Dallas and his crew was thankfully very short – maybe two or three months – but it put me off of martial arts for decades. The whole thing was sketchy from the get-go, but my breaking point was when they closed the dojo and tried to move the entire class to someone’s back yard. I split and never came back. “Shidoshi Dallas” called me at home a few times and told me that I owed him money for breach of contract. I felt that expecting me to practice in somebody’s meemaw’s backyard twenty miles away from town was a pretty big breach on his part. He eventually stopped calling when it became clear that I wasn’t going to cough up any more cash. What I recall of the class was that it was haphazardly conducted, and dangerous to boot. There wasn’t a mat, so everyone drilled and sparred on thin carpet over concrete floor. There was no sparring equipment, either: no pads, helmets or even gloves. You’d leave with your feet covered in blisters, and believe me, if you slipped and fell, you certainly felt it. What I recall of the style was that it reminded me of a karate class I took as a kid, and that I felt like some of the blocks and strikes were kind of weird. Dallas had a criminal past as a counterfeiter (and future – he was busted as part of a burglary ring after my time with Konigun), and local law enforcement showed up at the school a few times. None of them were happy he was there. Dallas was too big to fit into the standard issue black gi, and his girth was NOT muscle. He was a rather rotund fellow. The idea of an obese ninja did strike me as odd, even at the time. There are those who describe Konigun ninjutsu as a “cult”, but I’m not going to throw that word around. I expect a few of those guys to show up here to argue pretty soon. They’ve lost some adherents in recent years, but there are still a bunch of practitioners who become extremely angry when you bring any of this stuff up.

        • Matt Staggs

          Oh, and here are some horror stories. Way later after my time. http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=88389

          • echar

            That looks like a ‘uge mess.

    • Matt Staggs

      Hapkido is pretty cool. I tried it out for a month or so. Wasn’t my thing, but seemed to be a serious and effective martial art. I left with respect for it and its practitioners.

      • emperorreagan

        I tried a bunch before I found the right fit – from BJJ & Krav Maga to Aikido. Krav Maga was the only thing I tried and left without respect for, because it seemed to be more like an aerobics class and the self defense techniques didn’t make sense.

    • http://twitter.com/CJBramble Chet Jackson

      The guy I trained Bujinkan with said that the history and lineage are interesting, but they, just like ranks, won’t save your life in a pinch. That being said, I enjoyed the hell out of Bujinkan and wish I still lived near my teacher.

  • echar

    I remember the ninja magazines in the 80’s. I always wanted to buy the books they had for sale. Great topic.

    oh and there’s this

    http://www.realultimatepower.net/index4.htm

    • Matt Staggs

      I had one of those from a convenience store. Got my mother to buy it for me when I was home sick. MANRIKI GUSARI! TONFA! SHURIKEN!

      • echar

        For me it has always been about the caltrops, smoke grenades, and climbing claws.

        • Matt Staggs

          I remember when the Oriental Adventures supplement for AD&D came out. Everybody wanted to be a ninja.

        • Matt Staggs

          I remember when the Oriental Adventures supplement for AD&D came out. Everybody wanted to be a ninja.

          • echar

            I never played the Oriental Adventures supplement for AD&D, but did want to be a ninja.

            Here’s a funny story. Way back when I was playing with the neighbors in their backyard in the snow. We were goofing about doing I don’t know what, and suddenly one of notice this kid wearing white long johns and a white ninja head covering. It was the German immigrant kid who I hung out with maybe once (they drank powdered milk).

            It’s interesting to note that even kids from Germany living in the Midwest related to awesomeness of ninjas. Also I somehow got my hands on a shuriken, and thought I was so cool. I even brought it to school. Imagine if was 10 or 12 and it was now, and if was to get get caught with it? I’d be doomed. Expelled, arrested, and who knows what.

            I also feel compelled to mention the 2010 Ninja Assassin film. I know it goes against Antony Cummins work, but holy crap is that movie bad ass.

          • http://twitter.com/CJBramble Chet Jackson

            I remember that. Pretty sure I just used it for character creation and never played the campaigns.

          • Matt Staggs

            Me too.

  • Matt Staggs

    Where’s Jin the Ninja? Kind of figured he’d pop up somewhere.

  • Matt Staggs

    Where’s Jin the Ninja? Kind of figured he’d pop up somewhere.

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