"Master, what advice would you give a ninja training in parkour - would such training help me to improve in Gyokku Ninjutsu? I want to learn gymnastics to learn how to do a back flip on the ground and land correctly. I can do a back flip off a mattress on to the ground and land it but that's about all I can do with back flips."
Now I wish to say something regarding parkour and free running training. This is just my personal opinion, please do feel free to ignore it if you don't feel the same way. I am here only as a friend and training advisor, nothing more. Agility is obviously important in Ninjutsu, and we do train in it - but like all warriors, we only take a risk when it is necessary. And we never take risks to 'show off'.
Regarding parkour and free-running - it is VERY good training for the modern-day ninja, but bear in mind your own safety and good health. Do not attempt feats that can result in serious – or permanent – injury. This is not ‘being brave’ – it is being stupid.
A warrior needs his hands and legs in good working condition - a badly broken limb is never quite the same again – a badly broken back means the end of your life.
It is perfectly possible to go through life without broken bones. I have fallen off mountains and not broken bones! :) This is perfectly true! These things become important because a ninja is almost immortal. So, at sixty, you will still be young, while all the people of the same age will be old. Then, if you have not broken your body in the course of your life, you will STILL be a great warrior.
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Remember that parkour had its origins in military obstacle course training. Maintain that original ethic. Try to get over obstacles in the most EFFICIENT way possible. The way you get over an obstacle should be fast, simple and safe, rather than showy or dangerous.
I have seen parkour experts flip over an obstacle I could just jump across - that is a useless 'showing off'.
Flips (no offense, my brothers and sisters) are useless, in most cases. Only use them where a leap (or hand-assisted jump) would not get you over an obstacle. I have known many young boys and girls who broke their necks doing flips and were paralyzed for the rest of their lives.
All this said, parkour and free running are EXCELLENT training for the stealth warrior and combat infiltrator. Please do ignore anything that I have said that does not suit you. We are not here to control people, only to help as best we can.
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