"Do Gyokku ninjutsu masters advise that one wear gloves and head protection in hand to hand combat training?
Can my training partners and I use full power blows to the head on each other in training without danger of permanent damage?"
Do not take heavy blows to the head when casually training, or you will increase your chances of mental problems such as Alzheimer's, Parkingson's or senility in old age.
As you will see as your training progresses, ninja rely heavily upon concealed weaponry and tactics to give them a superior edge in combat - in other words, ninja use the intellect and tools created by the intellect to defeat their enemies.
For example, in boxing or kickboxing, exponents often take considerable damage to the head. These arts turn out good fighters - unfortunately, as these fighters grow older, they lose their minds, or develop other mental problems - for example, Muhammad Ali suffered from Parkinson's Disease.These are serious health problems - inevitable health problems.
It is well documented that full power blows to the head cause permanent damage. Yet this is ignored in many competitive contact sports. The core reason for this is that these are commercially competitive martial arts - the goal is to 'win in the ring'. There is a lot of money involved in these arts, and that money is a lot more important to the people controlling these 'sports' than the lives and health of the actual fighters. As such, the trainers are often only interested in turning out a 'winner', no matter what the long-term cost to the winner might be. These are 'young person's' sports - you are expected to be formidable for about twenty years or so, and then to bear the cost, usually ending - even if you are a champion - in a series of losing fights on cheaper and cheaper circuits.
Of course, the training of a warrior in ancient times was actually similar to the training in these sports - but remember that in previous ages, a warrior would die in battle at a young age anyway, and never reach old age, so old age did not matter :)
...FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO MASTER THE WAY OF THE GYOKKU NINJA...
The ninja trains for a massively extended youth - therefore, when ninja engage in combat, either with weapons, or with the empty hand, they always do so in heavy sparring armor. Thus, they can gain battle experience without the negative aspects of regular concussive strikes to the brain.
Ninjutsu training is all about battle experience. A ninja is expected to engage in at least ten thousand duels against other ninja - how could they survive such a process, unless they wear heavy sparring armor?
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