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In previous training in NINJA EVASIONS, you learned the four basic evasions. On this page you will learn to enhance the speed of your body - the train it to move faster than your foe. Remember, my Deshi, my students, that the ninja trains to increase his or her advantages over an enemy. These advantages begin at the very simplest level...
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ADVANTAGES THAT A WARRIOR MUST HAVE OVER AN ENEMY IN COMBAT
First of all, is endurance. The warrior must outlast his or her enemies in battle. If your endurance fails, your strikes and attacks will become slower, your evasions less effective, and ultimately, you will be destroyed. Conversely, if your endurance is greater than your foe, it is his attacks and evasions that will slow down, and you will destroy him.
The second advantage in combat is speed. You must attack and evade faster than the foe. There are simple methods of improving the speed at which your body moves - and you will be learning one system of increasing your ability to evade rapidly right here on this page.
The third advantage in combat is the ability to do damage. This starts with increasing your striking power - there are around ten different techniques that can be used separately or together to increase striking power. These will be taught to you in the course of your training. But the BEST way to increase damage, is to use a weapon. You need not even carry a weapon - anything in your environment can become a weapon. A brick can be used to strike the foe or be thrown to deadly effect. A section of pipe or chain can be used in combat - even a rolled up newspaper can become a killing weapon in the right hands. In a street environment, the ninja specializes in the creation and use of concealed weaponry for attack and defense.
But I must not get ahead of the syllabus - this will be covered elsewhere in the training. For now, know one thing - a warrior who trains in the sword (kenjutsu), the polearm (naginata jutsu), the chain weapon (kusari fundo) and the thrown weapon (shuriken jutsu) can then use ANYTHING in the environment as a weapon. Thus, among the Gyokku Ninja, these four arts are the first to be taught to Deshi. Merge these trainings with a knowledge of the use of the collapsible tactical bow, and one ninja can destroy a dozen enemies in a city night-environment of structures and shadows, which is actually an ideal hunting ground for a ninja combat infiltrator.
The fourth advantage is the ability to avoid damage, or to shield oneself from it. All ninja gain the ability, through intense training, to take pain. But the ability to take pain is not the only one that you need to survive in combat. Pain means damage, and you must actually AVOID damage in combat. One way to avoid damage is through the use of light armor. I am not talking about full armor here, but even in city environments, ninja wear a light, hidden plate to protect the belly area and the solar plexus - always vulnerable areas in combat. Also, most ninja functioning in a city environment carry a bag that is really an effective shield - this can be a crucial advantage while blocking in combat.
The fifth advantage is training the mind to retain its awareness in combat, and to be able to maintain mental tranquility and control in the heat of battle. And this last is perhaps the most difficult of all to achieve in combat.
All will come in time, my Deshi.
For now, let us go on to the training for today, where we will learn to enhance the speed of our combat evasions...
The human body is very adaptable - give it a task to do repeatedly, and it will become better and better at that task. Therefore the technique for increasing the speed of, not only your evasions, but also your strikes, kicks, weapon attack and blocks, is simple...
PERFORM YOUR TECHNIQUES REPEATEDLY WHILE COMPETING AGAINST A CLOCK
The key to increasing your combat speed is in the words 'COMPETE AGAINST A CLOCK'. Take a simple strike like the MAWASHI UCHI. Execute the strike. Then see how many Mawashi Uchi you can execute in ten seconds. Thirty? Fifty? Train at this every day, TRYING TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF STRIKES YOU DO IN TEN SECONDS. Using this simple method, you can train the body to move more swiftly.
Please remember that you must maintain the perfection of your technique, even as you work every day to increase the number of repetitions you can do in ten seconds - as you work to increase the speed of your body. Do NOT practice or execute ANY technique incorrectly under any circumstance. Perfection comes first, then speed. Try to increase your speed against a clock while practicing CORRECTLY.
This is the Way of the Ninja combatant... Blinding speed and perfection through dedicated, daily training.
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You can use the same method described above to increase the speed of your evasions. There are four different exercises that increase the speed of your evasions. EACH of these exercises must be done against clock. Time yourself to see how many of each exercise you can do in ten or twenty seconds, and then try to increase that number day after day. Try to double it - then try to double that. Immerse yourself in the nature of the lightning - do not move; instead BE at the end of the movement.
...THE FOUR EXERCISES THAT INCREASE THE SPEED OF YOUR BASIC EVASIONS...
The first exercise increases the speed of the EVASION FOR AN ATTACK TO THE HEAD. One training partner holds out a bokken (wooden sword) or a stick, and the student ducks under it, first one way, and then the other. Count both as one repetition. See how many you can do in 15 seconds. Can you do 15 repetitions in 15 seconds? Can you do 30? Practice this exercise every day, trying to increase the number of repetitions you can do in 15 seconds. Bend time to your will, Deshi.
The next exercise increases the speed of the SIDE-STEPPING EVASION TO A THRUSTING SWORD ATTACK. One partner holds a bokken vertically, and the other partner sidesteps diagonally around it, first one way and then the other. Check the video for how to do this correctly. Try to increase the number of repetitions you can do in 15 seconds. Practice every day, trying to increase your speed - the number of this evasion exercise you can do in 15 seconds.
This exercise increases the speed of the BACK-STEPPING EVASION FOR A HORIZONTAL SWORD ATTACK. One partner holds a bokken out horizontally as shown, while the person training leaps back from it, and then leaps in again to touch the bokken with his hand. The leap back represents the warrior evading a swing - the leap back again represents his counterattack as the sword swings past. See how many repetitions of this exercise you can do in 15 seconds, and train every day to increase that number.
This exercise increases the speed of the LEAPING EVASION FOR A CUT TO THE LEGS. One partner holds a bokken out as shown, and the other partner leaps over it, first one way, and then the other. Count both leaps as one repetition. See how many you can do in 15 seconds, and then train everyday to try to increase the number of repetitions that you can do.
IMPORTANT ADVICE FROM THE MASTERS
Be very careful of your joints as your speed increases. If you begin to move very quickly, you should understand that this can place a great strain on the joints. The best way to counter this is to make your movements as natural as possible. Do not move the legs in strange ways; do not twist the knee joint. Move naturally, and your joints will not take damage even as your speed increases. Increase your speed gradually instead of trying to move superlatively fast on the very first day - if you increase speed gradually over a week, you will give your body time to adapt.
...DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE MASTERS WITH QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE
REGARDING TRAINING, PHILOSOPHY, MEDITATION, OR REGARDING PROBLEMS IN LIFE.
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