Give Hard Training to Point Out the Only Vulnerable Spot

by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi

This translation of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi's work is from the philosophy book "Hiden Togakure Ryu Ninpo" or "Secrets of Togakure Ryu Ninpo". It is avaiable at:

When I was young they said the first step of shugyo is to endure the pain that the teacher gives you. On the other hand, these days, from my point of view I can say it's a bad tendency to be over-protective. There are so few young men who will go through this hardship. It seems like there are so many boys who would like to stay in a nursery, who want to grow painlessly. So they give "shigoki"[hard training] a bad name, and they almost consider the elders fools who give them a hard time. It is an irritating phenomenon for me because I think not only in the field of Budo we can't grow good humans without giving them shigoki intentionally.

But we can't keep our status only by insisting on the idea that shigoki is right,and, on the other hand, we can't keep our hierarchical relationship by democratic ways without shigoki. I came to the conclusion that I can't eliminate shigoki, so I decided to think of a new way for shigoki.

I criticized them sharply when I found my students' shortcomings. Then they started to think that I was an old type of teacher and looked at me with a sense of fear in their eyes. If I put off criticizing them, even for a few days, and then criticize them later, some of the students feel they didn't understand my intentions anymore; why earlier, I intentionally pointed out their faults and attacked them. I think this is a trait of modern man they hardly understand this shigoki as well-intentioned.

Then I called my students and said "I never pick on your faults to annoy you.First of all, if I think it's useless to tell you your faults I will not say hard things to you. And also, you are bad only in the ways I mention. If you rectify your weak points, you can be a wonderful Budoka..." Their eyes looked at me completely differently. In other words, the phrase "you only have one weak point in you" really works. They think they can rectify this point and start to show a fighting spirit again. If we cannot apply the method of shigoki we must invent a modern approach to it. The students who cannot believe in their teachers are occupied with evil minds. Therefore, we have to teach them the evil of their minds and help them find their good points.

MASAAKI HATSUMI has studied various martial arts (karate, aikido & judo). He is currently the Headmaster of the Togakure Ryu Ninpo tradition and eight other martial traditions. He has studied the martial arts for over four decades and is considered, by many, the *only* true ninja grandmaster alive.

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