About Pappy Smurf
History of the Ninja
Include nod to Hatsumi article....psyops
Learn Ninjutsu - Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho - The Hidden Secret of All Ninja Techniques
By Jeffrey Miller | Submitted On February 22, 2010
Recommend Article Article Comments Print Article Share this article on Facebook 1 Share this article on Twitter 1 Share this article on Google+ Share this article on Linkedin Share this article on StumbleUpon Share this article on Delicious 2 Share this article on Digg Share this article on Reddit Share this article on Pinterest
Within the realm of the martial arts, the self-protection and combat system developed by Japan's ancient shadow warriors still stands the test of time in a way unlike any other martial art of the time. In fact, the ability of the Ninja to employ striking, grappling, and any other tactic that you can think of, is what modern mixed martial artists are trying to duplicate.
Rather than limit themselves to primarily punching and kicking, or just throwing techniques like many of the more conventional martial systems did during the Meiji Restoration Period in Japan in the mid 1850's, the Ninja's combat arts employ a wide range of both armed and unarmed techniques, tactics, and strategies. In fact, I like to say that the Ninja's arts are like the old Prego spaghetti sauce commercials used to say here in the States...
"it's in there!"
What I mean is that, in Ninjutsu, anything that can be done to you, or by you in a self defense situation, is either a part of the art as a skill or tactic...
...or it is an attack scenario that you must prepare yourself for in the training!
Nothing is off limits.
But, with all of the lists of kata. With all of the scrolls from the traditional lineages that have come together to form the foundation for modern Ninjutsu training, there is one technique that lies within each of these, that makes them more powerful than the written description or step-by-step form ever teaches.
This technique is called, Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho.
Kyojitsu tenkan is the juxta-positioning - the alternating - of truth and falsehood.
And, while many people believe this to be just a reference to the Ninja's spying and information gathering activities in ancient Japan. I can assure you that it is much, much, more than that!
Others believe that kyojitsu is nothing more than what we might call a "psych-out." And again, the concept goes far deeper than this low-level, beginner technique - common to almost all martial systems.
No. Kyojitsu tenkan ho, while difficult to describe through the written word, and even more difficult to grasp - is the technique the Ninja uses to set up his opponent so that he falls for the actual technique that the shadow warrior IS doing.
Let's look at it another way. Only this time I'm going to ask you a question?
How likely are you to find an attacker who wants to beat your brains in, and...
...he's also willing to allow you do your cool technique to or on him?
Right. Not very likely!
In fact, I'd venture to say, ummm... NEVER!
So, if your attacker isn't going to just let you do your cool move on him, then what?
You could just force it on him, right?
But, doesn't that mean that you'd have to be bigger, faster, or stronger than him to do that?
So, how then, if in a self defense situation where you're going to be the underdog - you're going to probably be smaller, weaker, less skilled, and maybe even less armed than your assailant...how can you get your technique on this person when the odds are stacked against you?
And the answer is...
You do it by creating a reality that your attacker believes, while you simultaneously do something different. What I mean is, you do something that makes your attacker believe that you intend to do one thing, while you're really using that movement to set up your real technique.
Again, this is not the typical psych-out that we see when somebody jabs to get his opponent to flinch so he can punch him with a right cross.
Here's an example to illustrate my point:
Let's say that, in true Ninja fashion, that I watch how my attacker moves and attempts to get at me. And, based on my prior study and research into the way the different fighting styles do things, I recognize this person to be a "block" oriented fighter. That means that he uses conventional karate-style blocking to deal with incoming strikes.
Now, also in true Ninja fashion, I use this knowledge about my attacker to launch "what appears to be" a downward hammer-fist strike at my attacker's head or face. Then, when he instinctively raises his arm to block my apparent strike, I drop my elbow at the last second and open my fist into a knife-hand, which slams into his upraised forearm - breaking it!
Can you see that this is not a psych-out? And, if it is, it was the attacker who did the psyching.
Here's what really happened:
Since I knew that he was a blocker, I launched an attack that, if he didn't block it, would do a lot of damage. But, when he took the bait and gave me the real target - his forearm, which is what I wanted the whole time - I changed my strike at the last second to deliver the breaking blow I planned on.
Do you understand why this works so well? It works because...
My opponent cannot defend against an attack he cannot see. Of course he saw the fist. But, what did my fist, and direction of my strike, tell him? It told him that I was going after his head.
And besides - his arm was nowhere in the picture at that point. So, to him, his arm was a weapon - not a target!
This is the secret technique!
Knowing what is in your attacker's mind - what he or she believes is true - how he processes his world, and in this case - how he thinks about fighting...
...and then giving him something that has "the appearance" of that reality. That way, while they are chasing an illusion, your attacker is, in reality, setting themselves up for their own defeat.
To a true student of the shinobi arts, even the opponent, in essence, becomes a tool for the Ninja to use against himself. And, in so doing...
...he becomes an accomplice to his own butt-kicking!
Are you looking for skills like this? Do you want to learn ninjutsu and develop the abilities of a true master warrior? How? By looking past the fantasy and finding a teacher of the authentic Ninja arts who can teach you what you need to know.
If you're ready to learn what real Ninjutsu is all about, then you must read my newest book, "Becoming The Master!"
You can download it for free at: http://www.warrior-concepts-online.com/becoming-the-master-subsc.html
Jeffrey Miller is a master teacher in the centuries old art and practice of Ninjutsu. In addition to teaching regular classes through his dojo in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, Shidoshi Miller also offers a wide range of seminars, online training courses, home study materials, and yearly Ninja Training Camps. Let Shidoshi Miller share his 30+ years of training, study, and real-world self-protection experience to help you begin your training with a proper foundation. Or, if you're already a student of the Ninja's arts, to take your skills and progress to the next level of mastery!
In short, to have good taijutsu, you need to set things up, not jump quickly into something and be able to give it up and flow into something else if it does not work out. I use the term "Foreplay, lack of commitment and knowing when to pull out" but the Japanese term might be best said as, "Kyojitsu Tenkan-ho."
"Wait a second," people are screaming right now, "that isn't what Kyojitsu is all about!" Oh really? Do you speak Japanese? If not, STFU while I explain.
There are many, many mistakes we labor under from the folks that first brought the art to countries other than Japan. People still think that the ninja used straight swords, that the ninja were an oppressed class of mystics, that we do techniques based on feelings expressed by five elements, etc. The first translations of Kyojitsu Tenkan-ho were also flawed. The most common translation of the term is, "Substituting truth with falsehood." Well…… not quite.
To digress for a second, the game of translating for the Japanese can sometimes be amusing. Not everyone who are eager to translate should be allowed to do so, but if you do translate people tend to think that you have some special knowledge beyond the ken of mortal man. So, a lot of folks who want to make their living off of teaching jump forward when something is said in Japanese and later try to hustle folks for their classes and seminars. One night, a person like this was "translating" for Soke Masaaki Hatsumi when Soke said in Japanese, "The problem is that so many people think that Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho is about fooling people." The 'translator' just looked at Hatsumi like he had just said, "The problem is that so many people think that the sky is blue" and did not translate it into English. This is how deep the problem is, that people can't even conceive that it is not really about fooling someone else, but rather the other person reacting to the wrong attack.
Let us look at the phrase itself and each word in it to try to understand another possible meaning.
Lets start at the end. "Ho", or more correctly "hou" (法) is a Kanji (Japanese character) that means "law". It can be used in terms of legal law, or physical laws. So we can take it to mean that it is the way things are done and is what we have to work within.
"Tenkan" (転 換) is composed of two kanji that mean "revolve" and "convert" respectively. The best translation for them together might be, "convert, divert." In essence, one thing gets taken out of the front window to be placed in the storage room while something from the storage room is placed in the window. I can see how the idea of "substituting" came to be believed, but there is a subtle difference in the meaning. In Tenkan, something that existed goes away and something that was in the background moves to the front to replace it.
Kyojitsu (虚実) is going to be the word that gives most people fits. Many Japanese to English dictionaries translate it as "Truth or falsehood" but having worked with it in Japanese, there is a deeper meaning sometimes.
First of all, take a look at the following site and its definition of kyojitsu. Its definition is quite different from what we are used to.
Japanese is a language that sometimes does not translate into English without subtle nuances. This is part of the reason why all the folks I worked with who translated for a living tended to drink heavily.
Kyo (虚) does not mean lie or falsehood by itself. Instead it means "empty" or "void." When combined with other characters such as "gi" (i.e. "Kyogi") it can mean deception or untrue. But when you combine it with "Kokoro" (心) which can also be pronounced "shin" and means either heart or mind, you do not get "deceptive heart" or "lying mind". Instead you get, "open mind."
Think about that for a second. What is an open mind? In short, it is a mental state where a person has emptied their tea cup in order to receive more. The mind is open for any new potential. So, what if we think about kyo as that state where the emptiness is waiting to be filled?
Contrast this with Jitsu (実) which can mean truth, but tends to be nuanced more toward the idea of being real. Yes, truth and being real are closely related, but in this case we are talking about something that is the opposite of potential. Combine it with the kanji for power 力 and you get 実力 "Jitsuryoku" which means "actual ability." Those of us that study Japanese past the beginning lessons are used to "Jitsuryoku tests" which determine if we can actually use the language or not.
So is Kyojitsu "truth and falsehood" or might "Potential and actual" be a better choice?
So, what if we look at Kyojitsu Tenkan-ho as meaning, "The rotating between the potential and the actual"?
One of my teachers in Japan often told us that we should never put more than 70 percent into any technique. The other 30 percent was left open to deal with anything that might come our way, either attacks on us or being able to add in other attacks. Total commitment to one move is too much and leaves us open to surprises, changes and openings that develop in an instant in the midst of the fight. So, if we only put 70% into a punch, we have 30% on deck ready to launch.
So, instead of thinking that Kyojitsu means that you fool the other person, try thinking it is more about the other guy focusing on something other than what becomes the actual attack. When people think of kyojitsu being about fooling the other person, they think that they have to throw fake attacks to divert attention for the real one to succeed. A fake attack is something that has no intention or real probability of success. It can work, and has it's place, but it limited.
During World War II, the allies built a phantom army, composed of inflatable tanks for the Axis to spot and men running around with radios making as much noise as a few divisions of men, knowing that the Germans would pick it up. They managed to convince the Germans that the landings at Normandy were a feint and that the real attack by the phantom army led by George Patton would be at Calais. It worked wonderfully, and that is what people think of when they think of kyojitsu. That army had no potential and was not really a threat to the Germans had they ignored it. As I said, it worked but it is a limited definition.
Now lets look at the Stosstruppen, which translates as Storm Trooper. The term is most famous for the group formed by Hitler, but in World War I they were an elite army that pioneered infiltration tactics. That is to say, they would strike out against the enemy in their trenches along a wide front. When they met heavy resistance, they dug in and slugged it out. But those that found little to overcome pushed forward. The reserve troops were sent to the front not to reinforce those meeting resistance, but to continue the flow of those pushing forward. It was a wildly effective tactic and almost completely countered the advantages the Allies had with their early use of tanks.
Like water, they flowed along the path of least resistance, moving around stones placed in their path and refusing to stay still. For kyojitsu tenkan ho, we too must be like water. I am not saying that the phantom army approach does not work or have a place, but if that all you think kyojitsu tenkan ho is about, your view is limited.
It is easy to see the lack of this attitude in certain drills. Some Bujinkan drills have the attacker, I'll call him "A" throw a punch or try an attack. "B" then tries a counter to the attack. "A" then counters the attempt and ends up defeating "B" in some way. When working with a lot of people, I find that the first attack by "A" is not really worth trying to avoid. They are only thinking of the counter to my defensive move and there is no potential for the attack to do much to me. However, when I work out with some folks, I know that I have to avoid the first attack or they will be wiping me off the wall behind me.
To my mind, the counter to the defensive move is the least important aspect of the drill. The ability to change from a real attack to another real attack is the important skill being strengthened. That first attack must be an actual attack, but then it must flow away and be replaced by what had been a potential attack.
Instead of determining what you will do, you leave your mind open to see what openings and chances present themselves in the chaos and jump on them. The teacher that told me not to put more than 70 percent into a technique also joked that no one was able to read what he was going to do because he had no idea what he was going to do until he did it.
This is a very important mind set. Instead of thinking that you have to set someone up to be fooled, you have to be able to take advantage of the situation faster than they can react to the changes from Kyo to jitsu. In that way, they will be concentrating on the wrong attack, the one that eventually gets them.
This is difficult to see from the outside. Lets say a master is starting a wrist lock. His partner starts to resist the lock. At that point, the master snaps off a strike to the neck, then goes on to finish the lock. Most people viewing this would think it is merely a matter of softening up the other guy with strikes before resuming the lock. But in reality, when the master encounters resistance he drops the lock to the 'potential' category and uses the most effective attack he has on deck- the neck strike. At that point, most people would forget the lock and focus their entire attention on the strike they just got to the neck. So now the master has a partly completed wrist lock that is again out of the other guy's sphere of attention and so that now becomes a valid technique with a great chance of success. The big difference is that there is judgement going on, with go/no go points at each step along the route. If the neck strike failed to attract enough attention to stop the resistance, the master would not repeat the neck strike but flow into something else that was possible, like maybe a throw. The moron would just keep trying to flail away with strikes trying to make the wrist lock work. He clings to the wrist lock attack, where as the master does not hold onto it, but rotates it back to a potential stage instead. The master lets the opponent choose the technique that will defeat him, the moron chooses what technique he will try.
There is a saying passed down in the traditions of the Bujinkan that roughly states, "Those that think that the technique comes from ‘me’ close their ears to the voices of the gods." This isn't really all that esoteric. We can take this to mean that if you determine that you will do "technique A" then you will try to do it, even if other techniques better suited for the situation appear. Yes you should try to do the technique in class that the teacher showed, but you also need to keep your attention open.
Think about the reactions to strikes in this context. There is some silly stuff out there about the use of kyusho (weak points) to affect someone else. Some of the stuff is really silly, requiring the right time of day, knowing if the other person’s toes are flexed or not, etc. The simple truth is, you don’t know how the other person will react. I know someone who kicked someone up between his legs, lifting him off the ground a short distance. When the guy came back down, he turned to his partner and said, “Did you see what that bastard just did?”
If you hit someone, they might fly backwards, they might bend over and they might not seem to react at all. You can’t be certain of any reaction. If you cut someone’s legs off, they might not be able to chase after you, but some of the things people do on PCP and other drugs is truly bizarre. Sometimes things will work, sometimes they won’t and sometimes you will need to adjust to what happens. After hitting someone, the masters in Japan seem to take a half beat to determine what the reaction was and how best to adapt what they do. They go with whatever is given them. And if there is no reaction, they don’t get flustered and just flow into something else.
Training with kyojitsu tenkanho is one of the reasons that having a good partner is so important. The role of the partner in class is to help you advance. Far too often, it gets into a pissing contest with passive aggressiveness or they just don't care enough to try to help. When you work out with a good partner, they give you the exact situation you need to pull off the move. It is the most natural thing to do and so you can flow into it if you do the move correctly. A*!*!&*s tend to make you do something unnatural to do the technique. They try to justify it as their efforts to push you and teach you to overcome resistance, but most of the time it really is because they are scared about their penis size.
When you tell people that they are supposed to practice omote gyaku, the partner knows what you will be doing and can set up a resistance before you even start to move- and some a%+~&!&s do. In the military, if I expect an attack from a certain direction I will try to mine the route and set up ambushes. If I lead a patrol and start to encounter mines, my first thought is that maybe the enemy knows we are coming by that route and that they might have more set up. By setting up a counter to omote gyaku because he knows that what you will try to do, the a*~!~%@ partner is training you to ignore the messages that resistance tells you. Like the minefield, a resistance to a particular technique should set off alarms and make you realize that he knows what you are trying. The a$$@+*! partner wants you to train yourself to go through the minefield instead of going around it. That is not what you should be building as a habit. As soon as you see that a wall has been built on one path, you find another. Like water, you flow to the point of least resistance. A good partner will not throw themselves like a Ron Duncan uke, but they won't push back or anything like that while you try things out. If they were to push back, then there are other things you can do. By resisting one move, people set it up so that they practically throw themselves into another if the partner is able to see and take advantage of it in time. We do have more than one technique for most situations and some of them are designed to be used if your partner resists another. The a~+!!++ gives you the choice of either doing something other than what the teacher has shown or train yourself to always try to bash down walls against an aware and prepared attacker.
In short, people that try to resist techniques by muscling and such are complete dicks and should be avoided as partners. A good partner won't go over in a throw unless you actually do it right, but they set themselves up to give the exact attack appropriate for the throw you are supposed to be working on. You need a good partner to practice kyojitsu tenkan ho. In fact, I sometimes think a good partner is almost as important as a good teacher. I differ from many who think you should always try to grab a new partner to deal with new body types. I like to push myself and work with new folks, but when I shell out my money to train, I want someone I know who will work with me to help myself improve and not stand in the way of my training. Sad to say, but there were a lot of complete dicks and completely clueless visiting Japan when I lived there. I don't think the situation has changed or differs from what you will find at a seminar. A good partner, when you find them, should be treasured.
I hope I blew some people's minds with this blog. I hope I caused confusion, bewilderment and maybe a few tears. If so, I did my job. I look forward to seeing all the people that will try to talk like they knew this all along. Until now, only a few folks I know had gotten this translation of the term and new way of thinking about it. A quick search of the internet shows that everything I can find written about kyojitsu tenkan ho in the Bujinkan is about fooling people instead of them reacting to the wrong attack. Thinking about this will take a short while. Implementing it will take years. If you have labored under the impression that kyojitsu means that you have to fake someone out it will take even longer. The two things that might help soften the blow to your ego is that 1- you can start now instead of waiting years to begin and 2- you will soon become better than the guy in the video clip.