The Secrets Of Ninjutsu

Ninjutsu is probably one of my favorite Arts – its unique and unorthodox techniques, its higher-level, somewhat ethereal concepts, and the intriguing furtiveness captivated me from the get go.  It is, truly, an Art…and as a dancer and ice skater at heart, artistry is my language.

I’ve (rather sadly) seen traditional Arts dismissed as irrelevant – many modern-day practitioners want techniques that they can apply to modern-day scenarios.  Makes sense.  But therein lies the deception. Being rooted in a deep and complicated history also means that there are thousands of gems lying within the teachings.  Ones that have not only stood the test of time – when it was truly life and death – but ones that can also be very readily adapted and applied to “today.”

BudoRyoNinjutsu

One of the most interesting facets of Ninjutsu is the whole air of “secrecy.”  It sounds like an exaggeration but trust me, it isn’t.  Even within the walls of an official school, we find lots of “Henka,”or variations on specific techniques – the thing is, they are not always relayed in a straight-forward fashion, and sometimes are only hinted at.  For some Artists, that idea doesn’t go over (I can feel the eye rolls.)

While reading a Curriculum, for example, you might see images that don’t always jive with what the written directions are saying.  It ISN’T a lost-in-translation mistake either.  It’s completely deliberate.

The idea here is not that the “powers that be” of Traditional Ninpo are aiming to be unreasonably difficult, nor necessarily that they want to add some mysterious air that the Art can’t back up.  It’s more about the principle that learning is very much about DOing. Your Sensei is “passing down” the traditions, so to speak, and it drives home the idea that just reading a book, going online, or cerebrally understanding concepts ISN’T enough.  Martial Arts transcends any one approach – it takes grasping the fundamentals intellectually, absolutely, but the Art cannot be realized without being fully hands-on.

Taking it a step further, there are countless layers to the Art – you may learn a technique at one level, only to discover – throughout your own progression – profound jewels embedded deeply with in them…ones you neither could see, nor were capable of comprehending, in earlier training.

Ninpo embraces that we are not always ready for all of the “secrets” but that to develop our true “artistry” will take time, hard work, both finessing and breaking down the techniques until we can create our own. I suppose in a way many Martial Arts take that tact but here, some of the information is simply not shared until one has proven oneself to be ready.

The multi-faceted Ninjutsu is 1,000% NOT for everyone. It is acrobatic, intense, a little bit cryptic, unabashedly sneaky, and incredibly down-and-dirty at times.  Remember, the Ninja needed to survive…not stand on the battlefield until they – or you – were terminated (a la Samurai.)  

Ninjutsu focuses more on learning to keep distance, disabling, taking up an opponent’s space (including mental and spiritual) and getting away with one’s life.  To me, that’s the ultimate – I never began Martial Arts to “beat someone up.”  It’s an ART first and foremost for me, personally.  But, should I be faced with a true threat, I want the ability (or at least the tools) to disable, disengage, and get to safety.  It isn’t about “the fight,” but minimizing injury and getting away.  No ego.  No heroics.

Ninjutsu specifically will expose the student to everything from joint locks, small joint manipulations, grappling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, striking and weapons, to name a few.  I love that we have the opportunity to have such exposure, as many Arts are much more limited in scope. That said, the journey for each practitioner is unique, and built upon vastly different goals – in my own heart, I believe all Martial Arts are worthy and beneficial, markedly different they may be.

Martial Arts isn’t for the faint of heart – Ninjutsu isn’t “gentle” by any stretch, but it does teach us skills by which we can learn to keep ourselves – and our opponents – safe.  At the end of the day, however, we are taught that if we must overcome that individual, we must be prepared to do so.  Fortunately in modern times we don’t have to take it quite that far (certainly not in practice!)

Sometimes techniques hurt, sometimes they baffle, and other times they’re a little difficult to track down…. But each one of them – both the clandestine and the clear – are there should we be required to use them.  

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Clearly Bronzed

Where was this when I was ballroom dancing! In ballroom, bronze is not only “beautiful” but begrudgingly a “must-do.”  If you want to be taken seriously – and I’m not exaggerating – you better believe you need to grace that floor looking like a golden goddess.  Pale skin is NOT in, much to my own dismay.  Protesting the fact won’t get you anywhere. . . 

Trust me on that.

allure.com

Enter – years too late (*insert expletive here*) – this phenomenally, brilliantly clear Hydra-Mousse from Tan-Luxe. It apparently delivers exactly what it claims to, minus all the horrendous “side effects” of a traditionally brown-dyed solution.  

Now I can’t be too hard on the brown-tinted selections out there – they DO make it easier to see and smooth out mistakes.  BUT…the prospect of using a self-tanner and NOT having overly-orange skin where you’re drier, OR clothing, sheets, and expensive costumes that have decided to tan along with you. . .well, that’s pretty damn fabulous.

I mean, dancers everywhere can rejoice finally.  No more brown streaks, overly glowing elbow, or horrific scent (thanks a lot, DHA!) It isn’t inexpensive necessarily but then if you’re saving on cleaning bills (and not freaking out about warming up and starting to smell funny!) this might be for you!

Vampy Claws

For Ballroom, I had to have my nails “just so” – the grooming is impeccable and it’s unheard of NOT to have gel nails (or at least ferociously long, often outlandishly wide, french manicured nails.)  I opted for glittering, far more narrow tips myself…

Were I still in the sport (or perhaps even if not) I’m pretty sure I default to these unbelievable, deliciously, pointy claws.

@nikkietutorials and @electanailart

My Martial Arts rules out such a possibility (though they could be easily utilized in Ninjutsu!)  I suppose back in the day my weight lifting habit (of, now, nearly 26 years) would have also required some level of caution. . .

But still…these sharp, fresh-blood red talons are out of this world… At least to this not-so-secretly goth girl in a gi…

Holiday 2016 – Lime Crime Diamond Crushers

Wait…WHaAaaAT!?  Where were THESE when I was competitively Ballroom Dancing, dang it?!  

These are the PERFECT, iridescent light catchers (and I’m highly irritated that they’ve come out now…several years too late!)  The names are as sassy as the shades, and I love that they (along with many other companies) are following suit of such brands as Colour Pop and showing swatches on a variety of skin tones.  *LOVE*

Trip

STRIP

FLUKE. . .

I can’t well wear them to the dojo (lest my partner’s gi light up like a Christmas ball) but…I hope other people indulge in the high-wattage glow! 

The Diamond Crushers are meant to layer over lip color, but I’m sure you could use them on your own.  You could also very likely get creative (because…why not?) and use them to reflect light to / from other areas.  Eye gloss, anyone?  

Holiday 2016 – MAC Nutcracker Sweet

I’m a little bit partial to the Nutcracker because I grew up being classically trained – 10 years of ballet, and you’ll see ten years of the Nutcracker around the holidays…if not more (once a dancer, always a dancer.)  I desperately wanted to be in it, actually, and a friend and fellow dancer was – spectacular!

MAC is embracing the fun and festivities with a Holiday Nutcracker-inspired Collection – Sweet as can be.  For details, check out Chicprofile, who shares the full list of goodies, and a few more images. A little tricky to see all of the items clearly, given the bold pink patterning of dots and stripes but…anyway!  Personally, I love the Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Stormy Pink, a muted grey-purple hue.  I feel like it would add a barely-there depth (not a new shade, so much, but sometimes they aren’t!)

Chicprofile.com

MAC image

Halloween – Lip Smacker

I’m a total balm girl – I don’t wear lipstick (save for when I was performing in Ballroom Dancing or Figure Skating) and I love flavor! I also – no grand surprise – adore Halloween.  

When Halloween items crop up in stores, suddenly I want to buy everything…including limited edition Lip Smackers, designed with the holiday AND Disney Villains in mind.  As the kind of girl who prefers to be Maleficent at five years-old and NOT the Princess, no shocker here!

Lip Smacker has a bunch of fun Fall flavors but I hope I find the same setup Musingsofamuse did! I’ll snatch up all of them as fast as Jack Skellington did Christmas!

FY-EYE

New jazz from Maybelline that wasn’t supposed to be out quite yet…but that IS.  Ballroom dancers rejoice – less need to wear the falsies (which I couldn’t STAND!)

The Falsies Push Up Angel Mascara promises to sweep your flutter to the side, giving a lifted, winged effect – how pinup and fabulous!

Ulta.com

Ulta.com

Maybelline’s Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer is hopping on the heels of the brow building trend, not only adding color, but filling out sparse areas with its fiber-infused gel formula.

Maybelline.com

Maybelline.com