Ninjutsu and Women
Why are martial arts still practiced? What is their existential value? The immediate answer is that by appropriate learning of a martial art, the weak can overcome the strong; the short can overcome the tall, an old person can subdue a young opponent and a lightweight opponent can overcome a heavy one; a woman can defeat a man.
If body size, strength, excess of weight and speed were the only factors that determine the results of a physical confrontation, martial arts would not have been developed at all. They would be useless, because all the combats would be predetermined in advance in favor of the stronger side.
In Ninjutsu we don't deal with physical strength by applying more physical strength. A large mass of muscles is not an advantage and the beauty and femininity of a woman do not decline if she enroll in an intensive training program.
What actually happens is that the natural beauty of the woman is revealed and enhanced through the beauty that originates from her movements and from the fountain of inner-life. Many women miss the opportunity for self-progress that martial art training offers. Many of them still identify martial art with violence, aggressiveness, and antithesis to femininity. Some of them are repealed by close and intensive body contact with unfamiliar men. Yet others are afraid of being injured. However, in Ninjutsu the training experience is utterly different.
In practice real Ninjutsu we have to let-go of our thoughts, be open in our mind and relax our rigid muscles to eliminate hasty movements. In Ninjutsu we learn a wide spectrum of power exertions. We learn the right timing for manifesting our power and to what extent.
The awareness to both our body and the environment is developed through constant practice of a great number or possible movements and fighting situations. We learn to distinguish between all the power zones in our body and at the same time to integrate them in a manner that produce smooth and unified action. We learn to adjust ourselves to different opponents and to many kind of combat conditions. This type of training develops creativity and enables cooperation and a mutual learning experience, because much of the practice is done in couples.
Since Ninjutsu is not a sport, the phenomenon of a strong competitive atmosphere virtually does not exsist in the dojo. Instead, there is a process of personal learning where all the students grow in their own pace. The other participants are partners for study and help us understand the principles, movements and the techniques. We create good conditions for our partners to explore and discover their abilities. We don't distract them or compete with them. This is exactly the studying atmosphere that women can feel comfortable in.
Women can ascend to the highest levels of martial arts and spiritual development. There were women that established martial arts systems, or were great worriers. Nowadays, there are also wonderful women who have developed themselves and reached the highest level of movement and fighting abilities. Such is Sensei Mariko san, the wife of Hatsumi Sensei the Soke - head of the Bujinkan dojo. She demonstrates how a woman can be both feminine and delicate and at the same time excel in Ninjutsu, being the number one Kunoichi of the Bujinkan as well as an excellent performer of traditional Japanese dancing.
Ofer Cohen 6Dan, Israel
Student of Danny Waxman and Doron Navon.
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