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Old July 19, 2002, 09:08 AM   #1
Drizzt
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Ninja still gets kicks (their title, not mine......)

Copyright 2002 Times Publishing Company
St. Petersburg Times


July 19, 2002 Friday

SECTION: HERNANDO TIMES; Pg. 4

LENGTH: 676 words

HEADLINE: Ninja still gets kicks

BYLINE: FRANK PASTOR

BODY:


Tom Dampman has been practicing the art of self-defense 30-plus years.

BROOKSVILLE - At age 10, Tom Dampman was a Ninja. At least he thought he was.

He read Karate books. He climbed trees with grappling hooks. He did dive rolls over fences. Thirty-eight years later, Dampman is doing those things - as a Ninja-in-training.

Trained by the Japanese master, Masaki Hatsumi, Dampman, 48, of Brooksville, has spent the past 17 years practicing the art of Ninjutsu and the past 15 teaching it.

"I teach so I can train," Dampman said. "So I can continue learning."

At 5-feet-11, 175 pounds, Dampman is not big, nor especially strong or quick. But by using body weight, timing, angles and distance he can subdue any foe.

Like most of his students, Dampman, a former construction worker, was drawn to Ninjutsu because he wanted to defend himself.

He spent 10 years in Karate, earning a fourth-degree black belt, and trained in Aikido, Jujutsu, Judo and Tai Chi. But nothing was as effective as Ninjutsu, particularly in close combat situations.

"On the street, anything goes," Dampman said. "There are no rules here."

Dampman first saw Hatsumi at a seminar. He marveled at the master's moves and how no one could approximate them. For 17 years, Dampman has made annual trips to Japan to train under him.

Ninjutsu isn't about competition. It's about survival. It's been that way since the 11th Century, when the Ninjas developed a system of skills to protect their families from the Samurai.

But don't mistake Ninjutsu - which means "one who perseveres or endures through combat situations" - for the month-long self-defense course taught at the local mall. It is a lifelong pursuit with the ultimate goal of reaching enlightment. Some say it takes 80 years to become a Ninja.

Dampman doesn't demonstrate techniques; he teaches body movement. Since every situation requires a different response, rehearsed moves are of little use during an attack.

Dampman's chief task is to teach his students to sense and avoid danger. Some things are common sense, like avoiding ATM machines at night, crossing the street in front of a car or bars at 3 a.m.

Should danger occur, he wants his students prepared for any situation. So they are taught grappling, use of firearms, swords and bows and arrows, and outdoor survival skills.

Ninjutsu is more violent than other forms of self-defense. Students are shown how to gauge eyes, pop eardrums, tear muscle or break bones - anything they might need to defend themselves. against an attacker.

"All of the stuff we do, we have one goal in mind," Dampman said. "And that's to either maim or kill."

Dampman doesn't teach children, and precautions are taken to keep students safe, he said. They learn how to fall and absorb blows.

"Nobody gets hurt because They first learn how not to get hurt," Dampman said.

Jack Moye, 40, of Brooksville has been training with Dampman for six years. A Post Office worker, he started with the hopes of increasing his flexibility.

"I'm much more relaxed and confident," Moye said. "I can walk anywhere, and I'm not going to get hurt."

Moye said Ninjutsu might have saved his life. He and a friend were driving through Tampa late one night when a van pulled alongside their car.

Moye sensed something was wrong and told his friend to run the red light. As the van's side door slid open, revealing several men with guns, Moye and his friend sped to safety.

"I had a feeling we had to get out of there," he said.

Dampman's daughter, Jennifer, 16, has been training for about 10 years. A friend once asked her if Ninjutsu was like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"Do they rip throats out?" she replied.

So far, Dampman has been able to avoid danger. But he worries how much latitude the law will allow should he be forced to defend himself.

"How far am I going to go in this situation and am I going to end up in jail?" he said.

Moye had an answer.

"I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by six."

For information on Ninjutsu, call Tom Dampman, (352) 754-5280.
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Old July 19, 2002, 01:35 PM   #2
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Hey, he cannot be a ninja. Ninjas never worry about Problem #2 or even acknowledge it exists in their mall. Worrying about consequences for using violence on a fellow human being--what is he some kind of whimpering blissninny like KSFreeman?

Besides, he didn't say anything about straight vs. curved swords.
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Old July 19, 2002, 03:38 PM   #3
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Ninja are masters of deception and stealth. They're not going to TELL you before they flip out and kill people, for goodness' sake.
That's why Ninjas are sweet.
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Old July 19, 2002, 03:58 PM   #4
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*L*........I have about half a dozen ninja's that show up at our annual halloween party.........cute lttle ninjas they are too!
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Old July 19, 2002, 04:41 PM   #5
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To state what may be the obvious, in my opinion this is a terrible article. I received my first black belt from Hatsumi Sensei in Noda City, Japan in 1992. I've trained with him a couple of times since. Above all, he is a very kind, happy, and fun person. While he is an incredible martial artist who teaches very realistic techniques, the whole " we only kill and maim" thing totally goes against what he tries to teach in my opinion. While he would be capable of such, he would only do so if required, and in his mind would regard it as doing the attacker a favor- the attacker was pleading for a release from his pain by trying to kill him. He has subdued many real attackers over his life (when you're the Grandmaster, people will test you, oddly enough) without killing or maiming, although some did receive broken bones. I have taken several years off from Bujinkan to study with the Gracies, but still regard Hatsumi as one of the most amazing people that I've ever met. For the record, 30% of Bujinkan (Budo Taijutsu is the preferred name now) black belts are great fighters, and 70% can't fight their way out of a paper bag. The knowledge is in the art, but any belt is given to anyone who wants one and will pay. Also, while Hatsumi himself was a great grappler in his youth, most people in the art are very weak in the ground game. I do believe it is the best, or one of the best arts with or against weapons and multiple attackers though.

"I can walk anywhere, and I'm not going to get hurt."
Does any good martial artist (or rational person) really believe that he can walk anywhere and be guaranteed not to get hurt? I know for a fact that Hatsumi would never say that. I understand how people can get aggressive and over-confident in their training, but the attitudes of these people seems downright dangerous, counter-productive, and to reflect poorly on our art.
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Old July 19, 2002, 05:59 PM   #6
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Old July 19, 2002, 11:01 PM   #7
Don Gwinn
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Carbon-15---'prezactly.

Najdorf--you bring up a good point. Not smart. But it sounds good in the paper.
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Old July 20, 2002, 07:09 PM   #8
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Najdorf,

Welcome to TFL. Great to have you. You're 100% right- and I recall Hatsumi-san saying that anyone could get lucky (and defeat him or anyone else). He is rather intense, though, isn't he?

If I've been advised correctly, the most famous of the "ninja" ryu, Togakure, focuses on escape without killing, which is why Takamatsu-sensei (the previous soke) didn't like it much!
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Old July 22, 2002, 10:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
has spent the past 17 years practicing the art of Ninjutsu and the past 15 teaching it
Now, I'll admit that I'm not even close to maybe almost kinda being considered possibly an expert on anything, BUT, that kinda bothers me. Yeah, he's evidently quite experienced with other forms, but still... 2 years just doesn't seem quite right to start teaching.

Oh, and:
Quote:
Dampman doesn't demonstrate techniques; he teaches body movement. Since every situation requires a different response, rehearsed moves are of little use during an attack.
So that means that the "body movements" are of no use, since every situation is different. By this logic, I should quit practicing any form of... well... any kind of art, because every situation is different, so practice is pointless.

Also, as others have stated, totally wrong additude.

Oh, and the guys in the van with guns... that was actually an Irish splinter group out for revenge because he had thwarted their plan to whack a British royal... or something like that, I dunno.
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Old July 23, 2002, 12:01 PM   #10
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Thanks Spectre. These boards are great. I wish I'd found them sooner. You're right, Hatsumi is an intense (but very kind) person and martial artist.

As long as we're looking at the article closely, notice this statement the article makes about Dampman:

"he can subdue any foe."

I sure hope that was the writers misimpression and not his, because it would reflect an insane level of over confidence. But it would be consistent with the "go anywhere and not be harmed" line of thought they have. In any case, maybe the worst part of all in the article is...

"Dampman's daughter, Jennifer, 16, has been training for about 10 years. A friend once asked her if Ninjutsu was like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 'Do they rip throats out?' she replied."

I'd be embarrassed to admit that I'd taught my young daughter to think like that. "Do they help people" or "do they defend the weak" or "do they enjoy life" are the questions that Hatsumi would ask.
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Old July 31, 2002, 09:33 AM   #11
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This whole ninjutsu thing in regards to Hatsumi sensei was started by Stephen Hayes in the late 1970's. He was taught by Hatsumi sensei but Hatsumi sensei is the inheritor of nine different styles. 3 of these are ninjutsu ryu. Of these, Togakure ryu has been taught to some of his shihans. One of them has not even been taught to his shihans. Hatsumi sensei stated several years ago that he has not taught Togakure ryu ninjutsu to any westerners.

His former senior student, Manaka sensei, holds menkyo kaiden in Togakure ryu ninjutsu. He also has not taught it publicly. If he has taught it to his senior students they have not mentioned it to me nor have I heard such a claim second hand from members of the Jinenkan (Manaka sensei's organization).
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Old July 31, 2002, 11:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
At 5-feet-11, 175 pounds, Dampman is not big, nor especially strong or quick. But by using body weight, timing, angles and distance he can subdue any foe (emphasis mine).
Any foe, eh? Even ones armed with nuclear weapons?
Quote:
Like most of his students, Dampman, a former construction worker, was drawn to Ninjutsu because he wanted to defend himself.
From what or whom exactly are they going to defend themselves? According to the article, the system was devised to defend from "Samurai" of the 11th Century. Are there a lot of Samurai running around with swords and bows today?
Quote:
He spent 10 years in Karate, earning a fourth-degree black belt, and trained in Aikido, Jujutsu, Judo and Tai Chi. But nothing was as effective as Ninjutsu, particularly in close combat situations (emphasis mine).
"Nothing," eh? Not even the dreaded Dux-Ryu Ninjutsu or Druken style monkey Kung Fu?

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Old July 31, 2002, 04:39 PM   #13
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my 2 cents

Togakure ryu has actually been taught by Hatsumi sensei- he even released a Quest video on it, after all... I could probably demonstrate something like three or four of the sword kata from this school, and I've had a bit of instruction in other aspects of it. So I'd say that some genuine ninjutsu has been disseminated, but I'd question how much.

When Hatsumi sensei says he has not taught real ninjutsu, it is important to look at this statement and see that it can probably be read on many levels.

What is real ninjutsu? Is it the swordwork and unnarmed combat kata contained in the ryu, or is it the astrology, the destruction of fortifications, the esoteric religion..... hard to say. I can see where he is clearly saying that he has not taught a significant portion of his ninjutsu to people, except those with menkyo kaiden in it, like Noguchi sensei and others.

It's important to remember, IMO, that we are studying Budo Taijutsu in the Bujinkan, not training to be ninja warriors. We receive grade in Hatsumi sensei's budo, not in Togakure ryu. It always dissapoints me when I see the 'black-clad lethal warrior' stuff propogated: that stuff is so 80s

As ever, these are just my opinions.
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