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Today, we are blessed to hear from one of the most-remarkable personalities of our present century. His contribution to the world of martial arts is priceless indeed. He has appeared in several films and has published a variety of books on Ninjitsu and other aspects of martial arts, which can be found in bookstores throughout the world. His bio, which appears on the Black Dragon Fighting Society’s website, describes Grandmaster Ashida Kim as follows:
“Master Ashida Kim has written fifteen books on the subject of martial arts, distributed worldwide and in five different translations. Toured on the international circuit to South Africa, where he appeared on SABC’s “Late Night Live” with Kevin Savage. And to Australia to teach Qi Gong and be written up in People magazine. In addition to teaching, both at his own Dojo and on contract to other schools, he maintains affiliate clubs around the globe, hires out as a freelance agent to select intelligence agencies, and teaches police seminars in Harrisburg PA, yet is virtually unknown to any but his closest allies. Simply because he does not boast nor brag of these accomplishments.”
Unfortunately, while Grandmaster Ashida Kim has used his knowledge to help advance the development of martial arts and human society overall, he has also been subject to an unworthy amount of criticism. This is partly due to ignorance on the part of some and the attempts of others to assassinate his character so as to draw attention to themselves.
While a lot of martial artists in various schools of thought, have implemented a curriculum that revolves around exercises and techniques, Sensei Kim has always inculcated the importance of spirituality in his teachings. He is the first to advocate that Ninjitsu is a non-violent martial art. If one is a true master mentally and spiritually, they are able to create and live in their own experience, ones that are less likely to come back and haunt them. Information on the esoteric and spiritual value of many martial art forms is becoming very rare, let alone with the science of Ninjitsu, with the exception of Aikido. Pursuit of the spiritual principle in martial arts was a focus of an early blog I had, as very few understood what these spiritual aspects were (See: Ninjutsu: A Spiritual Journey). Fortunately, this knowledge is still available in Grandmaster Ashida Kim’s writings.
Personally, as a Shinshoku in the line of the Art of Ninzuwu Tradition, the mystical-transformative themes of Sensei Kim’s work are very clear to anyone who has a minute knowledge and experience in the occult arts. Below are a few quotes by Grandmaster Kim emphasizing the importance of understanding the place of unseen technology in martial arts:
“That is why the Ninja, who value peace and harmony above all else, have gone to such great lengths over many centuries to canonize and preserve these methods. And why, because it is so simple, the techniques have often been turned to revenge or used to raise and army quickly. When there is no justice, the Ninja appear. They are not .called to action. by anyone. They are just ordinary people in extraordinary situations. They need not have a clan, or credentials, or even a great deal of training. They only need the Will. The Ninja do what must be done, then it is forgotten. Princes and kings may gain some temporary advantage through Force. But, the only lasting accomplishments are achieved through Love. This is the true lesson of Ninjitsu…. To be a Ninja, one must be a wizard. This means that he can “stop the world” and “see with the eyes of God.”.. The emphasis on meditation to cultivate the mind and body is characteristic of all Far Eastern martial arts. Nowhere is this more true than in Ninjitsu, the Silent Way. Ninja place as much importance on the spiritual and mental aspects of their art as on the physical.” (Secrets of the Ninja by Ashida Kim)
“One is often asked, “What is the goal of Ninjitsu?” The answer is peace and harmony, as well as the freedom to enjoy it. In this regard, the Ninja is like the master fisherman who keeps his own counsel about where the big ones can be found. Thus his secrets are safe from those who would misuse them.” (Ninja: Hands of Death by Ashida Kim)
“The reason the Ninja are so savage and terrifying in war and why they are masters of invisible action is so that war does not occur……. Magic spells are not bestowed by supernatural powers. The only force doing so is the will. Beseeching malevolent or benevolent deities is merely a request to let yourself please yourself.” (The Invisible Fist of the Ninja by Ashida Kim)
Another reason why the work of Sensei Kim is often misunderstood has a lot to do with the fact that some in the general public take some of his metaphors literally. His “throwing sand in the face” technique, and others like it, have a literal meaning, but for serious students of Sensei Kim these “skills” are analogies for certain esoteric knowledge. This form of discretion is used most occult organizations who will even incorporate fiction in their teachings to conceal an esoteric truth. Personally, I am led to believe, based on my own investigation that there were some, who were jealous of Sensei Kim’s early success and couldn’t engage in a “dojo war” with him, as he taught a lot in workshops and long distance, began to implement a campaign to destroy his character, and replace his teachings with a more “appropriate form.” Sadly, there are some martial artists who think that the memorization of techniques makes them a master. Sensei Kim, in the book, Ninja: Hands of Death, writes the following:
“The levels of the superior masters, the forces of nature, and the immutable laws of the universe all remain to be explored when one thinks one has achieved the uppermost rank among the mystic warriors of the night. But there are fewer players at that level.”
Recently, I had the honor of communication with Sensei Kim. I learned a lot and I am sure you will enjoy the presence, even for a moment, of one who walks in-between the lines of reality.
Warlock Asylum: It is truly a blessing and honor to be able to have this opportunity to hear some of your experiences, history, and insights first hand. However, for some of our readers who may not be familiar with your work, how would you describe yourself? Who is Ashida Kim?
Master Ashida Kim: Ashida Kim? Easiest to say I am no one of consequence, LOL Just a regular guy who knows a few neat tricks.
Warlock Asylum: What inspired you to take up a serious study of the martial arts, and can you tell a little bit about your background and training in this field?
Master Ashida Kim: I started fighting bullies in the 3rd grade after watching soldiers train in Judo on the military bases where my father was stationed, was on the wrestling team in High School, started taking Shotokan in college. Went to Chicago and met Count Dante and learned his form, got drafted and met a mentor in the Army who started me on Ninjitsu, mostly do Tai Chi now.
Warlock Asylum: I know that one of the things that come to mind when people hear the name Ashida Kim is the author who has written quite a few books on Ninjitsu and other martial forms. You could have simply just been a teacher. What motivated you to become, not only a teacher of martial arts, but also one of the most published authors on the subject?
Master Ashida Kim: Actually, was teaching when we wrote the first Book of the Ninja as a training manual. Was so popular it spawned all the rest.
Warlock Asylum: What have been some of the challenges and obstacles that you have faced during your career in martial arts and as an author? How were you able to overcome many of these challenges?
Master Ashida Kim: Hardest part was having all my money stolen by the unscrupulous publishers. I caught them skimming royalties and giving them to one of their buddies. When I confronted them they just shut me out and kept selling my books anyway without paying me or reporting sales.
Warlock Asylum: There is one fascinating point of interest that I believe you deserve the credit for discovering before any historian on the subject of Ninjitsu can claim. In your book Secrets of the Ninja, which was originally published in 1980, you mentioned how Ninjitsu itself is not a martial art in the modern sense of the term. Over two decades later, historian Antony Cummins mentions this same idea without citing your work in this regard. When the idea of a modern Ninja arises in conversation, several names comes to mind besides yours. Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi, Grandmaster Stephen Hayes, and historian Anthony Cummins are just a few of the names that many people associate a modern Ninja with. What are some of the differences in the approach that those just cited have taken on the subject of Ninjitsu, and the work you are seeking to accomplish? Any similarities?
Master Ashida Kim: Hayes and Hatsumi are all about making money. I’m just trying to make the world a better place and help people. Anthony has done some good research.
Warlock Asylum: In Secrets of the Ninja, you state: “To be a Ninja, one must be a wizard. This means that he can “stop the world” and “see with the eyes of God.” This is the essence of Mugei-Mumei No-Jitsu, which is translated to mean, “no name-no art.” Can you explain to our readers what is Mugei-Mumei no Jitsu?
Master Ashida Kim: No name, no art is the old Ninjitsu way of concealing the nature of their system. Meditation leads to all the understanding one requires to find his place and purpose in the universe.
Warlock Asylum: After coming into contact with your work about a decade ago, it was easy to see that much of the material you have written is really about the practice of the occult arts and mental sciences. Are there any specific schools of occult knowledge that you have seriously pursued? What connections do you see between the occult world and martial arts?
Master Ashida Kim: Have only dabbled in some of the more occult arts, mostly to see the similarities in them and the rituals and procedures used in other systems. All very similar,
Warlock Asylum: The Art of Ninzuwu is a rare form of Shinto that is heavily linked to Amaterasu Ohkami, the Tengu, Ryujin Shinko, and what we call Yi Jing Sorcery. We are presently in the process of implementing martial arts along with our spiritual practices. Hopefully, you can share some of your wisdom in this regard. What is your advice to Initiates of the Art of Ninzuwu in this regard and spiritually?
Master Ashida Kim: Be kind, do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.
Warlock Asylum: Can you explain a little bite about the origins of the infamous Black Dragon Society and Ninjitsu itself?
Master Ashida Kim: The BDFS has had many names over the centuries, Amur River Society, Black Dragon Tong of Retribution and so on. My understanding is that it was descended from the Pole Star School of medicine and sprang up much like the Shaolin monks, to defend China for various invaders. In Japan in WWII a lot of Chinese espionage methods were taught at the Nakano Spy School. Count Dante founded the American branch in the sixties after competing in Death Matches on the (then) close Chinese mainland.
Warlock Asylum: Out of all the works that you have published what is your most-favored?
Master Ashida Kim: Secrets of the Ninja is my favorite, LOL
Warlock Asylum: According to your website, http://ashidakim.com/movie-credits.html, you have quite a few movie credits to your honor. How did this aspect of your career unfold?
Master Ashida Kim: Was looking for work and took a job chasing tourists at Universal Studios for Halloween one year. Met a couple of people who were working as extras and hooked up with them for a couple of movies.
Warlock Asylum: On August 1, 2009, you were honored by being inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Grandmaster of the Year. This must have been a very exciting event. Would you care to elaborate a bit more? What other honors have you received?
Master Ashida Kim: Since then have received many awards and accolades. Was very proud to be inducted into the USMA Hall of Fame, it was one of the first and best.
Warlock Asylum: What can we expect to see of Sensei Kim in the future? Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to tell us about?
Master Ashida Kim: Mostly focusing on health and longevity nowadays. Have several course online and do seminars teaching healing techniques. That, of course, it the true art.
Warlock Asylum: It has definitely been an honor to be able to hear some of your insights Sensei Kim. We wish you all the best in your endeavors and salute your past endeavors. Do you have any final thoughts?
Master Ashida Kim: Martial arts is not about fighting. They are about becoming a better person so that you can set a good example for all. They are about empowering the individual to stand up for himself so he can do the right thing. With great power comes great responsibility. The power to kill and restore to life is not given to just anyone, for then it might be misused. But, everyone has it within them to have this power. There is no one art that is greater than another. All are a matter of personal skill. On any given day, even the greatest champion can be beaten. By competing against each other we discover ourselves. By training with the best we continue to grow and learn.
The taking of a life does no one honor. The use of deadly force is only justified in self-defense. For all life is precious, nor can any be replaced. But, every time you pick up a handful of sand and see not just the sand, but a marvel, a miracle there in your hand. Every time you take a breath and think to yourself, “I’m alive and being alive is fantastic.” Every time you do that you are part of the circle of life. And the game of life is finding worthy companions with which to make the journey anew each day.
Let us therefore come together, to set a good example for all, to be the heroes of our own lives, the captains of our fate, the masters of our souls. To live our lives as an exclamation rather than an explanation. Let us not “enjoy the suffering that is our lives” but rather alleviate that pain and put things right. There is a great evil loose in the world today. When we meet it we must do our worst so that the greater good will prevail. Not everyone is strong enough to fight back. But, we have forged our bodies in the fire of our will. We are men of peace who fight like ten tigers. And, for this help we once received, it became our obligation to help ten others. In this way good deeds will spread out like the ripples on a pond and cover the whole earth.
Warlock Asylum: On behalf of the Art of Ninzuwu tradition, we would like to extend our deepest thanks and gratitude for taking the time outside of your busy schedule. We wish you all the best in your endeavors and look forward to learning from your insights in our future development. Master Ashida Kim can be reached through his website http://www.ashidakim.com/
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