Sensei Rodriguez founded the Niji Dojo in New York and the Niji No Hashi Dojo in North Carolina with the goal of training all those who came to him with the sincere desire to master both their own personal challenges and the challenges inherent in learning Jujutsu and Ninpo Bugei. It is Sensei Rodriguez’ fervent hope that any success achieved by his businesses will allow him to open a larger dojo, which will also double as a shelter for battered women and a place to teach self-defense to at-risk children for free.
Fostering a sense of self-worth, developing an instinct for danger, and practicing precise self-control are only a few of the lessons Sensei Rodriguez wishes to impart to his students. However, it should be understood that the techniques demonstrated in Sensei Rodriguez’ schools are not open to the public, but reserved for those who prove worthy of the art. The dojo is a place of learning and deep respect—not a daycare center and not a place to gather for social recreation. Please consider visiting a martial arts chain or an aerobics program if you are mainly interested in quickly advancing your rank or enhancing your physique.
While the study of Ninpo fosters many mental and physical benefits, the main objective of the school is to develop students’ awareness of their surroundings and the ability to escape conflict with the minimal amount of necessary force. Classes are conducted in both English and Japanese, and they follow a traditional protocol. Every class begins with fundamental patterns known as kihon gata; students either train individually (in a line) or work with a partner. The kihon gata is a physically demanding workout, quite different from regular sports training exercises. Although strenuous, students build on their abilities and increase endurance with each additional class.
Certain techniques are not required of those students with injuries or who are of advanced age, but Sensei Rodriguez feels that with tailored guidance, anyone can learn to master the principles of Ninpo, regardless of the physical or mental obstacles set before them. If students come to the Niji no Hashi Dojo with a strong sense of self-discipline, an earnest desire to learn, and a compassionate heart, it is Sensei Rodriguez’ belief that they will excel in their pursuit of this style of self-defense.
A Note from Sensei Rodriguez:
What is Ninpo, and How Can We Benefit From It?
Ninpo is not only a traditional and effective martial art—it is a way a life.
Ninpo is about: * Self-defense * Spiritual refinement * Compassion * Virtue * Commitment * Courage
I teach both Ninpo and Jujutsu to a wide range of students, all of whom have a sincere desire to learn self-defense. Having in-depth experience in other martial arts like Goju Ryu Karate, Judo, Taijutsu, and boxing, I am happiest when training is deeply rooted in combat arts like Jujutsu and Ninpo.
I have studied a lot of different martial arts The study of Ninpo [Ninjutsu], is a way of applying strategy to overcome life’s sudden changes whilst maintaining a calm heart. Practicing Ninpo in all things we do is a way of refining our spirit. It is a journey that will take us on boundless adventures within ourselves. Training enables us to understand our limitations of body, mind and spirit.
Ninpo is a self-defense system of the ancient ninja. It is not a sport, nor is it competition-orientated. It is a complete martial art based on the combat situations that rose from feudal Japan. This self-defense study consists of evasion, blocks, strikes, throws, joint manipulations, pressure points, ninja and samurai weapons, and (to a degree) gymnastic movements. Ninpo offers a way of discovering, through discipline, our very nature—and how to turn the bad into the good. It is about self-defense, not proving how good we are to others with fancy movements or trophies. Ninpo is concerned with enforcing virtue, not subduing our enemies with hate and anger. If we strive to obtain Bosatsu No Kokoro [Buddha’s heart], then we can experience true compassion and courage.
The essence of training should be to: * Defend ourselves and others * Strengthen our weaknesses * Instill virtue into our hearts * Come closer to our true nature * Learn patience and endurance
Often our lives are influenced by outside forces. Some are necessary to make us stronger, and others just happen. What are we to do in those circumstances? Should we fight back? Should we try to adapt? Do we take mental notes to control that situation better in the future? Do we give in? Those questions and more continue to enter our minds.
Martial artists and historians have commented on the history and traditions of Ninjutsu. Few have made a real attempt to comment on modern Ninjutsu or its exponents. Ninjutsu should ideally be referred to as Ninpo—the enlightened path of Ninjutsu. Today, the Ninpo practitioner is not required to learn the arts of stealth or assassination. Modern Ninjutsu is centered more on Taijutsu, Jutaijutsu, Daikentaijutsu, Koshijutsu, and Koppojutsu (all of which are physical applications for self-defense).
It also includes spiritual aspects, which help unify the body, spirit, and mind. The weapon applications that are taught today utilize the traditional ninja weapons, like the Jo, Bo, Yari, and Shuriken (just to name a few). These are not so much relevant in terms of self-defense, but the techniques are very adaptable. The difference between Ninpo and Ninjutsu is important to note. What a student should aim at is being a person with compassion and self-discipline, whose heart is as open as a spring flower. This is the way of Ninpo. “The sword should never be put before the heart.”
NIN– means to endure or tolerate; to exercise patience PO– means law; methodology
To put it in a brief statement: “Ninpo is the study and practice of Ninjutsu.”
Ninpo is also referred to as the higher order of Ninjutsu, as it is centered around the discipline, practice, and utilization of Ninjutsu—predominately from a spiritual level. Ninpo is about the cost of opportunities, about foregoing one thing in order to gain another. This definition may sound clinical or economical in definition, but Ninpo is about finding out what is needed more in society NOW. Do we need self-defense, spiritual beliefs, and guidance? Yes, far more so than we need the practice of espionage and assassination. Ninpo is about experiencing patience and endurance in everyday life.
Bugei Juhappan 1. Jujutsu – Art of self-defense 2. Kenjutsu – Art of the wooden sword [Boken] 3. Iaijutsu – Art of drawing 4. Kusarifundojutsu – Weighted chain techniques 5. Kusarigamajutsu – Sickle and chain techniques 6. Bojutsu – Art of the full length staff 7. Sojutsu – Spearmanship 8. Naginatajutsu – Art of the halberd 9. Suikenjutsu – Art of swimming 10. Bajutsu – Horsemanship 11. Kishajutsu – Art of archery on horseback 12. Jojutsu – Art of the three-foot staff 13. Kyujutsu – Archery 14. Yoroi Kumiuchijutsu – Art of armored combat 15. Juttejutsu – Art of the Jutte (Iron rod) 16. Hobakujutsu – Art of rope binding 17. Hojutsu – Art of firearms (rifle/gun/canon/technique) 18. Shurikenjutsu – Art of throwing blades
Ninjutsu Juhakkei 1. Seishin Shugyo – Art of spiritual refinement 2. Taijutsu – Art of unarmed combat 3. Bikenjutsu – Secret art of the sword 4. Sojutsu – Spearmanship 5. Naginatajutsu – Art of the halberd 6. Nagamakijutsu – Art of the battlefield halberd 7. Kusarigamajutsu – Sickle and chain technique 8. Rokushakubojutsu – Art of the six-foot staff 9. Sanjakubojutsu – Art of the half-and-three-quarter staff 10. Shurikenjutsu – Art of throwing blades 11. Kishajutsu – Archery on horseback 12. Intonjutsu – Art of special disappearing 13. Hokojutsu – Art of stalking 14. Hensojutsu – Art of disguise 15. Kakushibuki – Art of secret weapon 16. Gunryaku Heiho – Strategies 17. Tenmon & Chimon – Strategy concerning the gates of Heaven and Earth 18. Ninyaku – Special medicine and drug techniques
There is a list of weapons that were commonly used by ninja, which are still an essential part of training and are referred to as Ninki [ninja weapons].It is harder (yet more rewarding) to go training on a winter’s day or to walk in a park than to sit on a sofa and watch television. I am sure that we all have our share of downfalls, inadequacies, and problems. I believe Ninpo will supply us with the self-discipline to combat those difficulties. I tend to think of the training and teaching of Ninjutsu as my active contribution to making part of the world a better place to live.
Let’s train so that we can understand what it is to obtain Fudoshin—an immovable heart. Ismael Rodriguez, Niji No Hashi Dojo, Cary, NC, USA
Ismael Rodriguez has been studying Martial Arts for fifty years, starting at the age of nine. He holds DAN levels in various traditional and sports-related martial arts.
© 2010 Niji No Hashi Dojo
© 2010 Niji No Hashi Dojo