Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shinobi And Modern Conservative Principals

Since the popular explosion of the Ninja arts in the 80's, few debate the historical existence of the Ninja or Shinobi. Today, many feel that Shinobi exist only in the fantasy of feeble minds. Perhaps, that is as it should be. The Shinobi always existed as an other-worldly phenomenon and cultivated perceptions that enhanced their mystique and power. However, the historical Ninja have existed, some say, since the beginning of Japanese political history and served the first Emperor, Jimmu. Shrouded in the mist and lore of the ancient, the Shinobi moved in the shadows of human affairs, performing clandestine operations and preserving the integrity of their families and clans. It is beyond dispute that the Tokagure Ryu can trace its history back 800 centuries: "Behind, us eight centuries of history and tradition stretch all the way back to the founder of our system, Daisuke Nishina of Togakure Village." (Massski Hatsumi, Soke) No other art can lay claim to such a rich and distinguished heritage. No other art has preserved the essence of budo as has Nin-po. The lessons and laws of the battlefield still live on in the hearts and bodies of the modern Shinobi. Since the Ninja were experts at preserving their traditions covertly and in the face of oppression, it is logical that Nin-po should endure even to the present day. 

The Ninja were always an anti-establishment phenomena. Though Ninja served in a multitude of capacities throughout the ages, even inhabiting the loftiest ranks of the Samurai, the Ninja's allegiance was ultimately to family and clan. The Ninja served principle rather than the hollow forms of political power. 

"As a military man, to serve one's country, to serve one's lord, or to die for an ideal is important. But something that transcends this is to protect one's country, protect one's lord, and to attain an ideal. This is the true essence of the warrior, and what flows from there is the real bushido." (Masaaki Hatsumi, Soke)

The philosophy of the Shinobi shares much in common with the modern conservative in that the emphasis of perspective is not on the outward trappings of power but on the essential philosophical elements that impel humanity toward freedom. The Ninja of old pursued their individual and familial liberties by means of kyojutsu, since their milieu of operation was one of oppressive totalitarianism. But always, the Ninja were guided by natural principals and operated in opposition to an overreaching government. Modern conservatives pursue the same objectives but from within a radically different environment. The modern conservative is guided by a refined understanding of natural law and inalienable rights, political theories made precise through the interpretation of Divine Revelation. But, fundamentally, the Shinobi of old and his modern conservative counterpart struggle for the same ends: freedom from oppression in all its forms. This realization is most important in these troubled times, when the freedoms inherent in God's creation are being impinged upon by Godless oppressors. The modern liberal is cut from the same pattern as the ancient Shogun. Both move to expand the reach and to coalesce the power of a centralized government.  The modern liberal comes as a wolf in sheep's clothing, using the forms of liberty in a campaign of subtle oppression. The spirit of the Shinobi lives, indeed, in these modern times. It is a Shinobi wind that moves through modern conservatism as it struggles against an increasingly centralized federal government, bent upon the erosion of our natural rights.

"Governments are established to oversee the harmonious interworking of all parts of society, but when the rulers become greedy, hungry for power, or lacking in wisdom, the country is subjected to needless wars, disorder, or civil and economic chaos." Toshitsugu Takamatsu, 33rd Grandmaster, Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu