Only a Ninja Can Unmask a Ninja

Only a Ninja Can Unmask a Ninja
It all started with a photograph. I saw a smartly dressed Japanese policeman outside the British Embassy in Tokyo while I was living in Japan training in Ninpo, the modern incarnation of Ninjitsu. With his combination of traditional and modern defensive tools including his Jo (four foot staff), and Hojojutsu cord (rope for tying up criminals in addition to handcuffs), plus his smart uniform I thought a photograph of him would show how the traditional and modern coexist in Japan. Innocent though this action was it resulted in me be called over by him to check my credentials. Since I was staying at a private house and hadn't got my passport on me the policeman seemed a little concerned but let me go.

A few minutes later, on my way to look at the Imperial Palace I became aware that I was being followed, although only for a short time. I thought that my explanation to the policeman had been checked and I was no longer a concern to the authorities. But as I was meditating by the moat I became aware of three Japanese businessmen about my age, late 20's at that time, walking towards me. As the men came closer their group split, two of the men were on a course to walking in front of me, while the other one would be going behind me. Considering Japans low unorganised crime rate I wasn't too worried about being mugged, but it was still odd enough behaviour for me to relax my knees in case I had to move quickly.

Just as the man was about to walk behind me his jacket spoke to him.

I couldn't make out what was said, but it was obviously a communications radio based on the quality of the sound and the distinctive style of the broadcast. All the men looked at me and I just smiled, nodded to them, and went back to my meditation. If one of the local security services, probably the Public Security Bureau, wanted to watch me so be it. It would justify their budget and provide experience for their staff and a baseline for how a tourist, albeit with an eccentric set of destinations, behaved. In fact, I thought, as the men left trying hard not to look like security operatives, they would have an interesting evening as I was going training at the Tokyo Ninpo (modern Ninjitsu) Dojo.

I smiled as watched them walk away, I recalled the advert on a video case I'd seen in the UK "Only a Ninja can kill a Ninja". Although that advert was ridiculous I wondered if this was a case of only a Ninja could reveal another Ninja? On my travels around Japan I had done a lot of meditation at various sacred places associated with the Ninjitsu and its spiritual roots, including rituals to connect with Sojobo, head of the Tengu. These mountain spirits are connected with the Historical Ninja and are reputed to have taught them skills in magick and combat. Perhaps in this case this had resulted in the 'unmasking' of the "Ninja"/operative when he passed me? It was the sort of occurrence that tends to happen when you are attuned to a particular Deity or archetype. Characteristics connected with the energies you are working with happen in a synchronistic manner. Such as a highly trained intelligence agents' earpiece coming unplugged from his radio so that any broadcasts could be heard by the ‘Ninja’ they were following.

As I walked back to the flat where I was staying I kept a lookout for any more security people following me. I saw none, which is what I would expect to see if I was being followed by the cultural descendants of the historical Ninja. That night as I went to training via the Tokyo Metro I still couldn't see anyone but, with the level of electronic surveillance present, there was no need for a person to follow me. The station near the training hall was also close to Sengaku-ji Temple, where the 47 Ronin (masterless Samurai) were buried after they avenged their Lord.

As usual I was deliberately early for class so that I could spend some time in the graveyard meditating and attuning myself to the Spiritual Warrior Archetype that was connected with the sanctuary. The graveyard itself was a large square shaped area with graves arranged along the side and in the middle. These were the graves of the Samurai, while their leader was buried just outside with his family. Many of the graves sported the traditional Gorintō five Element pagoda where each of the five stories that comprised it represents a different Element from the Japanese spiritual worldview. The square base represents Earth, then a sphere representing Water, atop that is the triangle that symbolises Fire, then a reclining half-moon shape representing Air. Finally at the tip is the diamond shape connected with Spirit or "Void" which is the potential in every moment.

I sat in front of one of these Gorintō, mentally cast a circle, and knitted my fingers in the Kuji Goshin Ho, part of the protective magick integral to a number of traditional martial arts including Ninpo. Comprising of nine hand poses using all the fingers, along with associated sounds and feelings it focuses the subtle energies of the body mind and spirit on a particular goal or manifestation. In this case it was to learn as much as possible from the training I was about to do. Afterwards I paused for a moment to become aware of the energies in the Temple area that I was working in.

I had the impression that the energies and associated entities perceived me as someone who was working hard at self-perfection and integration and they were happy to help. As I sat there I wondered if I was still being followed and glanced towards the Temple entrance. Just then the dense smoke that filled the area from the hundreds of incense sticks on the graves parted, leaving a clear corridor leading straight to a man dressed exactly as the ones at the Imperial Palace had been. At the same time I had the dowsing-like feeling that he had two companions, one to my left, and one almost directly behind me. Naughtily I raised my hands in a double 'thumbs up' and tilted my hands so that my thumbs indicated where I felt the man's colleagues were. Even at the distance I was at I could see him tense up and, as I brought my hands down into a meditative posture, the smoke closed in again.

By the time I finished my ritual and carried on to the training hall the man had gone. However, during training that evening the Grandmaster left the room for a while and when he returned he was definitely amused at something. I had my suspicions at the time and even more so at the end of my time in Japan when he promoted me from 5th Kyu, which is five levels below Dan (black belt) level, to 3rd Dan black belt. I like to think that a combination of seeing me at regular training plus the fact I infiltrated the American Embassy to get the address for the training hall, plus the incident at the Temple, and the help of the Japanese Otherworld I had attracted through my connections with it all helped in my successful end to my travels in Japan.

You Should Also Read:
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Ninja Travels in Japan- Spirits and Monks

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