Why does Ashida Kim spell " Ninjitsu" with an "i" instead of a "u"?
Ashida Kim replies: "Yes, the "modified Hepburn" system of Romanization that you may have learned in school would transliterate it as "ninjutsu." But, back in the '60s and 70s, when I was getting started with martial arts, "jitsu" was the preferred spelling, such as "jujitsu." And, indeed, the MMA guys still use that spelling convention today. Ninja and Ninjitsu are Japanese words. There is no 'Japanese alphabet,' they use 'kanji' or 'ideograms' (picture writing) to express these words. So, it is a matter of pronunciation when translated into English. Some people make a big deal out of whether to spell jitsu with an 'i' or a 'u' as in jutsu. But it really matters little. The same kanji that mean 'Silent Way' in Japan, mean 'calmness in the face of adversity' in Chinese."
Some so-called Ninja have said: "Ashida Kim will never take off his mask, because he is a fake and a coward..."
Ashida Kim replies: "I have often appeared unmasked in my books and articles about myself. But, as usual, people who already have their minds made up disregard such evidence. Any who think I am not for real are welcome to come and get a lesson in etiquette, fisticuffs included.
Is that the purpose of your $10,000 Challenge?
Ashida Kim replies: "Yes, because I am the Black Dragon Fighting Society Flyweight Champion. I am over sixty years old, five-foot six inches tall, from parts unknown, weight unknown. I have been paid to fight and I have fought for money. So I am a professional boxer. I had to hurt a lot of people to get that belt. When I won it I retired because I had learned the most valuable lesson of the martial arts, that I didn't want to hurt people anyone. Martial arts are not about fighting, they are about being a better person. That was in 1968. Since then I have practiced Ninjitsu, the most passive and non-violent martial art known to man. And, tried to make up for some of the harm I did when I was young and irresponsible. For that, I have been prosecuted, persecuted, slandered, libeled, swindled, beat up and beat down. But, of all the Ninja that appeared in the eighties, I am the only one that remains. I have been fighting bullies all my life and I must be pretty good at it because I'm still here. And, in my younger days, I accepted challenges from a lot of martial art and internet wannabees. Most of whom never showed up at the appointed time and place, then bragged about how they had "punked me out" with their clever trick. So, if it is that important to these people, if I am such a threat to humanity they think they must take it upon themselves to get destroy me, then let them put their money where their mouth is and get in the ring. Otherwise they are are not serious and are just flapping their gums to hear themselves talk."
What does Ashida Kim think of Masaaki Hatsumi?
Ashida Kim replies: "I have never met Hatsumi-Sensei. From what I have read and had reported, he is much like myself. I would be honored to meet him, but his boys never invited me to any of the Ninja Summits they had with the other people they called pretenders. Nor do I feel the need to make a pilgrimage to introduce myself for recognition that is fleeting at best. To my knowledge, he has never spoken against me, so I will not speak against him; nor any other martial artist. The Eleventh Commandment is 'Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Black Belt.' So it is written, so let it be done."
Many of your critics say that you are the worst martial artist they ever heard of. Why is that?
Ashida Kim replies: " Ah! But they have heard of me! And do you know WHY? Because, my books are so good the publishers have been stealing and selling them all over the world for the last thirty years. My books are responsible for the personal fortunes of three different men. None of whom are martial artists or entitled to a nickel of it. Secrets of the Ninja and Ninja Mind Control have been translated into 23 different languages THAT WE KNOW OF! The covers and authorship and royalties for Secrets of Invisibility and Book of the Ninja have been changed at least five times and sold worldwide by people who don't know their butt from a hot rock! While the royalties are diverted to a "new author" by "re-copyrighting" all my best selling books by claiming that "new material was added," so it all looks legal. I am the only one who can add new material! They did nothing! All of the DOJO Press editions contain information withheld from the swindletrs and thieves who would misuse it like this. My "publishers" once sent me some copies of "overseas editions" from Germany and Italy. Initially they said they would include one in Japanese. When it didn't arrive I asked about it and was told that they had "made a mistake and there were no Japanese editions." But there are, and Chinese and Polish and more. Not paying these royalties is a breach of contract. But, no lawyer will touch it because "copyright law is complicated." Besides, even if I didn't get paid for it, I am the most famous Ninja author of all time. That is how you know if what you are doing is good! If it makes so much money that the publishers steal it all to make themselves rich. Now, a lot of internet trolls like to call me the "food stamp Ninja" because they know I have been robbed like this and have no money. And, still that isn't enough for them. But, I tell you now, not all treasure is silver and gold. Things that are highly valued, like knowledge, will always be preserved and shared with those who seek it out. Perhaps that is why no one ever heard of THEM! Because they have nothing to offer. While I have continued to work, have written thirty more books since going independent and have been able to help a lot of people. I often get letters saying that some simple self-defense technique from one of my books saved someone's life. Or,that a passage from Ninja Mind Control or Way of the Mind Gate helped someone to understand some difficulty they were having. And that, my friends, is worth more than all the treasure I never had." "
Aren't you often called a fraud?
Ashida Kim replies: " Yes, I have armies of critics, mostly people who are jealous of what small success I have achieved, calling me a fraud and a fake. Years after I left Paladin Press, hpwever, some of its people as well as websites promoting what they see as "competing martial arts systems" (actually competing businesses), have gone out their way to attack me and defame my character. But, if what I teach or had to say did not have value they would compete with me, nor would my best selling book Secrets of the Ninja be back in print through their subsidiary companies. "
Why do they act this way?
Ashida Kim replies: " This type of "hive mentality" is common among martial arts cults who seek to empower the group leader(s) by proclaiming to be the sole source of the "truth" and declare all others as frauds. It is my sincere belief that people have and will continue to find value in my humble literary efforts and use it to better themselves. I do not own the truth nor does anyone else. If you find value in what I have learned and share use it, and if not disregard it. I am not a great man, but I have been taught by great men. I only wish to offer some tools for you to become better on your own. As Gichin Funakoshi said,"Kara-te is not about being better than the other fighter. It is about being better than yesterday. "
Is Ashida Kim your real name?
Ashida Kim replies: " I am known by many names..." This is the one I have chosen. When I was starting out in martial arts it was common for people to be given nicknames. Just as Kwai Chang Caine was affectionately called "grasshopper" by his favorite teacher and tall guys were called "shorty," most of these monikers have some tall tale or sarcastic remark behind them. In my early days I practiced Shotokan Kara-te. At one tournament I attended I was paired against a Japanese a little bigger than myself. When the match started he grinned at me and said I had the biggest feet he had ever seen. I looked down and he hit me. It was an old trick to score an easy point against an inexperienced player like myself. We lined up again and when he came in I pulled a spinning back kick on him and caught him under the chin. That stunned him and the match was over. The next time I saw him he introduced me to all his friends and bragged about how I had chipped his tooth and knocked him out. They dubbed me "ashi-da, the big-foot." When I learned Ninjitsu, I was inducted into the Kimitake clan. Which has been abbreviated to Kim for simplicity. It is not uncommon for professional fighters to have such "ring names," nor for authors to employ a "nom d' plume" to protect their identities. Mark Twain's "real" name was Samuel Clemens. Does that make Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn any less classic literature? "
Who was Ashida Kim's teacher?
Ashida Kim replies: "My Sensei's name, as given in Forbidden Fighting Techniques, (one of the many titles Paladin Press has stolen from me), was Shendai. Does that help? What difference does it make? My teacher will not fight for me. Nor will any certificate shield me from harm. I am who I am, a traveler on the Way. I have had many teachers and many friends, but I learned what I know through patience, practice, and perseverance. The Ninja have a saying, "Train yourself and be your own master."
What is the difference between Ninpo and Ninjitsu?
Ashida Kim replies: "The difference is that Ninpo was a 'knock-off name' used by many Bujinkan instructors to distance themselves from their former masters when they finally caught on to the scam and broke away to form their own clubs. Nin-'po' at best would be translated as 'silent [nin] - arts ["po" in Japanese, "pu" in Chinese]'. Please note that this term, 'pu', was first used by myself in 'Secrets of the Ninja'." [Likewise, there was no such term as "Ninja-To" to describe the characteristic, short, straight, sword of the Ninja until 1980 when Master Kim used it in Book of the Ninja. Although it is now commonly used by "experts!" Before that time it was known as "shinobi gatana"- Sword of Darkness.]
Isn't Ninjitsu illegal?
Ashida Kim replies: "Ninjitsu is illegal in some countries and at different periods in history. But then, every martial art has some part of its history when it was outlawed, so this is not uncommon. But, a martial artist has the power of life and death in his hands. It is a great responsibility. Sometimes those on the Warrior Quest place themselves in harm's way to defend the helpless, to test themselves, or in self defense. If they kill an attacker with their bare hands or some exotic weapon, their style or that weapon is almost certainly to be declared outlaw or prohibited because of its very effectiveness. Likewise, some styles, like Ninjitsu in the late 20th century, were so secret that the very speaking of the name could get you into trouble. Sort of a 'self-imposed' martial arts exile, dating from the time of the first Shogun, who used Ninja agents to wage and win his war, then declared them enemies of the state and tried to exterminate them and their families out of existence. Later on, he did the same thing against the Samurai, who had been his army against the Ninja. As you can see, being declared illegal is quite often a matter of politics. No genocidal war has ever completely eliminated a tribe or clan. But, once the 'ice was broken' when Black Belt magazine began publishing articles about it, a staggering number of 'forbidden and utterly secret ryu (schools)' seemed to have not only survived, but indeed flourished, because Ninja schools started popping up all over the place and everybody was a master. When I learned it, it was so I could be spy. It wasn't spoken of, EVER! I never claimed to be more than a 3rd Dan, which makes me roughly equivalent to an army Captain. Although I have often been misquoted."
Will you prescribe a workout for me?
Ashida Kim replies: "People who ask this question are generally looking for some 'standard exercise program', but I don't do that. Any exercise is good and one must tailor the workout to the mission. If I were in the Ring, for instance, I'd have to regulate my diet and do a lot of running for stamina. When I'm a bouncer, I practice drinking and smoking. The trick with such things is not to get 'locked in' and think you 'must' do thus and so all the time. Workouts grow, evolve, change with time. That is also a reflection of how you are growing, learning, etc. I am often asked 'where to begin.' I always answer the same way, 'with a single step.' Choose that which interests you, start with that. It will lead to all the rest. Eventually, you will be where you started and you can make that take as long as you want. Unlike other teachers, I will not require that you conform to some imaginary pattern that is subject to change at any moment. Do what you are doing, do what you think is right, that is the Path. As for advice on how to proceed, it is simple, Be Kind. Live in harmony with nature. As for training, practice what interests you, don't get locked into a specific workout, let yourself grow and change and become the best person you can be."
Can I come live with you and do chores, in exchange for free room, board, and training, like in the Shaolin days?
Ashida Kim replies: "At the present time we do not have an Apprenticeship Program. That sort of thing was more in vogue before there were public schools. Parents used to essentially 'sell' their children to the artisans to learn a trade and get an education. However, we are now working on the Ninja Temple in the hope of one day being able to host this sort of live-in program. Some of the instructors on our DOJO Directory offer private lessons and seminars, others have home study courses. You might try e-mailing them. Of course, there is always DOJO Press and the Academy of Martial Arts Video Testing Program that WE initiated before any other school would even permit it."
Will you send me on a mission?
Ashida Kim replies: "See the Shit List."
Why can't I find the Koga (or Iga) region on my map of Japan?
Ashida Kim replies: "Koga was the southern portion of the Omi prefecture, which is today known as Shiga. The Iga prefecture is now known as Mie. Both are in the vicinity of Kyoto, the old capitol of Japan, and Osaka, where the 'White Heron' castle is located, home to the Koga Ninja Museum."