This is mostly true.

So, I was at the dojo, about five years ago, teaching a basics class. About halfway through the lesson, I see this dude park himself right next to the mat, arms folded, scowling.  Not wanting to interrupt practice, I ignored him for a bit. I did, however, take a look at his outfit: black gi, black belt (tied incorrectly), and…a Caterpillar baseball cap. We are in north Florida, after all.

Since my classes normally don’t attract mysterious characters, (even the scowling kind), I eventually made my way over to him. What follows is a loose transcription.

Me: “Hi! Are you interested in Aikido?”
Him: “Not really, no.”
Me: “Uh…”
Him: “I just came to see your technique.”
Me: “Oh. Well, do you have any martial arts training?”
Him: “Yes. I studied ninjutsu under xxxxxx.”

Before I continue, let me just say that if he was a ninja, he was the worst ninja I’d ever seen.  I mean, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? I could see him. Plain as day, no cool smoke effects, no misdirection, not even a crummy ninja star. What a gyp.

Me: “Okay. By the way, my name is Jerry.”
Him: “I’m Mr. xxxxxx.”


Me: <Smiling> “Well, you can still call me Jerry”
Him: <Staring, puzzled> Not. Quite. Getting. It.
Me: “I’m kidding. Don’t worry about it. Do you have any questions?”
Him: “No. I did, however, see some mistakes in your class.”
Me: <What the…?!> “Excuse me?”
Him: “Mistakes. I can help your students train better.”

Oh, now I get it. He’s not here to train. He came here to teach. It actually takes me a second to process the absurdity of this conversation. Never let it be said that atemi must be physical.

My immediate questions: (1) Is this guy for real? and (2) Was he sent by Cobra Kai? I half expect a John Kreese figure to appear, yelling “Sweep the leg!” In the meantime, I can already hear muffled laughter behind me. I don’t want this to end badly (for our guest). Time for irimi.

Me: “Have you ever studied Aikido?”
Him: “Just ninjutsu.”
Me: “Listen. I’m not sure what you’re hoping for, but you don’t seriously expect us to make you our teacher? Just because you study ninjutsu?”

Please say no. For my sanity, at least.

Him: <Staring blankly>

Good grief.

Me: “Okay. Here’s the deal. You’re more than welcome to stay and train. As a beginner. But you’ll need to (1) lose the belt, (2) lose the attitude, and (3) lose the hat.

I just hate Caterpillar baseball caps.

Did we ever see him again? What do you think?

¹Since I cannot independently verify his training, I’m omitting the name of his instructor. The last thing I need are angry ninjas hiding in my shrubs while I mow the lawn.

²For the record, I don’t think this guy had ever stepped foot in a dojo before, ninjutsu or otherwise.

7 thoughts on “Ninjas!

  1. What is it that dichotomy says?

    “Don’t worry about the ninja you can see….Worry about the four you can’t see.”

  2. Random thoughts –

    Movie night was a great success tonight. Guests, kids, pizza, and The Incredibles.

    Congrats to dichotomy and Sensei on the run this evening. I understand your times were very good.

    John, Carl, and Jose were experimenting with kaeshi waza in my class this morning. Some new insights – excellent class.

  3. Reminds me of my own story with a ninja….

    It was my freshman year in high school. I had been a blackbelt instructor in my Tang Soo Do class for 4 years at the time. One day in my American Government class i struck up a conversation with this half white/half japanese kid next to me about martial arts. He apparently was a blackbelt in jujitsu/ninjitsu since he could crawl…well conversation between us increased over the course of a few weeks and finally he decided to come to my tang soo do class one night. He came, and he was very polite, learned some moves, learned a form and we proceeded to spar. Now normally when we had sparring we would rotate sparing partners and take part in about 2-3 minute matches. Instead he did not want to rotate and only wanted to spar me…15 minutes later…the class was over. Both of us…sweating our bodies off, and various red marks, scrapes, and bruises over our bodies. We ended in a draw. After class I asked him if would return..his reply..and I quote..

    “I did not come here to learn your ways…I simply came to test the mettle of a fellow warrior..and after tonights fighting I can see you are a very well versed fighter…although you have yet to reach your full potential…I know someday you will make a fine master..”

    And with that he bowed to me…open palm over fist…and walked away…

    The next day at school he pulled the fire alarm so he could get a kid out of class to fight him…never saw him since…but my sources tell me that he sometimes creeps around FCCJ Kent campus library…

  4. My favorite ninja story 🙂

    I am surprised how seriously people take themselves. If you can’t do it with a smile it is just work…

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