In the late 80’s Noelle and I met with Otake Risuke, teaching Master of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, at his home and Dojo in Japan. That meeting, changed our lives forever. We were in search of the Ninja and their Art, and while many people in Japan claimed many things about the Ninja Arts, we didn’t feel those people warranted our attention (for various reasons). The Katori Shinto Ryu has a well documented tradition of preserving certain “Ninjutsu Skills” and is widely considered as the finest sword school in Japan. Thus it was credible in research terms and a great honour for us to be received by Otake Shihan personally.
Ultimately, in our meeting, Otake Shihan told us that there was no point looking in Japan for a “complete Art of the Ninja” and that only remnants remained. He told us to look to the Chinese community, a comment that surprised us no end.
With Noelle being Chinese, we decided it was easy enough to take a look. A look based on a few VERY important leads given to us by Otake Shihan. What we ultimately discovered was a vast untouched subject waiting for us. It lead us down a path of adventure, discovery and training like no other. A path we are still on today! Our gratitude to Otake Shihan can never be sufficiently expressed!
The fan in the following photo was personally brushed by Otake Shihan and given to us on that special day.
by Les Conn