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A Ninja Response to Chris Brogan’s Pirates

I of course couldn’t let the pirates win out over at Chris Brogan’s blog, so without further ado, a followup commentary on the beauty of pirate ships: one shot.

Ninja Day 2006The ninja clans of old were fundamentally a mix of esoteric practitioners of mind sciences mixed with samurai who were on the losing sides of battles and didn’t feel like killing themselves for their overlord’s strategic screw-ups. Many were just young kids – Daisuke Nishina, the founder of the Togakure Ryu lineage, started out life as a ninja at the ripe old age of 16, having been enlisted in an army that lost to a neighboring overlord.

As such, ninja battle strategies focused a lot on influence, stopping problems before they became problems (because you didn’t have the resources to wage all-out war), stealth, espionage, influence and persuasion from afar, using force multipliers, and above all else, an emphasis on the practical. Much of this is still transmitted in the essence of the ninja martial arts taught today by students of Hatsumi sensei’s Bujinkan method, especially those who are students of Stephen K. Hayes.

One of the timeless lessons learned very early on is this:

You will probably only get one shot.

Whatever your strategy is, whatever your goal or game plan is, the world is changing too fast. It’s a moving target. You can’t waver or hesitate, because in the time it takes you to make a decision and stick to it, you’ll get run over by your competition in business, and you’ll lose your life in battle.

Think about it for a second. If you’re facing someone else, both of you have three foot razor blades, and both of you want to go home. In all likelihood, one of you probably won’t. If you’re especially unlucky, neither will. You have just one shot, because in sword fighting, there’s not a whole lot of parrying or dueling. A sword fight between skilled swordsmen lasts a fraction of a second.

So commit. Pick one of the strategies that Chris mentioned, or one of the many other plans or strategies you’ve got out there, set out your battle plan, and then do it. Don’t walk into your office or your boss’ office in a week with completely different plans or whatever the fad of the day is, because that’s the equivalent of trying to change up as your opponent’s blade is headed for your neck. Waver, hesitate, question yourself, fail to commit, and your opponent wins, in swordfighting and in business.

Trivia: did you know there actually were ninja pirates? It’s true.

Shameless plug. If you’re in the Boston area, and want to try your hand at learning actual ninjutsu, visit:

The Boston Martial Arts Center
The Winchendon Martial Arts Center

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