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Ashida Kim Man of Mystery!

     Grandmaster Ashida Kim is an internationally famous martial artist specializing in Ninjitsu. He has written over a dozen books on the Secrets of the Ninja, invisible assassins of feudal Japan, and toured all over the world teaching and training Kata Dante-The Dance of the Deadly Hands. He is a member of the Patriarch Council of the American Chapter of the Black Dragon Fighting Society founded by Count Juan Raphael Dante.
     When the "Ninja craze" hit in the nineteen eighties, Ashida Kim was not the first to break the code of silence surrounding the Art of Invisibility, BUT he was the ONLY Ninja to appear masked to maintain the secrecy of the Art. For that, many so-called experts and internet commandoes called him a fake and a fraud and a charlatan. But, not to his face.
     His study of the martial arts began at age twelve. His father was a career soldier, so he had frequent opportunities to attend a variety of Judo classes. Almost every post where they were stationed had one. At that time Judo was the only Oriental system available to Western students. Karate was an advanced level that was offered only to seniors, although there were a few striking techniques in Judo known as Atemi-Waza. Since most of the members of these clubs were professional soldiers, they had little time for children. Thus, much as in the Shaolin monastery experience, Kim was more often than not restricted to sweeping the mat and observing than to any actual instruction until age fourteen. By the time his father retired he was sixteen years old and at Brown Belt level: although the experience of often changing Judo clubs had left him with little regard for earning belt rank, since Judoka of that period held to the tradition that one must begin each time from the beginning. He does credit this training, however, with teaching him the proper and safe way to fall; which has held him in good stead throughout his practice, and saved him many times.
     While at university, he attended a Karate demonstration given by a Yudansha who had trained in Okinawa. His style was Shotokan and he too had learned while his father had been stationed overseas. By then Karate was fairly widespread and there were hints of an even more deadly art known as Kung Fu that began to surface. Adding the repertoire of kicks and punches to his arsenal of Judo and Wrestling holds he had learned on his High School wrestling team, he soon picked up the system, based in large part on the discipline of patience and practice he had learned in the Gentle Way. Hard style or linear Karate is widely taught today, the most popular being Taekwondo, the Hand and Foot Way. Many basic strikes and practice forms are similar. They can be taught to large or small groups by rote, and develop excellent military discipline.

     The legend has always been that Ashida Kim, using another name, went to Chicago in 1968 to work with a motorcycle club to provide “security” for the protesters at the Democratic National Convention. And, that while there he learned the Dance of Death-without doubt the Most Savage and Terrifying Self Defense Form Known to Man from Count Dante-World’s Deadliest Fighting Master in a secret Chinatown Dojo. Although there are those born long after these events who dispute this story, two of the original members of the Black Dragon Fighting Society, Grandmaster Doug Dwyer, Count Dante’s best friend, and Grandmaster Lawrence Day 36th Degree Shaolin Monk, who were there at the time have confirmed that he was there.
       "No one believed John Keehan/Count Dante went to Death Matches in China. Until Frank Dux proved that he did it too. No one believed that Ashida Kim ever met Count Dante, until now. No matter what the proof, people tend to believe what they want in spite of the truth or lack of facts to support their point. And, it doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong. What matters is the Way. Martial arts are not about fighting. They are about self-improvement, about empowering the individual to stand up for himself and do the right thing...

Ashida Kim

     Membership in the Black Dragon Fighting Society made possible the study of Ninjitsu, the Silent Way with a hidden teacher known only as the Guru. Among its diverse weaponry are stalking, camouflage, sentry removal, espionage, mind control, Dim Mak, the mysterious Chinese Touch of Death. A complete study of human anatomy and a logical progression from the basic vital and fatal points of Karate to the strangleholds and resuscitation techniques of Judo. Kuji Kiri, the strategy and tactics of combat as well as the psychology of man. And, the Art of Invisibility, Inpo and Tonpo, entering and escaping in addition to secret techniques of the magical arts. Thus earning the Ninja a reputation as "men who could fight or disappear." This together with their philosophy of non-violence, made them one of the most misunderstood martial arts of the 20th century. All of which they relish, amused at the humor of so much confusion.

    In the 1980s America was introduced to a new martial art, Ninjitsu. Once Stephen Hayes “broke the code of silence” and began publishing and teaching Ninjitsu, Ashida Kim, Frank Dux and others like Ron Duncan, Robert Bussey and James Loriega came forward to let it be known that Hayes was not the only American Ninja. Each presented their interpretation of the Silent Way, but none were more successful than Hayes. He had “cornered the market” by making deals with all the magazines to promote himself and his designated companions as the only legitimate agents of this fantasy. So everyone else was discredited and ignored.
    At that time Ashida Kim was teaching Shotokan Kara-te at Sifu Burrell Walkinshaw's Kumg Fu Academy. Sifu Walkinshaw as an aerospace engineer who worked for NASA and had trained under in Shotokan under Sensei Frank Goody in Texas. Kim had developed a training manual for the Dojo and some of his students suggested he do a book on Ninjitsu. They printed and sold copies mail order through an ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine. It was so well received that Kim signed with Paladin Press, who had no martial arts in their catalog at the time, to produce a series of books on the mysterious and deadly art of the Ninjitsu.
    Shortly after Secrets of the Ninja, was published in 1981, Ashida Kim began to attract a new level of student. Many of them “cross-trained” in other styles and systems which, even in the eighties was still frowned upon by purists who held that a man should learn one art well rather than a hundred half-assed.
    As a result he often received reports from these friends thereafter that his name often came up in a most disparaging way at seminars held by then solo Ninja master Stephen K. Hayes, as decreed by the various martial arts publications that took turns interviewing, publishing his books and sponsoring him. In spite of the fact that Sensei Ron Duncan from New York had trained in the dark art years before him. Or, that Sensei Robert Bussey and many others had trained with Japanese authority Masaaki Hatsumi but kept to the true Ninja tradition and hadn’t come back to brag about it.
    Usually, these agents who had infiltrated the events, some on Kim's behalf, even before meeting him, reported that their criticism of me consisted of calling Kim a fake and a fraud and, as published in their official Bujinkan Newsletter, feeling that it was “just a shame that so many people took him seriously.” Usually when asked directly, Hayes and his crew would reply that they were "not impressed” with Ashida Kim's skills. Of course, they had never seen Kim in action or met him, so such an evaluation was merely an intentional insult.
    Later on, historical experts like Antony Cummins proved that Kim was correct. In Search of the Ninja, confirms virtually everything Kim-Sensei has ever said about Ninjitsu. Kim has always said that Ninjitsu came to Japan from China and was heavily influcenced by Sun Tsu's military classic the Art of War. Antony Cummins and his Historical Ninjutsu Research Team have proven it beyond the shadow of a doubt. In meticulous detail they demonstrate the evolution, definition and usage from ancient scrolls of the ideograms for stealth and spying. Using the recognized classic Ninja texts, they compare the instructions of such masters as Sun Tzu to the guidelines provided for the feudal age Ninja by their Tora-Maki or sacred scrolls. They are obviously the same.

    A Ninja can never take such reports at face value. So, he decided to investigate on his own to see if it was true. He had had several other reports of this sort of propaganda being spread and figured if he met it head on and fought it out, that would pretty much settle it. So, he signed up for one of Hayes' seminars under an assumed name. To go there and be there and see if Hayes bad-mouthed him. At which point he would, in classic martial arts tradition, announce his presence and make a challenge. When Ashida Kim Met Stephen Hayes
    Later that week Kim wrote Hayes a letter about the incident explaining who he was and why he had come, and Hayes replied most politely. Kim didn’t go into all the details of how vulnerable he had been, just thanked him for not being an ass. Hayes replied with a nice note thanking him for attending and hoping that they could train together again at some time in the future. From then on, he always appointed bodyguards to attend him and make sure no other trained Ninja assassin like Ashida Kim could get close enough to challenge or attack him.
    After that a lot of the criticism of other Ninja quieted down and everybody sort of did their own thing. But, just like terrorists who succumb to a cult of personality, there are always self-motivated agents, or those given secret instructions to provide plausible deniability, who take it upon themselves to discourage any competition. Next time Kim did a seminar he had several students volunteer to bodyguard him. He always told them that would be fine, because he understood this was a sign of respect, but he always told them not to get in the way if trouble started.

    Ashida Kim does not claim to be a sixteenth century cloak and dagger assassin as others would have you believe. He does lay claim to being a prolific author, a philosopher, a teacher and a student of the martial arts, and of life. Perhaps, Ashida Kim’s greatest contribution to martial arts is his steadfastness against all the odds. In fact, the kanji for “Ninjitsu” in Japanese translates as “endurance in the face of adversity,” in Chinese.
    Proof is when the so called "legitimate publishers" who stole his books to make their own fortunes re-releases one of his best selling early books, Secrets of the Ninja 1981, in 2009 to promote the bogus works of their “in-house author” Ha Ha Lung because a lot of people think that is one of Ashida Kim's “secret identities.” Just another example of how much influence his writings and teachings have had, when people impersonate him to or pretend to be his friend to sell their wares.
    Proof is when secondary rights to Secrets of the Ninja and Secrets of the Invisibility are still being sold in 2014 to even more fly-by-night publishers; so even more bogus editions can be printed and still other cronies can line their pockets with gold at Master Kim's expense. Making his books the best selling works on the subject of Ninjitsu for more than thirty years. Ninja Mind Control is the single best selling book ever on Ninja meditation worldwide.
    Comparatively speaking, while Ninja were known as weapons masters, Ashida Kim is the only one to have shown how to fight and vanish with a blanket or cape in his work entitled, Cloak of Invisibility. Ninja are known as wizards and magicians, but only Kim has shown how to perform magic tricks in his book Ninja Levitation. Ninja are said to hold the secrets of enlightenment and the mysteries of the universe, but only Ashida Kim addresses these issues, in Ninja Death and Reincarnation.
    Other historical researchers are discovering that Ninjitsu is indeed a “magical” art, basing many of its techniques and philosophy on arcane principles and occult practices. Some new translations of the Bashushenkai, considered to be the definitive text on feudal Ninjitsu confirm that the type of techniques given in Secrets of the Ninja, such as sentry removal and infiltration, covert entry and so on actually make up the bulk of the material, NOT simple basic martial arts axioms of balance and leverage. So, once again, Ashida Kim is vindicated in maintaining that what he is teaching is the true Shinobi-jitsu designed for soldiers and warriors and not some watered down commercialized scam to sell you a black hood so you can pretend you are Batman. For these reasons and many more, in the year of the Black Dragon, Kim-Sensei was awarded the title Father of 21st Century Martial Arts and Grand Patriarch of Modern Day Ninjitsu by his students, peers and grandmasters at a ceremony in Ft. Walton Beach FL.
    In Martin Faulks book Becoming a Ninja Warrior, he relates how, after training with many masters and finding them all flawed, he actually went to Japan to train with Hatsumi and was told bluntly that they no longer teach Ninjitsu to gaijin (Westerners) and that what was taught to Hayes was not true Ninjitsu at all. Thus, Hatsumi and Hayes have discredited themselves and most all those other ryuha and “ninja masters” who sprang up during the “ninja craze” are gone, or have reverted back to their original traditional styles.

    Only Ashida Kim remains. Proof of that is when “serious” students like Martin Faulks spend years training and practicing and paying for lessons to learn nothing and then come to him for an endorsement and review of their work.
     Others have also come to Master Kim's defense as well. What all martial artists can learn from Ashida Kim and why they should apologize for their unforgivable mistreatment of him! and the Head of Family for the Black Dragon Fighting Society Dr. Don Miskel
     In 1989 he toured on the international circuit to South Africa, where he appeared on SABC's "Late Night Live" with Kevin Savage and taught seminars in Durban, Secunda and Johannesburg and appeared in a documentary with Shihan Barry Pictor of the South African Ninjitsu Federation. His tour was so successful and legendary that in 2019 he is known as the grandfather of Ninjitsu and has proudly been inducted into the House of Koga.
    In his capacity as an International Ambassador of Shinja Martial Arts University he has travelled to Germany and Italy. And, to the Land of Oz to be on Good Morning Australia, teach Qi Gong and be written up in People magazine.
    In 2009 he was inducted into the USKA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Grandmaster of the Year. In 2018 he was honored to receive a Grandmaster award from Alan Goldberg’s Action Martial Arts Hall of Fame in recognition of his longevity and martial arts time-in-grade. At this extravaganza there were many dignitaries and icons of American fistic and grappling arts. Such as professional wrestlers Bob Backlund, Mark Henry, kickboxing champions Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Benny Urquidez, movie stars Cynthia Rothrock, Samuel Kwok, martial artists Greg Duncan, Livingston Kelly, Bob Goldman, Mark Shuey, Tim Wright, Rico Guy, Orlando Rivera, Kevin Cullen, Michael Depasquale Jr., Andrew Stigliano, Ron Lee, Don Miskel and many others.

    Master Ashida Kim has written more than fifty books on the subject of martial arts, healing and self-defense distributed worldwide and in nine different translations.
     In addition to teaching, both at his own Dojo and on contract to other schools, he sometimes accepts private students, yet is virtually unknown to any but his closest allies. Simply because he does not boast nor brag of these accomplishments. He is much to busy participating in the glorious adventure that is his life.

    "Because of martial arts, Ninjitsu mostly, I learned that fighting is not the answer. I stopped being an angry young man who wanted to creep up on the people he perceived as enemies and began to practice the true art and craft, the Healing Hands of the Ninja.
    You must remember that Koga Ryu Ninjitsu was developed around Koka City, the city of medicine, which was known for the production of mugwort, used in moxibustion and cupping therapy, massage, shiatsu, herbal medicine and acupuncture. The did not want to fight anyone. When the Shogun began his "sword hunt" to destroy the Samurai and his political enemies, they were forced to create a non-violent martial art that could be used by everyone and learned quickly, because the extermination was upon them. They did not raise an army, they did not go to the battlefield.
    They used invisibility as their weapon, darkness was their ally, fear was their sword. By creating the myth they had magical powers and could vanish at will, only to strike the enemy from an unexpected angle and render him senseless with a Sleeperhold, they could pass anywhere, invade any sanctuary and terrify their enemies as they slept. Due to the incredible effectiveness and simple nature of these techniques, they were a closely guarded secret for many centuries, known only as Mugei-Mumei no Jitsu, "No Name, No Art" because at one time, it was forbidden even to say the word Ninjitsu, on pain of death.
    "There are many different aspects to martial arts. My focus is on simple self-defense and Tai Chi. In keeping with the Shaolin tradition, I have been fortunate and learned more ways to heal rather than destroy."
    "I Had a Tai Chi teacher once, learned his form at a seminar. Ran into him a few years later and tried to do the form with him but he had changed it. I asked him why? He told me because he had continued to grow and learn and evolve and become a better person and this was reflected in his form. So I asked, what about those of us who learned the early form, before you were so enlightened? "They too, shall grow and evolve and learn in their own way." May you find your way as pleasant.

    Grandmaster Kim has graciously allowed DOJO Press to serve as his exclusive agent for booksales and videos. And, we are honored to serve in this capacity for him.

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