I spent much of this weekend working on my Kongōshu style, doing kata in the yard of Akane’s and my house in Hoshiakari. This style is an offshoot of the Steel Road ryū, which is a fairly complicated sansetsukon style in the Three-Headed Dragon school.

I was surprised by how well I still remember it. I was able to make much progress… until I ran into a complicated maneuver that I can see will be very necessary. But I cannot yet determine how to accomplish it.

Some day, I have hopes that this style will be useful for people carousing in Kusatsu — I am working on some aspects that will be particularly useful in the environs of that rapidly-growing city. But it still has a long way to go.

Akane says she remembers the days when I was a member of Clan Tenya. I would come home from my battles in Ōmi Province and have no desire to pick up another weapon for the rest of the night. Even on the weekends, I was too tired to practice kata. But now, I have spent much of the weekend practicing blocks, strikes, and swirling sansetsukon attacks.

She says this makes her very happy to watch.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

After a week or so of my work consisting of nothing but kama fighting, and the occasional kusarigama action, it’s kind of nice to get back to other things. I am now practicing my Kongōshu style in the yard outside my house in Hoshiakari. This is my own offshoot of the Steel Road ryū, so of course, it requires the sansetsukon.

I have not used the sansetsukon in a few months, so of course I am rusty. Still, it is quite refreshing to use my muscles in ways that are different from what I have done for the past few weeks.

Speaking of which: I have done almost nothing with the ninja-tō in the past few weeks, despite all the distractions of the Tsuiseki project. Even though I am part of the project, and keep having to be on hand for the purifications of the Bishamonten shrine, I don’t get to do any of the actual fighting — we have Shinju the mercenary do that.

And various warriors and sages in Kansai have recently been giving their opinions about the ninja-tō lately. One warrior claims it is an absolutely horrible weapon, made from inferior steel, lacking the graceful curve of a katana, too short, and without even the stylistic elegance of his beloved nunchaku.

Then there is a ninja who has responded that the way of the ninja is that of getting things done even with inferior tools. It is somewhat amusing to note that he does not attempt to refute the other man’s argument… he simply says it’s irrelevant to ninjas.

Even if the ninja-tō is an inferior weapon, I find it better to know how to use two or three different weapons, and not be restricted to just one all the time. And it’s nice to be able to fight in the forests as well as in cities.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

Clan Noriaibasha has had very little for me to do of late. This is no hardship, but it is rather boring. There is only so much time one can spend practicing kata in the castle courtyard.

But tonight, I have found a task that needs doing in Iga Province, near to Hoshiakari village.

In a nearby town, a priest of Amaterasu is bedeviled by bandits in the woods near his shrine. Such unrighteous miscreants cannot go unpunished. I creep through the mountain terrain, hidden amongst the trees and bushes, ready to destroy them as soon as I find them.

It is good to help out my own province.

This is the kind of job where the gleam of light off a blade might give me away, so I am using a bō staff and a jō stick, one in each hand. I can stow the jō in my belt when needed, and simply use the bō for reach.

Ahead, I see some light. As I creep closer, I see that they have lit a campfire for the night. This will be too easy. I smile beneath my ninja mask, and prepare to throw a smoke bomb into their fire, the better to disorient them and claim the benefits of surprise…

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

This morning, I have been doing a bit of work on my Nango kata. It’s simply a little “hobby” form that I’m playing with for my own purposes, not something I’d really use in combat (except perhaps in some very odd circumstances). It reminds me, sharply, of some of the differences between the ninja-tō and the manrikigusari — and it helps keep me in touch with the Living Stone styles.

(I do not completely hate the Living Stone ryū. I voluntarily decided to make Nango a Living Stone form.)

Soon, Akane and I will go to the capital to do some shopping, and enjoy their fine restaurants… and we will also do some scouting for next year’s wedding ceremony. For this, I will be leaving my weapons at home.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

Today, I am pursuing a mission of my own. Clan Noriaibasha knows nothing of this — nor should they have any reason to care.

I am in Kotobasatsuki, armed with my trusty ninja-tō. I am trying to track down a rōnin from Kawachi Province, who I understand has plans that would be bad for Iga. He’s been here for some time, and has taken the opportunity to blend in with the populace.

But ninjas are vigilant trackers and spies, as well as skilled fighters. I will find him. I must.

Disguised as a peasant, I too blend in with Kotobasatsuki’s crowds. The buildings here are spaced far apart, and the streets are often wide boulevards or even plazas. There is little use in taking to the rooftops. Instead, I must observe in inns and shops, keeping my eyes open for any sign that the rōnin has been here.

Where has he gone, and how will I find him? All I know is that I must. I cannot rest until I do.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.
This week, I was fighting for the Yaneura-gumi. My friend Meiun-no-Neko, who came with the Nanban traders and stayed to join the Okibi-no-Hito-gumi, knew of the Yaneura-gumi's need for a warrior, and sent messages to put us in contact with each other.

The odd thing is, the Yaneura do not use poisons. So I spent the whole week working with a non-poisoned ninja-to, and even with a jō staff (again with no poison; there are few poisons that will work on a jō's wood).

Now I am done with my assignment with the Yaneura, and getting back to a project I am doing for my own happiness. There are problems in Yumehaba and Seinikki, a pair of villages on the borders of Iga Province that I and many of my friends spend much time in. So, as I return to creeping about the back alleys of these villages, I find that I must re-apply the poison on my manrikigusari. It's an interesting feeling...

In many ways, it feels good. A poisoned weapon is much more reliable; when you strike someone with it, you don't have to wonder how much damage you did them, or how long they'll keep fighting you for.
ninja_coder: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 05:33 pm)
I have spent enough time writing scrolls describing my latest set of kata. Unlike most modern fighting styles, these forms use the bō staff, and are designed for yamabushi to more easily defend territory against spies sent by bandits to test their borders.

I am now doing some scouting of my own, observing on behalf of Clan Seiinsatsuki. They are one of the small families of the town of Kotobasatsuki, but they also have ties in Seinikki town. Personally, I would love to see them expand their operations to Yumehaba, where I have been becoming more active... and perhaps some of the other, similar villages near Azuchi. Many people go to these villages to meet and mingle. If the clan could make it easier for me to travel back and forth between Yumehaba and Kotobasatsuki, it would make my own life better.

The Seiinsatsuki cannot afford to pay me — indeed, they don't even know that I am helping them at all. But I suspect I can find the man responsible for keeping them bottled up in Seinikki, unable to expand to the other villages. If I do, I can remove him. And I suspect that people may speak of it in Yagyū, where heralds come to find warriors for their lords. If so, that will be my payment.

It's tempting to just get this done quickly, as a non-paying job. But I should do it right. With a poisoned blade.


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