I and the other ninjas of the Totemo Akarui-gumi have been busy with work for Clan Kurudan. (Their full name is Kuruma-no-Danshaku, but sometimes it is useful to shorten things. "Kurudansha" also works.)

The Totemo Akarui-gumi has signed up another ninja, named Amon. He is apparently well versed in forest and wilderness fighting, especially using the Jōgesen-ryū. I have not met him yet, but we have exchanged messages and irogome, and he has been chasing down the Kurudansha's enemies in the forests of central Kansai even as I slay them inside the cities.

I have been most diligent in Ōtsu, working with kama, manrikigusari, and even with the sansetsukon when possible. But I have also made trips to Heian-kyō and even Naniwa when necessary, to ensure that no lingering enemies remain there.

However, this has all been very ad-hoc, undirected work. And the Kurudan clan has also hired another ninja, a man named Hōsei. He has been doing some other form of secret work for them, and the time has come to coordinate our efforts. So today, I and Amon will meet with Hōsei at an inn in Heian-kyō, and we will discuss more long-range strategy. Jinsei may be there, too.
The leader of the Totemo Akarui gumi has contacted me. He says he would like to meet with me on Monday. This is acceptable to me, and is a good thing: Such gumis often work with a wide variety of clans and armies, and can provide valuable experience.

All things considered, I would rather join up with the Badaijo clan, for their Way seems quite harmonious and righteous. Perhaps my friend Teruaki will be able to clear the way for such a thing, but I suspect it might take time.

It is possible that I will have to work with Totemo Akarui for a few months, and then leave them to join the Badaijo. I would not like to have to do that to the Akarui gumi; I recall when a fighter joined Clan Iwinaga for two months, then suddenly left us with no warning. It is not a very honorable thing.

But ninjas cannot hold too tightly to their honor, especially in the cold of a winter such as this one. And there is no guarantee that the Badaijo will find me worthy, in any case.

In the meantime, I am now dusting off my sansetsukon and setting up a small dōjō for Jōgesen work in the yard behind Akane's and my house. I am dismayed by how rusty I have become already.
I have just spoken with a man from a small clan in Nara, who are seeking a ninja with sansetsukon and Jōgesen skills. Sadly, it seems they want someone with much more skill in these matters than I have. I was asked about the Three-Headed Dragon ryū, which I understand fairly well, but then when asked about FOO and Ghost Fighting techniques, I had to admit that I have not yet used these aspects of the sansetsukon.

My latest ninja-to kata have been coming along nicely, and so it is nearly time for me to switch my focus back to Jōgesen practice. I must work harder, and make sure my skills are at their highest peak. The winter is likely to be long and hard, and Akane is counting on me.
I have been doing acceptable, if not inspired, work with my kusari-gama lately. But now comes a painful challenge: I have been assigned to assassinate three individuals of the Bāgu clan (one of our arch-enemies). These three targets are all in Nagoya, the stronghold of Oda.

General Oda Nobunaga rules Nagoya and the surrounding province with an iron fist. The populace there are downtrodden and terrified, and guards patrol everywhere. It is an unfortunate place for a ninja to have to go.

But I will go anyway, and do my best. I knew when I became a ninja that working in Nagoya would be necessary sometimes.

Edited to Add: Immediately upon entering Nagoya, I was set upon by the city guard. I have already had to do some truly impressive work using both the manrikigusari and the Jōgesen three-sectional staff techniques... and I haven't even gotten a line on any of my targets yet! Truly, Nagoya is a difficult city for a ninja.
ninja_coder: (Default)
( Sep. 18th, 2008 01:34 pm)
I have been fighting hard using the three-sectional staff and the chain-and-grappling-hook at the same time, scampering over the roofs in Nara, the ancient capital, and chasing down our Takusan Clan enemies in the lakeside city of Hikone. It started off as something incredibly frustrating, as there were some bits of the Jōgesen-style footwork that were still eluding me. But I finally got those (with a bit of help from Bunmei), and today, the chase and the battle has become almost thrilling.

I remember what it's like to do ferocious battle across the rooftops again.

Unfortunately, I now need to head back to the castle for a major planning meeting, where we will plan the beginning of our Hitotsu Rokko campaign, which begins next week. Luckily, clearing the foes in Hikone and Nara will be a major step toward our campaign goals, so I'm getting a head-start on that aspect of things.

(I swear, I didn't choose the music on purpose! It just happens to be beautifully appropriate.)
ninja_coder: (Default)
( Aug. 22nd, 2008 01:32 pm)
In conference with Bunmei and Jimon today, I mentioned that I've done some reconnaissance and scouting of Fujiwara-kyō, and determined that we will need to make an alliance of some sort with a group called Daina-insāto. Their influence in Fujiwara-kyō is quite substantial.

Bunmei and Jimon both agree that we must contact this group, but since allying with them will take some time, Jimon suggests that one of his contacts might be useful for now. He has introduced me to this man, and I am now gaining his trust by slaying a few bandits that lurk in the forests on the outskirts of the city. (We've agreed that we'll certainly work with the Daina-insāto group later on.)

It's fun and interesting to have tree branches beneath my tabi, instead of roofing tiles. And this forest work is giving me lots of opportunities to use the Jōgesen techniques and the sansetsukon.

Jimon is picking up Nettobuku's techniques quickly, and is starting to become proficient with Jōgesen techniques and the Mūtou grappling hook. He is quickly becoming a good addition to our clan.
ninja_coder: (Default)
( Aug. 18th, 2008 10:32 am)
I have been extremely busy lately, battling on behalf of Clan Nettobuku. As directed by the Nichiren Buddhist priestesses, we have been carrying out a variety of operations in Izumi, and I've gained a little knowledge of the area. I've also been working with the Mūtou grappling hook, and have achieved some basic proficiency in the Jōgesen style. (At the same time, while I'm using the manrikigusari every day and learning a lot about the sansetsukon, I can tell that I'm getting pretty rusty with the ninja-to and bo staff.)

Certain of the cities in Izumi are now firmly "my territory" — in Toranzu, for example, I know the streets, alleyways, and rooftops quite well. And I've been working in the forests a bit, too, which is good. I don't like to be too firmly restricted to the cities, and any good ninja should be at home in the woods.

But I have been working so hard, I've had no time or energy for other pursuits. There is much shugendō to be done in Hoshiakari after the recent events there, and I have been too tired to do it. I come home every day from Castle Nettobuku, and sometimes Akane pours me some sake. Occasionally, I'm so stressed and exhausted, I have a few glasses of shōchū.

We have just added a new ninja, Jimon, who will be working with me and Bunmei. He started on Friday last week, and I helped him access the armory and get some weapons sharpened. We also have a new Nichren abbess, named Jīya, who has been pressing for more organization and righteousness in our actions.

I should really add these people to the list of people in Clan Nettobuku. (And I should also note there that Chiyoko is no longer with us.) Plus I should make a few updates to the pages that describe the various ninja terms. When I have time.
In the past few days, there has been much upheaval in Ōtsu, where many warriors and merchants dwell. Since I know I will have to operate there in Clan Nettobuku's upcoming campaigns, I stopped by the city to see what was happening.

The city's previous ruler has stepped down, passing rulership on to his son. The new lord, Mitsuhiro-dono, is still consolidating his power; while most things are unchanged, there were enough changes to put me in great peril at least once or twice. I had to expend all of my shuriken to get out alive, and will need to rest before going back again.

However, once the unrest and chaos are quelled, I think the new ruler of Ōtsu will be very good for the city, and I look forward to visiting... perhaps late in summer.

In the meantime, I have recently been able to help two of my friends: my fellow-ninja Shō has need of a warrior, and it seems Araiguma is still ready and handy with his bo staff. Shō is introducing 'guma to his contact. I have my fingers crossed that this will be a beneficial partnership for all involved. It's good to be able to help friends.

And my Aka Hōseki Jōgesen studies are going well; I was able to match some of Bunmei's kata earlier this morning. He and I are building up some useful techniques, that are sure to come in handy when we start our military campaign and face enemy opposition.
I have been working hard with Clan Nettobuku, learning to use the sansetsukon and becoming adept at the fighting techniques of the Aka Hōseki Jōgesen school. The clan has been going through some reorganization and changes, and we are now embarking on a complete shift in our plans.

In between training and practice sessions, I have been a part of the clan's discussions on what our overall strategy will be, and what lands we wish to conquer. The Nichiren priestesses have a deep understanding of the ways of righteousness and harmony, but they also listen to the ideas of the warriors. We warriors are all quite skilled in strategy and tactics, but listen with open minds to the priestesses' wisdom. All of us are trying to determine our best course of action.

In the meantime, the wealthy merchants who are supporting our operations do not have unlimited patience. We must have a major victory by the beginning of the new year, or the merchants' funding will most likely cease. So, despite having some sense of the paths that would most align with Buddha-nature and righteousness, we must also consider the paths that can bring us short-term success.

I am studying hard to learn the Jōgesen school. It is a good ryū, one with much to recommend it, and I fear that I will have great trouble readjusting to the Pagoda Bearer school of ninja-ken. The sansetsukon is spoiling me.
It is a foggy, misty day in Iga, and I am hard at work learning the Aka Hōseki Jōgesen style of sansetsukon fighting. Luckily, I was able to impress General Kobushi yesterday when we needed some Pagoda Bearer fighting done — Kobushi thought we would have to slay a large number of enemies, which we weren't really prepared for. But using some ninja techniques, I was able to whittle them down quickly and achieve a satisfactory resolution.

Next week, Clan Nettobuku will move to its new castle, not far from Henshukoku. The journey to the new castle will be an easy stroll across northern Yamato Province to Izumi. It will be interesting. Sadly, my fellow warriors Bunmei, Tomo, and Daigo will be coming from much further away. I hope they are not too fatigued by their journeys.

I am working hard to be accepted and admired by my new clan. I think it is going well. It is a small clan, so there are not too many people to get to know. They all seem good at their duties, and friendly as well. My fellow warriors are quite formidable, and I am confident that we will prove adequate to face down whatever enemies the clan decides to face.

But in order to do so, it will be very important to become more skilled with the sansetsukon. So, I return to my studies. Gambarimasu!

Edited to Add: In my studies, I have been guided by the very useful scroll called Sure-Footed Combat With Jōgesen (3rd edition), by the Pragmatic Warriors. I have just reached the point in my studies where I have started leap-frogging ahead of the moves and kata in the scroll.

I just read: "Of course, this technique would need to be altered if fighting in a forest, lest the end of the staff get tangled in underbrush on the downward sweeping motions. Let's look at how the Jōgesen school adapts the kata for such situations..."

And rather than continuing on, I put the scroll aside, and worked out the kata on my own. Having worked out my own version, I then checked back with the scroll... And it matches! (Well, mostly. Except for a couple of minor wrist-positioning differences.) I am starting to truly understand this school and its techniques.


ninja_coder: (Default)


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags