The Littlest Ninja 

After all of that talk of Ninjas”

Saturday at 8 AM PT I attended my first Ninjitsu class. That”s right, sucker, I don”t just talk shit, I” do shit. That is to say I can back-up my shit talking.

Anyway, as you can probably tell from my obsession with Ninjas, I have always wanted to take Ninjutsu. Upon finally finding a fantastic dojo, I purchased my black gei, split-toe tabi shoes and a green belt (which I couldn”t figure out how to tie correctly) and headed off to train.

I was the lowest rank and the new student, but I didn”t feel like that was the case. I felt like I belonged, which is a pretty rare feeling for a situation when one is new and has no prior training. Perhaps it was due to this encouraging letter sent to me by one of the instructors prior to my first lesson:

Bright and early on Saturday it will be. Do not let any stumbling blocks the pyrates may throw at you deter you. Naturally, I would assume they fear the formal training of another ninja and will stop at nothing to avert you.

I am just learning about this ancient blood feud, but it would seem obvious to me that this is a very dangerous time for you. They will want to stop you by any means possible before you officially start on the tabi path.

As you can tell, all Ninjas have a wicked sense of humor.

Out of all the things we learned on Saturday morning, some involving bo staffs, my biggest challenge was a forward roll. This is slightly different than the gymnastics style forward roll that any three-year-old can perform, but still not difficult. Granted, we were on hard wood floors, but I still can”t believe I couldn”t master the forward roll. Yeah, I have homework.

“Try the backward roll.”

Are you kidding me? I can”t even do the forward”

Surprisingly, the backward roll was no problem. On either side.

Sweet. I still rule.

“Try the forward again.”


For some reason I have an easier time going backward than forward when physical activity is involved. For example: When learning to snowboard I was much better on my toe edge than my heel edge. Instructors are always telling me that this is “unusual.” I am always telling them that I am the shit. (Then I fall or roll incorrectly or can”t kick over on the back walkover or whatever. Then they laugh at me. Then I go to Starbucks.)

The fantastic thing about the style of Ninjutsu I have endeavored to study is that it”s not a sport martial art. When you punch, you really, really throw a punch so that people learn what it”s like to be hit and how to get out of the way. One black belt gave another black belt a bloody nose on Saturday. I am so glad that wasn”t me. I have a sensitive nose. Luckily, I escaped with only three bruises and a blister from my tabi. The biggest bruise is on my shoulder and is definitely not from not being able to forward roll correctly.


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