“There is no greater victory than for your enemy to realize he has
misjudged you…” Ashida Kim
"The legend has always been that Ashida Kim, using another name, went
to Chicago in 1968 to work with a biker gang who were providing
“security” for the protesters at the Democratic National Convention.
And, that while there he learned the most savage and terrifying self-
defense form known to man in a secret Dojo. Although there are those
born long after these events who dispute this story,
two of the
original members of the covert martial arts organization who were
there at the time that are still actively teaching and sponsored this
program confirm that he was there."
Back Story 2005
On 6 October
2005 the son of a friend of the inventor and teacher of this form,
filed a Cease and Desist order with our internet provider alleging
copyright infringement. To wit, that he was the sole inheritor of the
martial art in question and everything connected with it by virtue of
the grandmastership being passed from the first grandmaster to his
father and thence to himself; and that any and all references to a
certain well known Chicago martial artist, his self created Hung Gar
Kung Fu martial arts form, his 1966 booklet on the subject, the name
of said book plus any all references to the infamous fan clubs of
this individual or membership in same was an infringement upon his
intellectual property. Even though he had not penned a single word nor
appeared in a single picture nor had he even been born when first
grandmaster died. Quite a lengthy complaint, complete with registered
documents to substantiate his claim.
The server suspended our accounts without notification and for
several days would not even tell us the name or nature of the complaint.
They wanted us to fax them a notarized statement disputing these
allegations so that they could cancel the account and get out from
under whatever legal complications might ensue.
So, we had a meeting. Many of the Dojo crew were for taking the
complainant up on his earlier offer to settle the matter by personal
combat. Others argued that one could not “copyright a kata.” That would
be like Jack LaLanne saying no one could do a push-up without his
permission. Some said ignore him. He came in with the same whining a
few years ago and we took down all references to the fan clubs from
our website. All that remained were mentions in the personal history
and instruction in the Hung Gar form itself. Here he was, back again,
demanding more unreasonable omissions because he simply refuses to
believe that I actually learned this form, whether at a seminar or
from the booklet and the fact that I could perform it within the
allotted time span, or that it would have been completely lost and
forgotten if not for publication in my books, was insignificant. All
of these copyrights were obtained AFTER I had created an interest in
the subject. Some said that he wasn’t even a real martial artist, just
the son of a friend of one. That no one even liked. All wanted to duke
it out in some manner or form. But I said, No.
When they asked why, I told them this:
“For twenty years I tried to get the FBI, numerous State attorneys,
and Attorneys General, Congressmen, Senators and private lawyers to
intercede on my behalf against copyright infringement of MY intellectual
property. So flagrant in fact as the chutzpah of Ethan Ellenberg to
change the cover of
Book of the Ninja
into Ninja Training
Manual and call it his
own, not even notify me of any sales and keep all the royalties for
himself. All to no avail. Not to mention all the people who steal and
sell the PDF versions of my books on E-Bay, who will also do nothing
to stop them. So, I know how much trouble the complainant went to in
order just to bring this issue up. Before that, it was just “dojo
politics,” one instructor arguing with another.
There are always such disputes whenever a Sensei dies. His students
all claim to be his chosen disciple to carry on the style. I never did
this. When my books came out and mentioned this form I was contacted
by other, legitimate, members of the true international martial arts
brotherhood who at first were angry that I had resurrected this man
and his system. But, eventually conceded there was some interest and
allowed me to carry on. But, no one wanted to join this club because of
the bad reputation of its founder, who had allowed a a close friend to
be killed in a meaningless "dojo war" over nothing. Because of my own
experience regarding copyright infringement, I was well aware of the
frustration and anger involved in making such a demand. And, I admired
the fact that he made it farther than I had by actually getting an
attorney to listen to him..
So, to demonstrate that we are more reasonable men than the internet
trolls who have made a career of bashing me who have allied themselves
with the complainant in this matter in order to further their efforts
at the politics of personal destruction through their blog-o-spheres;
the complainant in fact hosts such a web forum, the top of the page of
which states clearly: “Yes, Ashida a whole forum set up just to bash
and slam you…”; my instructions were to comply fully with the Cease
and Desist order and remove every offending remark, passage, reference
or suggestion that is required to do so. Simply because we asked the
same of the Wikipedia slam and bash bloggers and they refuse. And WE
are better men than that.
Ninjitsu is not about fighting, I have said so many times. It is
about keeping the peace. If this is what the complainant thinks will
make him happy, then it is my great pleasure to provide it to him and
wish him the best of luck in continuing the martial arts tradition of
the controversial Chicago martial artist in question and his father,
who has recently passed away. Another reason for not continuing an
unnecessary battle over nothing.
Meeting the this man and training in his form was one of the most
exciting experiences of my life. He was an inspiration for a lot of
people, myself included. It wasn't until much later that I learned he
was kicked out of the USKA by Robert Trias and Jhoon Rhee; arrested for
being drunk and trying to tape dynamite caps to the window of a rival
Karate school; was famous for extorting money from other Dojo in Chicago
at the time and was responsible for the death of his best friend in a
notrious "dojo war" involving this extortion. As well as being implicated
in the infamous Purolater armored car robbery. Some people thought
that made him a "bad ass." Others said he was just a thug and a bully.
I told the complainant’s father that when we spoke by phone in 1995.
We had only recently set up our webpage at that time and had begun
receiving e-mail from a certain “Father John Paul” of the Vatican
Guard who was going to have the Pope put up the $10,000 so he could
"meet my challenge." This
individual eventually morphed into a supposed student of the
complainant’s father, who demanded that I appear before
them and commit seppuku for daring to claim that I was in their club.
(I later produced an ID Card issued and signed by the well known
Chicago martial artist to prove my membership, but this item was
rejected out of hand by those who had demanded to see it because some
people could get them free through the mail by buying the booklet in
question.) He then moved on to issuing challenges from the complainant’s
father, to which I replied that surely the Grandmaster did not need
someone speaking for him. Whereupon a phone number was provided and I
called and spoke with said Grandmaster.
At first he was angry, but
eventually he realized that I was so proud of having learned the Hung
Gar form and met its creator that all I was trying to do was keep alive
the tradition, in accordance with what I had been taught in that regard.
I told him that I was equally honored to be speaking with him and would
very much like to set up a webpage for him and help him to do the same.
He declined, but we parted friends.
A few years later such a website
was launched. They even stole our “history” page to make part of their
package. We didn’t mind, we even tried to link to them and cooperate in
promoting them. But, they were not interested. Some years later, as
mentioned above, they demanded we stop using their copyrighted logo,
even to indicate my quite real and official membership in that and
many other martial arts organizations. We did so. The Compainant's
father passed away in 2005
In the case of this complaint, no notification was made to us, even
though they claim to have the names and addresses of all my “secret
identities” and continue to publish them (the names of my friends who
out of the kindness of their hearts have established DOJO Press for me
so that the publishers wouldn’t get all the credit) on the web in
several places so their cronies and steroid pumped up wannabes can
sneak up on them and have a shot at “making a reputation for themselves”
by “taking out the big dog,” even if they are not sure who it is. We
informed them of an Australian punk who approached one of our authors
"down under" and informed him of his intention to make the pligrimage
and do just that. Didn't bother them a bit to put these lives in
They have already admitted to hiring private detectives to covertly
videotape my friends on their own property, which, of course, constitutes
stalking. But, they still insist that somehow I am the villain because
I refuse to fight them. If they had all the money they spent on the
internet and attorneys and private detectives and stalkers trying to
assassinate my character and person, they could just as easily pay the
fee and have me get in the ring with one of them.
They claim to have the cash, But, they won’t send it to me. They
claim to be MMA and UFC fighters but they can’t seem to put a match
together. Not that such a contest would prove anything. First,
because on any given day, any champion can be beat. That is why they
have re-matches. And, those don’t settle anything either. Second,
because Ninjitsu is not about fighting in the ring. It is about simple
Instead of spending two years or more bowing and paying dues and
being forced to fight others in tournaments to get a Black Belt. Most
people just want to be able to “get even” or “settle the score” or
“protect themselves from possible future attack.”
That is why the
home-made Hung Gar form was so good. It could be learned in a single
day. It had all of the vital and fatal points of the human anatomy and
it contained every major fist and striking technique used by most
martial arts. It was a complete system in itself. But, so are many
others. Not all styles have hundreds of kata. Some only have a few
techniques that work most of the time for most people. Not everyone
wants to break their knuckles like Mas Oyama so they can kill mad bulls
with their bare hands. Not everyone is patient enough to master the
intricacies of such subtle arts as Tai Chi. So, there is Ninjitsu.
The single hallmark technique is to throw sand in the opponent’s eyes
and run away.
The first rule of Karate is “Martial Arts are for self-
My critics, however, insist on picking fights and
instigating challenges and accuse ME of not living up to martial arts
standards of combat and honor by refusing to fight them.
When I began in the martial arts it was because I was little and I
got beat up a lot and I didn’t like it. That was one of the reasons I
learned the Hung Gar form of the well known Chicago martial artist. I
found a bunch of neat ways to hurt people, but I really didn’t want to
do that. Nor be hurt myself.
After a while I got pretty good and was
able to hold my own against most opponents in the Dojo and tournaments
we went to. But, even then, I didn’t take it as seriously as some of
the other fellows. I didn’t care if I won or lost, what was important
was playing the game, participating, demonstrating good sportsmanship,
and so on. Lots of guys fought too hard or cried when they lost. But to
me, it was just a trophy. Important, but not worth dying for, or
injuring some other poor student from some other school who was also
required to participate. See, back in those days, self defense was only
a small part of the curriculum.
Eventually I began looking for the
“one-punch” that would be able to defeat any opponent. It is a common
quest among martial artists. It usually takes them away from their
first art to explore other methods and styles. Most martial arts
include anatomy, vital and fatal points and restraint holds. In their
syllabus. Some just stress these things more than others. Often the
advanced techniques are not taught until a certain level of skill and
rank are reached.
When I came upon Ninjitsu, I didn’t like it at
first. It was so totally different from every other art I had encountered.
It was completely relaxed, required no training, and was absolutely
non-violent in its technique. The practice forms were more like
dancing than stomping on a battlefield. The other techniques were
simple magic tricks and mental conditioning. Exactly what I said I was
looking for, but it didn’t fit my “definition” then either. Because my
mind was closed.
I thought all those legends of honorable Samurai
facing each other on the battlefield applied to modern times. Many was
the time I fought some bully and had to kick his ass because he
“cheated” by kicking me in the knee or similar “dirty trick.” Since I
was always hesitant to fight I was still an easy target and often
“held back” and tried to “get away" instead of just punching the guy
out. After he hurt me or cheated, I got fired up enough to really
fight back. Lots of professional boxers are like that. Not that I
consider myself in their league. Just drawing a comparison.
In fact, I had had a guy throw dirt in my face and kick my butt one
time. When I protested to my teacher that this sort of thing was
dishonorable and a dirty trick he just laughed in my face.
“There are no rules in a knife fight!” He exclaimed.” The other
fellow is trying to kill you. And you are worried about fairness?”
Never had thought of it quite like that before.
“Ninjitsu is not about fighting. It is about keeping the peace. It
takes two to make a fight. If there is only one person there, then he
is just practicing alone, and may yet see the folly of his ways. That
is why we vanish and leave any attacker to ponder why he was even
trying to strike us. For we are the most peaceful and kind hearted
people of the world. Our primary law is, ‘First, do no harm.’ We are
men of peace who can fight like ten tigers. But, we seek only peaceful
co-existence. We are not soldiers or warriors, although we can be and
the same principles of combat apply to those lifestyles as to simple
self-defense; because that is the nature of martial arts. Part of
that is giving you the confidence to know you can fight and win every
time. Sometimes this is a long process, sometimes one need only open
one’s eyes. You say you had this dirty trick pulled on you?”
“Yes,” I replied meekly.
“Well, it worked didn’t it?”
"What more proof do you need?” he laughed again.
The clouded mind sees nothing…
Of course, my critics claim that
I never studied this Art either. Against such closed minds it is always
a “no-win” situation. Like the loaded question: Have you stopped
beating your wife yet? If you say Yes, it implies you did beat her in
the past, but have now stopped. If you say No, it implies that you are
still beating her. Silence or refusal to answer is also taken as a
sign of guilt. That is how the McCarthy Hearings of the fifties
condemned so many innocent people to prison and ruined their careers.
No one could live up to such a standard. If you fight, you are not
living up to the true Karate is for Self Defense Only rule. If you
don’t fight you are a coward. If you do not respond to the personal
attacks and character assassination, you are eventually destroyed. If
you do respond, especially with justified anger, you are not being
The thing to remember is to be true to
yourself and do what you know is right. There will always be yapping
dogs, no matter what you do.
The only thing to do is to leave them
alone with their misery. If you ignore them, they wear you down. If
you hit them, you are a bully. If you feed them or try to be nice to
them you just get bit. Any kindness is seen as weakness. But, kindness
is the only true Way. Because all these other things are merely
manifestations of ego, blinded by the delusion that this moment is the
reality of all moments. Time and karma are the great equalizers.
But the real problem lies in trying to “define” what MY Ninjitsu “is.”
To me, it is the ONLY non-violent martial art known to man. Tai Chi
may be considered almost non-violent, since it is primarily for good
health and longevity and the martial applications are not specifically
taught except in those schools who engage in friendly competition using
the “push-hands” exercises.
There is no competition in MY Art, only
cooperation. It is solely for self defense. The single technique upon
which the entire system is based consists of throwing sand in the enemy’s
eyes and running away. EVERY martial arts starts out telling its students
that it is better to run away than to stand and fight, that only when
all avenues of escape have been exhausted are you allowed to used
deadly force. The, they spend about two years teaching you how to
stand and fight. And give you a Black Belt whether you know anything
or not. We don’t do that. In one lesson we teach you how to overcome
any attacker without training or skill and run away and hide so that
there is no conflict.
Feudal Ninjitsu was also based on this “keep the peace” principle.
That is why the ancient Ninja assassinated the enemy warlords; so the
draftee troops on both sides would not have to kill each other on the
But, somehow, self-defense does not qualify as a “true
martial art” to my critics.
So, to quiet these loudmouths, in the tradition of Bruce Lee, who
also met with a lot of unnecessary criticism and bigotry, I invented a
“21st century martial art” called Mugei-Mumei no Jitsu. It is a
Japanese phrase that means “No Name, No Art.” But, what it really
MEANS is what Bruce Lee was talking about. Not to get “hung up” on
names. It is MY style, whoever ME might be. Eventually all martial
artists find a few techniques that work well for them and they tend to
stick with those because they are proven. There is nothing wrong with
that. So, no matter how many styles they might study or how long they
practice a single art, eventually everyone’s style, be they neophyte
or master, is a “my” style.
Of course, since Japanese is a language of infinite subtlety, these
same ideograms can be translated to mean “without credentials, and not
too bright.” This is in no way intended as an insult. It is simply
because to be a master of the basic technique of throwing sand in the
enemy’s eyes so you can run away and hide, does not require great skill
or training; just a little common sense. Anyone can do it. Therefore,
anyone can be a Ninja because anyone who can duplicate their famous
“fight or disappear” legend, especially with their hallmark technique
is qualified. And, this simple technique enables anyone to win every
time against any opponent without injury to either. When you KNOW you
can win, you have confidence. That is a lot of what martial arts are
all about. It’s not just one thing, not just fighting in the Octagon
or tournaments, not just board breaking, not just self defense, not
just meditation and philosophy, not just being a soldier or a warrior,
it is all those things and more. And the name, doesn’t matter.
The legendary last Grandmaster of all the “legitimate Ninja,” in
Japan, Masaaki Hatsumi, recognizes this simple fact. When students
approach him for grading and certification, he gladly hands them over
a scroll saying they are qualified Ninja, whether they are or not.
After all, how qualified must one be to execute so simple a technique?
Because he knows that if they are not qualified, the certificate won’t
help them. And that, if they are qualified, the certificate will not
hold them back.
A lot of people think I am a fake and a fraud because I do not
conform to their definition of what a “true’ martial artist should be.
Either they think I am not skilled in the ring, or I refuse to accept
a challenge, or I made up and stole all the techniques I have so
successfully taught over the last thirty-five years and that have been
welcomed and accepted by everyone I have met, except my critics. Who
are themselves self-confessed well known liars who use their internet
stage to discredit and demean anyone who is not in their cult of hate
mongers and slimy smear tactic character assassins known in the 21st
century as “bloggers.” They have gone to great lengths to spy on me.
Hiring private detectives and attorneys to “track me down” so I can be
“exposed”; publishing the names and addresses of my friends so they
can be attacked and harassed; even filing false complaints against us
so our website is taken offline to disrupt our meager commerce.
Most of this is because of jealousy. But some of it is because they,
and others insist on having a “one definition fits all” world. One of
their complaints about me is that “McDojos like Kim use tricks like
board breaking to make themselves look impressive without really
knowing anything.” This sort of statement is usually made by someone
who cannot break a board and has never even been told why he should.
Besides, we don’t do that. We teach you how to step out of the way and
let your opponent fall down without hitting you; or, how to creep up
on him when he isn't looking and scare him to death. "Darkness is your
friend...Fear is your weapon..."
That is why we call our “no name style” the Invisible Fist. Looked
for it cannot be seen, listened for it cannot be heard, felt for it
cannot be stopped. That way my critics can no longer make the claim
that I am not a true Ninja. Because Ninjitsu was only one of the arts
I have studied, and I no longer use their names, logos or terminology.
Of course, this will not stop the hate mongers or their bashing.
But, it will keep the peace. Because it is the right thing to do.
Namely, not stealing from me or US or anyone else. That is anti-social
behavior and should not be tolerated in a civilized society. And we
are civilized, we must work together for the benefit of all, because
we are all on this planet together. Even though I do not feel that my
attempts to keep alive the tradition of John Keehan were any sort of
theft. If the complainant feels they are, that is enough.
In September 2007 Plaintiff initiated a case in myself and four
others in Federal Court alleging copyright infringement. The complaint
was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. In making his ruling the judge
cited exactly the points we have always maintained. To wit, you cannot
copyright an exercise. You can copyright a particular performance of
an exercise, but Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate ownership even of
that. Furthermore, that since none of the original pictures or
descriptions had been used, no infringement had or could have taken
place. And, that all of the contested pictures and descriptions the
infamous Chicago martial artist in question were excluded from any
copyright action under the Fair Use Doctrine of the Code. Thus,
my position has been made clear and vindicated in court. Nevertheless,
simply to keep the peace, just as I did in 2005, I give them what they
SAY they want from me– namely, I no longer teach the technique in
question, I no longer even speak the name of their discredited
grandmaster, nor do I claim affiliation to their renegade and outlaw
Learning Keehan’s form was one of the pivotal moments of my life.
Turning my back on it was as well. When I learned it I thought Kara-te
was about hurting people. As I grew and learned more, I found out
martial arts are about self-improvement and becoming a better person.
I no longer wanted to hurt anyone. So, I learned Ninjitsu so I could
kill them and bring them back to life instead and became a man of peace
who can fight like ten tigers. Peace is what I teach.
Plaintiff and his single comrade served their purpose. In February
2008 he was arrested for possession of heroin. In November 2008 he was
sentenced to the state correctional facility. His partner in this
escapade, even before he was told by the judge to stop posting
malicious and false information on the internet, has so discredited
himself with his lies, misrepresentations and accusations that he is
no longer welcome anywhere on the web. Many of the original students
of John Keehan, attacked and defamed and dragged unwilling into his
lawsuit by the slander of Plaintiff, have reunited and rekindled old
friendships. None of them recognize Plaintiff as anything more than a
nuisance. Everyone should be happy.
Bullshido, an early internet trash and bash blog who spent a great
deal of time and energy trying to discredit me who witnessed and
chronicled every step of the process, has come to realize from the
inappropriate behavior of the plaintiffs and the rulings of the court
that they were wrong about me and the others they have defamed all
along and have virtually gone out of business. "There is no greater
victory than for your enemy to realize he has misjudged you" and
cease hostilities without having to hurt him. For then, he stands on
the threshold of truth; about himself, about the world, about the
universe. And so do you.
If a man beats me with a stick I have five choices. I can take a
beating. I can fight back and risk injury to him and myself. I can
run away. I can take away the stick. Or, I can simply wait until he is
exhausted. Anger only lasts a short time, even if that time may be
years. Eventually it is overcome by understanding, of one’s self and
others. That is the purpose of the martial arts. It is not a fight. It
is a dance. All warfare is a matter of stamina. When the politicians
run out of breath, the soldiers fight. When the soldiers are out of
breath, the politicians talk. In Greco-Roman wrestling, the object is
not to beat you opponent senseless. It is to keep restraining him and
making him carry your weight until he is exhausted and gives up. You
can’t pin him till then. That is why it is a sport. So no one gets hurt.
This too, is a lesson of the martial arts.
When I began my journey on this path Judo was a sport. The players
were taught to jerk back on their partners at the last minute of a
throw to keep them from being injured. The other player would slap the
mat to make it sound as if he were taking a tremendous impact. It was
fun to exchange throws and takedowns. Then it became “combat Judo,”
where the idea was to throw your opponent down and drive him threw the
mat. And eventually evolved back into Jujitsu, the Samurai combat
system, and became Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting. Fighting
arts always make this sort of “full circle.”
I started with Judo, where you could knock out your opponent with a
Sleeperhold and revive him with simple resuscitation techniques. That
didn’t offer enough “power” at the time, so I learned fistic arts that
could rip off an man’s head so you could spit in his neck and stomp
him into mush. And, I hurt a few people. Until I realized that was not
the Way. The Way is to show them the Path, not club them into
submission. You can impose your will by force for a while but, like
anger, it soon fades with age and infirmity; and, you can never trust
anyone around you. Unless they live in fear, they will be hatching
plots to overthrow you. That is the nature of power. The only true
change can effected by love. Love does not injure the mischievous
child, although it may be necessary to discipline him. Instead they
are shown the proper method of doing things so that self respect and
respect for others is preserved. That is called civilization.
Sometimes the needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few. The
needs of the self-elected Few have taken precedence for far too long.
That is why we live in a country where the elite can flaunt the law
and the peasants are taxed to death. To this problem I have a simple
solution, NO MORE! Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid
of their country, and it is OUR country, not the princes. We are not
sheep who can be fleeced and eaten with no regard for the much touted
"human rights" of political speeches. There is injustice here,
granted these examples are somewhat personal, but all you have to do is
look around to see it happening in your own lives. Let us not contribute
to it ourselves. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I hope this will be a step in that direction. In every revolution
there is one man with a dream, and all of us have it within us to
change the world and make it a better place.
Let's start now...