Fervent idiocy aka Antony Cummins again

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Please reality, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d16cbtEYUGM"]Don't Die a Martial Arts Fraud - YouTube[/ame]

    Was just watching this video and had to chuckle. Good ol Antony is still at it, confused and with illusions of grandeur. He's still barking but not sure up which tree and still peddling his books with impassioned pleas for people to learn the truth.

    The truth still is that he started this crusade not looking for historical accuracy, but because he was a poor English teacher living in Japan who couldn't afford training in any of the Kans. Tanemura sensei reportedly kicked him out and due to his lack of knowledge about Japan and Japanese culture, he ended up burning bridges. Seems like he is still doing so, as Japanese people interested in or conducting research into ninja end up developing an allergic reaction to him after a short while.

    He didn't learn enough of the Takamatsuden to understand that the ninjutsu curriculum is not only unarmed combat, in fact it is very much about escaping, confusing the opponent, and other strategies more so than fighting at all. Togakure ryu is mostly about how to break locks and throw metsubushi in its practical application. The two schools that are claimed to have been used by ninja to learn fighting, Gyokko ryu and Koto ryu respectively, aren't even called ninjutsu. Now, the odd claim that ninja didn't learn unarmed fighting, is based on not finding it in certain ninja texts like the Bansenshukai or the Shoninki. However, absence of that doesn't mean that it didn't exist, just that it wasn't written about in those texts. The reasons could be myriad, but the argument Cummins and others is illogical. The default response to not finding something isn't to say it didn't exist, it is to say we haven't found it.

    The Bujinkan being real or not has been discussed to death, but unless you have seen the scrolls for yourself, you cannot comment on their historical merit. If you haven't looked at the ryu in detail you cannot determine if they are real or made up in the 20th century. Grading issues and the BBT aside, the actual ryu and their teachings is the real question, not whether or not you like Hatsumi sensei or think he's an eccentric old man. Yet they confuse the argument and make claims about the Bujinkan without proof.

    When questioned on what fighting skills the shinobi no mono in Iga and Koga learned, the again illogical response is that they learned whatever arts were around in that area during that period....

    This is a cop out because they don't have any clue what arts were around in the area during that period and can't show you any scrolls or techniques from any ryu. You basically couldn't have been a samurai without fighting skills, so until they can show what fighting skills the Iga jizamurai utilised, their argument falls on its face.

    Now, on to fraud. Antony claims to be alternatively a historian, a translator, and an author. Yet he is the biggest fraud. He is trying to resurrect the Natori arts based on scrolls with the help of a monk, but he has no marital training nor understanding, so when you see him running around "teaching" the ninja skills from the scrolls or demonstrating samurai arts, it is nothing but larping minus the understanding of the bigger picture. He isn't in the line of transmission, much less a student of any real traditional ryu with a Japanese master and unbroken lineage behind it. He is passionate, but sadly it is the blind leading the blind.

    As a researcher, he cannot read or speak Japanese, as far as I know, his major translator and assistant, one Yoshie Minami, can't read classical Japanese, so neither she nor Antony can actually read any scrolls or old texts they may find. As far as I know, Antony doesn't have any credentials as an academic and Yoshie's degree is in English or something. She was one of his English students originally, not someone with a background either personally or academically with Japanese history or the samurai.

    As Antony has never seen what scrolls Hatsumi sensei has, he can only say that he doesn't know if he has any or what they contain. Yet he thinks people should listen to him just because he raises the volume of his rhetoric. Luckily, most Japanese people aren't fooled by bluster and bravado, and keep him at arm's length. He always complains about not getting access to certain things, but why would anyone entrust something they hold valuable and important to their culture and history, to a guy without manners, credentials, common sense, or civility?

    He doesn't know the answers so he always asks others to do the research for him and share things with him. It is great that he is trying to bring ninja scrolls to the light of the West, but really what ability could he possibly have to either decipher or translate what is in them? It would be better if he supplied the Japanese texts with each of his "translations," so truly trained academicians could benefit from those sources.

    He has also supported and collaborated with known frauds, i.e. Anshu Christa(other) Jacobson. So basically he is warning others not to travel down his own path it seems with this don't be a fraud video.

    Poor chap.:eek:
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  2. garth

    garth Valued Member

    PR Posted

    To provide an analogy its like if Anthony Cummins got hold of Chaucers Canterbury Tales, or works by Geoffroi de Charny and Ramon Lull, and because he couldn't see any descriptions of unarmed or armed combat in them, only acts of chivalry (i.e love of country, honour, respect etc) that Medieval knights did not study any martial arts and that Knights were men who protected the innocent, thought about love, honour and how to behave whilst at court and to ladies.

    When in fact the lens of history shows that they were cold blooded killers, who even when war ended would quite happily rob people of the own country i.e. the La Zouche Brothers in Leicestershire, or would lend their skills out to the highest bidder and become mercenaries.

    So basically, to follow the analogy, what AC has done is follow the works of Chausers medieval chivalric knight whilst ignoring the lens of history and works like Talhoffer, Fiori and other manuals of sword play, knife combat and unarmed combat from roughly the same period as Chausers Tales, because it suits him to put over an image of the knight as one that did not have a method of combat because its not in his chosen book.

    Anthony Cummins has directly done this in that he has looked at several manuals (Which are quite late in date) and because he cannot see any mention of combat he has presumed that the ninja did not have methods of unarmed combat, whilst at the same time ignoring the fact that we have several forms of martial art that link directly back to the Ninja i.e. Gyokko Ryu, and if thats not good enough for him because of lack of historical lineage, then we have Kukishin Ryu which is listed as one of the 73 schools of Ninjutsu and has within it IIRC the Ryusen No Maki from the Amatsu Tatara which has techniques very similar to Togakure Ryu are transcribed.

    Note: I know theres some difference of opinion whether Ryusen no maki is from kukishin ryu.
  3. pearsquasher

    pearsquasher Valued Member

    From day 1, for me, the bottom line with AC was his demeanor. Its in his voice (not accent) and body language... nevermind his approach, background, language skills.

    Reminds me of SKH or Brian McCarthy. A sense of arrogant authority.

    Over the years I've encountered dozens of Buj guys from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds, who know their stuff ..and there's a certain aspect to the way they speak and carry themselves that's the opposite of these guys.
  4. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    This is really the most important part, because any child should be able to understand it... yet Cummins still seems to believe that the ninja went down to the local YMCA to learn whatever ryū was around.
  5. TomD

    TomD Valued Member

    I seriously believe this man to be mentally ill.
  6. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    Megalomaniacal and delusional at least. He talks so much about the shinobi but obviously never read or took to heart their teachings. Get rid of the ego, live a true life, work on bettering yourself and letting go of unnecessary things. Instead it's always, "Me, Me, Me." "I did this, I did that." The funny thing is that he didn't. Yoshie Minami did, but he can't even verify or corroborate any of her work so he really is the mouthpiece of a "team" of larpers and people who either didn't like the Kans or think Koga ryu still exists. The funny thing is that he has alienated so many Japanese people who could have helped him if he had the true heart of a true seeker of knowledge instead of a selfish used car salesman type of opportunist who really overplays his role and affect on the world.
  7. pearsquasher

    pearsquasher Valued Member

    The fellow comes across like a children's TV presenter where I reckon most people would rather a more academic/scholarly "expert" on all things ninja.. even better if they study a tradition deeply.

    Hell look at the early b/w footage of Hatsumi Soke chatting to tv shows about some scrolls and the like. Anything short of that style/integrity/authority is big black pantaloons :bang:
  8. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Mmmmm I don't have a horse in this race as I don't practice any of the xkans just a curiosity in the ninja arts, but I have to admit I'm suprised at the fury this guy gets. To be fair I also find him a tad arrogant, but i feel he has done some service by bringing to light historical manuals. I bought his version of the Shoninki read it and compared it to Claude Shedler's version which I read on kindle and despite some verbose commentary/interpretation they are very similar, so his translation can't be that far off.

    That being said I did take him to task once on youtube comments (was suprised he replied) about him being a bit hasty claiming that ninjutsu had no hand to hand system. I contended it was unusual that a particular type of military unit in history did not develop specific hand to hand combat skills, when so many less known units did so across the globe and time.

    For example in europe light calvary in 19th centuary fought with sabres in a completly different manner to heavy calvalry. Nothing to do with schools or masters. The manuals came later, its just that the practicality of fighting on a horse in a different formation forces you to adopt a different methods out of necessity. Same for British 19th century sailors. The cutlass drill is 'similar' to the infantry one, but because of the nature of fighting on ships it had to be modified

    The FBI at their academy have to retrain their aspirants in a FBI method of using a firearm, even if their cadet has had previous firearm training, because of the specific way the FBI approach hostile sitiations which differs from a normal coppers beat.

    I suggested to him that Togakure Ryu was just that. A specific set of techniques that had been developped for a night time infiltrator, who perhaps was already trained in something else. A glance at Togakure ryu made me think it wasn't unreasonable.

    The ukemi gata is in essence pressing climbing equipment into service when you are confronted by a guard and dont have time to draw your sword

    The shinobi no gata is effectively hiding/ climbing /rolling skills to stay out of sight in low light conditions along with with the application of blinding powder followed by strategies of attacking on an adversary's intention/choice response exercise.

    The Tonso no Gata is effectivly anti arrest techniques when suprised by a guard followed by blinding powder and tactics for escaping when encircled/cornered.

    I suggested to him that far from it being fake, that these were core motor skills you would train a night infiltrator if he was discovered. (Ironic really- the Taijutsu of Togakure ryu is used when the shinobi has cocked up his mission)

    In no way does it invalidate his work. Infact his translations of historical manuals were full of blinding powder! (The hand claws and the shuriken were specialities of Togakure Ryu - so it would not seem to be unusual not to find them in mainstream manuals)

    But he wasn't having any of it, because he says its not there in the historical documents.

    Now I do have some sympathy for academic rigour. I'm involved in my own research in a niche area of medieval european weaponry where there is even less material than in ninjutsu. But I pointed out to him - oral folk traditions DO transmit systems without historical documentation. For example Sardinian Istrumpa and Scottish Backhold wrestling are both folk wrestling systems that have very old roots. They are mentioned in history under various names, but there aren't any 'fixed manuals', just techniques that have been passed oraly through the generations. They might differ radically from the original incarnation, we wouldn't know. In istrumpas case we have it mentioned in a 17th centuary text, and then the next mention we have a photograph of sardinian soldiers using what they called instrumpa around WWI.
    Did this mean that because there was no manual Istrumpa was imaginary?

    He never replied. I think as a historian he is too dogmatic and inflexible. Also his lack of martial arts training doesnt allow him to read 'between the lines' on some of Togakure ryu techniques. Infact I suspect...he probably hasn't looked into it very much. He has never mentioned or commented on the specifics of any technique, nor if it matches up to historical episodes.

    He is of course free to make up his own mind on the matter, and while I defer to his greater knowledge of historical manuals, I treat his commentry on Togakure Ryu with a pinch of salt. He has not delved researched its contents in any depth i suspect.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  9. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Also Anthony is strangely silent on the works of Gingetsu Itoh recently translated by Eric Saha ,which dovetail with some techniques used in Togakure Ryu. I suspects wants to refute them and debunk them but he can't because unlike Toda Shinryuken there is actually plenty of historical evidence that Gingetsu Itoh's own source - Tanemura Iachiro did exist, and confirmed by another primary historical source. This doesn't of course prove the historical veracity of Togakure ryu, but a reading of Gingetsu Itoh's works, like Gendaijin No Ninjutsu, seems to reflect in some manner Togakure Ryu's techniques. Initially I thought that they were all done as pre-emptive attacks on preparations, but its (using a fencing terminology) earlier in the phrase than that. The key word is intent. There is a short section describing a modern (1930's) 'ninjutsu' technique in Gingetsu's book which is all about striking to the persons eyes to crush their 'intent' and then escaping in that instant. Looking at what material of Togakure Ryu I've found many (but not all it must be stressed) follows the same principle, you blunt the opponents intent, before their attack even develops by use of blinding powder or other methods, and then escape.

    It kind of irritates me, because here we have a person who was quite possibly living practitioner of ninjutsu in the early 20th century but he has made no attempt to ascertain if its true or false because its doesnt fit in with his narrow agenda. If its true its problematic for him because he would have to admit that there are ninjutsu hand to hand combat principles that were transmitted i to the 20th centuary, or at the very least that ninjutsu may have undergone some change during the Edo period.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  10. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    I don't know who is furious at him, but...

    I would say his arrogance and lack of academic ability are his two biggest problems. He hasn't really brought much in the way of historical ninjutsu documentation to light. The three famous ninja manuals have been known, even in the west, for years. Yes, he did get English versions of them published, however that says nothing for the veracity or depth of his(Yoshie's really) translations. And less she is able to read and comment on kanbun, that means they are dependent on other people's research . In the case of the Shoninki at least, that would mean the research of Nakashima Atsumi, a figure with some issues of his own. Comparing Cummin's work to that of other authors doesn't necessarily help matters much, unless the other author in question was basing their book on the original.

    Antony can't make up his own mind because he doesn't have the background, either research or martial, to do so. He was never given access to any of the Takamatsuden documentation because he shot himself in the foot. Now he's doing the same thing with the people in Iga. It's basically one big ego trip, not a quest to bring real scholarship to the field. So for that, and his methods, he gets a lot of flak.
  11. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlHXe1pb6VQ"]Think Samurai - YouTube[/ame]

    Think samurai? This is what happens when you're understanding of Japanese history is the equivalent to comic book level. He warns about fakes and frauds but then is trying to recreate(read faking) an old samurai tradition with no understanding of Japanese culture, history, or martial arts. Poor, enthusiastic dolt. If he spent as much time really learning and reading the scrolls, manuscripts, and history books(in Japanese of course), as he did ranting, maybe his opinion would be worth something.

    I personally wouldn't buy anything he was involved with if it was buy 1 get the rest free. You couldn't pay me to take one of his books.:bang:

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n68lxFWqxMs"]Ninja and Witchcraft - Part 2 - YouTube[/ame]
    I wish he could silence his mind, instead of fantasying he's in MI5.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  12. garth

    garth Valued Member

    PR posted

    No, but I bet they know about him.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  13. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    His only point is don't follow Hatsumi sensei because he hasn't shown me his scrolls. Instead, buy my books, which I didn't translate but I'm the translator.

    He talks about fraudulent and incorrect understanding and then goes on to show his misunderstanding of Japanese history and taking the samurai and ninja out of context of the broader picture. Everything else is unrealistic and LARPing but that is exactly what he is doing, all the while overemphasising the more gruesome aspects of sengoku period warfare to meet some obvious need on his part for gore. He talks about the golden age of the ninja during the Sengoku period whereas most of the historical documents come from the Edo period, and the ninja activity during the Tokugawa period is much more better documented and verifiable. Looking at scrolls written in the Edo period is necessary, but it doesn't paint the entire picture. Samurai, just like ninja, vary according to the time period, location, and who they serve. You can't create terms like half samurai, to cover up your lack of knowledge, same thing when his buddy Steve Nojiri called Togakure ryu a potential raider school(if memory serves, the video Alternative History of Togakure ryu by Nojiri is no longer available).

    If you want to look at something from a historical standpoint, even more so if you claim to analyse it from such, you have to have an idea of what that history entails. The lack of such and poor academic methodology is another reason why Cummins will never be taken seriously as an author or researcher.
  14. Crucio

    Crucio Valued Member

    I disagree with some of the hate AC is getting.

    You see, in my mind, and i think in his, he is not targeting people that are interested in Koryu or classical martial arts and how they relate to Ninjutsu and the Ryu associated with it.

    He is talking to the film and cartoons inspired fans. The ones that have no desire to do some research let alone train. This kind of individual i think can actually gain some useful info from AC (I read his 2 first books). Because, outside his bias to the xkan, it does read as an amateur but history inspired "work".

    I know that when i come across a AC reader it's much easier to discuss stuff then when it's a naruto fan.

    So while i laugh at the idea of AC as a real historian or researcher, i do think he can have a positive influence. As strange as that might sound.
  15. Crucio

    Crucio Valued Member

    That said, AC says "i am not a fraud, i am a researcher and historian". Yeah, you are a fraud FTPOV mate, you don't even speak Japanese.
  16. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    As a historian, Antony Cummins has as much gravitas as a naruto fanboy.

    If you want to read about the history of the samurai, Karl Friday's works will bring a lot more understanding. Cummins has shot himself in the foot because the biggest potential audience for his work would be the Xkan students. If his message and research weren't so faulty, perhaps he'd get less "hate." Siding with Anshu Christa, taking Park seriously, these are some of the oddities of his approach.

    I question what institution would give him a graduate degree in history and what he actually studied.
  17. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

  18. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Actually do you have a few examples of these Edo period sources? (Curiosity really.) Could it be that ninjutsu never really developed like the koryu systems and was kept as a word of mouth tradition right up until the meiji restoration?
  19. Please reality

    Please reality Back to basics

    No, ninjutsu was best documented during the Edo period. It was easier and safer to write things down(no wars), and the ninja were mostly assimilated into the government structure of the Tokugawa(like the oniwaban), or musokunin for example of the Todo clan in Iga. As always, the best bet is Japanese sources. The 3 ninja scrolls that everyone always talks about are from Edo(although the Ninpiden was supposedly originally written by Hattori Hanzo, so it would be the exception if a copy from that time period could be found). The Ninpiden was for the Matsudaira ninja, the Shoninki was for Kii ninja and the Bansenshukai was for Iga/Koga. However, it was written and produced in part to present to the Tokugawa to get employment. So all three ninja treatises associated with the ruling family of the entire nation. It doesn't get any more open than that.

    There are kuden traditions in some ryu like Katori Shinto ryu, but that is more anti-ninja strategies. There's an interesting book by Otake Ritsuke sensei called Heiho, that discusses this and more in Japanese. The ninjutsu as well as koppojutsu and koshijutsu found in the Takamatsuden are pretty clear and focused(what's in the public domain), one can either chose to believe it's origin story or disagree, but it is impossible to state a 100% case either way without a lot more research and proof. I like to err on the side of common sense though. It is not sensible to think that Takamatsu sensei made up these entire ryugi if you have bothered to look at them any deeper than the surface. Those who have made such claims never really analysed the ryu.

    Ninjutsu is different from koryu arts in certain ways, and similar in certain ways. But to do that analysis, you have to have access to certain ninja and koryu schools, you can't just say that because certain things weren't found in the big three(like taijutsu, etc), then it couldn't have existed. Without having read and analysed all of the available works in their original classical Japanese, one can only guess. So even Japanese "researchers" are giving guesses in their particular field with their particular biases. Much too early to state with definitiveness about a period of activity that stretches across centuries and the wide breadth of Japan.

    Hope that makes sense. Kind of a broader answer.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  20. RoninX

    RoninX Valued Member

    I don't even know what to say about this guy...

    I really don't like his face. He comes across as a cheap tv host for a cheap tv show from a cheap cultural tv channel. He is just not the type of guy i would buy anything from. He is the overly enthusiastic type, desperate to sell you whatever **profanity removed** he has to sell.

    Now, in a way, i kind of appreciate what he does. He actually travels to japan and researches stuff. A lot of the people who criticize him don't do the same, and quite possibly have less knowledge about the subject than him, regardless of how long they've been training.

    Now, i feel he doesn't truly understand why people don't respect him. He might even be right about everything he says regarding Ninjutsu(who knows), but that doesn't really matter, because i don't have the ability to read the original documents. So i have to trust the person who read them, interpreted them and translated them. That person needs to have credibility. And credibility is achieved through good academic credentials, good feedback on past works from reliable reviewers and respectful behaviour.

    Now, to me this man has no credibility. He might even be right, as i stated before, but i have NO REASON to trust him. Considering all i know about him, he is not trustworthy, so i'm not even willing to give him a chance.

    Now, why does he have no credibility?

    1- He has an agenda against the X-Kans. He seems very determined in proving these orgs are wrong in whatever they teach about Ninjutsu. He will twist the facts so they can better fit his agenda and he will ignore any argument that could legitimaley raise questions about the information he spreads. When questioned, he doesn't answer. He is like a recording. He has a certain argument and a few facts that he likes to throw around and he repeats it over and over and over again. It's almost like he is trying to hypnotize people. He doesn't really say that much about Ninjutsu. He just repeats 3 or 4 theories of his over and over and over again.

    2- He lacks basic understanding of simple things. For example: He looooves to repeat that Ninjutsu is not a martial art. In his head, this is his big revelation to the world. Everyone thinks Ninjutsu is a martial art, but now Anthony Cummins is gonna shock the world by revealing that, in fact, it isn't. Yeah, because, you know, to Anthony Cummins, if it doesn't have hand-to-hand combat nor weapons, it isn't a martial art. This is HIS OWN personal definition of the term and ignores the true meaning of the word "martial", which is strongly associated with war and military tactics. Anything that was ever used to defeat an opponent can easily be classified as a martial art.

    3- He has been caught lying in the past regarding his japan trips and martial training. Another strike against him. I certainly don't wanna buy into the word of a liar.

    4- He is lame. For further information, research his background. What he trained, with whom he trained, his behaviour while supposedly training in japan, etc.

    5- He doesn't understand japanese. I don't care what kind of BS you try to feed me, i will not take seriously anyone who claims to be a researcher on Ninjutsu but doesn't even understand the language of the country. It's like claiming to be a surfing instructor without knowing how to swim.

    6- He is an egomaniac who is simply looking for the recognition and respect he couldn't get from his martial arts training. He wants to be seen as an authority in Ninjutsu without actually having to sweat for it. He prefers the library to the Dojo. He is all about self promotion. This is all about him. As long as he gets the credit, he is happy, even though the most important work was made by the other people on his group, who can actually read japanese, unlike him. It must be nice, to get real skilled people to do an hard task and then receive credit for it.

    7- He thinks that whatever he read on Ninjutsu represents the only truth about the art. If he didn't read, it doesn't matter. He comes up with conclusions based on incomplete and dubious evidence. Just because you read 4 or 5 Ninjutsu manuals that don't talk about hand-to-hand combat doesn't mean there was absolutely no school that integrated in its style. He finds what he wants to find and makes the conclusions he wants to make. Also, in his head, stuff the Basenshukai represent the absolute truth. Yeah, right, because we actually have the proof that the information contained in the document is real, right? Since its written, it must be real. There were no such thing as fake information in old japan. Lying is a modern concept.

    8- He supported proven frauds like Chris Jacobson and Greg Park. These are the type of people he respects and associates with. CHRIS JACOBSON!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, does this sound like a person you would wanna trust?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2016

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