Friday, August 28, 2015

Review of Secrets of the Ninja by Sean Michael Wilson, Illustrated by Aikiko Shimojima

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from the publisher for review purposes

Title: Secrets of the Ninja: The Shinobi Teachings of Hattori Hanzo
Written by: Sean Michael Wilson
Illustrated by: Aikiko Shimojima
Publisher: Blue Snake Books
Format: Softcover
Page Count: 138
Cover Price: $15.95 (US)

    Human brains seem to be designed for story telling.  We are story telling animals.  Studies have shown that people will remember the same facts better, if they are told them as part of a story.  This book exemplifies idea and gives you historical information about the ninja, not just as part of a book, but a story in comic/manga format, which is the way all ninja information should be passed on right?


    This book is about 100 pages of a manga style story of a ninja teaching two young disciples the methods of ninja.  He teaches his two young apprentices about ninja equipment, ninja deception, and ninja tactics.  They are then given part of an assignment to demonstrate their knowledge of ninja.  After that, the last 40 pages or so are commentary by Antony Cummins documenting, and expanding on the information given in the comic.  Those pages cite where the information comes from.


    I did like the format of showing the information as a story.  I also enjoyed the story itself.  It wasn't just a student/mentor story, there were other characters, and you actually end up feeling for them.  There's even a love story.  That's a lot packed into those 100 pages.  I'm not the largest anime/manga fan, but I definitely appreciate the media.  The art is this book wasn't overly cartoony, nor was it the jagged edged hair type of art.  This was a very good realistic style of manga. 
    The story, which didn't beat you over the head with "your reading educational stuff," was very nicely done.  That maybe because you, the reader, weren't the one learning, you were reading of the student Hisaaki, and learning about actual ninja ideas by proxy through him. 
    I also appreciate the end pages which tell where the information came from, and they're not just making it up.  I did an interview with Antony Cummins a while ago, and was appreciative of his knowledge of ninja, and actual ninja scrolls.


    I'm not sure why its in there, but the Samurai/Ninja instructor character seemed to be unnecessarily cruel in his teaching.  I'm not sure what that was trying to say with that aspect.  Maybe I'm just being sensitive to today's teaching methods.


    If you know someone who's into anime or manga, and likes Naruto or something similar, this could be a great gateway for them.  This is a great, lets take what you think you know, type of book.  I know in Japan, Manga are not viewed as kids materials, and adults are often seen reading them in public, but in the US we still see it as something people grow out of.  So, I think this book is being intended for people younger than me.  Even so, I did enjoy the story, the art, and the historical accuracies of the book.  As such, I'm going to give this book 4 out of 5 Ninja Stars.  I really had a grin on my face while I was reading it, but because of the stigma associated with reading comics, I don't know how many people I could openly recommend this book to.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Shownotes for XXXIII-The Naked Podcast 33 1/3

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Intro Music: Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifri

  Recorded On: 8/24/2015
  New Recording Equipment!
  New Interviews coming !?!
Interlude Music: Marathon by Rush

Interview: Cory Jensen of Martial Arts Nation Podcast
  Martial Arts Nation Podcast on iTunes
  Wing Chun
  Shotokan Karate
  Feel vs. Technique
  The Drunken Taoist
  Kung Fu Conversations
  Kung Fu Panda
  Sho Kosugi
  Tony Jaa
  Donnie Yen
  Tom Cruise
  The Last Samurai
  Dan Carlin (Hardcore History)
  When Buddhists Attack
  Striking Thoughts
  On the Warrior's Path by Danielle Bolleli
  Ninja Scrolls
  Contact Information
    Martial Arts Nation on facebook
    martialartsnation.pod (instigram)

Interlude Music: Fight the Good Fight by Triumph

This Week in Martial Arts: August 23rd, 1974 Ray Park's Birthday
  Dark Maul in Episode I
  Snake-Eyes in G.I. Joe
  Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
    Robin Shou
    James Remar
  Sleepy Hollow

Contact InformationTwitter Account: @martialthoughts
Atemicast Youtube Channel

Outro Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shownotes for Episode XXXII-The Man with the Golden Podcast

EPISODE XXXII-The Man with the Golden Podcast

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Intro:  Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifr
  Recorded On: July 13th,  2015
  Twitter Shout-Outs:
  Facebook Like
  Review on iTunes: Bill (with Teeth)
Interlude Music: No More Mr. Nice Guy by Megadeth
Interview: Sensei Ando of Fight For A Happy Life
    Bruce Lee
    Steven Segal
    Above the Law
    Master Aikido by Saotome
    Book of Five Rings
    Tao Te Ching
    The Warrior Athlete by Dan Newman
    Enter the Dragon
    V for Vendetta
    Ong Bok
  Contact Information
Interlude Music: The Wizard by Rainbow

This Week in Martial Arts: Dan Inosanto
    American Kempo
    Jeet Kun Do
    Diana Lee Inosanto
    Brandon Lee
    Denzel Washington
    Forest Witiker
    Anderson Silva
    The Green Hornet
    Game of Death
    Big Trouble in Little China
    Red Belt
Contact Information
Twitter Acount: @martialthoughts
Atemicast Youtube Channel

Outro Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna