Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Top 5 Fake Ninja Grandmasters

   "I see the problem with all these fakes is that they do not want to be just ninjas, they want to be called the ninja grandmasters because they want the money and fame associated with it and they want it quick and easy".
   I have put earlier in my post 'The Story of A Pakistani Ninja', the case of F.A. Shah and his disciples claiming to be teaching ninjutsu and disproved their claims. I have also published earlier 'The 12 Misconceptions About Ninja & Ninjutsu' to point out the twelve greatest misconceptions people have about ninja and ninjutsu. There you will see that I stated important points especially in the section 'Ninjutsu is a martial art.' where I have said, "many fake ninjutsu masters or teachers take advantage of the fame of ninja and Bujinkan ninjutsu so as to fool young minds, by teaching them a combination of martial arts they know and call it ninjutsu" and I have also said that the most famous of these fake masters live in U.S and Japan. Thus, as I had said that I will discuss this in a separate post, today I have brought the list of five of those fake masters claiming to be teaching traditional or true form of ninjutsu.
But before that let me list three of those main reasons or misconceptions due to which people fall into the trap of such fakes. These are: 1. Thinking that ninjutsu is a martial art; 2. Wearing the black gi, performing entertaining acts with body or weapons, and 3. Claiming a lineage linking back to Japan or Korea. I would also like to list the three questions that you can simply ask these self-proclaimed grandmasters of ninjutsu to refute their claims; these are:
  1. What is ninjutsu?
  2. Who created ninjutsu?
  3. What was the place of its origin?
    The answers to these questions can be found on this blog. Whoever says that 'ninjutsu is a martial art', straight away reject him as a true master. Next if some one says that Ninjutsu originates in Japan and makes up storied dates then he/she too should be avoided. The people that I am going to introduce, as being on my top five list of fake masters claiming ninjutsu, are somehow into at-least one of these misconceptions which I have listed above, themselves and/or using it for benefit to fool others. So let's begin:
        [Note: If you can not read the whole post, skip to the main facts given in bold]

1. Ashida Kim: If there had to be made any list of all fakes that ever existed on earth, especially in the field of martial arts, then I think Ashida Kim should be on top of them. The profit he has made -not only from the books with all made up techinques on supposed ninjutsu but from selling martial arts belts/grades and certificates through the 'Black Dragon Society' to people with less to no experience or proof of training in the given martial art for which the certificates were given- can hardly be ever matched. Further details on this can be found here: Ashida Kim Analysis (source:
   His actual name is Radford William Davis while Ashida Kim is actually a 'Pseudonym'. 'Ashida' is a Japanese name and 'Kim' a purely Korean name, which was actually a blunder he made while he had intended to have a Japanese name to prove himself of being Japanese in origin. Since he had no good idea of the Japanese names, he used 'Kim' which he took for being Japanese but it turned to be a Korean (he must have probably taken it from the popular movies of the time, to attract more people). To justify this blunder, he claimed that he actually has a Korean-Japanese ancestry. He also made up several stories about his 'dangerous' training in his (claimed to be) ninjutsu, almost all of which were straight out of fiction and anyone who believes his stories must be totally out of sanity. See an example for yourself:

     "To this day ashida does not know who his parents were. It is thought one was western and one was Japanese. This is why he has Caucasian features and Oriental eyes. When he was a baby, his parents were killed by a fanatical sect because of a centuries-old family feud. A servant rescued him and took him to a small island which cannot be named here. Its nickname is the Island of Tranquil Dreams and all I can say is that it is somewhere between Japan and Korea. The servant took him to a temple and left him in the care of the monks there and died shortly afterwards as she was frail. Ashida was adopted by the head monk, Naijishi, who was known as the Grandmaster of the Dawn. He trained with him in Ninjutsu for nearly 20 years. He was taught Koga Ryu from secret scrolls that had been hidden on the island. He learned many skills including assassination, climbing, stealth, arrow cutting, poisons, invisibility and feigning death. He vividly remembers hanging onto a tree branch for hours on end and running while keeping a 30 foot ribbon flying behind him due to the speed. The grandmaster Naijishi was Korean (I am not sure if fully or partially) and he gave the young Ashida his surname Kim. That is the reason for the odd mix of names which you people like to harp on about. After mastering Koga Ryu, Ashida's life was turned upside down again. A member of the evil sect, called Yaemon, came to the island and pretended to be a monk of their order. He was really a worshipper of an evil god, from another order. He killed Naijishi and tried to kill Ashida as well. Ashida recovered and tracked him down to an old castle where they fought and Ashida managed to kill him and avenge his parents and foster-father. He had to flee to America after that, where he has remained until the present day, keeping the Koga Ryu lineage alive".

   This was something posted by one of Ashida's followers named Paul in a google group (I came across it while searching for something else related to ninjutsu). Unlike other claimants, who resort to silence after being challenged, Radford Davis a.k.a Ashida Kim forged lies upon lies to prove his ancestry and master-ship which finally resulted in his doom that even upto the details of his residence and card numbers were revealed.
   About his skill level, well what can I say? You should read one of his books and then also read any book from Hatsumi Sōke or Stepehen K. Hayes at least.
   The main facts about Radford W. Davis are:
  • had no considerable prior experience in martial arts
  • made entry in 1970's-1980's by first writing books inspired from James Bond's movie(s) and latter claiming to be a ninja grandmaster of a kōryu (old traditional school) of ninjutsu with non-provable claims
  • had no idea of Japanese culture, language and names, tried to prove his Japanese origin by using pseudonym Ashida Kim which turned out to be a blunder because Kim is no Japanese name, it is Korean
  • used simple trickery to pose common techniques as ninjutsu

2. Ronald Duncan: Not only Ronald Duncan but all the other people claiming to have a connection to Koga-ryū are obviously fake. The reason that they claim a lineage to Koga-ryū is because they try to justify why their art is different from Hatsumi Sōke's who taught Togakure-ryū which have some history in Iga. Even more crazy is when try to link themselves to Fujita Seiko while he himself had said in his life that he will not leave a heir to ninjutsu and thus said that he will be the last Koga ninja; Fujita Seiko's book 'Doronron Saigo no Ninja' is a proof for that; also Fujita Seiko was of the nature that he wouldn't ever teach anything to the westerners.
   The reason that they try to link themselves to Fujita Seiko is due to either their lack knowledge or they are too lazy to bring a full list of at least eight Japanese people spanning over a history of at least 200 years that could have been the previous grandmasters to their ninjutsu school (+they even lack a proper name to their Koga based school) and they also know that if they do so, they will be more easily defeated by the Japanese historians and they also will have to practice a lot or hire some one Japanese to create a fake densho as a proof. The other thing wrong with these Koga claimants is that they do not even that the actual name for the region was Koka; Koga is a modern term used in the rest of Japan but the people living in Koka still pronounce it as Koka.
   In case of Ronald Duncan, he claims to have studied in 'shinobino-jitsu' from Donn F. Draeger, who no doubt was a teacher of Ronald Duncan (taught him in Judo and weaponry) and who wrote a book about ninjutsu, but he had not ever claimed to be a ninja himself. Other than Donn F. Draeger, the teachers of Ronald Duncan were Charlie Neal (Taekwondo), Ernie Cates (Judo, Jujitsu and knife training), Tatsuo Uzaki (probably Aikijutsu) as per the website of his organization 'Way of the Winds'. So Ronald Duncan indeed was an able martial artist (atleast better than the 'grandmasters' of F.S Academy) who did practice martial arts from authentic teachers but his claim to ninjutsu is baseless. Ronald Duncan also claims to have a densho but has not ever showed it to anyone (except 'may be' a few).
   Duncan was a well known martial artist in the 1960's when he used to teach jujitsu along with some weaponry but didn't ever publicly claimed to be teaching 'shinobino-jitsu' in that period and he was good with that. However, once Hatsumi Soké and Stephen Hayes started to have fame in the west, he too appeared with many others claiming to be teaching ninjutsu. One of his close companions who was with him during that period confirmed this on a martial arts forum (apologies that I have forgot the name of the forum -which may be e-budo, martialartsplanet or bullshido- and also the member's name) that Ronald Duncan was not upto learning or teaching ninjutsu while he was practicing with him and it was shocking for him to hear later that Ronald Duncan claims to be teaching ninjutsu.
   The main facts about Ronald Duncan are:
  • used to teach judo and jujutsu since 1965 and claims non-provable connection to Koga-ryū ninjutsu through Fuita Seiko
  • suddenly popped up in 1970's-80's as a ninja grandmaster, teaching ninjutsu as 'shinobinojutsu'
  •  considered ninjutsu to be a fighting art of weapons and free-body methods

3. Harunaka Hoshino: Harunaka Hoshino is a Japanese, now living in America, who claims to be the 19th Sōke of a long dead school of ninjutsu called Fuma-ryu, originally practiced by the famous ninja Fuma Kazama Kotarō. He claimed that he had trained under a mysterious (non-existent) person named Tanaka Kingoro. As per the official site of (the current) Fuma-ryu, Tanaka Kingoro was probably (not surely) the 18th soke of Fuma-ryu because he didn't term himself as soke but it goes on to say that Tanaka Kingoro passed on the densho of Fuma-ryu to Harunaka Hoshino, making him the 19th soke of Fuma-ryu shinobijutsu.
   First thing is, 'doesn't the densho lists the names, date and level of privileges when it is handed down to the person?' which should state that Tanaka Kingoro had the privileges of a master and is named officially the 18th soke of Fuma-ryu on the following date, but no. The second thing is if Tanaka Kingoro was possibly not the soke of Fuma-ryu, how can he name Harunaka Hoshino a grandmaster? I see the problem with all these fakes is that they do not want to be just ninjas, they want to be called the ninja grandmasters because they want the money and fame associated with it, and they want it quick and easy. Similar is the case of Harunaka Hoshino.
   Just like many other fakes, he appeared around the time of 1980's when he saw the popularity of ninjutsu all over the world and used the same method of publicizing through the common ninja or martial arts magazine(s) (which only required some money which you could regain easily through a registration and one month fee from a number of new customers). He has not presented any proof, even the densho he claims to have received, because he simply doesn't have it and like others, he is lazy enough to go through the whole history and somehow create it from himself which will obviously take time and effort, which not only will make their task 'no quick and easy' but will obviously give them away if they do a serious mistake.
   Coming to discuss his level of skill, he used to sell video tapes and DVD's of his training along students, through which too he could earn money and some of those videos are now publicly available over the internet. In those videos, we can see that most of the things are just copied from Bujinkan budo taijutsu, and after making some changes and twisting, given new names while some techniques are different, their names are copied with a twist such as 'Chi no Kata' again in Bujinkan is given a name to a stance named 'Chi no Kamae'. As evident from those videos, his skill with the shurikens is zero and his way of throwing shuriken is simply crazy, which in no way is practical to the battlefield. He also doesn't demonstrate professional skill with the tanto, sword or any other weapons. Atleast for the tantojutsu videos, I will say that how can you attack an armed opponent without getting totally out of the line of attack yourself and then blocking the way of opponent to his/her another attack, and while the opponent is resisting and chasing after you? Their techniques are totally flawed; they are still in the line of the attack of the opponent and they move on to counter-attack him/her while the opponent just stops after first attack and waits for the defender to attack him/her back while staying in the same stance where he ended after attack. The outfit he and his students wear is also copied from Takamatsuden which is basically wearing the gi, trousers and jika-tabi but they have made it more appealing by making the uniform blue and yellow colors or red and black; through this they obviously wanted to distinguish themselves from Bujinkan while trying to gain the same level of attention as the Bujinkan had.
   A person having the first hand experienced with them said on martial arts forum that the weapons and tools in the collection of Harunaka Hoshino seemed to be bought from local store (with atleast one item still having the price sticker on the back) except a kanata that looked to be an officer's from the second world war, which he (Harunaka Hoshino) claimed to have passed from generation to generation (at max it can be 2-3) and passed on to him from someone special. Unfortunately, they could not gain as much popularity but still managed to have dojos in United Kingdom, Uruguay, Germany and Italy. People must know that when some one is proven fake, all those who have trained under them are automatically labelled fake.
   The main facts about Harunaka Hoshino are:
  • claimed lineage to a long dead ninjutsu school with no evidence, self-contradicting
  • popped up in the 1970's-80's after the international fame of Bujinkan
  • made up and copied techniques and use the common flashy attire and attitude associated with the popular image of a ninja

4. Frank Dux: He is also another next level fraud in the field of martial arts. Not only ninjutsu but he has also made several hard claims without any proof such as fighting in several deadly fights (which actually happened only in his imaginations) and winning trophies (which he had bought himself from a local store). He had remained a United States army captain and also claimed to have made several feats there which were totally bashed by his fellows thus this way he not only played with the enthusiasm of various people trying to be ninjas but also with the sentiments of the people of his country who viewed him as a hero of the nation.
   About ninjutsu, he claimed to have trained in 'Koga Yamabushi' ninjutsu from someone named Tanaka Senzo, a member of the same family as Tanaka Kingoro (stated above) and thus he claims to have a connection with the Fuma-ryū that Harunaka Hoshino claims to have practiced in, but Harunaka Hoshino deny that Frank Dux has any connection to Fuma-ryū. He names his system to be 'Dux Ryu Ninjitsu' or also 'American Ninjitsu'. First things first, the romanji (Romanization of Japanese Kanji) 'ninjitsu' used for ninjutsu is completely false because 'jutsu' and 'jitsu' are two different things, especially if the Kanji is not written along; 'jitsu' means 'truth/substantial' while 'jutsu' means 'technique', thus using 'jitsu' along 'nin' completely changes the meaning of it. This purely means that he has no sense of the Japanese language and culture; and he certainly adopted 'jitsu' from 'jujitsu' which is a term wrongly used for jujutsu, that have become a trend to the level of being used in standard. Then coming to the second point 'Koga', firstly as already stated, 'Koga' is not the right word used for 'Koka' and is wrongly used by many of those claiming to have connection to 'Koga-ryu ninjutsu'. Just like the others he too did not stopped at calling himself a ninja but a ninja grandmaster of a tradition which speaks for itself in such types of claims.
   The only thing he had for real were his looks and the popularity he gained through his paid publicity in martial arts magazines (leading him to gain roles in the movies) and he took advantage of it. In the movie based on his life, the story of his introduction to Tanaka and thus supposed ninjutsu goes as, 'During his childhood, Dux and a group of friends broke into Tanaka's home to steal a katana, but Dux was apprehended by the Tanakas while attempting to return the katana to its display rack. Impressed by Dux's honesty and lack of fear, (Tanaka) Senzo trained him together with Shingo in martial arts. Following Shingo's death, Senzo agreed to train Dux as a member of the Tanaka clan'. Wait! my memory says something; it seems that I have already heard this somewhere about someone else but can not remember clearly. Anyways, it looks similar to the various stories about Fujita Seiko.
   Coming towards the discussion about his skills and techniques, he has named his techniques by the name of animals such as dragon, leopard e.t.c which is common in kung fu and there is just one Japanese technique 'shuto' at least, which obviously comes from karate. All the techniques he shows in the videos are just fists and kicks; there is not much about weapons, with the only video which I have seen is titled 'spear kata' which shows him along a girl whirling a short toy like spear and that makes me think to some point that the Pakistani 'ninja grandmaster(s)' must have taken training or inspiration from him (indeed if it is so, the current F.S Academy grandmasters must have finally found their lost grandfather).
   Coming towards one more thing, Frank Dux uses a term 'kagemusha' -with 'kage' meaning 'shadow' and 'musha' meaning 'warrior'- to refer to ninja but he probably doesn't know what historical meaning it had (In the study or use of old sociological terms, the historical context is important and dictates the meanings of a word irrespective of its literal meanings). History tells us that the 'kagemusha' was actually like a scapegoat -a dummy of a high ranking general or the shogun to stay in his seat during conflict and if enemy attacks, he is to get sacrificed but the actual general escapes safely when the need arises. There are these little blunders that give away an impersonating person. There's another person named Rick Tew who runs a successful website named ninja-gym and is also teaching his own 'Tew-ryu ninjutsu'. Both Frank Dux and Rick Tew fall in the same category but for Rick Tew it is enough to say that he is/was a student of Frank Dux.
   The main facts about Frank Dux are:
  • claims a connection to both Koga-ryū and Fuma-ryū through a non-existent lineage
  • popped up in 1970's-80's after the fame of Bujinkan in the west
  • considers and shows ninjutsu to be a set of fighting sports' techniques and show-off of power and skill like the Pakistani counterparts

5. Robert Law: He does not reveal much about himself. But according to his (organization's) official website, he is the 119th soke of Geijin-ryu ninjutsu and 29th of Yoshin Mijji-ryu. Along this, he also claims to have traveled worldwide and trained in the arts of twenty different clans or it is that he has trained in those twenty arts from different clans (which are actually names of the different techniques taught in Bujinkan). First things first, no problem with 29 but '119' is a very big figure through which he may have tried to prove that his lineage is much much older than Togakure-ryu's and thus may also serve to justify why he doesn't have sufficient proof, because things obviously get lost in such a long tradition. But if some one really have to believe his claims, his grandmasters or ancestors must have learned ninjutsu from the ancient Egyptians or Babylonians, considering 40 grandmasters in a thousand years, it makes it 3000 years old tradition; or it may have happened that he was able to collect 119 sheep including himself and may have given the mastership scroll/certificate to one person saying to him to pass on to the next one in a circle until he (Robert Law) was the 119th person to receive it and thus he became the 119th generation ninja grandmaster.
   Next, 'geijin' should probably mean 'man of tricks' since 'gei' probably means 'tricks' and 'jin' means 'person'; I suggest that he should have better used 'gaijin' (foreigner) instead of 'geijin' (he claims to have had Japanese parents who died earlier and his relatives taught him ninjutsu but from no angle does he look any 'Japanese'), and I can think of even worse things.
   Coming to his training and skills, nothing is known about his training in other martial arts but all he did in ninjutsu or budo is to attend and occasionally host/manage seminars of Takamatsuden schools such as Bujinkan, Genbukan and Toshindo but was never an active member of these organizations. He is the type of those people who take some photos after a nice handshake with some one and latter start claiming that they have trained with them. He has photos with Hatsumi Masaaki soke, Tanemura Shoto sensei, Stephen K. Hayes and Robert Bussey. So just because he has photos with them, means that he has trained with them.
   The big bluffs he has made indicates that he was confident that he can easily fool some (whatever you want to add here) people if not all, to be able to make him an earning for his life. Here I would like to mention another fake too named Juan Hombre, who has done the same: took photos with some famous people and claimed to have trained with/under them, even claiming one person to be his Koga ninja grandmaster while that person was just a museum/theme-park's staff person. The only real training he had was with Kawakami Jinichi but he formed a dojo in Spain without his permission. Juan Hombre would have shared the same spot but he got some real training and doesn't consider himself a grandmaster of a Ko-ryū (old traditional school) any longer.
   The main facts are:
  • claims to be born in a family of ninjas and non-existing lineage, all of which is self-contradicting
  • appeared in 1970's-80's or later; tried to use the fame of various masters to advantage
  • copies the techniques of Bujinkan budo taijutsu, adding some techniques from other martial arts and present it as ninjutsu

Final Comments:-
   Many of these people mentioned above have only appeared during the 1970's-80's called 'the ninja boom' when ninjutsu and Bujinkan were in their top fame in the world, especially in the west. Thus it must be enough for a good proof that anyone newly appearing during this time period posing as 'ninja grandmaster' is obviously fake. But still I have tried to provide more for the proof so there be left no big question.
   Let's be more clear that aiming, claiming to be a ninja are all different than claiming to be a 'Ninja Grandmaster'. Personally I like those people who want to be a ninja and in so learn some skills but I dislike those who try to be arrogant over the top of their ignorance, though it can still be forbeared. However, when you claim to be a ninja grandmaster, you mean that a whole ninjutsu tradition has been passed on to you from the previous grandmaster of that tradition (especially if you claim to be teaching 'traditional form' of ninjutsu), so you must be able to answer these questions with valid reasons for your claims to be valid:
  • Which ninjutsu tradition have you inherited? 
  • Who was/were the previous grandmasters?
  • Where's the proof that the previous grandmaster approved you to be the next one?
   In case of the above mentioned 'grandmasters' of 'ninjutsu' and many others, they somehow managed to be successful with the first question (since it's easy to lie about it), many tripped on the second one and very few ever get to see the last question (Only Ronald Duncan in the above five).

   To be honest, I can care less about who is a real ninja and who is not because I feel myself to be on the correct path or at least close to the one (and so I do not need to pull the legs of anyone). It is for those people who unknowingly (only because they believe the media portrayal to be true) become an easy target for such hounds who have accepted money as their god. Thus my purpose with writing such posts is only to spread more awareness so that it doesn't remain unknown to anyone and they be vigilant from now onward. But to some people, it is just as is said, "the bird living in the cage since birth thinks flying is a disease". I believe that the search for the truth shouldn't die out of a person or otherwise he's destroyed.

   Lao Tzu says,
"Sincere words may not be so agreeable, words agreeable may not be so sincere.
A wise man doesn't argue, an arguer may not be wise."

  So it means our words may be harsh but they will be true and if someone's words are more comfortable to you then beware that' that person may be lying to you. And so it also means that it is not beneficial for me to argue with someone if I have to be wise. Thus if someone's up to no point accepting, then I can not waste my time with him/her.

* Throughout the post wherever I have used the word 'ninja grandmaster' and term 'teaching ninjutsu' then it means a supposition, not that I have accepted them as real one.
* Some of the key information has been provided by members of respectable martial arts forums and though I can not name each individual here, the major credit for all that information goes to the members of the said forums.


  1. lol Ashida Kims backstory is from a choose your own adventure book called the Way of the tiger


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