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Ninja group head East to train with Grand Master
Ninja training
Crossing swords at Ninja training
Last updated: 03 April 2004 1319 BST
line Nine local men and women are set to go on a trip of a lifetime to train with Dr Masaaki Hatsumi - the only Grand Master still living and training in the martial art of Ninjutsu.
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Nine martial arts enthusiasts, mostly from Gloucester, are heading to the far east to improve their ninja skills and techniques.

The group will fly out on Wednesday April 7 and will spend 19 days in Noda, 50 miles north of Tokyo under the guidance of Dr Hatsumi.

quote For most of us travelling to Japan, this is our first opportunity to train directly under the Grand Master - Dr Hatsum.quote
Michelle Murray

Michelle Murray, who lives and trains locally in Gloucester, is one of the highest ranking women in the world in Ninjutsu, and is hoping to attain one of the toughest grades, 'Godan'- that of 'sixth-sense'.

Michelle said: "For most of us travelling to Japan, this is our first opportunity to train directly under the Grand Master - Dr Hatsumi, it is something that we have been training towards for many years. This really is the opportunity of a life-time for anyone involved in Ninjutsu".

Fighting techniques

Ninjutsu is the martial art of the notorious 'Ninja' and encourages students to learn skills of preservation with fighting techniques aimed at ending confrontation quickly, alongside developing life-long skills such as confidence and self-awareness.

Michelle and Bruce
Bruce sees Michelle's point

Bruce, Shizuka na Arashi, one of the instructors going from the Budo Warrior School, said, "I am hoping to improve my understanding, experience the culture that created our art, and return a better instructor.

"It is hard to put into words without
seeing Dr Hatsumi training, but he is amazing. His excellence and ease of movement is something we all strive to achieve."

quote It is hard to put into words without
seeing Dr Hatsumi training, but he is amazing. His excellence and ease of movement is something we all strive to achieve.
quote
Bruce, Shizuka na Arashi

Geared mainly towards adults - Ninjutsu is now the fastest growing martial art in the United Kingdom.

While in Japan, several of the team are also hoping to improve their 'dan' grades.

Traditionally certain gradings can only be achieved by demonstrating the techniques to Dr Hatsumi who is the only person in the world who has the authority to pass or fail a student.

Bruce explained, "We often refer to our training as a journey; meeting and training with our Grand Master is one of the most exciting stops along the way. That's forgetting the
obvious fact that this would be a trip of a lifetime if all we were doing was being tourists. Wow, what a way to spend Easter."

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