The Last Rebel: Survivor

The Last Rebel: Survivor by William W. Johnstone

Book: The Last Rebel: Survivor by William W. Johnstone Read Free Book Online
Authors: William W. Johnstone
work.”
    Jim laughed. Then: “I was wondering,” he said. “How come your father allowed you to learn this empty-hand combat? You’re the daughter of a preacher. Didn’t he preach against violence?”
    “This is the first time I ever used it to harm anybody, and I hope it’s the last.”
    “How did you ever get into it?”
    “Like I said, I was raised in Japan. There I met a relative of Dr. Masaki Hatsumi, of Noda, Japan, a thirty-fourth-generation ninja of the Togakure Ryu, a ninjutsu style founded in approximately 1550 in the Iga Province near Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan then.”
    “Ninja. I thought they were all criminals, or just existed in comic books.”
    “That’s a misconception. There are some criminal types, but most are good people. And they certainly do exist.”
    “Why were you interested in it?”
    “I don’t know. I didn’t like dolls. Empty-hand combat was just part of it.”
    Jim laughed.
    “Actually,” Bev said, “I liked the spirituality of it all.”
    “What was that shout you made?”
    “That’s what is known at the ‘ki’ or ‘kiai’ or ‘spirit shout.’ It’s used by ninja as well as other martial artists in empty-hand fighting. It’s a natural release of breath and noise that accompanies the expending of physical and mental energy. The Togakure masters compare the sounds ninja make to the sounds dogs make when growling and barking while fighting, or the yell used at the moment of lifting something heavy, such as weightlifters use.”
    “Amazing.”
    There are other yells too, attacking shouts, victory shouts, discovery shouts . . . and the highest form of kiai is the internal shout of what is known as ‘silent kiai’—a low, rumbling growl . . . of vibrations so low in pitch that they’re inaudible.”
    “What else do you know?”
    “Weapons. Everything a ninja knows.”
    “Like what?”
    “Oh, I can throw a shuriken—”
    “That’s the star, right?”
    “Yes.”
    “I can handle a bo and jo—sticks—as well as the kurisgama, which is a weighted chain, and much more.”
    “I really am amazed.”
    “But I think the most interesting thing I was taught was the art of invisibility.”
    “How does that work?”
    “Well, I didn’t practice all of them, but some I did.”
    “Like what?”
    “Well, first of all there’s the night. The ninja were taught how to stay invisible in it, but all the ground and plants—”
    “Like?”
    “It’s called do-ton jutsu, or earth techniques, where you learn how to hide yourself and your gear among rocks or uneven ground. For example, we were taught how to shape our bodies like natural or man-made objects, such as boulders or statues, which are undetectable in darkness. There’s also moku-ton jutsu, wood and plant techniques, involving hiding in trees and foliage or tall grass. I was also taught how to hide underground.”
    “Underground?”
    “Yes, you bury yourself completely except for bamboo snorkels. You can imagine,” Bev said laughing, “how disconcerting it would be for a guard to be walking along and then see someone come up out of the ground at him.”
    “I can imagine.”
    There’re also techniques for hiding in a house. The one I liked best was the one where a ninja could climb up near a ceiling and brace him- or herself . . . People never look up when they come into a room.”
    “By the way, do you have a black belt in ninjutsu?”
    “I’m way past that. There are only a few other people in America who rose to my level. I’m one of the few people in America to be allowed to establish and promote the Togakure style in this country.”
    “Wow. I better steer clear of you.”
    Bev smiled.
    “That’s right,” she said.
    Jim looked at her. He knew that their relationship had gotten a couple of notches deeper, something that tends to happen when someone saves your life, or may depend on you for his or her life. He had heard once that when male and female cops rode in a radio car together

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