In our last post, Sensei Roemke shared how he began the journey that led him to devote most of his life to the study of martial arts, in particular ninjutsu, the art of the ninja. If you haven't heard that story, you can check it out here.
In this next part of the story, he tells how he found ninjutsu and ended up with a private invitation by the Grandmaster, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, to visit with him on his first trip to Japan.
But, what is even more interesting, is the story within the story. Within the short video below is the story of perseverance. So many martial arts students begin their training inspired by a new art or by a new teacher. Between white belt and black belt lies a crucial period of training where the majority drop out. Once again, having a good teacher at this stage is crucial. However, in Mark's case, his instructor at the time actually dissuaded him from pursuing ninjutsu when he first discovered the art.
Good thing he ignored that advice.
And then he left the art when he joined the U.S. Army.
For many, it's even more challenging to return to an art once you leave it for years.
As a musician, I think of all the instruments I have seen over the years covered in dust, in the backs of people's closets or hiding in the corner of rooms.
"Oh yeah, I used to play that," is what you often hear.
Still, when Mark left the Army, he moved to California and where he searched for his next instructor. And that encounter led him to wandering the streets of Japan at 4 a.m. That wander led to the voice of the Grandmaster of ninjutsu who called out from a window and invited him up to tea.
But I'll let Mark himself tell that story.
Hope you enjoy this second part of his journey. Stay tuned, there's one final installment up our gi sleeves in this series.
Tracking the stoke,
P.S. For those of you with young aspiring ninjas in your life, Mark and I are unreasonably excited about our new book- Guardians Guide: NiN Basics. After leading youth for years through our Ninjas in Nature curriculum, which fuses the art of ninjutsu with nature survival and awareness skills, we've put to pen a how-to instructor training manual for our first level of training. We've been running kids through this curriculum for years with the same results every time...extremely activated and happy kids. This guide is intended for parents, instructors, or anyone with a youth in their life that they would like to fully activate. If you want to learn more, you can check out the book here: