A MODERN SHINOBI
Chat with Alberto Bergamini
My personal approach to security studies and applied social sciences to intelligence often underlines the importance of ancient warrior knowledge even within the most advanced and modern niches of the security industry.
In this article we will share with the reader a very interesting example of this particular field of research. We will bring you inside the life of a man who decided to dedicate a large portion of his time and resources to the practice of a particular skill set which is rooted in ancient times, in remote locations of a last world. Welcome to the life of Alberto Bergamini, welcome to the fading world of the Ninjas.
– The human dimension:
Alberto Bergamini is, first of all, a man who works in the Italian private security sector, private investigations is particular, this job, that has accompanied him for 30 years, is a very important part of his life, a life which shares a double soul, the professional on one side and the warrior on the other.
During the interview we mostly focused on the second aspect of Bergamini’s life since it is perceived as the most interesting and definitely the most unusual to hear about. So let’s get deeper into the world of modern ninjas.
Despite what we are accustomed to see in movies, ninjas are a much more complicated theme to investigate. Let’s start with the definition of what a Ninja is and how we shall actually call it not to make a mistake. Mr. Bergamini shared some of is knowledge about the subject and stated that even the name “Ninja” is mostly a myth, let’s see why:
Mr. Bergamini’s background in martial arts began when he was very young. He began with Karate and also practiced Aikijujutsu, a set of different fighting systems coming from Japanese tradition. At a certain stage he discovered Ninjutsu thanks to one of the very few masters teaching the art in Europe at that time. Soon he was deeply impressed by the teachings and the potential of this art which is only partially based on fighting.
“Ninjutsu teaches you to live in a different and more concentrated way. It fosters your focus and renders you capable to pursue your most intimate objectives”.
The art of Ninjutsu would so be based on certain typologies of drills and abilities normally perceived as non natural and immoral by other warriors. The Ninja is a special type of warrior who moves unseen where is needed and is able to fight in unconventional ways only if obliged to.
The first rule is to be invisible. This “rule” is still very important in intelligence and modern security.
- Warriors, arts and demons
The Ninja or Shinobi, is often perceived as a very sneaky kind of warrior, closer to the modern conception of the assassin then to the one of a hero. Such a peculiar fame derives mostly by Hollywood myths but also from centuries of secrets held by the Ninja clans, powerful families who trained only strictly selected individuals to become secret agents or operatives for covert operations for the emperor.
Today some Ninja clans still survive in Japan thanks to tradition but only very few practitioners might have conserved the true essence of original Ninjutsu, a skill set constituted by 36 different arts which were studied by most Ninjas who later specialized deeply only in few of these.
Ninjas operated in small teams during most of their duties in order to have a variety of specialized team members ready for any inconvenience in the field. Failure was seen as an unforgivable sin and many warriors preferred to die during a mission instead of returning to their master with a failed mission, since the consequences could have been very dramatic.
The arts and the mysterious religious doctrines of the Shinobi generated a vast corpus of stories and legends regarding the fading figure of the Ninja. A spy, an assassin, a spiritual figure who was even associated with demons, the Tengu.
It is true that certain esoteric believes and practices of the Ninjas suggest a post material dimension which could give supernatural abilities to the practitioner. These believes, mostly based in Shingon and a series of secret doctrines and the noble practice of Sanmitsu contributed to the creation of the esoteric figure of the mysterious Shinobi we have today.
– The Modern Legacy
How do ancient arts and abilities affect current reality? Does some kind of traditional training actually influence modern day practices in the private security sector?
A short answer is impossible and possibly inappropriate to give since the link between ancient and modern, sacred and profane is very thin and particularly personal. Each person shall choose his own path and his way to understand the world. What we can give is the opinion coming from hour informant, who shares a great theoretical and reasonable practical knowledge in this field.
There are surely certain elements that establish a deep link between the past and the present of security such as:
- The importance of low profile status
- The art of disguise
- Mental integrity
- Constant and specialized training
- Detail orientation
The practice of traditional martial arts and, Ninjutsu in particular, can deeply help in the daily life of a security operator. The benefits are immense and very differentiated since the practice of both physical and spiritual paths within the art can help to overcome limits that are crystalized in the imagination of many.
A too insistent look, a hasty or suspicious gesture, a conventional signal made secretly, everything comes as “scanned” and “highlighted” beyond the threshold of attention, this state is called Zanshin, or “extreme attention” and is characterized by a deep inner calm.
Controlling emotions and being able to relief stress during a complex situation is the very essence of a warrior and the Shinobi is an expert of this field. In modern times we focus too much on external factors but we need to remember that a warrior’s strongest weapon is his heart.