REVIEW:
Path Notes of an
American Ninja

 

Morris, Glen

The G. Gordon Liddy of martial arts writers. Morris, besides being a master of the self-impressed, is the kind of guy you meet at a party who starts sentences with, "After I achieved my third level of enlightenment". There is some honesty in the man. He maintains his hobbyist status throughout. Good for him. Most modern martial artists are hobbyists. His Maslowian concept of enlightenment as self-actualization is hardly new. He just thinks that every word from his mouth is a bolt of lightning. I particularly liked the part where he translated names of Ninpo groupings: it abounded in "this has to do with" "this is like". His distrust and constant warnings about the ninja fakes are of course, true.

Every martial artist feels the anger and frustration of those misrepresenting what are his real loves. But the constant reiteration of the warnings doesn't speak well for ninjitsu. Nor does the admittance simultaneously of it being a broken chain of lineage and a world class martial study. What we have here is the guy who impresses his "Fortune 500" companies exec's and his "wives" with his bravura about the martial arts and assumes that other martial artists will also be impressed. Better if he had written a psychological primer for martial artists. The style is the man, as they say, and in this case both style and man are probably best avoided. One assumes that Morris is saying the things he says in an effort to eschew "false humility". We can only hope that humility of any type might, eventually, manifest itself.

Does he know the history and background of his art. Of course, who wouldn't having studied the arts for 32 years. But, enlightenment aside, the degree of immaturity in his views and writing is painfully obvious on every page. Facts becomes diatribes and opinions laws under Morris' carefully careless hand. His "stage experience" is all too evident. He's probably a wow at the same dinners attended by Buck Rogers from IBM. A motivational specialist who leaves us unmotivated and sometimes worse. We fully realize that a Ph.D. can be got from any number of sources now but one expects a certain intellectual integrity and restraint in the hands of the certificated. Morris missed that lecture.