The Mind of Ryu Hayabusa

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Ryu is a ruthless killer.  The guy is incredibly skilled at murdering people through different acrobatic, creative ways.  Now, in his defense, usually these people and/or monsters are trying to murder him right back.  The fact still remains, however, that at his core, he is an assassin, often for hire, and never has qualms about straight-up killing people until they’re dead.

So, what does this say about his mind?  Is Ryu a sociopath, able to kill people wantonly without any sign of remorse.  Is he a more complex individual, killing out of a sense of necessity, but never without feeling a bit of guilt about his actions?  Does he distinguish monsters from people, or are all the people he kills merely monsters in his mind?

The third game has periods that suggest he does, in fact, feel remorse for a lot of the people he kills.  The plague that infects his arm and spreads through his body is effectively the physical manifestation of all the souls he’s taken, and the lives he’s extinguished.  He has a moment, later, in the graveyard of souls, where he is convinced by another that he should not feel guilt for the people he’s killed, and that he needs to shed the burden he’s carrying.

However, I don’t think Ryu carries a burden like The Arrow does, at least not in the same way.  He doesn’t have a crippling guilt complex that stays his blade, or causes him to make bad decisions.  He’s also not an emotionless machine, and he shows compassion and caring for his own clan, which kind of rules out the sociopath option.  I believe, at his root, Ryu has a comfortable moral high ground that he rests upon.

Most of the people that he kills are either in open combat with him, or are in service to dark demons and monsters.  In fact, if you look at his motivations in all of the games, he is basically committed to saving people, eliminating the darkness, and protecting his clan.  Yes, he kills a lot of people in service to these causes, but it’s not a quest of pleasure or gratification.

The fact is, Ryu is, at his worst, incredibly driven.  He was raised in an environment where death and combat are considered “normal.”  He is not sadistic, so much as he is cold.  Sadism would imply he takes pleasure from cruelty.  Instead, he prefers a quick death to a long, drawn-out engagement, and his kills are merely a means to an end.

Ryu doesn’t allow barriers of any kind to get in his way.  He goes up, around, or through them, regardless of whether they’re people or physical obstacles.  If we are going to emulate Ryu, we must be adaptable and indomitable.  As an Assassin, his preferred method is actually to evade, avoid, and find creative ways of getting around trouble.  He only fights when presented without other options.  Unfortunately for Ryu, his foes are skilled enough that he doesn’t often have other options, but even then his combat style is based strongly upon evasion and acrobatics, rather than simply smashing through his target.

If you are trying to be an Assassin, you should have two thoughts in mind.  First, any obstacle that exists in your path should be solved in the simplest, quickest, and least noticeable way possible.  Second, any obstacle, and I mean any obstacle, is capable of being solved, by any means necessary.

Basically, your approach to solving problems should be as ghost-like as possible.  When you’re working at your best, no one should even notice that you’re working.  However, there is also literally no problem you are not willing to solve, and no methodology of solving problems that is taboo.  Avoid the extremes if at all possible, but be willing to go to extremes if the problem presents no other solution.

Ryu does not carry guilt like a normal person would in his situation because he does not see people, he sees problems to solve.  If that problem can be solved by scaling the back side of a building and avoiding an entire platoon of Vigoorian soldiers, then that is how the problem is best solved.  If the only way to solve the problem is to take down a military helicopter, then you better get yourself some explosive arrows, damn it.

That’s all for Ryu Hayabusa!  I hope you all enjoyed our time with the super ninja (I know I sure did).  This Saturday we’ll have a video post.  Unfortunately, it’s still as cold as Siberia outside, so I won’t be able to finish the salmon ladder construction video yet, so we’ll have an indoor exercise breakdown instead (featuring some stuff from The Ryu Hayabusa Workout, among other things.)  I’ll see you then!  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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The Skills of Ryu Hayabusa

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Ryu is obviously a quite skilled individual.  His talents run across multiple disciplines of martial arts and weapons styles, parkour, and even into the realm of the esoteric with Ninpo spells and scrolls.  So, let’s dive on in and learn the skills of the Super Ninja!

Ninjutsu (and broken hearts)

Okay, so I have some good news and some bad news for you.  Bad news first: Ninjutsu probably doesn’t exist.  I mean, it does, in the sense that there was once a school of combat and tactics referred to as “ninjutsu,” and it exists in the fact that there are modern-day ninjutsu schools.  But, there is little to no evidence that the modern-dan ninjutsu dojos have anything to do with actual early feudal-era espionage specialists.  The sad fact is, most of what we think of when we think of “ninjas” (or shinobi, the more proper term), is based mostly upon 80s and 90s action movies.  Seriously.  Plus a whole bunch of books by a total quack named ‘Ashida Kim.’

Yes, there were ancient espionage experts, who studied various schools of combat,  and existed in the time of the samurai.  They were not, however, super secret villages of ninjas.  They were most likely more like the modern-day CIA – specifically employed and trained individuals who acted as a stealth-branch of various feudal houses.  They had quite a bit in common with samurai of the era, and were schooled in many of the same arts, with additional training in stealth and espionage techniques.  In fact, it’s likely that quite a few shinobi actually were samurai, just with specialized training and less battlefield-oriented missions.

So, does this mean you can’t become a super ninja in the style of Ryu?  Absolutely not.  First off, modern ninjutsu schools can still be good places to learn martial arts, even if they don’t have definitive proof of ancient lineage dating back to feudal japan.  A friend of mine in karate actually “double majored,” so to speak, after he got his black belt in isshinryu, at a ninjutsu school in the area.  Trust me when I say, his skills with the katana, throwing weapons, and other ninja-things are quite legitimate.

Now, of course, you want to make sure that whatever school you do find isn’t a McDojo.  You may also have a very difficult time finding a ninjutsu dojo, period.  We’re still dealing with some holdover nonsense from the ninja craze of the 90s, and as such, a lot of places that were not exactly reputable failed miserably after the mystique wore off, and kind of lower public opinion of such dojos.  In the event that you can’t find a ninjutsu school in the area, I would look into a good style of karate, judo, Japanese jiu-jutsu, or even kendo/kenjutsu (if you can find it).

At the end of the day, any legitimate martial art is still worth studying, even if it isn’t exactly ninjutsu or ninja-oriented.  Fighting is fighting, and the sooner you start building your tool set, the better you’ll be!

Stealth

Hahahahahaha.

This is Ryu Hayabusa.

Throwing Pointy Objects

Oh yeah, this is going to be a good time.  Throwing sharp things is a stupid amount of fun, and I’ve burned more than one afternoon destroying a sheet of cheap plywood with my friends.  First off, let’s cover throwing stars, because ninja.

Stars are fun because, honestly, it doesn’t take much skill to get ‘em to stick.  You don’t have to worry about rotation, and you can just play around with different angles and styles of throwing.  If you want to graduate to something a bit more difficult, you can move on to knives!

Throwing knives is a little more difficult, but much more satisfying as a result when you get a good stick!

Finally, let’s throw some axes!  Ninja-like?  Probably not.  But if you put a sharp tomahawk in Ryu’s hands, do you think he would not figure out a way to kill someone at a distance with it?  Yeah.

So, in short, throwing sharp things is fun!  I’d recommend sticking to plywood and tree stumps, unless you’re looking for some trouble with the law.  Then again, I guess you could always try hunting with them?  =P

How to flip out like a ninja!

Sure, working out is cool and all, but you gotta put those muscles to work sometime!  Enter the Wall Flip!  One of Ryu’s signature moves, for a wall flip you run vertically up a wall, and flip backwards off of it!  This is an advanced tricking technique, so don’t just run out and try it without any training!  I’d recommend checking out The Skills of Faith to brush up on your regular parkour skills first (including wall runs), before starting to work on this!  Anyway, with that said, here’s an AWESOME video tutorial by Jesse LaFlair!

For a somewhat simpler wall-movement option, we also have the Tic-Tac!  This is a great technique for getting some quick height off a wall.  You can even chain tic-tacs in a corner like a pseudo-wall run to ascend a significant height (definitely one of Ryu’s moves).  Check it out:

The great thing about this tutorial is Jesse discusses the physics of the maneuver at the outset, which helps to build your tool set so you can understand things a bit better and build your own move set.  Enjoy!

 

So, that’s about it for The Skills of Ryu!  I’ll see you again on Thursday with The Mind of Ryu!  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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The Ryu Hayabusa Workout

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Ryu is an incredibly fit individual.  I mean, he’s a ninja, so he’d pretty much have to be, but he’s elite even for ninja standards.  We’re going to need a serious workout regimen to match his level of fitness, as well as a solid diet plan.  For the workout plan itself, we’re going pretty much straight body weight, both for ease of use at home, as well as developing proper body management principles.  For food, check out Macros and You! and The Fighter Diet.  Remember, workouts can make you strong and agile, but only food can give you the definition and musculature you want!

So, in addition to being strong, we also want to be agile.  Part of being agile is improving range of motion and keeping yourself limber.  You also want to be free of injury.  As such, you MUST warm up AND cool down properly after each workout.  For this purpose, I’ve put together a Warm Up Walkthrough to do before every workout, and a Cool Down Walkthrough to do AFTER every workout.  Make sure you include them!

Now that that’s all said and done, let’s get to the workout!

Equipment Needed:

Pull Up Bar (rings will be necessary, you can make these by attaching ropes with short lengths of PVC for handles, as seen in the Pull Up Progressions video)
Chairs (may be optional)

Strength Workouts:

Level 1 (Beginner):
5×3-10 Chair-Assisted Pull Ups
5×3-10 Kneeling Push Ups
5×3-10 Seated Rows
5×3-10 Wall Push Ups
5×3-10 Wall Squats
5×3-10 Calf Raises
5×10 second planks

Level 2 (Intermediate):
5×5-10 Pull Ups
5×5-10 Push Ups
5×5-10 Bodyweight Rows
5×5-10 Pike Push Ups
5×5-10 Bodyweight Squats
5×5-10 One-Legged Calf Raises
5×5-10 Second Hanging L-Sits
5×5-10 Second Tucked Front Lever

Level 3 (Advanced):
5×3-10 Uneven Pull Ups (see notes below for description)
5×5-10 Ring Dips
5×3-10 Uneven Bodyweight Rows
5×3-10 Handstand Push Ups
5×3-10 One-Legged Pistol Squats (place your hand on a wall or chair when first attempting these)
5×5-10 One-Legged Calf Raises (get your toes elevated on something to increase your range of motion)
5×5-10 Second Hanging L-Sits
5×10-20 Second Tucked Front Lever (start working on extending your legs to a full front lever)

Level 4 (Ninja):
5×3-10 One-Armed Pull Ups
5×5-10 Ring Dips (In L-Sit position)
5×3-10 One-Armed Bodyweight Rows
5×5-10 Handstand Push Ups (work towards one-armed for true Ninja status – see notes below)
5×5-10 One-Legged Pistol Squats
5×5-10 One-Legged Calf Raises (get your toes elevated on something to increase your range of motion)
5×10-20 Second Front Lever (work your way to fully extended legs)

Strength Notes:
Okay, so, this is basically the best possible utilization of your body weight for workout purposes.  We’re looking to build up to basically all one-limbed exercises to leverage your body weight to its fullest.  This is actually a circuit variation on what I’m doing to train for American Ninja Warrior.  As such, since it’s a circuit, all exercises are performed one set at a time, immediately following each other, for five circuits.  On the legs portion, feel free to swap in the plyometric portion of Big Ups once a week.

For the uneven pull ups and bodyweight rows, you want to put one hand at the normal position you would put it on, and the other hand lower, starting at an inch or two and gradually getting lower.  This puts more strain on the higher hand, and helps you build up to one-armed exercises.  I personally use my rock rings for this purpose on the pull ups, and thread a towel through one of my rings for the rows.  One armed handstand pushups are pretty ridiculous exercises, I’d personally recommend when you attempt them, you kick up into a corner so you have something to brace your feet between.

For bonus challenge mode, when you’ve got your full front lever down, start doing some rows while you’re up there.  Wheee!

Cardio

Level 1 (Beginner):
4 minute Tabata interval sprints

Level 2 (Intermediate):
4 minute Tabata interval sprints
5×3-5 burpees (without push up)

Level 3 (Advanced):
20-30 minute jog (optional)
4 minute Tabata interval sprints
4 minute Tabata interval burpees

Level 4 (Ninja):
20-30 minute jog (optional)
4 minute Tabata interval hill sprints
4 minute Tabata interval burpees (with push up)

Cardio Notes:
Super simple, super brutal cardio!  If you have eight minutes, you have time to do your full cardio workout, even at the Ninja level!  What are tabata intervals, you ask?  It’s a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocol developed by a Japanese doctor (fitting, eh?) to maximize anaerobic conditioning.  You perform an exercise as quickly as you can for twenty seconds, then rest for ten seconds.  You repeat that pattern eight times, for a total of four minutes.  The great thing is that it scales as you get fit.  You will always be gassed because you will always be doing the exercise as quickly as you can.  Also, if you see fit, you can swap in The Sheik Agility Workout for your sprints or burpees, as long as you still follow the Tabata protocol.

Obviously, the jogging portion is optional, as stated, but if you feel up to it I definitely advocate throwing it in.  Once you start to get in really good shape, you can go for a light jog on your rest days, for 20-30 minutes.

Schedule:

Day 1: Strength
Day 2: Cardio
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Strength
Day 5: Cardio
Day 6: Strength
Day 7: Rest

Schedule Notes:
Pretty straight forward schedule, as usual.  If you’re just starting out, feel free to take an extra rest day (I’d recommend day four or six).  Also, as stated above, feel free to go for a light jog on your rest days when you start feeling comfortable with it.

That’s it for Ryu’s workout!  It should give you something to work on.  If you get up to the “Ninja” level, feel free to video and send it in, I’ll feature you on the blog!  I’ll see you again on Monday, with The Skills of Ryu Hayabusa!  Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

 

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