Every little boy dreams of one day becoming a ninja – and this martial arts nut has seen his dream come true.
Jake Sharpstone, 48, of Newmarket Road in Brighton, has just returned from a trip to Japan where he received the highest possible rank in Ninjutsu – the ancient form of Japanese self-defence used by ninjas.
He returned to Sussex two weeks ago having been awarded the ranking of ‘15th Dan’ and is thought to be one of only 50 people worldwide to share the accolade.
- Hurricane to bring hot weather in its tail
- It’s relief on the railways
- Pier beer is on sale now
- Beauty queen swaps gown for car boot
- Commercial Feature: Join the World's Biggest Coffee Morning with Macmillan
Mr Sharpstone began martial arts training in Judo in 1972 before practicing Ninjutsu in Brighton in 1989.
He said: “I received the 15th Dan from the Grandmaster Maasaki Hatsumi, who is the head of a martial art organisation called the Bujinkan.
“Grandmaster Hatsumi is heir and 34th grandmaster in an unbroken martial art lineage dating back over 900 years. He is very highly thought of and recently received a reward of recognition from the Japanese Emperor Bunka-kunshô.
“I had only recently been awarded 14th Dan when I went to Japan so I was a little shocked when one of Hatsumi’s top students, Nagato Sensei, announced he was going to recommend me for 15th Dan. It’s a great honour and I’m very proud.”
Mr Sharpstone, who runs an efficient LED lighting firm and runs the Bujinkan Brighton Dojo Ninjutsu club, said students learn “subtle but effective” techniques that enable them to overcome bigger, stronger and multiple opponents without requiring strength or power.
Anything from falling, leaping and throwing to mastering a variety of weapons is covered on the hard road to becoming a true ninja.
He added: “We learn techniques demonstrated by the grandmaster in a careful and relaxed manner so they become absorbed into our bodies and become natural.
“This is the best way to learn as bypassing the mind speeds up the response to danger and defence becomes as natural as walking or talking.
“But most important is to have a good heart which benefits mankind.”
For more information on Ninjutsu in Brighton visit www.bujinkan-brighton.co.uk.