Iran’s kunoichi

Photo-journalism in The Guardian today: Iran’s female ninja (obviously that’s kunoichi on the Fudebakublog because we are so… so… into all that stuff. Yeah.)

Actually The Atlantic has a slightly fuller set of the photos taken by Caren Fixou, the Reuters photographer who somehow located and infiltrated the secret ninja kunoichi lair.

Forgotten fashion

Furry claw boot

An illustration of a furry claw boot. And the number 7.

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a furry claw boot.

I found this in some papers recently — it seems that at some stage this was going to be footwear number 7 in Fudebakudo’s Martial Fashion (part 2) image. When that got to final draft, the furry claw boot had been replaced with the altogether more authentic “ninja tabi with wall-running sucker cups.”

The existence of such a rejected illustration reminded me of at least three things going on here: the sophisticated editorial process that goes on behind the scenes, the artistic and scholarly rigour that accompanies every such decision, and an exceptionally finely-tuned train of thought that can arrive at furry claw boots as a viable candidate for a martial arts shoe* in the first place. Each of these remarkable aspects of the creation of Fudebakudo will continue to remain — for everyone’s benefit — unseen. This illustration of a furry claw boot is a rare glimpse behind the curtain.

* Having said that, don’t be surprised if furry claw boots start turning up in MMA cage fights soon. After all, they are arguably more martial than Lycra**

** Spandex for American readers

Three sages

The Three Sages

Adam Smith, father of capitalism and by implication a lot of dubious grading fees

Time for another new image in the gallery: this time, The Three Sages of the Age of Enlightenment, finally acknowledging the influence of Western thought on the development of the martial arts. Specifically: knocking people down, laying mats, and charging for the paperwork. Given that this is fundamentally the whole of judo and aikido in a nutshell, it’s surprising that portraits of these three do not adorn more dojo walls.

This cartoon was drawn for the current issue of MAI magazine.