It’s time for the exciting conclusion to my origin story! We’ve seen our young hero embrace the impossible through karate, face the darkness within during high school, experience a real ninja rebirth, struggle to transform his inner victim into a real super hero with powers, and then emerge from his cocoon of self-destruction. In this final installment, we’ll explore how you too can create your own ninja super hero – the best version of yourself – by using exercise to train your body-mind.
The Inner Ninja: Your Very Own Super Hero
All the ninja had to work with to survive and thrive in a beautiful yet harsh mountain climate of Japan was the natural elements: earth, air, water, wind, fire, and metal. And each other. In other words, they used what they had – all of it – to create what mattered to them most. That is the way of the ninja, and if you’re read all 5 parts of my origin story, perhaps it’s your destiny too.
To follow the ninja path path and create your own fitness ninja super hero, you’ll need to do the same and make use of everything you’ve got: your history, memories, emotions, body, creativity, pain, trauma, joy, suffering, wisdom, knowledge, lunacy, reason, imagination, etc.
And the best way to use everything you’ve got and to develop yourself internally and externally is through conscious movement and Exercise Alchemy® – to TrainDeep – to take ownership over your body, then your mind, and then your life–all through movement and self-exploration. This is precisely how I transformed myself from a self-destructive victim to a teacher, healer, and guide for my students -I’m speaking from 14 years of coaching others to greatness, as well as 33 years of guiding myself!
The Ultimate Obstacle
Having had the privilege of training all kinds of people of all ages with all different skills from all walks of life, I’ve noticed that the number one challenge for all people is one and the same: self-imposed limitations.
And while these limitation can take all kinds of shapes and sizes, they exert their power through a very powerful mechanism – the personal narrative – the stories we all tell ourselves about who we are and what we’re actually capable of.
“I’ve never been able to do a pull-up/push-up/_(insert any exercise or fitness goal)_? I’ll never be able to run a mile under 6minutes? My body is always going to ache, that’s what it means to get old! I’m a computer programmer, not an athlete. I’m clumsy. I’m lazy. Why can’t getting in shape be easy? I’m just not an athlete. I’ll always be fat. I’ve always been a loser. It’s too hard to figure out what I should eat.”
Just some of the examples of the horrible stories that people tell themselves, over and over again like a broken record. I don’t care who you are and how much money you pay your personal trainer, if you don’t transform these stories, your fucked. In the butt.
The problem isn’t that we tell ourselves stories, the problem is that we’ve forgotten we’re doing it. And since we don’t even realize we do it, most of us have defaulted to social and familial programming that allows us to tell dis-empowering stories about ourselves.
These are the real enemies on the path to ninja greatness, and although they appear to be inside of you, they are actually foreign – the residue of past trauma, pain, abuse from teachers, and lies that you were fed as a child. These are the stories that feed the “inner victim”, and these are the stories that must be transformed to awaken the “inner ninja”- you’re very own super hero.
It should be noted that these stories can’t be transformed by being ignored, or artificially super imposing a new story on top of them. Rather, you have to own the story completely, and then authentically re-frame that story to find more meaning, power, and purpose in it.
Doing the Unpossible
A fitness ninja uses exercise – adversity – to have a direct experience of Exercise Alchemy©– transforming from someone who “can’t” to someone who “just did”. And this experience of doing the impossible provides an opportunity to transform one’s personal narrative from victim to super hero! I mean, if you just did something that was previously physically impossible, what other things (physical, mental, or spiritual) do you currently think are impossible but actually are totally doable? What would you really do with your life if you could pick any dream and live it completely and successfully? Because that’s the final graduation test to become a real fitness ninja master– did you live your dream with reckless abandon, and allow your life and legacy to become a masterpiece?
This is the core of using movement for empowerment; it doesn’t just make you physically more powerful, but rather more powerful in every aspect of your life. So yes, even if you’re “just a computer programmer”, you’ll be an even better programmer if you are totally empowered physically, mentally, and spiritually–guaranteed.
Besides, becoming empowered through movement is your ancestral birth rite – so claim it as such! Because no matter who you are or how you identify yourself, you come from a long, unbroken chain of survivors who used movement to thrive, not look good in a bikini. And you better believe they had to use adversity to forge a path to greatness – just so you could be gifted your life.
What Exactly is a Fitness Ninja?
Someone who looks fear dead in the eye… and then invites it to dance.
It’s someone who has taken all the experiences of their life, the good, the bad, the painful (esp. the painful) and really looked at them, assimilated them, and learned from them. Anyone who is dedicated to using what they’ve learned to achieve greatness by serving others. They’ve done “the work” on themselves, and know themselves very well. And this knowing fills them with love, so much so that anyone in their orbit feels love radiating from them.
Oh, and of course there a total bad ass, which means they’ve developed their body-mind into a powerful force of nature and can see, be, and do things that most mortals cannot even imagine is possible 🙂
5 Archetypal Ninja Super Powers
Being a ninja is a path, a spiritual practice, a process, an adventure, not a destination. Everyone living is on the “adventure of a lifetime”, and the fitness ninja is dedicated to enjoying, discovering, and harnessing that adventure to make the world and their body-mind a more beautiful better place to be.
There are 5 archetypal aspects of a being a real life Fitness Ninja that you must TrainDeep and claim in order to become a fully realized fitness ninja master.
Personal Hero- the best version of yourself physically, mentally, & spiritually. Live your legend and save the world!
We all love super heroes and adventure because it speaks directly to our daily existence; every waking moment we have the freedom to choose who we are and what we will do with our precious time. A ninja lives their personal legend by honoring the gifts they’ve been given, having the discipline to continually develop their gifts, and the compassion to use their gifts to serve others i.e. “save the world”.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”-Helen Keller
Peaceful Warrior- one who protects and fights for what they love and hold sacred. Freedom fighter. A conscious rebel who recognizes that life’s ultimate opponents come from with-in.
The line between good and evil runs right through the heart of every single human being. You decide your destiny, and it take warrior discipline, perseverance, and tenacity as well as love, peace, and humility to realize it. Life is both a battle and an intense make-out session with God; develop yourself completely so you spontaneously know what is called for in the exact moment.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Ian Maclaren
Highly Skilled Jack of All Trades- one who trains to become highly resourceful, radically self-reliant, and combines all useful knowledge to achieve their goals.
We live in a highly specialized culture, where there are many “experts” who know a ton about a single topic but there are very few people who know a little bit about many topics. The problem is that when you over invest in just a single perspective, it becomes a limiting bias i.e. “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” So while the Jack of all trades doesn’t master any one trade, he masters the thing that is common to all of them: himself/herself. In other words, jack of all trades, master of ONE – oneself.
Of course, it’s important to zoom in and understand the small, and it’s just as important to zoom out and see the whole picture. Most important is to know which is called for in a specific situation. The guitar, jumping rope, weapons training, poetry, graphic design, engineering – anything that requires skill can become a ninja art if you approach it as such.
“Those who love wisdom must investigate many things.” Heraclitus
Sage- someone with profound wisdom and perseveres in any situation by using adversity as a catalyst for greatness, allowing them to overcome all obstacles, barriers, and boundaries.
I know, that’s a high bar to reach. Again, its the journey, not the destination, and becoming as powerful as a sage is a worthy goal to aspire to, even if we never quite get there.
“Ownership of property is only an artificial construct…You don’t even own your body. Ultimate ownership would mean total control… You live in a borrowed shell. Why not seek the truth that goes beyond the body?” ~ Den Ming-Dao
Creator & Cosmic Force- Your inner power, the creative force that flows through you, allowing you to create what matters most to you in your life.
More than anything, a fitness ninja is someone who takes total responsibility for what they are creating for themselves and others around them, each and every moment of life. Through physical-mental-spiritual training, the fitness ninja develops themselves into a powerful creative force of nature and make the world a more beautiful place for all people in it.
“Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” Brenda Ueland
The Adventure of a Lifetime
Yup, you read it here first. You’re a fitness ninja, and the world is counting on you to save it, or at least make it more beautiful, healthy, and fun for your tribe.
Were you born to be a ninja super hero? If you read this and got even the slightest bit excited, or scared, or ninja butterflies in your belly, than I’d say the answer is a definite MAYBE! Because who the hell am I to decide for you.
And if you realize you are on the ninja path, consider downloading my free e-book “The Art of Ninja”.
I hope you enjoyed reading my origin story, and I’d love to hear yours! Please share it in the comments. How does it feel to hear that you have the power to make a difference by training yourself and working out? Does that seem realistic, even possible to you? What is your origin story? Have you ever had a defining moment in life that gave you a new experience of who you actually are, or any experience that allowed you to re-define your personal narrative?
I dare you to share your thoughts below!
As always, TrainDeep.
Jonathan ~ Fitness Ninja Master
Photo: Julieta Cervantes
Graphic Design: Pixel Mobb