Kuij literally translates as “nine letter-words”. The reference comes from a nine-word sentence of Chinese language origin that summons up the ninja’s powers to deal with obstacles and opposition. I describe it in my book Ninja Vol 3, Warrior Path of Togakure.This term is often used as a catch-all for the ninja’s warrior protector spirit practice, though there is a lot more to the practice than just those nine words themselves.
Part of the bigger teaching is an imaginary symbolic 4-sided, 4-walled- 4-doored fortress palace and geographical layout known as a mandala. What if your life in operation were like that fortress palace? What if you had different types of response strategies for handling different kinds of situations that could rise up to challenge you?
The four parts or wings or doors of the fortress can be interpreted as four specific roles you might take in accomplishing what you need. Think of this as four roles to play, four types of identity you might take in order to be sure that all the angles are handled most effectively.
Here’s an example of how this can work. When I counsel my friends who run professional martial arts schools, I often refer to this mandala idea, and urge friends to see all the roles that need to be taken to drive a professional school to success in serving the community. Most successful businesses need four key players to get four types of job done. The four kinds of roles to be carried out – in a “4 W” format – include:
1. Whip-cracker – is the person who oversees daily operation and makes sure that everything gets done and done quickly and effectively, with an emphasis on urgency and accuracy. In a professional martial arts school we call this the office manager or the administrator.
2. Warrior – is the person who does the production work to provide the service or build the product or deliver the goods. In a professional martial arts school we call this the instructor
3. Wonderer – is the person who comes up with the idea and application and designs the product or service in a fashion that will serve the client’s needs in the best possible way. In a professional martial arts school we call this the conceptualizer or designer, or maybe the research and development role.
4. Welcomer – is the person who attracts and draws in the clients with effective communication of the benefits of the product or service. In a professional martial arts school we call this the marketer or the salesperson.
Sure, you can do it without one of the four, but that takes a lot of hard lopsided work and a lot of luck. Do you want to base your success on a program of over-working and counting on luck? No, me neither.
In a brand new school, these four roles may be handled by two people or even a single individual. A new business is a lot of work in the beginning. Gather allies and become a fortress, and you have a better chance of being the victor in that campaign.