Relic Restored and Revitalized

Are you upgrading when you take a small obscure military specialty from a bygone age and give it a new role improving the lives of a new century of beneficiaries? Or is it a desecration of the historic, an affront to the spirits of those who died fighting to hold their homeland free from invading occupiers?

Fortino Napoleanico, south of Ancona on the Adriatic Sea coast, was originally built in the early 1800s as a small fortress. As part of Napoleon’s empire, the fort and its troops blocked British sailors from coming ashore to a spring to replenish freshwater supplies on their ships in ongoing war between France and Britain.

Long after that war, the fort was converted to a seaside hotel. Rooms that housed French troops, supplies, and gunpowder now serve those seeking sun and relaxation. If the remote fort had been restored as a museum, it may have attracted a few Italian tourists. Upgraded as it is now, the Fortino serves a far larger population who enjoy gourmet Italian cuisine, luxurious rooms, rest, rejuvenation, and the beautiful beach at the former fortress. Rumiko and I stayed there for awhile this summer during a visit to Italy.


Is it possible that some might have opposed the conversion to hotel, preferring to keep the fort as a museum piece? Doubtless there were such voices. But visionaries prevailed. A relic became a resort.

I faced a similar decision with my martial art years ago. I could have kept the art in museum preservation and served a tiny group of people who might have enjoyed imitating 1500s Japanese espionage and combat. That would have been a fun hobby, but would have provided very little benefit for my community and other communities around the world.

Only by upgrading the obscure art of the ninja intelligence gatherers of Iga in feudal Japan did the art come to benefit people in the 21st century world community.

To restore the hotel to museum condition, it would take only a few cosmetic tweaks and the fortress would be back. Similarly with our martial art, we could easily make a few minor changes as to how aggressors attack in training, and we would be back to 16th century Japan. The Fortino and To-Shin Do ninja taijutsu are identical in that both still hold their original structure, but now serve far more people with far more benefits thanks to a few strategic upgrades.

My vote is obviously to revitalize the relic so that it serves far more people in many new ways, without removing any of the core essential qualities that brought it into life in the first place.

10 comments to “Relic Restored and Revitalized”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.
  1. Hello Mr. Hayes,

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated your last two blog posts.

    I have never seen the reason & importance for creating To Shin do explained more clearly or eloquently.
    Everyday at our dojo we see the power of To Shin do and the great joy and benefit it brings to lives of others including our own.
    And I especially enjoy it when I am able to toss the guys around like rag dolls!

    The other post Another Day at Work was inspirational & thought provoking.
    What a beautiful picture of a beautiful place and people, it made me smile inside and out.

    Happy Birthday a day early

    May it be as spectacular a day as any other!
    Look forward to seeing you both at Festival


  2. An Shu,
    Once again, a timely and excellent article.
    Thank you!!
    Leslie Tom

  3. Nice Article. Great to see you and Mrs. Hayes are doing well. BTW – Happy Birthday Sir.

    God bless,

    Matt & Vicki Woodard

  4. Really enjoyed your recent posts An-Shu. Especially how they give us something to take into our own lives.

    For example this post. It reminds me of the day of choosing of restoring and revitalizing my life from a life in the IT world 12 hour days and on call to teaching, weekends enjoy with my wife and family.

    What is also amazing, is have noticed how your posts, your comments, become lessons, that through experiences, bring out incredible potential.

    Thank you An-Shu for this, from the barn dojo now…and tomorrow,,,looking forward to sharing a part of your journey….each moment of Here….Now …Wow ….,moments.

    All the best to you and family…along with wishes for a memorable Happy Birthday, where you can enjoy reflecting on those times of revitalizing….and the wonders that lay ahead!


  5. Thank you for yet another great thought provoking and inspiring post.

    I agree that modern worth, efficiency and beauty of a relic of the past is dependant of the respect we have for it’s original function and intention. You have undoubtedly done the spirits of those from ages past (and present) a great justice by doing what you have with To-Shin Do, and you have mine and I’m sure many others endless thanks and respect for it. Thanks again for the gifts you continue to give everyone.

    All the best for an even brighter future-

    Happy 60th Birthday and Kanreki!

    = )

    Daniel L Dunn
    SLC, UT

  6. Today I came across a website offering insight in the work of Darwin.
    This is a small part of the introduction…

    “We often think of scientific ideas, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, as fixed notions that are accepted as finished. In fact, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species evolved over the course of several editions he wrote, edited, and updated during his lifetime. The first English edition was approximately 150,000 words and the sixth is a much larger 190,000 words. In the changes are refinements and shifts in ideas — whether increasing the weight of a statement, adding details, or even a change in the idea itself……”

    Right under the introduction, the complete work is shown, animated with progression in time and editions….
    Couldn’t help myself thinking about seeing this same animation of our ninja tradition over the centuries.
    Wouldn’t it be saddening to see that the animation wasn’t “animated”?
    What would a lineage be without the mark of the lineage successor or branch leader?
    Thank you An-Shu for keeping our art evolving and UP to date!

    for the curious ones, here is the link

  7. steve siverling says: -#1


    This is what some of the people in Japan are missing. I’ve looked at other styles and they are living in the past.

  8. What clear and sensible words!

    I think, really, it is was middle span of years, encompassing the 1990’s, in which a lot of folks were out of sync, as far as general Ninjutsu training was concerned. I first met Mr. Hayes in 1984. I attest that his message then was not much different than what I can gather it is today; this training is about making yourself more effective!

  9. Awesome post, I really enjoy the insight in them!

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published.