The Discovery Channel TV show "MythBusters" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythBusters) is doing an entire episode on fact vs. fiction about "the Ninja", and they got in touch with me for information (having done enough research to realize that my teacher in Japan, Masaaki Hatsumi, is the inheritor of the last known historic ninjutsu traditions). I shot three segments with them last Friday; was able to set them straight on a lot of things, though I don't know how much will get used that wasn't actually in the filmed segments. (They're also doing a lot of other stuff regarding "ninja gadgetry" that I'm not involved with.)Probably the most dramatic is going to be where they explore the myth (?) that shuko hand claws can stop a sword cut.
None of my folks were available at the time they wanted to shoot it (10 AM), but fortunately Joel Elliott, instructor for the Sacramento dojo came out to help. It really wouldn't have been the same without him, as I needed someone who really knew his way around a sword to show the realism of it. And fortunately I was able to first explain on-camera the tactics that allow you to do something like this. They were surprised to find that we were going to be actually moving around, jockeying for position, etc.
Insurers insisted we use a mogito -- steel blade but not sharpened, which could still be really nasty if it hits you. They also wanted me to wear a helmet, but I declined and signed a release for that.Then we just did it. Cold, no rehearsal with each other beforehand; and Joel was giving me such a good "real fight" feeling that it didn't even occur to me to just stop the sword -- I kept flowing and did the sort of thing I would have had it been a real situation and "killed" him. We did about 20 takes of that, all with the same result, as they wanted to get it from different angles.
Then they said they wanted to have one of their crew try to get me with the sword. Much to my surprise it turned out to be Kari Byron. Again, we did it cold (but from a stationary start, and I didn't "kill" her), though I did first show her how to "get the distance" by placing the sword on my head in the "finished" position and then taking a step back. We did about ten or 12 takes on that one, and what she lacked in form and technique she made up for in sincerity as she tried to split my skull.
In the afternoon we filmed some other stuff, starting with Adam & Jamie coming in and observing a class in session for a while, then asking me some questions, and finally Adam wanting to try some stuff out. I invited him to play with the Kukishin ryu kata we were working on, but he said he'd rather just attack me and try to kick my @$$ (his own words) and see what happened. The results were predictable.I should have the air date in about a week; right now it looks like sometime in April.
I'll keep you posted.