The Ninja I photographed has been training in various martial arts since the age of five and has Black Belts in Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Jiujitsu, Vovinam (Vietnam), Tai Chi and Kickboxing. He also trained in China for quite a while. And very Ninja like, he prefers to stay anonymous! I had been planning this shoot for quite a while and was surprised that someone with such martial arts credentials appeared to be almost shy when we first met. But he instantly opened up when we got talking about styles, movement, martial arts and as he said once he put his Ninja outfit on (that he has only worn twice including our shoot) he turns into another person.
“My Ninja” told me some things I found very interesting… He says that he can get hit very hard on the back and even in the neck and feel nothing. He does not bruise. He thinks it’s a mental thing and that his muscles are probably just very dense. Saying that he never does weights nor does he take any form of supplements. But he’s probably one of the strongest guys I have met so far. Even though he says he’s not happy with his physique at the moment (yep, benchmarks vary) he looks like he’s made out of muscle and nothing else. He claims he can climb pretty much anything and after seeing him climb up posts, beams and walls in a matter of seconds, I am sure he can. But beneath all this almost superhuman strength is a very calm, collected and likeable guy who does not boast in any way about his abilities. What I thought very funny is that apparently he is ticklish as hell – there goes your weapon against a Ninja!
Knowing about his love for climbing things I found a location where we had plenty of room to do so. And climb he did, and fast. But for the moment my favorite shots from this session are the “hovering in the shadow” ones. It reminds me of a cat ready to pounce on it’s prey. Relaxed yet ready to strike in a split second and disappear in the shadows.
Technically this was probably the most difficult shoot so far. What I learned is that I need to refine my lighting at night time especially when working in a hangar full of stuff that keeps reflecting light everywhere… I would have been in need of substractors, smaller lightsources and more hands on set. So most likely we will go back and do some more… like running walls, back flips and just more Ninja stuff…. it’s endless and so much fun!