Each and every practitioner must have an independent training kernel. This is the name we give the ability and the habit of training alone, without an instructor or a training group.
The independent training kernel exercises every element in the AKBAN method: fitness, strength, speed, flexibility and technical martial abilities. It is the ongoing foundation of Budo training and physical health.
Many types of training necessitate corrections by an instructor, or feedback from a fellow practitioner only at the beginning. Running is the classic example. After an initial preparation period, practitioners can run alone. Training alone builds up basic abilities and body strength and enables the group to deal with technical problems, without needing to deal with body maintenance. It is for this reason; all the AKBAN veterans have an independent training kernel. At Ninjutsu sessions we seldom deal with fitness, it is a waste of the instructor's time; it should be done at home.
Independent training reminds the practitioner that our fighting method is not military, and is not meant to create soldiers who follow orders. On the contrary, warriors are not necessarily soldiers; trainees do not need to obey orders. They are individuals who in certain cases obey others by choice. Individualism is achieved by independent action and private thinking.
Independent training is necessary in order not to be dependent on participating in a group. There are periods when training as a group is not possible. During such a period, the independent training kernel is just that, a kernel that maintains physical readiness and strength. That habit, in time, will make returning to group training a lot easier.
Independent training can develop many technical abilities and is the basis upon which many warriors have built their technique. When training alone without instructions from the outside, attention is more easily drawn in to an inner awareness of how the body executes movements. This kind of attention will always be rewarded with an ever evolving body-capability
A tiny habit grows over time and delivers many fruits, not only fitness but also a better fighting technique.