A mild-mannered lighting technician from Britain has emerged from the shadows and become a fully qualified – NINJA.
Deadly Jake Sharpstone, 48, is one of only 50 people in the world to receive the highest possible honour in Ninjutsu.
He was awarded the rank of 15th Dan – the top level of competency – in a special ceremony in Japan last month.
Jake is now a master of the ancient Japanese martial art used by the famous Ninja warriors and assassins.
But despite his super tough ability he is so mild mannered his official Ninja name is “Gentile Dragon”.
By day Jake runs an LED lighting firm in his home city of Brighton, West Sussex.
But he also runs the city’s only martial arts dojo dedicated to the mysterious martial art, which prides secrecy and ingenuity above strength and brawn.
Jake said: “Basically, the Ninja in Japan were used for espionage because Samurai had a strict codes of conduct, called Bushido, that to break meant dishonour.
“They were not allowed to be sneaky and that’s why ninjas were employed to undertake espionage and spying, as well as assassination – all things forbidden by Bushido.
“Part of Ninjutsu is secrecy. It would not be very secret of me to walk through the streets of Brighton covered head-to-toe in black – I wouldn’t be very secretive then.
“But if I had to undertake a mission at night, then that’s when the suits, and darkened face paints, come into play.”
Jake’s obsession with martial arts began when he was just 11 years old, and he took up Ninjutsu in 1989.
Every day he trains with a number of different weapons, including shuriken throwing stars, in a bid to hone his already-impressive abilities.
Jake said: “Ninjutsu is an active martial art, so we don’t have competitions. When we train we’re training for real, with real weapons.
“It’s incredibly dangerous, but the discipline teaches you to know exactly how to handle every situation, and most importantly keep safe.”
Married Jake received his honour from Grandmaster Maasaki Hatsumi, head of the Bunjinkan form of Ninjutsu.
As part of his training, Jake received a warrior name.
He said: “Everybody else has warrior names that translate as ‘Fierce Dragon’ or ‘Blazing Dragon.’
“I guess I’m a bit too much of an Englishman, because my name means ‘Gentile Dragon.'”
Jake splits his time between running an energy-efficient LED lighting firm and teaching at his Bujinkan Brighton Dojo Ninjutsu club.
He teaches students anything from falling, leaping and throwing to mastering a variety of weapons including swords, sharp chains and foot spikes.
Jake added: “We learn techniques demonstrated by the grandmaster in a careful and relaxed manner so they become absorbed into our bodies and become natural.
“This is the best way to learn as bypassing the mind speeds up the response to danger and defence becomes as natural as walking or talking.
“But most important is to have a good heart which benefits mankind.”