See the logo above? Nothing too weird, right? I mean it's perhaps a little unusual to see a ninja dude wearing a BJJ belt but the usual words+kanji+triangular G is fairly commonplace - stuff you see in a zillion other logos out there. But oh no, the ninjutsu commuity went ballistic at the sight of it. Here's the story...
I've known Simon Yeo for a number of years. He teaches both Bujinkan Ninjutsu (aka Tai jutsu) and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I interviewed him at length about his background and attended a ninjutsu seminar. On the surface it is a very unusual pairing of martial arts but maybe not so if you consider that they share many of the same roots and principles of technique.
Anyway, cut a long story short, Simon asked me to design his academy logo and he was very very specific about how it looked. I state this because it is important when you read how the ninjutsu community reacted once he published my finished artwork on his Facebook wall (Simon has almost 5,000 followers on his Facebook page).
This is my original first draft ninja character:
As you can see, he evolved a heck of a lot from this stage to the logo above. At one point I must confess I nearly gave up at the frustration of designing something original. Ninja characters, as you can imagine, are one of the most iconic figures in martial arts folklore. The ninja image - or rather the movie portrayal version of the ninja is so ubiquitous, that it is very hard to design something reasonably authentic and yet original. Well, Simon was very pleased with the final result so I must have done something okay.
Literally hundreds of people had their say once Simon published the logo. Here are a few choice comments from some of his 5,000 Facebook followers (names of authors removed):
Mate seriously - imagine the type of person that is going to be attracted by a cartoon 'Ninja' - they are not the people that we in MA should be trying to attract. You may as well put a picture of Batman up in that case.. Plus you are not o...ffering to train people to be 'Ninjas' whatever that is these days - certainly if you saw this logo online somewhere else in the world you would be pointing the finger at it and pour scourning them.. Don't confuse being cool with doing the right thing..
she looks very angry, maybe its the Burkha?
This is my opinion and I'm a professional artist by trade, so please don't take this the wrong way. I think the Ninja character diminishes Ninpo Taijutsu to something not to be taken seriously. I would definitely have Ninpo Taijutsu on the other side of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for clarity and balance.
take the damn catoony ninja off.
This logo is confusing. Are you a Brazilian Jujitsu dojo or a Ninja? If you teach both then put the word Ninjustu or Budo Taijutsu on the right side to tell people that you do both. Otherwise make up your mind
Any chance you can make the ninja a little chubbier for realism? Otherwise I like it.
I think it is not very professional looking or well balanced.
I don't like it I think it diminished budo taijutsu and ninpo back to the film nonsense of the eighties and of course beyond to kabuki representations of the ninja. This is not in my opinion BUJIN but a popularisation too far. It is however very well done.
There were also a ton of nice comments too, it's not just me revelling in the hate :D
Here is Simon's official word on the logo:
"This logo is for the guys in Ireland I am helping set up a BJJ school for. It indicates my background while having some classic elements of BJJ. The G the pose and the belt are indicative of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. This will be used for the schools that only teach BJJ. I have another version that that I will use personally for my club, where I teach both arts."