Well I started Ninjutsu when I was 10 years old, and I never practiced any other form of martial art. I knew I wanted exclusively, Ninjutsu. But, when I graduated high school, I pretty much went directly into the military. I served in the Canadian military. My family is heavily involved in the military so it seemed like a good way to go, plus I would get more training related to martial arts, a great income, better retirement benefits, health insurance, education, all that stuff.
I started in 32 Service Battalion which was eventually disbanded. It was basically a supply operation. It was replaced with 4th Air Defence Regiment, which was a surface-to-air missile system mounted on an M113A armoured personnel carrier.
I was asked to teach my entire unit Ninjutsu, but at the time, I was not comfortable doing so, so I said no.
The Canadian Military has a self-defence system called Defendo, but it's absolutely terrible.
I was twice awarded a gold medal for the Warrior Program, which is a measure of physical fitness as well as combat skills such as firearms accuracy.
When I got out of the military, my skills were rounded out that would have never otherwise have been done. I was exposed to the world. I saw death up close. I saw politics at its worst. It jaded me a little bit. The kid I used to be had died, and I miss him. It had made me thick skinned, angry, relentless, stand-your-ground-ish, resolute. I am sometimes far too aggressive with people, and I know that.
I rounded out skills later with some training with the CIA, which was extremely valuable. When I was released from the military, I signed a declaration of secrecy, and here I am.
The takeaway to this is that I think it's important for modern practitioners of Ninjutsu to have real world combat experience. If not in the military, then beating people up (just kidding). But if you lead an early life plagued by bullies, that doesn't hurt. I have known people in our style that have never been hit by another human being in their entire life. How strange.