Ninjutsu: An Ancient Art of Stealth in the Modern World
What Is Ninjutsu?
Ninjutsu is a Japanese martial art originally used in espionage. Its techniques develop mental discipline, physical conditioning, armed and unarmed combat and, historically, concealment.
History Of Ninjutsu
Ninjutsu was developed in feudal Japan in the 15th century, though elements of the practice are much older. Original “ninjas,” or Shinobi, were spies, mercenaries, or assassins, and they were known for their guerilla fighting tactics. Like the Samurai of the same period, Shinobi were born into their positions, but their emphasis on stealth was the polar opposite of the Samurai code.
Shinobi skills, weapons, and tools were those that assisted them in their mercenary and espionage work. Ropes and grappling hooks, picks and the like were useful for infiltrating castles. Fighting techniques included both unarmed combat (taijutsu) and the use of weapons, especially darts, swords, daggers, and shurikens, a group of throwing weapons that includes the famous ninja stars. At one time Shinobi assassins were also skilled in the use of poisons and explosives, though contemporary Ninjutsu instruction does not include such training.
Perhaps most intriguing is the use of disguise in ancient Ninjutsu. While modern popular images of ninjas portray them as clad in black (and black clothing may have been useful for working in the dark), it is likely that early Shinobi actually dressed as civilians in order to blend in with those around them.
People have romanticized ninjas from the beginning of Ninjutsu, from Japanese legends that held ninjas could walk on water, to contemporary western images of ninjas as ghost-like warriors. Depictions of ninjas in western media range from the exotic to the humorous, from the black-clad figure of the night to the pizza-loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The recurring appearance of ninjas in film and other media ensures a steady stream of interest in learning this martial art.
Contemporary Ninjutsu Training
Contemporary Ninjutsu training adapts the techniques once employed by feudal spies to the fitness and personal development goals of modern practitioners. Those intrigued by the romantic image of the ninja warrior may lament that the training no longer includes horsemanship or knowledge of poisons. It does, however, incorporate self-defense skills, physical conditioning, and mental discipline. And don’t think it’s just for adults! Ninjutsu for kids can help young people develop self-control, manners, and mental focus.
Are Ninjutsu Classes In Your Future?
Though not as widely practiced in western countries as Karate or Taekwondo, Ninjutsu remains a popular martial art, perhaps because of the ninja figure’s romantic image. Ninjutsu schools exist in many countries, from Japan to Israel to Australia, and several national and global Ninjutsu federations and associations exist to host competitions, publicize the art, and help would-be students find classes that fit their needs.
Anyone interested in enhancing their personal fitness and mental acuity while participating in a venerable tradition should consider Ninjutsu. As with any martial arts instruction, a prospective student should seek out experienced instructors who focus on the whole student, including mental, physical, and philosophical aspects of training. Each Ninjutsu instructor is different; exploring multiple options ensures that you find a class that meets your goals.
Ninjutsu is the form of Japanese martial arts used by fighters most widely understood as “ninjas,” or traditionally known as the “shinobi.” The tactics the fighting styles employed by these martial arts fighters are unconventional in nature and were commonly used in espionage and guerilla warfare. In other words, Ninjutsu is a distinctly real world martial art form that was used in very real world situations involving sneak attacks, trickery and espionage.
Just about every weapon known to man is or has been employed in Ninjutsu training and mastery, from sticks, long swords and rapiers to “ninja stars,” maces, blowguns and other projectiles. Ninjutsu capitalizes on the element of surprise and skullduggery, unlike the other martial art forms, which pit two contestants against each other fairly in an arena. In fact, Ninjutsu is described as a non-competitive martial art and for good reason.
Learning Ninjutsu: Modern Applications
Although Ninjutsu is historically more of a guerrilla warfare fighting style, it has become very popular in martial art schools across the United States because the idea of “ninjas” has become so sensationalized by the portrayal of these Japanese fighters in movies. There isn’t a young boy on the planet that wouldn’t jump at the chance to dress in the traditional Ninjutsu uniform and take on an army of opponents using a cool diversity of weaponry, which he deftly pulls from the folds of his loose sleeves.
And so, Ninjutsu classes are most commonly taught as a means of exercise, especially for younger children, to help build confidence and even as a means of self-defense (without the weapons). During the traditional Ninjutsu classes, students can expect to learn the 18 composite disciplines, which include, amongst many others, unarmed combat, espionage, spiritual refinement and even geography and weather!
Links of Interest
To learn more about Ninjutsu, check out the links coming soon below:
Ninjutsu Training School
Ninjutsu for Kids
18 Skills of Ninjutsu
Local Ninjutsu School
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