The main character
Nin (忍) is
composed of two greater characters. The upper character ha (刃) means
"edge of the sword", and the lower character kokoro (心) means "heart" or
"soul". The character 刀 means "sword" or "blade," the character 刃
means "edge of the sword." Together they mean "stealth", "secretness",
"endurance", "perseverance", and "patience".
Jutsu (術 ) means "art" or "technique".Ninjutsu sometimes used
interchangeably with the term ninpō
Pō (法) meaning "knowledge", "principle" when found with the prefix "nin"
carries the meaning of ninja arts, higher order of ninjutsu. A female ninja
is called kunoichi.The popular view is that ninjutsu is only about secrecy
and stealth. However, practitioners of this knowledge utilize it to endure
all of life's hardships
-"School of Endurance Persevererance and Forebearance" Early History
the origins of the art to En No Gyoja, a warrior monk who set up a training
camp in the Togakure mountain range. The sect existed in isolation for 500
years until 1165, when Daisuke Nishina, a clan member, ran away to the Iga
province. There he came under the tutorage of Kain Boshi, a mystic warrior
and monk, which greatly influenced his training, adding esoteric
philosophies to his fighting and tactical guerrilla skills.
Ninjas and Samurai
In its original form,
the art was geared to the needs of the assassin, with a large emphasis on
concealment, infiltration, and spying. Opportunities for employment among
the ninja peaked during medieval times, when warring factions became better
organized and the need for unconventional battle tactics became vital to
It is a widely held misconception that the ninja were sworn enemies of the
samurai. In fact, many were also samurai who took on assassination jobs or
gathered intelligence for opposing samurai clans as a way to raise their
status and financial wealth. They actually share many of the same techniques
for fighting. However, there were many battles between them, largely
instigated by warlords who had gathered samurai militia and felt threatened
by the ninja's expertise in destabilizing power bases.
who would not serve the Samurai, fled to the barren, cold, mountainous
regions of Iga and Koga. There they trained in the arts of war. It is said
that their art is based upon a great Chinese military text written by a
general named Sun Tzu,
The Art of War. Ninjutsu was
developed by groups of people mainly from the Iga Province and Kōga, Shiga
of Japan.Throughout history the shinobi have been seen as assassins, scouts
and spies. They are mainly noted for their use of stealth and deception.
They have been associated in the public imagination with activities that are
considered criminal by modern standards.
Teaching and Training
Throughout history many different
schools (ryū) have taught their unique versions of ninjutsu. An example of
these is the
Togakure-ryū. This ryū
was developed after a defeated samurai warrior called Daisuke Togakure
escaped to the region of Iga. Later he came in contact with the warrior-monk
Kain Doshi who taught him a new way of viewing life and the means of
Ninjutsu began more than 800
years ago among the ninja people living in Japan. The warrior class which
ruled Japan at the time were called
They controlled the land and it's people. Their lord, the
was the only person the Samurai was answerable to. The ordinary peasant
served the warriors every whim. A peasant could never strike a Samurai. If
he did, it would mean his life.
Over the centuries the ninja
(word meaning 'stealers-in') trained from the cradle to the grave in every
known martial art. Their forte was espionage and assassination, by any means
possible. But their training also taught them to reach spiritual heights, by
pushing their bodies and minds to limits far beyond that of normal human
Training for a ninja began
almost as soon as he could walk. Childhood games were designed to inculcate
expertise in unarmed combat, swordwork, weaponry, camouflage, escape and
evasion. In time, the ninja warriors came to be feared throughout Japan.
Even the mighty Samurai looked over his shoulder if a ninja was known to be
in the area.
Over the centuries, while
ninjutsu was being practiced in secrecy, no one knew anything about the art
except the ninjas themselves. When Japan emerged into the modern era, and
feudalism collapsed, the ninja were absorbed into Japan's secret service and
special services groups.
The martial arts boom of the
1970's saw two men searching for something different. Doron Navon and
Stephen Hayes found a ninjutsu headmaster living in Japan who came from an
unbroken line of ninja instructors dating back almost 800 years. The art was
then brought to the western World.
When speaking of Ninja, the
image of a black clad assassin disappearing in a cloud of smoke is what
comes to mind. This distortion has nothing to do with the reality of
studying Ninjutsu, or "Ninpo" in its highest order. Ninpo is a traditional
Japanese bujutsu martial art with a rich and viable history that stretches
back over ten centuries.
Developed as a
highly illegal counterculture to the ruling samurai warrior class, Ninpo
still flourishes today under the direct guidance of Dr.
grandmaster of the Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu tradition and eight other budo
traditions. Dr. Hatsumi is the last variable true Ninja grandmaster having a
direct line of decent from feudal Japan.
Ninjutsu was developed as a
collection of fundamental survivalist techniques in the warring state of
feudal Japan. The ninja clans used their art to ensure their survival in a
time of violent political turmoil. It also included methods of gathering
information, non-detection, avoidance, and misdirection techniques. Ninjutsu
can also involve training in disguise, escape, concealment, archery,
medicine, explosives, and poisons.
Although the popular view is that ninjutsu is the art of secrecy or stealth,
actual practitioners consider it to mean the art of enduring - enduring all
of life's hardships. The word nin carries both these meanings. To avoid
misunderstandings, "ninjutsu" should just refer to a specific branch of
Japanese martial arts, unless it is being used in a historical sense.
18 Ninjutsu Skills (Ninja
members, the eighteen disciplines (juhakkei < juhachi-kei) were first stated
in the scrolls of Togakure-ryu and they became definitive for all ninjutsu
schools, providing a complete training of the warrior in various fighting
arts and complementary disciplines.Ninja juhakkei was often studied along
with Bugei Jūhappan (the "18 samurai fighting art skills"). Though some of
them are the same, the techniques of each discipline were used with
different approaches by both samurai and ninja.
In recent times the espionage
techniques of ninjutsu are rarely focused on, since they serve little
purpose to the bulk of modern populations, and tend to attract negative
publicity and students with unrealistic expectations
Ninjutsu's basic tenets are summed up in a poem, probably composed by a
warrior known as Yamabushi.
The Essence of
My parents are the heaven and earth,
My home is my body,
My power is my loyalty,
My magic is my training,
My life and death is breathing,
My body is control,
My eyes are the sun and the moon,
My ears are sensitivity,
My laws are self protection,
My strength is adaptability,
My ambition is taking every opportunity with fullness,
My friend is my mind,
My enemy is carelessness,
My protection is right action,
My weapons are everything that exists
My strategy is one foot in front of
My way is ninjutsu.