Ninjas are in video games, they are popular Halloween costumes. You may have even seen Ninja Turtles. Aside from the commercial portrayal of them, can one actually become a ninja?
- The Two Types of Ninjas: The common belief is that a ninja is only an assassin or secret spy. It is believed that their only goal is to kill anyone and anything that gets in their way. While a part of this is myth and history, there is another type that exists. A ninja is also defined as one who studies ninjitsu, which is real martial art training.
- What Is Ninjitsu? Ninjitsu training is the martial art study that originated in Japan. One of its main purposes is to preserve and pass on the ancient knowledge from generation to generation. It is considered the art of enduring life's hardships. There are eighteen disciplines to learn in ninjitsu; they are as follows:
- Seishin-teki kyoyo (spiritual refinement)
- Naginatajutsu (fighting)
- Kusarigamajutsu (chain and sickle weapon)
- Kayakujutsu (fire and explosives)
- Taijutsu (unarmed combat)
- Ninja ken (sword fighting)
- Bojutsu (stick and staff fighting)
- Shurikenjutsu (throwing blades)
- Sojutsu (spear fighting)
- Hensojutsu (disguise and impersonation)
- Shinobi-iri (stealth methods)
- Bajutsu (horsemanship)
- Sui-ren (water training)
- Boryaku (military strategy)
- Choho (espionage)
- Intonjutsu (escaping and concealment)
- Tenmon (meteorology)
- Chi-mon (geography)
The Ninja's Philosophy: As a real ninja, your mission is not to kill. A quote from the densho of Togakure-ryu Ninjitsu says, "Do not kill others, either escape or disappear." It also says, "(Ninjas)...should have the heart as kind and pure as a flower." You are, however, to be unafraid to die and be willing to die in protection of your country, master, and family. Being a real ninja means you know martial arts techniques but that you are balanced mentally, physically, and spiritually in strength.
Getting Trained: There are not as many ninjitsu schools as there are other martial art schools where you can learn ninja skills. They also train in jujitsu and judo, but their training can also start in taekwondo and karate. If you do not have any training, a good idea is to enroll in a martial arts school of your choice and learn your basics. Many studios and schools would know where and how you can train further in ninjitsu. I encourage you not to spend a lot of money on at-home training tapes. Believe it or not, it can be hard to become a ninja at home. It is always best to attend classes taught by a certified instructor when you learn martial arts.
Do You Really Want To Be A Ninja? If the only reason you want to learn how to become a ninja is to kill people or to become the fantasy pictorial you have in your head, this may not be for you. Anyone can become one, but as with every martial art, it will take several years, hard work, discipline, and focus. Try a week in any martial class (many schools offer free trials). If you find out that you can handle the class, then go full speed ahead to becoming a real ninja.