Is Ninjutsu Dangerous? (Complete Breakdown)


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What does the word “Ninjutsu” bring to mind? Ninjas clothed in black, demonstrating unbelievable feats? We see that a lot in movies. But is Ninjutsu dangerous?

Here’s what I know, knowing a black belt in it:

Ninjutsu is one of the most dangerous martial arts in the world due to the fact that the training encompasses far more than just physical self-defense. However, it is not nearly as widely practiced as other martial arts, and the number of Ninjutsu schools is relatively small.

Ninjutsu is mostly ranked behind LINE and Krav Maga as the third deadliest martial art in the world.

Imagine how deadly Krav Maga would be. While it is true that Ninjutsu communicates valued unarmed and armed combat techniques that can protect you from physical harm, the art is far more than that.

Meanwhile, let’s learn more about ninjas in black and shuriken.

What is Ninjutsu?

Ninjutsu, also known as Ninpo and Shinobijutsu, is a Japanese martial art that consists of various skills, including espionage, camouflage, information gathering, infiltration, navigation, survival in nature, unarmed combat, hiding and sneaking, and overcoming natural and artificial obstacles.

So it goes much deeper than just punches, kicks, and blocks.

Ninjutsu most likely originated in the thirteenth century, under the Minamoto clan’s first shogunate’s reign. Ninjas were most likely renegade peasants who sought refuge in the mountainous areas of Ig and Koga on the Japanese island of Honshu.

According to sources, they were tired of the constant terror of the samurai, whose class was on the rise at the time, and unable to oppose them.

However, there are numerous contradictions to these written sources. Today, tens of thousands of individuals of all ages practice Ninjutsu in hundreds of halls worldwide.

What do you learn in Ninjutsu?

Ninjutsu schools teach 18 traditional disciplines, which include armed and unarmed fighting techniques with a wide range of weapons training/knowledge, espionage, horsemanship, disguise, sabotage, stealth, and infiltration. 

They would typically work in groups with persons who specialized in each area, forming a powerful team.

The training schedule of modern Ninjutsu will undoubtedly differ significantly from that of feudal Japan’s warring Ninjas. 

This is because much of what was taught is no longer applicable to today’s modern times and also due to the loss of some of the art’s techniques. Modern training is typically divided into numerous levels and graded.

Combat abilities comparable to those taught in many Japanese martial arts will be taught to you, including:

  • Blows
  • Grappling
  • Locks
  • Chokes
  • Throws 

In a way, picture the training/fighting scene in Batman Begins when he first enters the temple where Ra’s al Ghul lived.

Unlike most martial arts, weapons training is usually practiced from the start.

You may also learn about the human body and pressure points, mental awareness, meditation, staying flexible, staying fit, Kuji-kiri (interlocking hand signs), and how to make the art a way of life.

Great. But is it the best martial art for women?

Many women do not seem to realize that it’s not a bad idea to learn a martial art. That’s why the average martial arts school is about 70% men.

But martial arts are great for young girls and women (I know; I have 3 daughters). I talked about this in a recent article of mine. I get into the how, why, and when.

But I also cover what the best martial arts are for women. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Are there still Ninjas?

There are hundreds of thousands of practicing Ninjas worldwide. But the period of shoguns and samurai in Japan is long gone.

According to the Iga-ryu ninja museum, Jinichi Kawakami is one of Japan’s last ninja grandmasters. Kawakami is the 21st head of the Ban family, one of the Koka ninja clan’s 53 members.

When he was six years old, he began learning Ninjutsu from his mentor, Masazo Ishida. When Kawakami became 18, he inherited the ancient scrolls of the Ninjutsu clan.

While these skills were typically passed down from parent to child, many young men were also adopted into ninja clans.

Official documents make minimal mention of ninja actions throughout the Tokugawa era, also known as Edo.

Masaaki Hatsumi, an eighty-year-old ninja grandmaster, is another. He claims to be the commander of the Togakure clan, one of the few surviving ninja clans.

Hatsumi is the founder of the Bujinkan, an international martial arts organization with over 300,000 students worldwide.

The organization trains personnel that are of police and military nature. Hatsumi maintains a dojo in the town of Noda, in the Chiba prefecture.

Due to his work through Bujinkan, Hatsumi is far more popular than Kawakami.

However, both grandmasters have one thing in common. They plan to discontinue their clans by refusing to choose their heirs, effectively ending the knowledge of the way of the Ninja.

After all, a good portion of these techniques has been rendered ineffective by modern weapons and fighting styles.

How effective is Ninjutsu in a street fight?

Ninjutsu can be very effective and deadly in a street fight as the training covers such a wide variety of methods of both attack and defense. Ninjas are trained both to physically fight, distract and use almost anything as a weapon, and against multiple attackers.

Ninjutsu is an enlightening martial art, a real eye-opener, as most people say.

Many martial arts teach choreographed sequences. But, it doesn’t help prepare you for street fights (which are definitely not choreographed).

However, Ninjutsu techniques and competing rules help bring this close to that “real point” in street fighting.

Some of these guidelines are:

  • Having a weapon doesn’t make you the ultimate winner.
  • Limits do not exist – as long as a foe is a foe, you can bite, grab balls but not hit them, finger lock, eye gouge, hair pull, shirt tug/trap.
  • “10,000 fights, no surprise” is the motto. Get ready for surprises.
  • Using a weapon is just training; you must not get too attached to weapons. Any weapon can be replaced with any object, e.g., a sword with a ladder, a staff with a wooden board. It all depends on the situation.

Learning Ninjutsu allows you to adapt different kata for different situations. This makes Ninjutsu a useful art for self-defense.

Ninjutsu training will help you but not make you.

Training is always – again, I use this word – always different from real-life situations. Don’t think of yourself as the finished product, no matter the training length and consistency.

Knowing what is key and what isn’t is vital.

If you can prepare for real-life through simulated and close-to-real training, then Ninjutsu can be one of the finest martial arts to use in the event trouble finds you on the streets.

Just remember that most of the time, the best defense is to avoid the fight in the first place.

How many styles of Ninjutsu are there? (and which is most dangerous?)

Ninjutsu traditionally focuses on the following eighteen different martial arts skills. However, different descriptions of Ninjutsu skills among different “schools” ascribe to “Ninjutsu” techniques.

But really, there are no Ninjutsu styles. Learning the art of the Ninjutsu is learning all aspects of the art that make it…well, Ninjutsu.

  • Seishinteki kyōyō – spiritual refinement
  • Taijutsu – weaponless combat
  • Kenjutsu – sword techniques
  • Bojutsu – staff and stick techniques
  • Sōjutsu – spear techniques
  • Naginatajutsu – naginata techniques. The Naginata is a Japanese weapon akin to a halberd, where a curved blade is affixed to one end of a long pole.
  • Kusarigamajutsu – kusarigama techniques. (Kusarigama is a traditional Japanese martial arts fighting technique that combines a weighted chain called the Kusari Fundo, and a small sickle-like weapon called the Kama.
  • Shurikenjutsu – throwing weapons techniques (i.e., shuriken)
  • Kayakujutsu – pyrotechnics
  • Hensōjutsu –impersonation and disguise
  • Shinobi-iri – stealth and entering methods
  • Hojojutsu – Rope techniques
  • Intonjutsu: concealment and escape
  • Bajutsu – horsemanship
  • Sui-ren – water training
  • Chōhō – espionage
  • Bōryaku – tactics
  • Tenmon – meteorology
  • Chi-mon – geography

The most dangerous Ninjutsu techniques are not just one of them, but a combination of all. 

Learning Ninjutsu is like learning how to drive a car; it’s not just about driving. You could be a master at driving and not know how to change a tire.

And then a tire goes flat, and the master driver becomes just that…a master driver with a flat tire. All techniques are needed to be a successful ninja, well-trained in the ninjutsu art.

Looking for a place to get weapons for Ninjutsu training?

KarateMart is one of the names that come up when you Google. But are they legit? And do they have better prices than Amazon or Century Martial Arts?

Look through this recent article of mine where I cover all that. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Where can I learn Ninjutsu?

The best way to find a Ninjutsu school is to Google “Ninjutsu dojos near me” or “Bujinkan dojos near me”. The Bujinkan is the largest organization in the world that trains Ninjutsu.

However, finding an authentic Ninjutsu school is tough, and even harder is finding a good Ninjutsu teacher.

If you’re looking for a place to study real Ninjutsu, you’ll want to find a place with an instructor licensed to teach. They should have a certificate from the Bujinkan that certifies them to teach the art.

There are plenty of school owners with these qualifications but do not correctly teach Ninjutsu.

Many Americans are not competent in learning the Ninjutsu practice and teachings. And the teachings are often misinterpreted.

And the way the Bujinkan ranks are easily given out like candy in Japanese and American Ninjutsu halls – you might as well invite the teacher into your house to rob you of your registration money.

One way of finding a good school is to go into one and observe or try a class.

If it’s for children, look for signs of how the instructors use Ninjutsu as a vehicle of conveying life skill lessons like discipline, focus, and respect.

Some of the better-known Ninjutsu teachers in the US include Stephen Hayes, Jersey Jack Hoban, and Atlanta’s Bud Malmstrom.

And while you may not live near them, they doubtless have many students from over the years who may be teaching near you and will mention their lineage.

Conclusion

In this article, we delved into the meaning of Ninjutsu.

We also looked at what was learned in Ninjutsu. And we asked an important question: whether ninjas still exist.

We also looked at how effective Ninjutsu would be in a street fight. We then looked at the styles of Ninjutsu and which are considered the most dangerous.

And finally, we checked where Ninjutsu could be learned. Yes, it can be learned.


Image by MichaelWuensch from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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