"To be called "ninja" is a title of honor. It means you have been called the perfect gentleman; and one who seeks only peace and enlightenment."
Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi
After weeks of searching information about ninjas, I finally decided to open this section... it's not finished, though... the information I've found so far... quite differs from each other: maybe because we don't know much about Ninja and their history...
First of all: what does a word "Ninja" mean? [ Un ]fortunately I've found Kanji characters describing this word: Click here to read an official translation... and my own translation. [ I don't know why it is so much different... maybe my dictionary is old? (heh, heh...it's too funny... ^_^) I have no idea! ]
To provide some kind of brief description, ninjutsu includes the study of both unarmed and armed combative techniques, strategy, philosophy, and history. In many Dojos the area of study is quite comprehensive. The idea being to become an adept at many things, rather than specializing in only one. The main principles in combat are posture, distance, rythm and flow. The practitioner responds to attacks in such a way that they place themselves in an advantageous position from which an effective response can be employed. They are taught to use the entire body for every movement/technique, to provide the most power and leverage. They will use the openings created by the opponents movement to implement techniques, often causing the opponent to "run in/on to" body weapons.
There's nothing I can add ^_^. The site CoolShack.com contains a marvellous amount of information about Ninja history, fighting techniques, weaponry and philosophy: I just wouldn't be able to write more :) ! Click here to visit this great piece of work!
While most of people are concerned with Ninja fighting techniques, I decided to focus on their philosophy. Although the Ninja are claimed to be ruthless assassins, they definitely had [ or: still have? ] their code of honour. Here is what I found: an article written by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, a resident of Noda City [ Japan ], the 34th-generation leader of the togakure-ryu ninjutsu tradition and eight other lesser-known traditions:
The Guiding Force Behind NinjutsuBy Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi
The history of ninjutsu is as long and as colorful as the history of Japan's samurai warrior tradition. It goes back, literally, thousands of years. Before venturing into this special section of the martial arts, all those interested in studying ninjutsu should be well-versed In its background. Ninjutsu's tradition is based primarily on the ways and philosophies of the Iga and Koga groups. Iga is a province in what today is called Mie Prefecture while the Koga group is located in the Shiga Prefecture. These are the two major tributaries that flow into the long river of ninja tradition. This ninja tradition came to the forefront during the l3th to 16th centuries when the warriors were used by the first Tokugawa Shogun to help the Bakfu (government of the period) maintain control.
The Shogun were the first to use ninja warriors to help form the foundation of 300 years of Tokugawa rule. The Shogun headquarter in Edo-now-Tokyo was protected at four entrances by members of the Koga clan. The Iga clan was charged with protecting the interior of the castle as well as the Shogun's wife's quarters. At the time, ninja were called the shinobi-gurni - the guards of the castle, the inspectors or low-ranking foot soldiers, Ninja, like any army, had its rankings,
Today in the United States, movies and books presented in a sensational manner lack the basis and tradition of ninjutsu. By writing about ninjutsu's missing tradition, we hope to do away with, many of the art's misconceptions, while creating a better overall understanding.
Ninjutsu is neither an art solely of fighting techniques, nor black magic to be practiced behind closed doors. Ninjutsu is a science, a human science. Ninja not only dedicated most of their lives to the study of ninjutsu techniques, but they also considered human psychology and human nature as integral parts of their training. If they decided to attack someone's residence, they were able to take many things into consideration. Some of the best times to attack were the day after a wedding when people were still celebrating or when domestic problems took a family's mind off Its personal safety. Knowing people, studying their behavior and habits-understanding human nature and knowing when to attack-were as important as knowing how to attack and what techniques to use.
The use of a surprise attack is most effective, but it takes the diligent study of people and nature,
understanding the universe and one's place in it, to be a real ninja.
The understanding of seasons is a case in the study of nature. With the new tea crop being
harvested in late May and early June in Japan, one learns that people tend to enjoy more of the
stimulating drink and thus have a tendency to stay up later because of increased caffeine intake.
To become a real ninja, one needs many, many years of strict training in the mind and body sciences. Ninja-through information passed from generation to generation-know how to make medicine and poisons, and carry an extensive knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology. They use the chemical familiarity not only for explosives and poisons in combat, but also for health care.
Protecting themselves also included living quarters replete with hidden areas, passages and weapons. In short, their home environment was an extension of their warrior tradition. When someone would attack, they left the impression they were still in the house when, in effect, they already had escaped. The ninja could not be easily tricked.
Another attempt to confuse the enemy came in the area of communication. The ninja used their own version of Morse code, as well as special lettering recognizable only to practitioners.
Ninja warriors often are portrayed as the most ruthless spies and assassins in Japan's long history. This, unfortunately, is a major misunderstanding. The ninja actually had a strong moral code. Seishin (right mind) is a most important phrase. You are not a member of the honored world of the ninja unless you develop and maintain seishin. Many people today do not realize the ninja tradition was built on a strict code of behavior. Most on the outside, however, are unaware of those canons because of the ninja's desire for secrecy. To the practitioner, loyalty, bravery and trust came first, followed by kindness, friendliness and humility.
By understanding the philosophies of all martial arts in addition to ninjutsu, the true ninja has become the modern-day Renaissance man.
To be called "ninja" is a title of honor. It means you have been called the perfect gentleman; and one who seeks only peace and enlightenment.
It should be the guiding force in one's life.