Updated: Sep 16
In this article, we'll take a look at: What is Ninjutsu? What is Shuriken? What are the historical foundations of Ninjutsu? Who are Shinobi Fighters? Do Ninjutsu fighters participate in mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions? What is the source of the misconception about Ninjutsu? Why is there no competition in this method?
What is Ninjutsu?
Quite often, the Ninjutsu method suffers from the obvious influence of Western cinema in distorting historical facts about the true purpose of the method. The word ninja evokes in most of us associations with men who are dressed in black, have a clear purpose to attack, jump from roof to roof, throw ninja stars (Shuriken), run with swords, and can disappear using amazing tricks in a cloud of smoke ... The true purpose of the method can be explained through the book by Sun Tzu "The Art of War", who lived in 1752-1818, when according to the book, to achieve a great victory over the enemy, the strategy of information gathering and intelligence is of great importance. This element of successful war management was a kind of compass for the functioning of the ninja and the determination of the activity of the Shinobi fighters (Ninjutsu). They infiltrated the ranks of the enemy, collected information, and passed it on to decision-makers to build a strategy for battle or control war.
What is Shuriken?
Shuriken is an ancient Japanese throwing weapon. The Japanese believed that by putting various signs on Shuriken, they attract mysterious and powerful forces to their side. The shuriken was a secondary weapon, the Katana sword was considered the main weapon. The art of using the Shuriken, known as Shuriken-zutsu, has been taught as a minor skill in many prominent schools. To date, there have been many studies on the history of its origin, but this remains a mystery. This is partly since this art was kept secret. Modern shurikens are made of stainless steel. In many countries around the world, possession of shurikens is illegal. The ancient Shurikens are poorly preserved for our time, as they were made of low-quality metal and were often used as disposable weapons.
What are the historical foundations of Ninjutsu?
The basic elements of Ninjutsu were developed and documented by a group of samurai from the Iga and Koga provinces in Japan. These areas are considered the birthplace of modern Ninjutsu. In these places, you can still feel the presence of the ninja and see their true nature. Ninjutsu was created as a mixture of guerrilla warfare techniques and skills. The traditional method includes camouflaging, escaping, using a bow, and extensive knowledge of medicine, explosives, and toxins. Ninjutsu was created under the influence of Japanese warriors, who are called "Ninja" in the West. Warriors, belonging to different groups, specialized in espionage, combat, and philosophical skills. In the southwest of Honshu, the central island of Japan, lie the mountainous provinces of Iga and Koga. The inhabitants of these districts organized themselves into communes and zealously defended their territory from neighboring feudal lords. Rural samurai day after day trained young peasants in guerrilla warfare. The mountainous terrain allowed the people of Iga and Koga to rely on guerrilla methods such as ambushes, surprise raids, and stealth behind enemy lines.
Who are Shinobi Fighters?
Shinobi were highly skilled spies and scouts, mercenaries, and participants in guerrilla warfare and field reconnaissance. According to ancient testimonies, candidates for Shinobi must have had several important qualities, such as high intelligence, excellent memory, and the ability to "speak fluently”. Since they were secretive and anonymous, no one, including their family members, knew about their belonging to this elite group. Shinobi experts did not seek recognition as practitioners of other combat methods. They did not have the goal of becoming famous, opening a school, and spreading their abilities and skills. They also did not compete. According to historical records, Shinobi-Jitsu (Ninjutsu) appears to be a respectable martial art that has many methodologies for protecting and managing covert warfare. In ancient literature, there is evidence of the exploitation of the military qualities of the Shinobi people, in which they are presented as figures worthy of respect, appreciation, and civil imitation. Shinobi originated in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, although the term Ninja was first documented in 1488 AD. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Shinobi warriors became mythological figures. In 1638, they fought as commando fighters in the suppression of the Shimabara uprising in western Japan. The military structure finally collapsed in 1740 when the Tokugawa shogun Yoshimune fired the Iga and Koga men from their security posts in his palace. Over time, Shinobi emerged as a character in Kabuki Theater in Japan. The black clothing of modern ninjas is actually a costume for theatrical performances. The prejudice of Shinobi as murderers is probably a myth dating back to the 17th century. There was no evidence that Shinobi were often used as mercenaries. There is admittedly a myth that the Shinobi were the enemies of the samurai. But in fact, the samurai hired Shinobi for the war. Myths also tell of supernatural powers of the Shinobi, such as transformation and disappearance. In some of them, Shinobi even know how to conjure and fly.
Do Ninjutsu fighters participate in mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions?
People who don't know much about Ninjutsu tend to associate it with a sports martial arts category like Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, and others ... might even associate it with mixed martial arts (MMA) as a 21st-century trend. This is a misconception because Ninjutsu is not a competitive martial art in its original purpose, it does not consist of stylish forms of physical techniques or sports. That is, it is a set of effective techniques of all martial arts with the aim of effective self-defense and, if necessary, a quick and deadly attack on the enemy. It can be compared to the Israeli Krav Maga, which also usually does not host competitions for the same reasons as mentioned above.
What is the source of the misconception about Ninjutsu?
Sometimes (MMA) fans may find Ninjutsu impractical in matters of pugilism (amateur or professional boxing). It is sometimes referred to as a "smoke and mirror" martial art. But those who hold these views do not know that they are turning to the paradigm of self-defense in a narrow and unrealistic range of circumstances, such as: fighting in the Octagon, in a bar, on the street, etc. ... where there are laws against injury or murder, and we are solely responsible for our actions. However, in Ninjutsu there is the only rule based on the warrior's survival and self-defense. That is, he will use every means at his disposal, including the art of deception, games, objects, and more ... to overcome the problem. This is a completely different view of the real struggle that only a select few are subjected to. This issue is being studied in the elite units: the army, the police, and forces associated with the security of the state and its citizens. A simple comparison for illustration is the battle between a pit bull and a wolf. Although a pit bull is a mountain of muscle, in a lawless battle with a warrior, with natural survival skills like the wolf, he (the pit bull) has almost no chance.
What does the training equipment of the Self-Defense trainer include?
Following the history of the method, great importance is attached to the formation of functional muscles. On the one hand, it is necessary to work on speed and agility in movement, and on the other hand, to develop muscles to increase strength and power. To succeed in this task: Need to work with small weights, many reps in each set; Also combine with strength training, it is advisable to consult with a trainer so as not to damage the muscle ligaments; It is recommended to work with a wrist expander and rubber for dynamic loading; With heavy training rope; a lot of reps on a heavy and light boxing bag; With a punching bag, etc ... It is imperative to practice throwing, choking, blocking, kicking and punching. Punches and knees on the trainer's abdomen may only be performed with suitable and safe belly protectors! In the tactical training of Krav-Maga, rubbery equipment is used like knives, padded sticks, etc... One needs to use equipment that has passed strict safety tests. When signing up for a club, check if their gym floor is well protected and if there is a suitable protective pad against falls, throws, etc. Below is a list of the recommended trainer equipment when teaching Self-Defense:
How important is personal protective equipment when practicing Self-Defense?
Good schools understand the importance of protective equipment when teaching martial arts in general and in combat in particular. Demonstrations and battles are not allowed without appropriate protective equipment! These are usually inexpensive shields compared to the physical damage they prevent. Also, there is no insurance without protective equipment! When striking a punching bag, be it a jab, cross, hook, or uppercut, boxing gloves should be used. It is recommended for full contact to use a body protector that maintains the integrity of the ribs. Also, shields for the head, teeth, groin, and legs are recommended.
It is very important to practice Self-Defense using rubber training knives and even more important during training to wear appropriate protective equipment: such as glasses designed to protect the eyes; a body protector; a Head guard against receiving an unwanted blow. The following is a list of recommended equipment for knife defense studies:
With what equipment is it recommended to practice Self-Defense at home?
To learn Self-Defense, one needs to practice the same thing, many times over. This is not a theoretical area compared to other martial arts where one can learn from a trainer by watching directly through a computer. So practice and interaction are of the utmost importance. Although, it is worth it and even recommended to work at home on punches and kicks, strength training, etc. For this purpose, it is possible to purchase minimal personal equipment that does not take up much space at home. Prepares physically for classes in the section. It also improves the following parameters: Strength, flexibility, cardiopulmonary endurance, and more.
Using a yoga mat, abdominal muscles can be improved; Training weights are to improve muscle strength; Using an adjustable strength bench can strengthen chest muscles by lifting weights; A free-standing punching bag is a perfect solution for punching and kicking improvement at home ... Below is a list of recommended equipment for home exercise:
Home training is recommended to be performed under the supervision of a certified trainer. It is recommended to avoid exercising alone at home!
How important is cardiopulmonary endurance in Self-Defense workouts?
First of all, this is health, and secondly, in a battle that does not end in a short time, the one who has cardiopulmonary endurance wins. To improve cardiopulmonary endurance, it is recommended to take brisk