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.

Ninjutsu sometimes used interchangeably with the term ninpo, it is the martial arts practiced by the shinobi (also commonly known as the ninja).

Ninjutsu is a collection of techniques originally practiced for espionage purposes. It includes methods of gathering information, non-detection, avoidance, and misdirection techniques. Ninjutsu can also involve training in disguise, escape, concealment, archery, medicine, and explosives.

Ninjutsu can also involve training in disguise, escape, concealment, archery, medicine, and explosives. Practitioners of ninjutsu have been seen as assassins for hire, and have been associated in the public imagination with other activities which are considered criminal by modern standards.

Practitioners of ninjutsu have been seen as assassins for hire, and have been associated in the public imagination with other activities which are considered criminal by modern standards. Even though it was influenced by Chinese spying techniques and the strategic principles of Sun Tzu, ninjutsu is believed by its adherents to be of Japanese origin.

The 18 disciplines of Ninjutsu are:

  1. Seishin teki kyoyo (spiritual refinement)
  2. Taijutsu (unarmed combat, using one’s body as the only weapon)
  3. Kenjutsu (sword fighting)
  4. Bojutsu (stick and staff fighting)
  5. Shurikenjutsu (throwing shuriken)
  6. Sojutsu (spear fighting)
  7. Naginatajutsu (naginata fighting)
  8. Kusarigamajutsu (kusarigama fighting)
  9. Kayakujutsu (pyrotechnics and explosives)
  10. Hensojutsu (disguise and impersonation)
  11. Shinobi-iri (stealth and entering methods)
  12. Bajutsu (horsemanship)
  13. Sui-ren (water training)
  14. Boryaku (military strategy)
  15. Choho (espionage)
  16. Intonjutsu (escaping and concealment)
  17. Tenmon (meteorology)
  18. Chi-mon (geography)

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.

Filed under: Martial Arts Styles

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