Saturday, May 14, 2011

Modern Ninja Ryu: Ninja Training Schools

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Today, there are still several ninja training schools that train or claim to train people in the traditional ninja ways. These ryu, as they are called, are not the same kind of ryu that our protagonist Taro is a part of. Taro's clan is secretive, live in the shadows, and are still hired by clients to complete missions. Today's ninja schools are publicly known, often even advertised, though some of them are very hard or expensive to get into. And it is fair to say that they do not go about getting hired by clients or doing actual espionage missions.

Though they are trained in traditional methods. There is, in fact, a very interesting user on youtube I found called JapanNinjutsu who has posted many very interesting videos about ninja tactics and things like that. This user claims to have been traditionally trained and from the videos its kind of hard to doubt it.

There is also a style of martial arts called Bujikan founded in 1970 by Masaaki Hatsumi. It teaches a lot of the same techniques including stealth and espionage that ninja used to learn, although it does focus a lot on competitions.

Koga and Iga regions
It is believed that the ninja first came from the Iga and the Koga regions of Japan. I am also led to believe that these two rival clans are still around today, though it comes from an unreliable source.

The two clans were rivals with each other. From this, we derive a notion of good ninjas and evil ninjas. The Iga clan had turned to the government and relied upon them for survival, adopting Buddhist ethics from the shogunate, and the Koga clan remained "pure."

There are many different dojos around today that claim to be "real" ninjutsu schools, but most of the time, those schools aren't even real martial arts dojos. It is important when trying to find your own ryu to really do your research and find out if what you're being taught is ninjutsu at all. For one, does it even teach stealth? Does it teach battle tactics? Ninjutsu for transcends the traditional notion of combat. It is a way of life, and it is the art of stealth and espionage. Do not be fooled by those who wish to capitalize on the word "ninjutsu" because chances are, you're just throwing away your money.

1 comment:

  1. Dear friend,

    I am a teacher in the Bujinkan and I can assure you there are no competitions in our art!!


What is a Ninja?

There is a lot of misconception about what a ninja is.

A ninja is a weapon. A ninja is a warrior.

First appearing in writing as early as 4th century according to some history, though it is hard to place the beginning of the ninja, and most scholars agree that they emerged around the 7th-10th century. According to most Asian historians, the ninja first developed in opposition to the elite samurai during the Heian Dynasty (794-1185).

By the 15th century, the role of the ninja was primarily hired mercenary or espionage. By this time, there was already boundless myths about ninjas, calling them demons and giving them mystical powers which were widely believed to be true, but in all reality, ninjas were very trained in silence and stealth and could easily hide or slip away quickly and unnoticed in a way that would lead others to believe they were magical.

Our story presupposes a modern Japanese society where ninjas have managed to survive and continue traditional methods of teaching and hired by clients and used as weapons and tools of espionage and mercenary. Taro is one such ninja, growing up in a civilization of ninjas long-thought to be extinct. But when Taro begins his first ninja mission, his whole world gets turned upside down.