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The Dojo # 10 - A Ninja Confession

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 10:44 PM

 

Just for the record, I am aware that the historical ninja did not practice one style called "Ninjutsu". Ninjutsu was the word that described methods for spying and covert warfare, not a specific martial art.


What we now call "Ninjutsu" is actually a combination of different styles of several clans who were also known to be involved with "ninja" activites. What most people don't know is that ninja were samurai who practiced covert warfare. Ninja is not the opposite of samurai. It's like how both Black Ops. and Marines are soldiers, but they have different ways of waging war. Some clans of samurai believed in being sneaky (or more accurately they HAD to be sneaky), while most did not.


Samurai practiced Jujutsu, or more accurately, koryu (old) Japanese Jujutsu. All of these "ninja" clans had different styles of koryu jujutsu that have now been combined into one system that is called "ninjutsu", because it has been combined together with the methods for covert warfare. So technically I should be calling the martial art I practice "Koryu Jujutsu", but that's more difficult to say and requires me to explain what it is every time I say it. So I call it ninjutsu.


However, what I practice is still "ninja" martial arts because all of these different clans were "ninja" clans, and it is different than other styles of Jujutsu, especially modern ones. So it's not the same thing as "Jujitsu" or "Brazillian Jiujitsu" which is a different thing entirely.


Categories: The Dojo

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5 Comments

Reply Fumasu
11:46 AM on June 3, 2011 
Interesting indeed.
Reply Tevin Hawkins
12:23 AM on May 31, 2012 
Very interesting.
Reply Rai Nankil
12:37 PM on April 1, 2013 
huh, you see, i've known ninja to be farmers and peasants, and though some Ninja were Samurai, a lot of a ninja's weapons are/were farmer's tools. The Sai, sickle, etc. Ninjutsu, however i've learned to be a combination of many many martial arts, such as Kung Fu, Tora Jutsu, Koryu Jujutsu, Budo, and Tai/Ken Jutsu, etc....... so i'm a little confused
Reply greeneyedstealth
10:26 AM on April 27, 2013 
Rai Nankil says...
huh, you see, i've known ninja to be farmers and peasants, and though some Ninja were Samurai, a lot of a ninja's weapons are/were farmer's tools. The Sai, sickle, etc. Ninjutsu, however i've learned to be a combination of many many martial arts, such as Kung Fu, Tora Jutsu, Koryu Jujutsu, Budo, and Tai/Ken Jutsu, etc....... so i'm a little confused


A lot of people are under the impression that ninja were just your normal run-of-the-mill peasants. To clear things up, ninja were actually something called "Jizamurai", basically masterless samurai who worked their own land and owned their own property. They were simple mountain folk who operated outside the feudal system: They were not like farmers that worked a daimyo's land, and they were not samurai who fought for a daimyo. To say that they were peasants is oversimplifying things.

As for the kung-fu and other martial arts, the jujutsu styles practiced by the ninja were possibly influenced by Chinese kung fu, seeing as the ninja were also influenced heavily by buddhism which came to Japan from China. However, this kind of martial-arts cross pollination happens all the time and it's hard to say who invented what claw strike first, especially since the ninja didn't exactly make their records public, so there is no way to definitively call what the ninja practiced a totally separate martial art from koryu jujutsu. Taijutsu, and kenjutsu just mean "body technique" and "sword technique", respectively, and have always been part of jujutsu's teachings, to some extent.

The sai are an okinawan weapon (not used by the ninja), and its two pronged cousin the jutte was designed with sword capturing in mind. The kama is a better example of a farming tool turned weapon, but if you have a warrior that does his own farming, using pointy sharp things, eventually someone will devise a way to fight with them.

Ninja WERE farmers in the sense that they did their own farming to survive, but they were also samurai in the sense that they fought, owned their own land, and did not serve any one daimyo exclusively. The idea of them as peasants rebelling is silly.

Ninja were more like Japanese mountain-people who killed anyone who tried to take their land, and got so good at sneaking around, spying, and killing people as a result that people started hiring them to sneak around, spy, and kill people.
Reply Da crymson ninja
7:01 AM on October 18, 2014 
Of all the things I knew about ninja this is definitely the most interesting

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