Ninjutsu is very different to other Japanese based Martial Arts. Whereas they have descended from the Samurai traditions, Ninjutsu has followed a completely different line. Though there are many similarities in terms of techniques (many of the locks, holds and throws can be found in Aikido, Judo and Jujitsu) the manner in which the Ninja moved was quite different, as was the way in which they thought. They were not restricted by the Japanese warrior code of Bushido, which put honour before anything. For the Ninja, life was a precious thing and their survival would not be helped if members of the clan lost their lives needlessly. For the Ninja it was survival at all costs and their techniques, which often seem very unorthodox, reflect this Philosophy, which has come to be known as Ninpo.
One of the main features that separates Ninjutsu from the other arts of its time was the concept of stealth. Often outnumbered by highly trained and well armed opponents, the Ninja used their remarkable skills to gain a tactical advantage over their enemy, similar to the way modern day Special Forces or guerrilla fighters conduct warfare. This was one of the methods that were considered dishonourable by the Samurai and so the Ninja were depicted as treacherous, violent, merciless killers, with no honour. A view which persists to this day.
The truth behind this belief greatly depends upon your point of view. In the Samurai way of thinking the Ninja were dishonourable, but who’s to say that the Samurai view was necessarily the correct one? For the Ninja there was no honour in fighting an unwinable battle, dying and leaving your family vulnerable. This is probably closely linked with the modern day ego, which does not let someone back down, even in the most impossible of circumstances. The Ninja Philosophy, Ninpo, provided a way around this restrictive way of thinking and greatly increased their chances of survival, allowing the Ninja to fight only when necessary. Survival is very much the way of the Ninja. It is not merely self defence, but all round self protection, of one’s mind and body and of the ones we love and care for. What greater reason can there be to learn a martial art?
I hope this information will be of use to you and that you have come to understand something about our art and the way in which we train. To get a full understanding you really need to train in the art or come and watch a few classes. For more information, please click on the links to the left to find out more about our art.