Ninja The Shadow Warrior

The Ninja, also called "The Shadow Warrior", literally meaning "the man who hides himself", is certainly one of the most fearsome characters of the Japanese Feudal period. In comparison with the Samurai the Ninja, an extremely dangerous warrior, fought using all possible methods and weapons to carry out his mortal mission. The Ninjas were involved in all kinds of wars, most of the time acting as spies, killers or terrorists. . .

The Ninja, also called “The Shadow Warrior”, literally meaning “the man who hides himself”, is certainly one of the most fearsome characters of the Japanese Feudal period. In comparison with the Samurai the Ninja, an extremely dangerous warrior, fought using all possible methods and weapons to carry out his mortal mission. The Ninjas were involved in all kinds of wars, most of the time acting as spies, killers or terrorists. Nobody could take shelter from the Ninja. Almost no one could survive to the scrupulously prepared missions and attacks of a Ninja. This incredibly clever warrior, if necessary, killed every person on the way between him and his prey. He solved every kind of mission with an extremely high accuracy.

There are many theories as to the beginnings of what we know as the art of ninjutsu today. Each Japanese historian has his or her own set of facts and beliefs, and it is difficult pinpointing a specific place, person, time, or set of circumstances that would be acceptable to all as the birth of the art.

So the birth of an art maybe became like this.
In the legends of the founding of Japan?s Imperial Family, passed on by word of mouth through the generations before recorded history, two ninja-like characters are credited with assisting the first emperor, Jimmu, in attaining a decisive victory. Jimmu was in combat against the troops of Iso Castle, and the battle was going against him. One night in a dream, the future emperor had a vision in which he was told to take the clay from Mt. Amakaga and mold it into a sacred vessel. Mt. Amakaga was a holy mountain that lay in the middle of the territory held by the Iso forces. Obtaining the raw clay became the symbol of Jimmu?s intention and resolve towards succeeding in the conquest of Iso Castle. Shinetsuhiko and Otokashi served their lord Jimmu by disguising themselves as an old peasant and his wife, and the two successfully slipped into the enemy territory, packed the clay, and returned safely. Jimmu then molded and fired a platter and bowl set from clay, offered them to the gods of fortune and went on to attain the victory he so strongly believed to be his destiny. The skills of ninjutsu were said to have been passed thereafter to Tennin Nichimei, Okume Mei, and Otomo Uji for further development and expansion.

Also we have and some documents, teachers and scrolls that refer of Chinese ex-patriots who fled their native land to seek sanctuary in the islands of Japan. Chinese warriors, scholars, and monks alike made the journey to find new lives in the wilderness of Ise and Kii south of the capitals in Nara and then Kyoto. Taoist sages like Gamon, Garyu, Kain, and Unryu, and generals from T?ang China such as Cho Gyokko, Ikai, and Cho Busho brought with them the knowledge that had accumulated over the centuries in their native land.

This is also due to the fact that the Ninjas had to keep every kind of details related to their life and missions under strict secret. Ninjutsu was probably born under the influence of the Chinese, the Indian and Tibetan forms of combat methods used during ancient wars. The name Ninjutsu (sometimes also Shinobi no Jutsu) has been mentioned for the first time by a person who studied several Chinese war instruction manuals. This man was the Prince Shotoku Taishi who lived approximately during the 6th century.

From all this historical now let us see what ninja develop and used. Ninjutsu create a form (one of the most terrible and effective combat methods) probably during the Heian Period, this was between the 7th and the 12th century, because of a merge between the Ninjas and the clan of the Yamabushi. The Yamabushi was a very powerful community of warrior monks all adepts in the Shungendo, a Buddhist sect. The members of this religious community practised lots of occult ceremonies filled with normal and black magic. Followers of the sect could for instance walk on glowing coals, they could dive their hands in boiling liquids and could also transform ice into boiling water or disappear in smoke clouds

Shungendo can be translated as the “Way of the Magnificent”. The sect practiced asceticism. The Shungendo monks taught the Ninjas the mastering of the Mutra, also called Kuji Kiri, which were approximately 80 figures done by joining the fingers together in several special ways. These forms executed into combination with very specific concentration on the nerves and on the Psyche allowed the Ninjas to control feelings like hunger, cold, fear, pain and sometimes also to heal wounds. After having mastered all those kinds of special trainings, the Ninja were almost invincible. Thus they were used as hired killers, spying specialists or even for acts of sabotage and terrorism One of the most interesting differences between the Ninja and the Samurai is that the Ninja could afford to run away during a battle if he was in a difficult situation. In the opposite the Code of the Samurai said he should fight for his Master and be ready to die for him. Nevertheless, the Ninja, if he was caught and if he thought there was no hope to escape, did not hesitate to suicide himself.

Ninjutsu almost completely disappeared during the Tokugawa period (17th - 19th century) which was the period when most of the Japanese wars ended. The same happened to the Samurai who became unemployed without war missions. Because of the Shogun and his troups controlled the whole country the practice of Martial Arts had to be kept secret and many Ninjutsu schools disappeared. Then, during the 12th century, Daisuke Togakure created the Togakure Ninjutsu Ryu. This school survived till nowadays through an impressive lineage of more than 30 Ninjutsu Masters (Soke).