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Ninjutsu

Ninjutsu is a systemized Japanese martial art used for the specific purpose of espionage. The art was practiced by the shinobi or ninja that rose to prominence during Japan’s Sengoku period (1467-1573; aka Warring States period). However, the origin of ninjutsu is just as secretive as the men who practiced the art.

One version theorizes that the ninja started via the Chinese Tang dynasty (618-907); the first recorded sect of assassins practiced their secret arts in the forests of northern China. It was during Korea’s Three Kingdoms period (circa A.D. 663, Koguryo, Paechta and Silla kingdoms) that the Tang-backed Silla used Chinese assassins to defeat the Japanese-back Paechta. This gave rise to the Korean sulsa assassins that possibly influenced the rise of the ninja.

Most people are familiar with the romanticized image of a ninja: people running around in face-covered black attire. However, the most effective ninja are the ones sitting next to you in math class, blending into their surroundings. Ninjutsu encompasses kicking, grappling and taijustsu (linear and circular empty-hand skills). It also emphasizes the use of traditional weapons such as the sword, dagger, dart, weighted chain and shurikens (ninja stars). Modern training forgoes past ninja skills like horsemanship, explosives and poisons.

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  1. Ninja History 101: Ninjutsu Training

    Ninja History 101: Ninjutsu Training

    Masaaki Hatsumi, one of Japan’s few remaining ninja practitioners, describes the ninja of old as the perfect all-around athletes of their day. Learn about the intense regimen that produced such well-rounded warriors.
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  2. Ancient Ninja Stealth Skills Serve Santa Claus Well in Modern Times

    Ancient Ninja Stealth Skills Serve Santa Claus Well in Modern Times

    How DOES jolly ol’ St. Nick get in and out of your house without tripping alarms, waking dogs or being seen by late-night passersby? Our theory: Santa Claus is a ninja master. You be the judge.
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  3. Ninjutsu Training Tips Anyone Can Use!

    Ninjutsu Training Tips Anyone Can Use!

    Ninjutsu was born into a world enveloped in war. Because of its violent childhood, ninjutsu techniques focused on methods that worked in the worst situations. Learn how YOU can apply them to your martial arts training!
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  4. Ninjutsu Training Commentary and Video by Jack Hoban, Student of Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi

    Ninjutsu Training Commentary and Video by Jack Hoban, Student of Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi

    Ninjutsu training expert Jack Hoban, student of Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi, comments on their years as master and student in the art of the ninja.
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  5. Ninjutsu Training Myths: Does Ninjutsu Embody the Dark Side of Martial Arts?

    Ninjutsu Training Myths: Does Ninjutsu Embody the Dark Side of Martial Arts?

    Stephen K. Hayes, Black Belt Hall of Fame member and author of six ninja books, offers his take on the public’s perception of ninjutsu vs. the history of its origins.
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  6. Ninja History 101: Ninjutsu Weapons

    Ninja History 101: Ninjutsu Weapons

    Like the Green Berets, the ninja operated in small bands in which each man was a specialist in some form of ninjutsu training. They had such a huge assortment of ninja weapons they were expected to master that it was only natural that some men became more adept at specific
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  7. Ninja History 101: Ninja Gear

    Ninja History 101: Ninja Gear

    The ninja were accomplished pharmacists, skilled in preparing different poisons and special powders and compounds. Ninjutsu training in yogen (pharmacy) also allowed them to prepare gunpowder and explosives, medicines and even concentrated foods as part of their ninja gear.

    Ninja Gear #1: Poisons

    Poisons were made from mineral, plant and animal sources.
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  8. Ninja History 101: Spies and Assassins

    Ninja History 101: Spies and Assassins

    As Heichichiro Okuse says, it was cunning and deception that gave the ninja the edge over their enemies. These traits were emphasized and sharpened during ninjutsu training. The ninja raised espionage to a highly developed art centuries before such training was given to cloak-and-dagger agents in Western countries.

    There were three
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  9. Ninja History 101: An Introduction to Ninjutsu

    Ninja History 101: An Introduction to Ninjutsu

    Welcome to Ninja History 101. During today’s lesson, we’ll be examining Spies and Assassins, Ninja Gear, Ninjutsu Weapons and Ninjutsu Training. But first, a brief introduction.


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  10. Isaac Florentine: When Mixed Martial Arts Meets Martial Art Movies

    Isaac Florentine: When Mixed Martial Arts Meets Martial Art Movies

    In the movie industry, it’s rare to come across a sequel that’s better than the original. Yet that’s exactly what happened with the Undisputed saga. The first film began with Wesley Snipes facing off against Ving Rhames in a prison that hosted a series of underground boxing matches, but it
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