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About Ninja

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

Ninjutsu--"the art of stealth, the way of invisibility"

Ninja--"the legendary spies and commandos feudal Japan"

The history of Japan describes the ninjas as the best combatants who used to be perfectly trained in martial art that involves strange but effective techniques. Few of the unconventional methods, which were used by the Ninjas were stealth, surveillance and disguise.

Deadly combatants, assassins, and spies, the ninjas were the shadow warriors for hire during the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries in Japan, a period of eastern history full of conflict. The philosophy of the ninja was to operate in the dark, quiet, unseen and unnoticed. They could go where armored warriors could not, accomplish in secret what greater numbers could not in the open. Ninjas were consummate fighters, but they preferred deception to outright violence, charisma to belligerence, night to day.

The method of “Stealth” originated in Japan approximately at 522 AD. This was linked with the religion and the priests were the ones to practice this. There was no violence involved and the priests used to practice this in order to support the ruling power of that time. At around 645 A.D these priests mastered the art and realized the need to use it for their self-defense.

Traditionally, ninjas were trained from birth. They learned to be much aware of the world around them. By five or six, children's play took the form of training exercises which taught balance and agility. They learned how to walk without making noise, to assume disguises that allowed them to blend in with a crowd, and to scamper across trees and roofs with ease. As they grew older, these future ninjas began hand-to-hand combat and eventually weapons training.

According to the historical facts the ninja groups were developed in small villages or around the elite families. They were into protecting the residents of the villages and communities from external enemies. Women had the privilege to become the Ninjas, like men. While male ninja were called shinobi, female ninja were called kunoichi. It was said that female ninja were used to seduce some enemies while also accomplishing the task of spying on others.

Ninjas had some special weapons and tricks up their sleeves that were simply inescapable. The actual origin of the Ninja is not clear. Yet it seemed they evolved as an opposing force to the samurai.

Some of the weapons of the Ninja were:

  • kusari-fundo--an easy to conceal 2-3 foot chain with a steel weight on both ends used for countering sword techniques without using a sword.
  • kusari-gama--a single-edged blade attached to a wooden handle with 9-12 feet of chain on the other end.
  • shinobi-zue--these canes looked like ordinary walking sticks, but inside ninjas would conceal a variety of fighting tools such as knives and daggers, all the way up to swords.

There were various rules decided only for the ninja and they were kept as secrets. The facts that have been retrieved about the origin and purposes of the Ninjas are mostly the records kept by the outsiders who observed and scripted the history.

Even today, ninjas are spoken of with awe and admiration, but it is good to remember that these men and women were assassins of the highest order, killing for a price.


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.

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