Evolved in darkness and secrets, these warriors of the night caused fear in the hearts of their enemies. The principles of it's methods hidden, always changing in practice and style but never in ultimate nature. The principles and forms presented below are planned for use of a lone individual. Some schools in Ninjutsu emphasize the use of specific equipment such as darts, knives, even poisons and firearms. Others emphasize improvisation and the use of any handy item which can be turned into a weapon. All leave the Ninja well-armed and well-prepared.
However, for all the emphasis on weapons none are needed by the true Ninja; "A man naked, but in a dark room, can practice Ninjutsu." For the deadliest weapons of the Ninja are skill and knowledge. A weapon is not needed when one can sneak in with flawless silence and break your neck in the tiniest fraction of a second.
The true beauty of Ninjutsu is in it's origins. It came from poor farmers and peasants who were simply tired of being wronged, but who had almost nothing with which to defend themselves. So they trained with nothing, made weapons from every day items, and relied upon stealth rather than brute force. Rather than the teaching methods of other arts, which are muddied with tradition and specific form and ritual, Ninjutsu only asks it's students to learn what they need to know and then have the courage to use it to bring down oppressors. Whereas other arts have lineages like useless kings, Ninjutsu has ordinary people with the will to succeed, like every great man to walk the Earth.
Espionage as a Weapon
500 years before the recorded birth of Christ, a Chinese philosopher named Sun Tsu said that there is no art higher than to destroy the enemy's resistance without fighting in the countryside the battle, that "The direct tactic of war is needed on the battlefield, but only the indirect tactic can lead to a real and lasting victory."
"Spread disunity and disputes between citizens
of the country of the enemy. Check the young against the old. Use every
means to destroy their armies, their supplies, and the discipline of
the forces of the enemy. "
"Separating old traditions and religions. Be generous with promises and rewards to buy intelligence and accomplices. Send your secret agents in all directions. Do not restrict money or with promises, because they yield a high return. "
Those are from The Art of War, a brilliant book that lives deep within the spirit of Ninjutsu. Sun Tsu was quite correct and, if you will simply look around the world, you will see that nothing more needs to be said about espionage. It has been discovered and rediscovered by many great tacticians throughout history. It's a mystery as to why so few seem to understand it.
Ninjutsu: Theives In The Shadows
The origins of Ninjutsu are lost in the mists of time. The word Ninjutsu originated there during a war between Prince Shotoku and Moriya on the land of Omi of the sixth century in Japan. During this conflict, a warrior named Otomo-in-Saajin contributed to the victory of Prince Shotoku secretly using valuable information from intelligence on the enemy forces. For this service, he was awarded the title of Shinobi which means "the thief." It is from this that the character for the word Ninjutsu is derived.
Originally, the role of Ninja was gaining information about the enemy and sabotaging operations. Such agents include men and women, the women were called Ninja Kunoichi met missions of murder and sabotage, as well as espionage.
"A tree that is the forest without being heard, it does not make any sound; But it is there, nonetheless. " So it is with Ninjutsu. A Ninja which attacks a man who does not see is invisible, but he is, however, attacking.
The Nature of a Ninja
For a person to be a Ninja that person must be a hunter, know the ways of their prey. He studied their habits, patterns of movement, and routines. Thus, it can strike his blow it when it is most vulnerable, or even use the prey's own habits against them. He cannot simply be an invisible killer though. He must be a warrior through and through. This means that he must accept responsibility for all that he does, including the risks he takes. He must be strong, but he must remember that the greatest strength a warrior can have is wisdom.
Uniform of the Ninja
The uniform of the Ninja styles his dress off of an unlikely counterpart; the stage hand. Stage hands and helpers at theaters wear dark clothes and use stealthy motions to help make modifications to scenes and add effects to help bring the play about. He is neither noted nor noticed, even if he is visible for the entire act. Just as they make stealthy changes to the world of the play, so too do the Ninja make stealthy changes to the world.
In both cases these stealthy folk use camouflage. In the case of the Ninja, most of their activities are nocturnal and the obvious camouflage choice is therefore solid black. It covers the entire body except for the eyes, the area around which is often painted black as well. The clothing must be non-restrictive, but not so loose as to get caught on things. Traditionally this was done by wearing loose hakama pants and using leggings to bind the hakama tight around the calves. Ninjas wore thick socks rather than true shoes as this was much more silent. The traditional outfit of the Ninja is
called Shokozu Shinobi. Other colors used were brown or gray because of their natural and ambiguous nature, and red because it appears black at night and is psychologically shocking to see suddenly appearing in the light. Red had the added benefit of masking blood, making it seem as if blows landed do nothing to the Ninja (a tactic also employed by the ancient Greeks, especially the Spartans).
Principles of Light and Shadow
The rule of Kagashi-in-Jitsu states that the eye sees movement first, silhouette second, and color in third. While the eye can adjust to see somewhat in the dark in only a few seconds, it takes approximately 30 minutes for the eyes to adjust sufficiently to clearly distinguish colors.
Vision Center is a technique Ninjas use to see in the dark by focusing attention on a subject without
looking directly to it. When an object is looked directly, the image
is formed in the region of the cone cells of the eye. This area is not very
sensitive in the night. When the eye looks at five to ten degrees
above, below, left or right, the image raises awareness cells rods
making the object visible in low light and correct the vision.
Vision of Scan is a method of using this vision of outside-center to observe an object or area. During observation night, the visual purple cell rods are closer to five to ten seconds and the image weakens. Because of this, you have to focus your eyes elsewhere slightly so that the cells used are rested. Move your eyes in short and irregular intervals on the subject, but not look directly to him. Stop few seconds for each point of observation because his eyes are regularly used where there is enough light to create sketches clear and bright colors. In darkness, the vision of objects is weak, there is no clear outline, and the colors are little or almost nothing distinguishable. To move in the darkness you have to believe what you see. Only practice can achieve this.
At night, if the enemy can be seen, keep the fire (light) between you and the enemy. Remember, the enemy is looking for an area of light for an area of darkness where the light is insufficient to display an image in the cone region of the retina.
The emphasis on meditation to cultivate the mind and body is characteristic of all Eastern martial arts. There is no other art in which this is so true. The Ninjutsu curriculum places great importance on the spiritual and mental aspects of his art as in the physical. The ability to think, argue and remember is highly exercised in an art where the mind is the last weapon. To this end, they developed exercises to hone their perception and psychological acumen. These techniques also serve rejuvenate the body, calm the spirit, and cultivate internal strength. Ninja could feel the hidden enemies, predict the imminent death of a person sick or old, and predict the dissolution of a marriage. This was not because they were "psychic", but because they had developed their skills of observation and intuition to a high degree through these and other special exercises (not that the Ninjas let anyone know that. The belief that Ninja were psychic and magical was encouraged as this made people afraid to fight them, thus winning the war before it was fought).
The key to meditation is the practice regularly. Perseverance, diligence and
quiet determination are required. If executed daily, continuous
improvement can be expected. Meditation is not something to be rush, and you should not expect immediate results. But, slowly, after a week or two, you will notice that the old problems like anger are becoming a thing of the past. You may also find that you sleep better. Very often these first improvements form so gradually and organically that you may not notice them until someone points them out. Then comes subtle sounds and
sensations. A sense of lightness, a tingling in the spine from the
bottom up, the sound of the beating of your own heart. These are signs
of further progress.
Two periods are recommended daily. One in the morning and one before going to sleep. The exercise should be done in a room dark and quiet, not very hot or very cold. The clothes comfortable, provide adequate ventilation for fresh air and should be fairly noises and other distractions.
The control of breathing meditation is the key itself of which can be defined as the art of consciously changing states of mind, and proper breathing can physically adjust the pH (balance acid / alkaline) of their blood. This form of training is intended to acquire and manipulate internal power. However, while meditating you should not dwell on these goals as this will only impede your progress. Meditation, sitting quietly, listening to the breath, is the first exercise of the Ninja.
Internal and External Force
There are two types of force, the same way that there is Yin and Yang. The exterior, physical strength is obvious, weakens with age, and is dissipated through excesses. The internal strength is know to the wise to be the more powerful of the two and must be developed by consistent practice and study. Ki is the strength of the Worlds, vital that flows in and around all things. It can be accumulated, cultivated, and circulated within the body to execute the will of the Ninja. None in 10,000 already know the reality or usefulness of Ki, and therein lies it's greatest potential; a great weapon unknown to the masses.