Ninjutsu began more than 800 years ago among the ninja people living in Japan. The warrior class which ruled Japan at the
time were called the Samurai. They controlled the land and it's people. Their lord, the Shogun, was the only person the Samurai
was answerable to.
The ordinary peasant served the warriors every whim. A peasant could never strike a Samurai. If hedid, it would mean his life.
The ninja would not serve the Samurai, and fled to the barren, cold, mountainous regions of Iga and Koga. There they trained in the arts of war. It is said that their art is based upon a great Chinese military text written by a general named Sun Tzu, The
Art of War.
Over the centuries the ninja (word meaning 'stealers-in') trained from the cradle to the gravein every known martial art. Their forte was espionage and assassination, by any means possible. But their training also taught them to reach spiritual heights, by
pushing their bodies and minds to limits far beyond that of normal human endurance.
Training for a ninja began almost as soon as he could walk. Childhood games were designed to inculcate expertise in unarmed combat, swordwork,weaponry, camouflage, escape and evasion. In time, the ninja warriors came to be feared throughout
Japan. Even the mighty Samaurai looked over his shoulder if a ninja was known to be in the area.
Over the centuries, while ninjutsu was being practiced in secrecy, no one knew anything about the art except the ninjas themselves. When Japan emerged into the modern era, and feudalism collapsed, the ninjawere absorbed into Japan's secret
service and special services groups.
The martial arts boom of the 1970's saw two men searching for something different. Doron Navon and Stephen Hayes found a ninjutsu headmaster living in Japan who came from an unbroken line of ninja instructors dating back almost 800 years. The art
was then brought to the western World.
When speaking of Ninja, the imageof a black clad assassin disappearing in a cloud of smoke is what comes to mind. This distortion has nothing to do with the reality of studying Ninjutsu, or "Ninpo" in its highest order. Ninpo is a traditional Japanese
bujutsu martial art with a rich and viable history that stretches back over ten centuries. Developed as a highly illegal counterculture to the ruling samurai warrior class, Ninpostill flourishes today under the direct guidance of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi,34th grandmaster of the Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu tradition and eight other budo traditions. Dr. Hatsumi is the last
variable true Ninja grandmaster having a direct line of decent from feudal Japan. The instructors at the BBD Newark Ninjutsu Club are directly affiliated with Hatsumi Sensei and his international Bujinkan Dojo.Ninpo is a more global title for the nine ryu (families) related. Po is Japanese for 'principle way'.
The History of Ninjutsu
Hatsumi Soke tells us: 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 ofcircumstances that would be acceptable to all as the birth of the art. In all truthfulness, ninjutsu did not come into being as a specific well-defined art in the first place, and many centuries passed before ninjutsu was established as an independant system of knowledge in its own right. The people who were later referred to as ninja did not originally use that label for themselves. They consideredthemselves to be merely practitioners of political, religious, and military strategies that were cultural opposites of the conventional outlooks of the times. Ninjutsu developed as a highly illegal counter culture to the ruling samurai elite, and for this reason alone, the origins of the art were shrouded by centuries of mystery, concealment, and deliberate confusion of history.
In the legends of the...