In 1973, “Enter the Dragon” debuted and turned Bruce Lee and martial arts into an overnight sensation. A few years later, movies starring ninjas burst onto the scene. They took over our imagination and have not let go. What is it about these secret black-clad warriors that inspires so much interest?

The incredible feats they are capable of is one answer. But how much of what they do is attributable to ninja training, and how much is Hollywood artistic license? And what is most important to us, is there a way that we can acquire the skills of these martial arts supermen?

It helps to remember that the ninjas of yore were really just men who learned and practiced an impressive set of skills. Ninjutsu is not a martial art like we think of other arts. Ninja training encompasses much more than kicks, punches, and gymnastics.

Ninja training consisted of 18 disciplines: most dealt with specific weapons in the ninja arsenal. The others included skills also practiced by today’s military and special forces; camouflage and concealment, intelligence gathering, unarmed combat, etc.

Most people never think of these other disciplines as part of a martial art. Subsequently, most people don’t bother to learn them. Some of the disciplines you can teach yourself; how to learn to dress up

Other disciplines (such as unarmed combat) require a partner to practice with. It is important to practice ninjutsu techniques with a partner. Properly applied leverage can almost magically allow a smaller person to disarm and overpower a larger opponent. But it takes a lot of practice before these skills become effective in real life.

As much as we want to believe in ninja legends and emulate the ninja movies we watch; we have to realize that the myth of the magical ninja sorcerer is just that… a myth. You, as a martial artist, must be willing to put in the time, tears, and sweat to master these skills.

We are fortunate to live in an age where it is relatively easy to find masters of these combat arts who are willing to train us. (Information related to ninja training was once closely guarded. Now, it is available to everyone. There are numerous dojos around the world that teach ninjutsu. Also, ninja training DVDs and books are available online.)

The important thing to remember is that there are no superior martial arts, but there are superior martial artists.

One of the best things you can do to improve as a martial artist (regardless of your style) is to get in the best physical shape possible. The better you are in shape, the longer you can train; the most advanced moves you can master; and you’ll be more likely to avoid injury.

So maybe one day people will whisper about your ninja training and superhuman abilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *