Modern Ninja Guide: How to become a ninja
As much as Way Of Ninja seeks to be a training guide to becoming modern ninja, we acknowledge that the legendary ninjas of feudal Japan, together with the many secrets surrounding their techniques and motivations, are long gone. This leads to many questions… Have the role of the ninja become obsolete in modern times? How do we pick up the missing pieces in history to tell us how to train to be a ninja? And lastly, why would you as a ninja enthusiast, seek to become a modern ninja?
Who were the ninja? Are there modern ninja?
The ninja were spies, saboteurs, infiltrators and assassins, who came about in part due to the truth in unorthodox warfare as outlined in Sun Tzu’s Art of War (an old military treatise). The samurai were forbidden to use stealth due to the Bushido code of honour. Thus, the ninja came about to fulfill a role in battle that the samurai were forbidden to do.
In their time, shinobi were innovators in stealth and warfare technology; they trained to become one with their environment so as to remain unseen by both enemy and common folk. Their stealth techniques were so extraordinary that commoners believed that the ninja possessed supernatural abilities. However, it is more likely that their detailed observations of nature and active weaponry innovation allowed them to do things that seemed supernatural at the time.
So, the ninja and many other ancient warrior cultures have left a legacy behind in the modern world. And this legacy is still living in modern soldiers, spies, martial artists and traceurs – the people who have taken the place of the ninja (in either abilities or philosophy).
Why do you want to become a modern ninja?
Let’s be honest as to why we want to become ninja. The ninja of the past were legendary and were capable of extraordinary feats. They embodied the principles of perseverance, strength and courage in the face of adversity. We want to become ninja because we too wish to have the extraordinary abilities and skills, and continue their legendary legacy in this modern age.
Step 1: How To Become A Ninja – Skills
Despite the murky history of the ninja, many agree that the ninja possessed great skill in stealth, combat and agility. Constant awareness of one’s surroundings is the common foundation shared by these abilities.
The question is, which path do you want to take towards your interpretation of being ninja.
If you prefer a way of ninja that is close to how traditional ninjas were, you can consider training in Bujinkan, Genbukan or Jinenkan. If you prefer a modern interpretation of being ninja, an eclectic combination of Parkour, stealth and martial arts skills would be suitable for you.
However, it takes more than skill and ability to become a ninja. There must be some form of purpose and ethics that govern your actions.
Step 2: How To Become A Ninja – Purpose and Ethics
It is impossible to define the purpose and ethics in being a ninja for the reasons outlined earlier; there are gaps in history that are untraceable and historical ninja served many varied purposes. Some became ninja for vengeance, others fought in hopes that they would bring peace in a turbulent era, and many served the purposes of their masters. There were also ninja who abused their abilities to become thieves.
You will have to decide your ethics and purpose. To know your ethics and purpose, you need to know yourself and what you stand for as a person.
For instance, if you have passion for your country and would love to serve the military, that could be your purpose; to serve and defend your country and countrymen. If you are in school or even in workplaces, it could be as simple as standing up for those who are bullied or discriminated against.
Ethics and purpose are crucial, because without which, a thief, terrorist, and vandal who uses stealth techniques can easily fall within the definition of a modern ninja. We can have a huge debate on ethics for ninjas and not reach a satisfactory answer, because there are grey areas. But let us agree, at the very least, not to harm another individual, damage their property or steal.
Step 3: What makes a modern ninja, a ninja?
The last component to become a ninja is actually choice. Even back then, ninja were ninja because they chose to be ninja. You choose to become a ninja and embrace the purpose and philosophy. It is that simple.
And by consciously choosing to become a ninja, do you then become a ninja.
Images by : Steven Rolland (flickr.com/photos/osakajock/121840757), Rubén Chase (flickr.com/photos/freeflyer09/7721345146) & imaspy (sxc.hu)