Ninjas studied what is now called "ninjutsu." While there are some schools that concentrate only on the martial arts aspects, true ninjutsu covers a wide range of skills from espionage to wilderness survival. What constitutes "true" ninja training is hotly debated, as there isn't much direct information from the time. One of the surviving scrolls from Togakure Ryu, a top ninja school of the era, includes "Ninja Juhakkei," which lists the skills of the ninja:
Spiritual refinement - This is the ability to control both ones own will as well as the will of the opponent.
Unarmed combat - Ninjas used a variety of tactics including boxing, kicking, throws, and evasion.
Ninja sword - When ninjas carried swords, they were often disguised, and didn't carry the spiritual connotations that samurai swords had. They also tended to be shorter, making them better for close combat fighting.
Stick and staff fighting - Ninjas were trained to fight with anything stick-shaped, so weapons would always be at hand.
Throwing blades - This included the famous shuriken. These weren't used directly so much as a way to distract enemies.
Spear and halberd fighting - Ninjas had hooked spears which were useful for removing a samurai from his horse. A halberd is a spear with a sword blade that would break samurai armor.
Kusarigama - This is a ball and chain attached to a sickle, adapted from a common garden tool. The chain would be used to tangle up the enemy's weapon, letting the ninja attack freely with the sickle.
Fire and explosives - These were used for both distraction and arson. Ninjas were also the first in Japan to use firearms in warfare.
Stealth and entering methods - Ninjas would learn how to camouflage themselves and move silently to avoid detection. Dogs were a popular ninja defense as they could smell them before they could be seen.
Water training - This is a general category covering everything from using a reed as a snorkel to destroying bridges.
Posted 3801 day ago