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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

True Path of the Ninja


True Path of the Ninja
Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami, Tuttle Publishing
2011


In the 17th century Natori a memeber of one of Japans elite Ninja clans wrote a training manual for Ninjas or Shinobis. The manual in Japanese was called Shoninki. Ninpo translates to way of the ninja and the ninja's way is not just martial arts and assassinations. Although, Shinobi warriors did engage in assassinations there is much more to Ninpo.

The way of the Ninja is all encompassing. Ninja's could be employed by there pay master or war lord to steal something from an enemy or to spy on an enemy and get information. To get to where they needed to go they would often times employ disguises looking like monks, priests, laborers etc to get through checkpoints and not be noticed.

A shinobi warrior could creep into a household but just as often they go in through the front door with an invitation. Pretending to be sick and asking for help was one way to penetrate an enemies defenses and get information. Shinobi warriors knew how to shmooze and butter people up. Regular townsmen were great souces of information as were servants working for the warlord who was targeted.

Shinobi warriors often times had to spend nights out doors. They learned survival skills and had pack with them so they could hunt and create fire to warm themselves. The book goes beyond the physical attribute of training and delves into sorcery and the psychology. For the ninja enthusiast this book makes a great addition written by a man who is not oly a master himself in Ninjutsu but also a samurai.

Being a Ninja is not so romantic as the movies and media make them to appear. The author disabuses the reader of this notion that Ninjas have supernatural skills. Their training was hard and Ninjas were first and foremost very independent workers who did better working alon then they did in pairs or groups.

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