Purpose: To outline what Modern Ninjitsu is the evolution of reality based martial arts as a strategic-combat-survival system as opposed to just a martial art.
What is Ninjutsu?
Before we address what ninjitsu is, I will address its proper spelling. Romaji is has taken many varied forms over the years and refers to a system of writing with a roman alphabet common to European languages. Romaji was standardized after World War II for all Japanese & with it came the standardized spelling using the "U" as opposed to the "I." Many older books & articles on jujutsu often use the spelling jujitsu with an "I." This was because the word "jutsu/jitsu" however you choose to spell it is pronounced properly "J-tsu" with the "U/I" being silent. And Japanese writing is typically practice with Logograhic characters borrow from the Chinese called Kanji or Syllabic script known as Kana. There are over six variations of Romaji in general with no standardization between them. So the standardized "jutsu" spelling applies to one of the six variations of Romaji. So basically online arguments over proper spelling of ninjutsu or ninjitsu is just someone trying to be "smart" by demanding someone else use "their version" of a non-standardized system. It is just plain ego and stupidity I use the "I" & "U" interchangeably.
Ninjutsu is simply ancient Japanese Espionage & Strategic application of intelligence. This has been established by studying the historical information from the Iga Ninja Museum in Japan, http://www.iganinja.jp/en/about/ninja.html.
What is Modern Ninjutsu?
What is Modern Ninjitsu must begin with what is Ninjutsu. So I will simply restate the facts given in the FAQ of this site... Due to both the research of the Historical Ninjutsu Research Team, Anthony Cummings and even the Iga Ninja Museum in Japan we know this due to a greater understanding of historical ninjutsu. Ninjutsu is not a martial art it is ancient Japanese Espionage techniques & Strategic applications. This information can be found here: http://www.iganinja.jp/en/about/ninja.html
Modern Ninjitsu is a Strategic-Combat-Survival system that functions at 5 ranges with 6 primary focus points. Unlike Historical Ninjutsu, (I will not use the term traditional as no one can claim a proven historical tradition) which is addressed by the writings of the historical texts like the Bansenshukai, the Shoninki, & the Shinobi Hiden which were written by historical ninja in the later 1600s (17th Century) and thus historically accurate, as an espionage system embracing scouting techniques, commando tactics, sabotage, assassination & primarily intelligence gathering, modern ninjutsu is a martial art. Modern ninjitsu is a martial art in the vaguest terms, Strategic-Combat-Survival System is more accurate.
What are the 5 Ranges of Combat?
Modern Ninjutsu functions at five ranges of combat, where as many modern martial arts focus at 1 to 3 ranges. Striking (punching & kicking) Range, In-fighting (knee, elbow & stand-up joint manipulations) Range & Grappling (wrestling or ground fighting) Range, is what everyone mainly think of. Modern ninjutsu uses an Internal & Weapons Range, with internal range referring to psychological influence, manipulation & deception for strategic value (what is commonly called Ninja Mind Control). Weapons range is outside the normal reach of the human body that can only be achieved by use of a weapon, whether you're taking about a katana or cruise missile.
What are the Six Primary Focus Points?
Modern Ninjutsu focuses on six areas of study Taijutsu (unarmed combat), Weapons (traditional martial arts weapons & modern firearms), Stealth, Survival, Strategy & Tactics. This makes it a Strategic-Combat-Survival System or Strategic-Combat-Survival Martial Art.
How does Modern Ninjitsu treat Historical Ninjutsu?
With respect, we cannot have the Modern hybrid system without its historical roots. For years many people have bee teaching Ninjutsu as "Ninpo Taijutsu" and both as a martial art. The study of the Historical methods is a part of the study of the Modern methods, mixed with US Army Infantry training & new methodologies based of the historical principles. Many principles of ninjutsu are timeless and are the same modern or historical. It is important to realize that historically the ninja were samurai and as samurai were trained in conventional martial arts or military arts called Bujutsu. Ninja were samurai trained in a second art, that of ninjutsu. With ninjutsu being the "Invisible art" as in an art done in secret or unseen (thus invisible). So modern ninjitsu must unite the two faces into a single coin.
But isn't ninjutsu outdated?
Jinichi Kawakami said "In the age of civil wars or during the Edo period, ninjas' abilities to spy and kill, or mix medicine may have been useful. But we now have guns, the internet and much better medicines, so the art of ninjutsu has no place in the modern age." to BBC news. I would argue that Mr. Kawakami is mistaken. We have chemical poisons that kill in seconds and is much better then rattle snake venom, so I guess the venom is outdated and you can let your kids play with a diamond back rattler, right? In case you missed it I was being sarcastic, because that's how I see Mr. Kawakami's statement. Herbal medicines might not be as good as modern medicine but in a survival situation anything is better then nothing and skills cost nothing to maintain, don't need batteries and you know what the feudal ninja of history had guns, we just have better guns.
Jinichi Kawakami is a 60+ year old former engineer and like other ninjutsu, soke has no proven lineage to prove a historical root to ninjutsu. He doesn't have any military training or experience and he certainly doesn't live in one of the most violent countries in the world, which I know does not include the USA and he is not a businessman. However his ninjutsu training could just as easily be the product of studying the Historical Documents (after all they were translated in modern Japanese in the 1930s) as he claims a mysterious ninja-teacher. Now don't get me wrong I'm not calling him a fraud & I willingly accept his claims at face value but, the same can be argued against me. This returns us to the fact that no modern ninja master has a proven lineage. And my address of the businessman is the Japanese Businessmen regularly are encouraged to study Son Shi (Sun Tzu in Japanese) as well as Go Rin Sho (The Book of Five Rings) by Miyamoto Musashi.
Strategy, understanding human nature, tactics and similar have always been studied by businessmen and military leaders a like. Primitive survival skills like mixing herbal medicines, acupuncture and acupressure are still valued by supporters of alternative medicine and can easy be used to help those too poor o afford their medications. Here in America alone people are being denied certain meditations under Obamacare's new system or face months of delays in getting those medications. Herbals have become a fall back supplement for these poor people. All one has to do is google "Are Smart Phones Making People Dumber" to realize the internet is not a replacement for human intellect and education.
So I would simply add that while I respect Mr. Kawakami for his accomplishments and knowledge I disagree with his opinion and would warn anyone about assuming any man's opinion is gospel truth. Ninjutsu is only outdated if you see no value in what it teaches.
If you would like to know more about modern ninjutsu?
Please visit our store we have three books dedicated to the subject...
Army of Shadows: The first and only modernized study of ninjutsu skirmish principles & espionage concepts as a clandestine small teams warfare doctrine...
Black Dragon Ninjitsu: The basic instructional manual for Modern Ninjitsu covers Taijitsu, stealth, survival, poisons, pyrotechnics, herbal medicines, weapons & espionage strategy and tactics...
Shadow Hunter: Rooted heavily in Strategy & Tactics this manual on incorporating the long range marksmanship of the guerrilla sniper and ninjitsu is the only one of it kind.
Or just visit the Black Dragon Ninjitsu Blog...