How do you classify ninjutsu??

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Kobudo, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    Just a thought, we know that the history and lineage of the ninjutsu/ninpo only schools is less than proven, but are happy to counter this with the argument that ninjutsu training is included in other Ryu that do have proven history and lineage - correct?

    How are we classifying this as ninjutsu though?

    Is it as simple as saying, 'this school included x training, therefore contains ninjutsu?

    If this is the logic used could the same argument be made wherever 'ninja' type training is found? If not how can we apply this logic as above? Is it purely on the basis of it being a Japanese Ryu, and any espionage, disguise, etc style training conducted by The Japanese must be ninjutsu?

    Interested to hear thoughts?
  2. Sylvain

    Sylvain Valued Member

    First, ninjutsu HAS to be from japanese school, else, it will be called "espionage" or "special ops" etc etc.

    Then, there's the history of the school, if it was made to fit the specific needs of ninjas, it is ninjutsu.

    For the "less than proven" part, I am not knowledgeable enough to reply, but I believe some people have made researched that convinced them that it goes back far enough to be at least very probable(as I suspect you are talking about the xkans).

    Can't answer more than that right now, people who know more will give a more complete answer.
  3. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    This is exactly the point though, how do we clasify if it was made to fit the specific needs of ninja's?

    We are talking about samurai ryu here, i'll use espionage as an example, if a samurai school has some espionage training, how are we deciding that this was ninja training, and not samurai training some espionage skills? What logic are we applying to say that Ryu x contains ninjutsu?
  4. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    I'm referring to specific Ryu within the Kans as opposed to the kans themselves, for instance Togakure Ryu and others cannot be proved beyond Takamatsu sensei.

    But my question is regarding claims that other Ryu contained ninjutsu, and te logic used to say what is ninjutsu and what isn't within the koryu.
  5. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award


    Classical warriors conducting espionage = Ninjutsu

    Modern day xkan = Unproven ninjutsu plus a mix of valid classical
    Kobudo/bujutsu skills often taught badly.
  6. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member


    So your way to classify ninjutsu is basically any classical warrior (I'm assuming Japanese) carrying out the type of activity associated with the ninja?

    Not that I'm disagreeing with that in principal, but isn't that just a bit too easy? We can make anything look like ninjutsu if we want, that kind of thing?

    Is every samurai that ever completed a covert op practicing ninjutsu? Or associated with ninja? Is it not possible some warrior schools would train some of the ninja type things anyway?
  7. Tsukaneru

    Tsukaneru Valued Member

    Do the classical ryu mentioned call these elements of their art ninjutsu? How do they refer to it and how far back can this usage be traced?

    I think these questions may be starting points to the main question.

    I was under the impression that these ryu had verifiable ninjutsu lineages that they can prove as being many generations old. But I also know that Ninjutsu as a word was not always used and may be more recent. It's an interesting question!
  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    AFAIK Ninja/shinobi etc is the name of a function, a ninja is so called because she/he goes a 'ninjering around'

    In addition to this is the entire '' Iga Sokoku Ikki'' issue that confuses people into having a ninja vs samurai vs pirates view of the issue/area.
  9. Seventh

    Seventh Super Sexy Sushi Time

    Smoke bombs and ninja stars.

  10. Tsukaneru

    Tsukaneru Valued Member

    I see, ninja stars. As opposed to other throwing stars and metsubushi also found in Japan. The difference being?
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  11. Da Lurker

    Da Lurker Valued Member

    you might want to use, kusa/rappa, etc. for that, but still I agree with 'ninjering around'. :hat:

    the iga no mono have the reputation of being badass, ehem, excuse me, of being capable and having good grasp of successful 'ninjering around'. it's like a brand name, like the yagyu seal of quality. :hat:

    now a ryu can teach ninjutsu, but if it's only a sub-curriculum, IMO it's not a ninja ryu.

    however, if there were things such as "yagyu's school of onmitsu/ oniwaban", I would classify that as a ninja ryu.

    the thing is, to whom the ryu (for a lack of a better word) caters to? are their proponents'/graduates' primary job is 'ninjering around'? those are MY standards of a ninja ryu. sadly, none can be verified as such.
  12. tonyv107

    tonyv107 Valued Member

    People running around in dark pajamas
  13. 2E0WHN

    2E0WHN Homebrew for idiots

    How would I classify ninjutsu?

    Under the letter N. Somewhere between Mototsport and Ornothology.
  14. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    It hasn't been proven by certain 'official' organizations. That's not the same as 'cannot be proved beyond Takamatsu sensei'.

    Perhaps by looking at the context and internal history of the ryûha it can help to determine whether or not it can be called ninjutsu. It most certainly (at least very probably) was not called 'ninjutsu' by those who practiced it when it was used, and different schools seem to have used the term with different meanings, together with different terms, sometimes within descriptions of only certain techniques, etc.

    In this case, one could look at the writings of Takamatsu sensei and the knowledge he transmitted to Hatsumi sensei, and see what they call their art and in what times and contexts it has been used. I've seen a very, very limited amount of material written by Takamatsu sensei, but I've seen enough to reasonably believe that the nine schools are ninjutsu (which is a very wide term, and used as such - not with limits to just espionage).
  15. Sylvain

    Sylvain Valued Member

    The difference is, you don't see those in movies!
  16. Kagete

    Kagete Banned Banned

    I challenge anyone to show me a single non-Takamatsu-related system in which the term "ninjutsu" is used as an umbrella term for everything the system encompasses.

    If you can, I'll slap your hand and give you credit, and if not, I'll turn around and say forget it. #EPMD
  17. Tsukaneru

    Tsukaneru Valued Member

    Historically there were several systems of Ninjutsu documented, but only the Takamatsu sensei related systems can actually show you anything now.
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Valued Member

    Banke Shinobi no Den? Ban Family Ninja Traditions? Just as an alternative, mind, I'm not convinced of their version of things as of yet, but it's another for you. Other than that, the historically recorded systems would be another (as Tsukaneru said).

    But to look at the topic -

    Right. There's a lot that goes into this, but to my mind there are a few absolute requirements for a system to be regarded, or classified as a Ninjutsu curriculum. First off is that it is a Japanese system. The main reason is that the concepts that make up Ninjutsu as a skill set/martial strategy, although originally part of the imported knowledge from China, primarily in such texts as Sun Tzu's Art of War, the application and "dressings" of the art are purely Japanese. So while many other cultures have espionage traditions and concepts, both historical and modern, the particular methods are designed around the Japanese social structure and culture. This, combined with the historical uses of the strategies, created a particular approach to espionage that became what we refer to as "Ninjutsu".

    Next is that the term "Ninjutsu" (or similar) isn't even used universally to refer to the same things. Some groups used the term to refer to information gathering and spying, others would use it for scouting, while some didn't, some would use it to refer to battlefield tactics (disrupting groups sent into enemy camps for sabotage and demoralizing), and so on. What seems to be the link throughout it all is the concept of stealth and patience (working towards a larger plan, rather than the engagement in question being the end aim itself - by which I mean the gathering of information or sabotage of an enemy camp leads to a victory in a battle, which leads to victory in a war, rather than "winning the battle/war" being the aim itself).

    Finally it comes down to the usage of the term within the system itself. So, if a school decided that scouting was part of their approach to "Ninjutsu", then that is Ninjutsu to them. However, if another school decided that scouting was Ninjutsu, and they contained scouting methods and skills, then that would not be Ninjutsu.
  19. Kagete

    Kagete Banned Banned

    EDIT: Doesn't address my challenge.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011

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