Lin Kuei?

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by MerKaBa, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    Good point. :)

    By the way, MAP is so far the only reliable source of information I can find on the internet in regards to this stuff. I know you people probably don't feel like you're helping much. I know some of you think I'm probably in the wrong place. But the truth is, you people have been awesome. You have answered a lot of questions and provided a lot of helpful information for me, so thank you for that. MAP is definitely the number one source for information about the Lin Kuei, or Chinese ninja, which should make you all very happy. All the other sites I've been to are just gamer sites and fan-fiction sites and even they don't have as much information about the Lin Kuei as you people do. Your answers have been genuine and honest, which is appreciated. Just something to think about. Thanks again for your help.
  2. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Well brother I can make it even simpler for you 'gypsies' in China are not even called lin kuei they were called luo li and they were actually Persian and came to China before they came to Europe.
  3. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    So maybe the historical luo-li are what the fictional lin-kuei were based on? Thank you so much, The Iron Fist, you have actually provided a lot for me to go on. Every little bit helps :)
  4. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    I can't find the link right now for some reason. I just went through 3 pages and couldn't find it, but I did see a site claiming to practice Dorobo-ryu Ninjutsu (a Japanese martial art with ancient origins in Qie Zei Gung Fu), which I'm not familiar with. The Bujinkan makes no mention of Dorobo-ryu in its curriculum and I can't find any references to Qie Zei Gung Fu on the internet. Does anyone on MAP have any information about it?

    Speaking of the Bujinkan, the origins of Ninjutsu in their tradition comes from Tang China from mysterious figures named Ikai, Toda, Kane Doshi, etc. I was wondering more about these Chinese founders of Ninjutsu, if anyone has any useful information about them. Are they Shaolin monks? If so, did they all come over together at the same time? What was their contribution to Ninjutsu, if any?

    Also, I found a reference to the Sulsa dark knights of Korea, which mentions their art being known as Am-ja. Earlier on this forum, it was established that the Sulsa dark knights were just as sketchy and fictional as the Lin Kuei forest demons of China who practiced An-chi. But it does seem like the fictional Lin Kuei was in part based on something real that is not entirely fantasy of the imagination, so perhaps the Sulsa is too. Either way, it's irrelevant to the question I have regarding not the practitioners themselves, but rather the practice. I noticed that Am-ja and An-chi sound vaguely similar and that both styles are described as being similar in nature, which makes me wonder if perhaps it's not a fictional style. Anyone know?
  5. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    You are not going to get much more information on any of these trail routes. The problem lies that many martial arts claim descendency from mythical or legendary beings. At the time of creation this wasnt being dishonest, it was granting legitimacy to a style or train of martial theory, rather than for example admitting that the founder of a style had done his stint in the field, found what worked and what didn't and codified it.

    You are not going to get any more information about Kane Doshi out of the Bujinkan because they are the sole source of information about this, it was oral history transmitted to Takamatsu and written down on scrolls in the 1950's. There is scant historical evidence of ninjutsu going back beyond 1400's let alone 1100.

    I'll give you an example. Historians in the 1900 believed european thrusting fencing developped in the renaissance after the italians applied Roman fighting methods of using the point of the gladius and created the rapier. This is because in the renaissance they admired classical learning, so later historians assumed they must have admired roman swordplay too! But the victorian historians were wrong. This is the cause and effect problem that you are kind of grappling with at the moment. You are assuming that because the Japanese admired classical chinese military learning and, that their Ninja must have adopted wholesale martial techniques too. But this wasn't the case. At the most it informed their thinking, the development was almost totally specific to the time and place.

    The gladius to Rapier theory has been debunked. The evolution of the rapier developped out of a section of cultural and historical circumstances of that time and that place in europe. If it has any similarities elsewhere it is pure coincidence. You should take the same approach to other martial arts unless there is firm evidence to the contrary.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  6. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    Well thank you so much Botta Dritta, and it's my pleasure meeting you. :)
  7. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    It may sound that some of us are lecturing you, but you have to understand the longer you do martial arts the more 'jaded' you become to certain things. I cannot for example watch a movie or read a comic book now involving swordplay without raising a quizzical eyebrow now and again and in some circulstances throwing the fruitbowl at the TV when I see something particulary outlandish.

    So when fake historical stuff gets repeated after its been debunked years before, it becomes a matter of principle to make sure lies get buried. In martial arts its important because its not the first time that some young kid goes to a totally bogus teacher who claim he was taught by 'Feng Sui Kan' ninjutsu, then thinks he can defend himself and gets hurt as result in an altercation.

    During the boxer rebellion chinese martial artists believed that their amulets would protect them from western rifles. Needless deaths.

    As far as the 1960's southern african bush wars witchdoctors with marxist revolutionary groups told young men they would invulnerable to assult rifles even as they were high on ket and blessed with amulets. Same nonsense different era.

    The terrorist attacks in Paris were committed by Islamist who swallow ISIS nonsense about the 'elder protocols of zion' about some Jewish conspiracy to take over the world DECADES after it was proven to be a false story concocted by some one who had it in for fremasonary.

    Ninjustu unfortunately gathers around it many crackpot ideas. Its taken a long time for fact and fiction to be separated. While some stuff in Bujinkan is definetly very 'grey', other stuff like Ashida Kim poisons popular culture.

    In the end if you are creating a work of entertainment you may have to contend with the fact that facts around stealthy warrior elites are probably quite mundane and far removed from ninjutsu fantasy. From your posts it seems you want ideas on ninjutsu type martial tradition that doesn't originate from japan or may have connection with japan...
  8. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    No see the Luo Li are the actual nomadic tribes who came to China from Persia, and then Europe and became known to the rest of the world as 'gypsies'. 'Lin Kuei' exists in no historical documentation any sort because it is a made-up term. They needed a proper antagonist for Scorpion who is technically a 'good guy'. Subzero is the 'bad guy' ninja and the Lin Kuei were born because the game developers had read the made-up Vagabond material. So you have fiction inspiring more fiction. Does that make sense?
  9. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    Thank you again, The Iron Fist, for your help. I was not drawing a connection between the Lin Kuei (fiction) and Luo Li (fact) in the "propaganda" sense. Obviously they are nothing alike. But in the "psychology" sense, perhaps the writers of the propaganda were inspired? If that makes any sense to you (referring to the authors of books, not the creators of games who were inspired by those books, in reference to the idea that perhaps the writers of lin kuei before MK games were inspired by the luo-li). Of course the lin-kuei are scrutinized by many, but what about the ninja?

    For those who play MK games, "Scorpion" is actually a nickname for Hanzo Hasashi of the Shirai-ryu school. Subzero is a Chinese lin-kuei, but Scorpion is a Japanese ninja. What about Scorpion? Hanzo is a real ninja clan in historical records and shirai-ryu is a pseudo-historical style. According to some MK sites, Scorpion is affiliated with the Takeda clan. Is there any psychological connection between Hattori Hanzo and Takeda Shingon? I ask because allegedly, there was another ninja from Sagami who assassinated Hattori Hanzo and Takeda Shingon in battle using ninjutsu. Kazama Kotaro Nobuyuki supposedly was a student of En no Gyoja and according to some legends, he was an omi (ogre?) of Chinese origins.
  10. garth

    garth Valued Member

    Botta Dritta posted

    Ha Ha. I was lying in the bed the other night reading a novel on the hundreds years war when it described a knight falling over and because of the weight of his armour he could not get up.

    Needless to say my next action was to throw the book across the bedroom, and pick up a different book.
  11. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    There are always stories of assassin sects and the fanciful nature of them should be a huge giveaway that they're exaggerated and not based on first hand accounts. The Assassins themselves being a prime example, much of the "knowledge " about them comes from Marco Polo's writings a century after the fact. While the Assassins certainly did engage in assassination it was as part of a broader guerilla conflict, they weren't dedicated to assassination.
  12. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Yeah...thing is the thing about european armour is that its counter intuitive. When you see it in a museum you think that if you wore it and you fell off your destrier you would be never get back up. What few realise is that European armourers were experts at spreading the weight across the whole body so as to maintain some agility. So that at a pinch you could still cartwheel in a suit of armour. In some instances world war I soldiers caried more weight in equipment than european knights.
  13. garth

    garth Valued Member

    Theres a few reenactors (War of the Roses period) in our group so its something we have spoken about at length.
  14. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    I may be desperately failing to assist you, but who are the writers of the lin kuei? I thought I pointed out there are no works related to the Lin Kuei that are known to be real works. I don't believe they were inspired by the luo li, I believe they were inspired by their own creativity and of course, Hollywood's version of ninja. I think I'd like to stop referring to the video game completely as well as anything else you can't find a real citation for :D It doesn't mean the citations can't be found, but until you have something we can both read and work on, I can't do much for you man :D
  15. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    I apologize for my poor explanation. By the writers of the lin kuei, I was refering to Li Hsing and Leung Ting (which we have already established were the authors of fiction). I was merely trying to draw a connection between Li Hsing and Leung Ting, as I am not at all familiar with either of them or with their writings. It just sounds strange that both of them would use the term "lin kuei" in their writings, unless they had an exchange of ideas, or unless they were both inspired by a mutual source. I was only suggesting that maybe the luo-li could've been their inspiration behind it. Again, I have no idea because I am not familiar with any of it, to be honest.

    I guess what I am looking for is also what you are looking for, a citation. I am trying to find a good source of information, or any leads that might point to the right direction. It's very difficult, but for what it's worth, you and everyone else here at MAP have been a great help to me and I really do appreciate it.

    Always smiling, :)

  16. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Ok, this is good as a starting point so let's progress. Who are Li Hsing and Leung Ting? What are their backgrounds, their credentials in the historical sciences, what are the names of their works and where did they get the information in them? We may re-tread old ground but that's OK. I suspect when we're done answering these questions, neither of them is reputable and so their works will not be reputable either. But, I am always open to correction brother. I just know from this particular case, having done it several times, I will probably get the same answers. Even thought those authors were mentioned previously, and some claims were made based on their works, let's start over and critically analyze the material. It's boring and not nearly as fun as jumping to conclusions, but it's the right way to do it.

    The primary issue I have is that the actual terms for lin kuei or '林鬼' shows up nowhere in Chinese history that I've ever been able to uncover. Not just a place here or there but literally nothing, until you start looking at prints in the 20th century. Knowing that two authors of Chinese descent claims these are terms of art, but not finding anything to corroborate that, is why I feel confident that this is essentially poorly cited information, and not useful in a search for the truth of the matter.
  17. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    So according to the dates on here, it would seem at first glimpse that Midway Games and Leung Ting were both inspired by Li Hsing's writings. But who is Li Hsing? I could not find any information about him on the internet. If you Google his name, it comes up with all different people with similar names. Wikipedia says absolutely nothing about him. Since I don't possess a copy of any of his books about the lin kuei, I have no idea what citations he uses for his sources.

    Sima Qian was the historian who wrote the biographies of the five assassins: Cao Mo (c. 650 BC), Zhuan Zhu (c. 515 BC), Yu Rang (c. 550 BC), Nie Zheng (c. 400 BC), Jing Ke (c. 350 BC). Another internet source is which mentions Yao Li, a contemporary of Zhuan Zhu who also served King Helu and who also was an assassin of that time period. Sima Qian uses the term "cike" (stabbing guests) to refer to these Chinese assassins. Zhuan Zhu and Yao Li were both recommended to King Helu by Wu Zixu, who also referred Sun Tzu, the author of the Art of War.

    Sun Tzu was the military strategist who wrote the Art of War and in the 13th chapter he refers to five types of spies, which he calls "gokan" (ones who see). These five types of spies are referred to as local spies, inward spies, converted spies, expendable spies and surviving spies. These five types of spies are also referred to in Budo-ryu Ninjutsu as inkon-no-kan, nairyo-no-kan, hantoku-no-kan, shicho-no-kan and tensei-no-kan respectively.

    Sun Tzu and Sima Qian have by far got the most to offer on the subject of Chinese spies and assassins. These are perhaps the only two reliable sources I have at the moment, besides what I can gather from the interweb's martial art schools and traditions like the Bujinkan, the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum in Japan and the Ving Tsun Museum in China, etc. Information is sketchy and not easy to find, often times making research difficult in these areas because facts and myths have been distorted, or because of an array of secrecy and shyness towards outsiders.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  18. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Every single source listed is utter crap
  19. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Ok I swore i wouldn't go down this rabbit hole , but I spent a full 10 minutes looking into this and it seems Lin Kuei is totally made up and has zero basis in history. Li Hsing is a pseudonym used by a writer called Randal Brown who made the whole thing up in the 1980's to cash in on the ninja craze much like Ashida Kim did. It seems other authors (leung ting) used Randall fictitious rambling to to sell books. Leung Ting is problematic as his lineage in Wing Tsung is disputed (i'm going to look into it futher...) The creators of mortal combat used this fiction to add colour to their in universe.

    For futher details see this link which explains the details better. (Even so the author of the article still refuses to let go of the possibility they didn't exist)

    Obake...let it go. There is nothing here for you to pursue.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  20. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    The five types of spy have really nothing to do with Ninjutsu they instead deal with how spies should be used in warfare. You can certainly prove that this writing influenced Japanese warfare, but a significant period of time (thousands of years) elapsed between the authoring of the Art of War and the 'Ninjutsu period', if we can call it that, of the last half millennium or so. Another way of saying this maybe with better context is that the Art of War influenced countless regions, so there's no reason to focus on Ninjutsu, specifically. The Art of War influences generals even today, again, making Ninjutsu nothing special in fact quite dissimilar from the text itself. Sure, once upon a time Sun Tzu influenced that war machine as well. But assassination is not a big part of that text at all, really, with few exceptions. The text is more or less a list of army and state stratagems. I personally see Ninjutsu as a more tactical set of principles designed to meet those stratagems in Sun Tzu and similar Japanese texts. That shouldn't be a shock to anybody, but it doesn't support a 'connection' between any actual practices in ancient China, and medieval Japan. That is the precise gap, brother, the 'Lin Kuei' stories were written to fill.

    When we take a look at the 'gokan', the connection to Ninjutsu seems to be fairly tangential, if that, when we apply it to each claimant. It's possible some of the spies listed below were 'Ninja', but certainly not the vast majority. Ninjutsu would appear to me objectively to be a very special type of unit, whereas these spies cover the whole board.

    Local spies are would be the ones in the 'field'
    inward spies the undercover agents deep in the enemy camp
    converted are the double agents
    'doomed' spies are the ones fed to the enemy as a distraction or to provide bad information
    surviving spies are the ones who return to report
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015

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