a question for you all


Senior Master
Oct 25, 2002
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Here is a question for you all:

what is your personal defintion of 'ninpo' and 'ninjutsu' and 'ninja'; and why do you think this way???

Thanks, and may interesting discussion flourish.
I am far from an expert, but I think of "ninja" as an occupation, "ninjutsu" as a martial art, and "ninpo" as a way of emphasizing certain aspects of ninjutsu that are useful in self-defense.

a Ninja was a person who existed in a specific place (old Japan) at a specific time and do to his actions, the political climate etc... he was known as a "Ninja" or Shinobi (also by other names) He/she was a person who used Ninjutsu.

Ninjutsu is spying, stealth, gathering intelligence all of that.

Ninpo is a way of life based on the concept of Nin. There is Ninjutsu in Ninpo.

Ninpo Taijutsu is using the body based on the above life concept.

could you detail this 'ninpo life way' a bit more?? what are its basic approaches to life and situations..... and some of its fundamental philosophies??? ethics?? maybe even spirituality/metaphysics???

Originally posted by heretic888

could you detail this 'ninpo life way' a bit more?? what are its basic approaches to life and situations..... and some of its fundamental philosophies??? ethics?? maybe even spirituality/metaphysics???


Before and after every class, we (Genbukan) recite a poem written by Takamatsu Sensei called ninja seishin. This is to remind us of the basic way of ninpo. Here is the english translation:

The essence of the Ninja spirit is fortitude:
Perseverance of mind, body and consiousness.
Endure shame, forget jealousy,
The origin is patience.

'Nin' is not placing 'blade' over 'heart' to hurt others.
'Nin' means 'kajo waraku,'
Truly strong and compassionate heart, pure as a tender flower,
Such heart shall enjoy peace.

Hence, attain the wonder of the changing strategy,
Your body shall naturally evade the opponent's sword.
In defence against the enemies of justice, society, and country,
Utilize nature's Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Air.

This is the fundamental principle of the Ninja.

Metaphysics, basically, we derive our wisdom system from Buddhism and Shinto. We also practice with energy in the same way as Taoism. Allot of Kuji works with these energies.

Read up on Tibetan tantric Buddhism. On mantak Chia's work, and kriya Yoga. This combined will give you a good feel of our spirit system. Again ours is unique, but these others will give you a feel as what to expect.

In Genbukan, Ninpo as taught by Takamatsu Sensei had the spiritual side in every movement of the physical, they are not two. But one. For example in our bowing with the Rokushaku Bo. We do Kuji to cut the energy field, and create an "aura" of protection. It is built into the bow.

All of this stuff though is Kuden and taught face to face. You can get Tanemura Sensei's book that has ALLOT of Ninja stuff and spiritual stuff.

Good luck!
wow, thanks for the info!! :D

that essay by Takamatsu Sensei is strongly reminiscent of REAL budo philosophy (as opposed to what generally passes in dojo today). ninpo almost sounds like 'perfected budo' (a little tip-off to the ancient Gnostics, whom referred to their Christianity as 'perfected Platonism')!! I think that Hatsumi Sensei said that was one of the reasons he changed the name of his art from ninpo taijutsu to budo taijutsu, because ninpo IS budo. they are not different. that's how it seems to me, anyways. i might be wrong. :p

What do you think of Shidoshi Hayes's work concerning ninja philosophy and spirituality?? Do you think he is basically correct in his writings in the 80's int his regard????

Ninpo sound svery syncretist, integrating elements from many different wisdom traditions (mikkyo, shinto, tao, etc etc). Is there a Zen side to ninpo though?? I have heard much talk of the mikkyo, which I think is cool, but what about the Zen???

To me Ninpo is a way of life and a frame of mind it is something that influences you in everything that you do its about happiness and living a good life. Living close to nature.
Yes, interesting. What does it mean to you personally to 'live a good life' and 'live close to nature' through Ninpo??
"Ninpo began as training to become a moral people
and to learn to endure in whatever social
condition one is in; to know and accept one's
fate, and to live for human beings and all other
creatures. The person who masters all of these
is a ninja."

By Masaaki Hatsumi
[Ninpo: Wisdom for Life, Page 50]
Since this is what Tanemura sensei says, then this is my definition as well. It can be found at www.genbukan.org .

Ninjutsu is best described as the collection of skills utilized by the Ninja while Ninpo, often referred to as "the higher order of Ninjutsu, " implies a philosophy for living based on the principles of Nin...

Referring to our art as Ninpo rather than Ninjutsu stresses training which is concerned with the internal development of the individual's character along with the technical skills of martial training. It isn't enough just to know techniques, it is where your heart and spirit are as a person that is important. For this reason, Ninpo stresses philosophic and spiritual training in conjunction with the physical training...
Anything that you choose to study over a long period of time would be part of a persons way of life, it would develop the way people view the world and other people in it. If you are a computer programmer your computer is your life, if you are a mother your kids are your life, if you study ninjutsu........

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