Ninjutsu is not a martial art.

tim po

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Ninjutsu is not a martial art, it is part of a martial tradition. Jutsu indicates skillset, in this case, the skills related to Nin. Nin can be translated many ways, commonly as stealth, invisibility, perseverance, and intention. Taijutsu means 'body skills', and the martial art being referred to as Ninjutsu so often is called Ninpo Taijutsu. Essentially what Ninjutsu consisted of in history were the skills of espionage, intelligence gathering, escape and evasion, and guerrilla warfare. Psychological tactics and camoflouge were certainly employed for fighting, but the Shinobi most of all wished to avoid open combat. Their way was to blend in, to escape attention, to be 'invisible' at least in their intent. Today, Ninjutsu is alive and well and grown immeasurably in degree of complexity. Any and everything one might gain skill in, that may enhance your capability to escape danger, can be considered Ninjutsu, if associated with the study of Ninpo.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Ninjutsu is not a martial art, it is part of a martial tradition. Jutsu indicates skillset, in this case, the skills related to Nin. Nin can be translated many ways, commonly as stealth, invisibility, perseverance, and intention. Taijutsu means 'body skills', and the martial art being referred to as Ninjutsu so often is called Ninpo Taijutsu. Essentially what Ninjutsu consisted of in history were the skills of espionage, intelligence gathering, escape and evasion, and guerrilla warfare. Psychological tactics and camoflouge were certainly employed for fighting, but the Shinobi most of all wished to avoid open combat. Their way was to blend in, to escape attention, to be 'invisible' at least in their intent. Today, Ninjutsu is alive and well and grown immeasurably in degree of complexity. Any and everything one might gain skill in, that may enhance your capability to escape danger, can be considered Ninjutsu, if associated with the study of Ninpo.
Great way to make friends.
 
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tim po

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no disrespect intended. I just wonder why the category devoted to the martial arts of the Shinobi is mislabeled so.
 
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tim po

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OK, I admit I'm digging into the Christmas chocolate a bit early and am getting carried away. Honestly, no disrespect intended!
oh, thanks for explaining. i thought you were just that kind of geezer.
 
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tim po

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and to answer your question, no, i am not involved with espionage, intelligence gathering, spycraft, or really much of anything that could be defined as Ninjutsu.
 

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Forum is for discussion of the modern organizations that teach the original ninjutsu arts that are still in existence today. Discussion topics include, but are not limited to modern application for self defense, ranking, history of the organizations, and teaching themes.

Don't see any mention of 'martial' there myself.. if so inclined I'd probably take more issue with the phrase 'modern organisations that teach the original ninjutsu arts'
 

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What is your definition of a martial art? What is your definition of a martial tradition?

I think that would help any discussion so everyone has the same starting point.
 
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tim po

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I didn't mean to come across as such a judgy mcjudgypants, i could have done better in expressing this concern. there is so much hype and nonsense surrounding the Shinobi traditions, I had hoped that the community would by now have routed out alot of the mystique by avoiding commonly misunderstood terminology, like 'ninja' and 'ninjutsu'. but, i suppose it still sells memberships.

to answer your question, traditions kept alive beyond their relevance in modern application are what they are-living, but on life-support. that 'life-support' is the paying consumer. Martial Traditions are what remains of a Martial Art 100 years after it has ceased to exist in dynamic relevance. kept alive for it's wisdom, but not as functional as it was once, because it has stopped growing, adapting, and seeking relevance in a changing world. kinda like me, i suppose. nothing exists in a static state. all in the universe as we know it is either growing or dying. nothing can remain as is forever, and tradition itself may impede creative expansion, barring a path of relevance into the future. If there is anything I hold dear that I have learned from the philosophy of Ninpo, it is the importance of full creative involvement on the part of the practitioner.
 

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In my experience with traditional Chinese methods, they continue to be highly relevant today. I guess the way I define the term traditional, is something that has been handed down from one generation to another, for some period of time. Just exactly what that period of time is, or how many generations it needs to survive in order to be included as traditional, I suppose is open for debate. But the fact that it continues to exist speaks to its effectiveness and continued relevance. It is because people still find it useful and effective. We do not practice simply to preserve a piece of history. That history and tradition is interesting to many of us, but is not itself the point. But at the same time we need to accept that these things continue to change, and how it is practiced today is not identical to how it was practiced 100 or 300 years ago. The door needs to be open to that change, and that change does not alter the identity of that system. It just means that it is adapted based on the current experiences of the practitioners.

I think a big part of the problem is when people decide that they need to preserve a method based on how it was done at some specific date or era in the past. That is when it becomes irrelevant, and a relic. I always wonder: why that date or era? None of these martial methods sprang forth fully formed in a vacuum. They were all created by people, and that creation happened over time and over some generations to make it what it ultimately became. Why does that process need to end on a certain date? Why can it not continue with each new generation of practitioners? That is how it remains relevant.
 

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there is so much hype and nonsense surrounding the Shinobi traditions, I had hoped that the community would by now have routed out alot of the mystique by avoiding commonly misunderstood terminology, like 'ninja'

What's the difference between 'shinobi' and 'ninja'?
 
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tim po

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the term Ninja was coined in the 1970's. the people who developed Ninjutsu and Ninpo Taijutsu were known throught history by many names, Shinobi no Mono (the people of Shinobi) was most common, from what i've read.
 

punisher73

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I didn't mean to come across as such a judgy mcjudgypants, i could have done better in expressing this concern. there is so much hype and nonsense surrounding the Shinobi traditions, I had hoped that the community would by now have routed out alot of the mystique by avoiding commonly misunderstood terminology, like 'ninja' and 'ninjutsu'. but, i suppose it still sells memberships.

to answer your question, traditions kept alive beyond their relevance in modern application are what they are-living, but on life-support. that 'life-support' is the paying consumer. Martial Traditions are what remains of a Martial Art 100 years after it has ceased to exist in dynamic relevance. kept alive for it's wisdom, but not as functional as it was once, because it has stopped growing, adapting, and seeking relevance in a changing world. kinda like me, i suppose. nothing exists in a static state. all in the universe as we know it is either growing or dying. nothing can remain as is forever, and tradition itself may impede creative expansion, barring a path of relevance into the future. If there is anything I hold dear that I have learned from the philosophy of Ninpo, it is the importance of full creative involvement on the part of the practitioner.
So based on this definition. Almost any koryu art is a "martial tradition" and not a martial art?

People whom I have spoken to in the Bujinkan would probably argue that the art that they practice is being adapted to more modern times in how it deals with attacks. One could probably even argue with the growing popularity of bushcrafting, outdoor survival and the "gray man" concept that "ninjutsu skills" are becoming more applicable again.
 
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tim po

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So based on this definition. Almost any koryu art is a "martial tradition" and not a martial art?

People whom I have spoken to in the Bujinkan would probably argue that the art that they practice is being adapted to more modern times in how it deals with attacks. One could probably even argue with the growing popularity of bushcrafting, outdoor survival and the "gray man" concept that "ninjutsu skills" are becoming more applicable again.
Koryu arts are steeped in tradition, but of any arts have remained relevant right up until the present, imo. when most martial arts began to teach adaptations for sport and exhobition, the Shinobi arts went back underground. Takamatsu Soke entered WWII as a spy, and I'll bet he was a damn good one. Ninpo Taijutsu still has no sport application, competitive sport itself is an adaptation to modern relevance, but a deviation from tradition, martial arts were for war not competition, although challenges and tournaments did exist, they were not the focus.
agree, Ninpo is probably the most flexible of any martial philosophy to my knowledge. i do not think what i wrote should be interpretted to imply that Ninpo is a dead art, quite the opposite. it is because of the evolving and adapting element that i have embraced it as the core of my training on a physical and philosophical level as it is complimentary to all of the many other things i seek knowledge of in the name of survival, like the themes you mentioned.

I would take down my original post if i could, i did not clearly express what i was getting at and i see no need now to make the point at all. there are a lot of great conversations on here about these arts, i've scarcely commented because i have so little to add that has not been covered by people far more knowledgeable than me.
Ninpo Ik Kan,
tim
 
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I really like the term "martial tradition." Seems very appropriate for arts that are primarily focused on historical preservation and continuity.
 

Hanzou

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Aren't we at the point now where Ninjutsu practitioners don't even call themselves Ninjutsu practitioners or "Ninja" anymore?

That said, I see nothing wrong with what the OP is saying. A lot of "Ninjutsu" being peddled around (especially during the "Ninja craze" of the 80s and 90s) was simply a marketing gimmick.
 

Steve

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Aren't we at the point now where Ninjutsu practitioners don't even call themselves Ninjutsu practitioners or "Ninja" anymore?

That said, I see nothing wrong with what the OP is saying. A lot of "Ninjutsu" being peddled around (especially during the "Ninja craze" of the 80s and 90s) was simply a marketing gimmick.
In the 80s, I definitely wanted to be a ninja. I settled for Wing Chun, because that's the school that was nearby. But if I had found a ninja school, i would definitely have signed up.

To be clear... this kind of ninja. I loved the show "The Master' with Lee Van Cleef:

61eZbXdndSL._SL1075_.jpg
 

Hanzou

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In the 80s, I definitely wanted to be a ninja. I settled for Wing Chun, because that's the school that was nearby. But if I had found a ninja school, i would definitely have signed up.

To be clear... this kind of ninja. I loved the show "The Master' with Lee Van Cleef:

61eZbXdndSL._SL1075_.jpg

Hell yeah. Who didn't want to be a Ninja as a kid? Remember all the Ninja books that came out during that time period? Looking back, those books were just plain crazy.
 
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