What Is Ninjutsu?
The reality of Ninjutsu is very different from most people’s Hollywood-inspired misconceptions. It is not about assassination, espionage, running around in black masks or having super-human abilities. That is movie fiction. At its heart, Ninjutsu is about perseverance in difficult circumstances and developing an unshakable heart and spirit with the goals of surviving and of living freely and in peace. The path to these goals is focused practice.
When people think of Ninjutsu, what usually comes to mind is a “Hollywood-ized” version of the expression of the principles of Ninpo that was appropriate and necessary for certain groups of people during certain periods of Japan’s ancient history. Schools of Ninjutsu were born and evolved out of necessity during these times and they survive today through an unbroken lineage that culminates with Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the current Soke or grandmaster of the Ninjutsu schools that are at the core of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.
Some of what was passed down through the generations of these Ninjutsu schools is still taught and practiced today, but some of it has very little direct utility in modern society and is therefore not widely taught or practiced. The principles are the same, but the expression of those principles that is relevant today is not the same as the expression that was relevant hundreds of years ago in feudal Japan.
What we practice today is called Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, which is Hatsumi-sensei’s expression of the arts he inherited. It is Ninjutsu, but not in the sense that someone unfamiliar with the history and the art or someone who gets their ideas from the silliness in movies might think. The reality is so much richer and far more positive. The reality is about finding and living in peace.