Ninjitsu

NinjitsuNinjitsu is the martial art, strategy, and tactics of unconventional warfare and guerrilla warfare as well as the art of espionage purportedly practiced by the shinobi (commonly known outside of Japan as ninja). While there are several styles of “modern ninjitsu,” the history and lineage of these styles is disputed. Some schools and masters claim to be “the only true and legitimate heirs” of the art, but Ninjitsu is not totally centralized like modernized Martial Arts such as Judo or Taekwondo.

According to Bujinkan members Ninja Juhakkei, the eighteen disciplines were first stated in the scrolls of Togakure-ryu. Subsequently they became definitive for all Ninjitsu schools by providing total training of the warrior in various fighting arts and ninja skills.

Ninja juhakkei was often studied along with Bugei Juhappan (the “18 samurai fighting art skills”). Though some are used in the same way by both samurai and ninja, other techniques were used differently by the two groups.

The 18 disciplines are:

1. Seishinteki kyoyo (spiritual refinement)
2. Taijutsu (unarmed combat)
3. Kenjutsu (sword techniques)
4. Bojutsu (stick and staff techniques)
5. Sojutsu (spear techniques)
6. Naginatajutsu (naginata techniques)
7. Kusarigamajutsu (kusarigama techniques)
8. Shurikenjutsu (throwing weapons techniques)
9. Kayakujutsu (pyrotechnics)
10. Hensojutsu (disguise and impersonation)
11. Shinobi-iri (stealth and entering methods)
12. Bajutsu (horsemanship)
13. Sui-ren (water training)
14. Boryaku (tactics)
15. Choho (espionage)
16. Intonjutsu (escaping and concealment)
17. Tenmon (meteorology)
18. Chi-mon (geography)

The name of the discipline of Taijutsu, literally means “body skill” or “body art”. Historically, the word taijutsu is often in Japan used interchangeably with jujutsu (as well as many other terms) to refer to a range of grappling skills. The term is also used in the martial art of aikido to distinguish the unarmed fighting techniques from other (e.g. stick fighting) techniques.