Leon Drucker (left) was introduced to the ancient art of Ninjutsu 25 years ago and since then has trained intensively, including in Japan under the last of the ninja masters. Today he is one of the most senior instructors of Ninjutsu in the U.S. As a Sensei (teacher) at his Dojo (place of training) in Milford, he passes along the teachings to a new generation of American nInja.What is a ninja exactly?
A ninja was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan, specializing in unorthodox arts of war. Their functions included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination, as well as open combat. The unrest of the times created a demand for men willing to commit deeds considered not respectable for conventional warriors, like the samurai.
Is it true the ninjas can become invisible?
This is a myth that has come about because of the first ninja rule: get away. If a ninja can avoid fighting, he will. To achieve this goal, he might create a diversion, such as throwing shuriken (throwing stars), setting off a smoke bomb or throwing sand in the opponent’s eyes. By the time the opponent recovered from the distraction, the ninja would be gone.
Are there other myths about ninjas?
Some include flight, shape shifting and the ability to split into multiple bodies. These notions have stemmed from popular imagination regarding the ninja’s mysterious status as well as romantic ideas found in Japanese arts. Ninjas themselves disseminated this fanciful information.
Why do people study Ninjutsu today?
Some want to do something a little different than the usual sports program. Some are looking to improve their coordination and balance. Others want to learn how to protect themselves from attack. In many ways we seek the union of our body, mind and spirit. It allows us to find real balance in our lives by adding a spiritual aspect, control of our emotions and manifest our desire to have a happy, healthy life.
What qualities should a ninja have?
What you need is the ability to sense your opponents’ moves and then lead him into a false feeling of control. By remaining calm along with control of distance, space and timing, you gain advantage over your opponent. Much of Ninjutsu is about naturally unseen movement and positioning. It is this that allows the ninja to retain his balance in all manner of unforeseen situations.
Did you ever pretend you were a ninja when you were a kid?
No, I was too busy being Tarzan, Spartacus or Hercules.
Ninja Mythsand Answers
Ninjutsu is a serious martial art, it is nothing like the movies portray, though its history does explain partly the reason that so many “mystical” myths have arisen over the years.
Real ninjas are a myth - In fact, ninjas and the arts that they learned date back to more than 800 years ago. The ninja families developed their skills in order to protect themselves against the likes of Samurai warriors.
Ninjas caught swords with their bare hands - This is not entirely true. Ninja might stop a sword with the weapons he is holding – but not with his bare hands.
Ninjas wore masks when fighting and black clothes; it is their uniform - This is entirely false. These days most ninjas who are working as bodyguards would wear a suit or similar modern clothing.
So when a ninja might have worn a mask? Maybe 800 years ago if they had to hide in the trees – but even then it was not part of a “uniform." A ninja wearing a mask is no different to a soldier wearing camouflage paint. It depends entirely on the environment and the need for hiding. This, of course, is true also of black clothing.
Ninjas were able to vanish - This myth has come about because of the first ninja rule: get away. If a ninja can avoid fighting, he will. In order to achieve this goal, he might need to create a diversion of some kind, such as throwing shuriken, setting off a smoke bomb or throwing sand in the opponent’s eyes. By the time the opponent recovered from the distraction, the ninja would be gone.
Shuriken (throwing stars) are used to kill at a distance - In fact, shuriken are used as a secondary weapons – either to slash or stab. When they are thrown it is normally to cause a distraction.
Ninjas need to be strong and fast - In fact, the whole point of Ninjutsu is to use your body effectively – whether you are fat or thin short or tall. You don’t need speed; in fact speed can work against you. What you need is the ability to predict your opponent's move and outthink him. By calm and steady movements you gain control of the enemy and ultimately the fight. Much of Ninjutsu is about foot movement and natural positioning. It is this which allows the ninja to retain his balance in all manner of unusual situations