How To Be a Ninja in Real Life? Modern Warrior Guide

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How to be a ninja in real life? You’ve always wanted to move and fight like a ninja. But never thought it was possible because…

What’s more… you’ve even ruled out joining professions that are modern versions of what the ninja did… the army, special forces, and espionage.

What now? How do you still become a modern ninja?

Becoming a modern ninja – 3 Guidelines

1. Keep it practical, realistic and legal


Sure… sneaking around undetected, while using fire (gunpowder) as distraction, is cool.

But, such skills have no practical purpose for regular people (like you and me). They are even a security threat when the knowledge falls into the wrong hands.

So, opt for warrior hacks that have uses in your regular life, and against probable threats.

2. Look beyond old manuals

Shoninki (chapter on disguises)

While historical ninja manuals teach valuable lessons, we need to adapt them. Some techniques are bound only to the feudal period, and are obsolete today.

For example, the Shoninki talks about reading a person’s character based on the number of teeth he has.

How practical do you think counting teeth is? Wouldn’t it be better to refer to body language (and behavioral psychology)?

Likewise, when you need to be stealthy in the woods, would you construct a flaming uchitake? Why not use a glow stick instead?

That’s why sticking to historical sources for the sake of tradition isn’t practical. Instead, include sources from modern disciplines to make your way of ninja better!

Note: If your goal is to experiment with ninja techniques as used centuries ago, then go ahead.

3. Be true to what you want

Why do you want to become a ninja?

You don’t have to join a “ninjutsu” school to be a modern ninja. But, train in a variety of disciplines, and always go for what appeals to you.

Be honest.

These are some reasons you want to become a modern ninja – and it has much to do with pop culture than history.

You want:

  • Skills that seem to surpass human limits. (functional strength; movement agility; ability to fight)
  • The confidence and control (to influence the people you talk to)
  • To be aware of your surroundings, and know what to do in a threatening situation
  • To learn the mysterious techniques and philosophy of the ninja, and be immersed in an exotic secret warrior culture

So, work on the attributes you wish to have.

Become the best ninja-version of yourself, and train the mind, body and knowledge.

Mission & purpose grounded in reality

So, how to be a ninja? First know your mission and purpose.

how to be a ninja - modern guide

Modern way of the ninja

Mission: to be your best ninja-self in mindset, physical ability and knowledge.

Purpose: to have confidence and abilities to deal with any situation – regular life and threats.

Examples of situations (from threatening to mundane):

  • Know what to do if you get abducted
  • Avoid getting scammed when traveling
  • “Disappear” when approached by people you dislike
  • Interpret behavioural cues during a conversation
  • Appear confident during an interview

Sources of knowledge:

  • People with expertise, experience and/or knowledge
  • Modern tactics and techniques
  • Historical tactics and techniques (of samurai, ninja and other warriors)

Components of being a modern ninja (skip to sections you want):

So, moving on to training in the mind, body and useful hacks for the street smart modern ninja…

Physical Training (How to be a ninja?)

Physical training helps you gain strength, stamina, obstacle movement and self-defense skills.

These skills give you the confidence to handle threats. For example: to escape group confrontations, and defend yourself and others.

Functional Strength, Obstacles & Movement

parkour through door

Traverse obstacles, run, climb and lift heavy objects. Muscular strength is not the priority. Fine-muscle control, endurance and movement technique is.

Examples: Parkour, street workout and rock-climbing.

Martial Arts and Self-defense

Become a martial artist ninja

Being able to defend yourself and your loved ones, builds your confidence. Thus, martial art training and de-escalation tactics will be useful to you.

Whatever art you choose, it has to fit your physiology, personality and psychology. For instance, if you have knee problems, avoid martial arts that involve kicking or seiza.

Visit the Physical archive for more

Are you interested in a Physical Training Starter Guide? While it’s not yet ready, register to get email alerts when it’s published.

Mental Training (How to be a ninja?)

Mental ninja training can be broken down into:

  • your own mindset and self-development,
  • influencing another person (with psychology hacks)

Psychology, behavior and body language (External)

meditation martial artist

Understanding another person helps you have better relationships, and influence others. It also enhances your ability to see disguised threatening behavior.

The key is to read a person’s behavior and match your response.

For example, in a hostile situation, victims tend to smile as a submissive cue. But this can trigger violence in an attacker; smiling can be mistaken as mocking.

Likewise, understanding a person’s way of thinking can help you turn an enemy into a friend.

Mindset and self-development (Internal)

Develop your confidence, assertiveness, discipline and perseverance. Learn to be at ease with who you are.

Visit the Mental archive for more

Are you interested in a Mental Training Starter Guide? While it’s not yet ready, register to get email alerts when it’s published.

Know-how & Street Smarts (How to be a ninja?)

Street-smarts & Survival Hacks

Warrior know-hows are simple tips and tricks for random scenarios (you may encounter). It also covers survival, urban stealth and street smarts.

Visit the Know-How archive for more

Are you interested in a Warrior Know-how Starter Guide? While it’s not yet ready, register to get email alerts when it’s published.


Already experienced in an activity? Awesome!

Try other activities that can complement your current training. This helps you can develop a diverse set of skills.

Of course, there’s no need to master everything. Due to time constraints, commit to one activity. Then, pursue the basics of other activities you’re interested in. If that activity is for you, get in deeper.

For example, if you do bouldering, consider getting basic self-defense skills; if you do Karate, try some beginner Parkour moves.

The idea is to be the best ninja-version of yourself (with consideration to your limits).

For cross-training advice, check this out…

Cross-training advice (upcoming)

Please register for alerts when it’s ready.

Traveling to Train

Travel to train

How does traveling the world to train (and connecting with peers) sound? How does going to the source of your martial art, movement form, or calisthenics group sound?

Everyone ultimately seeks a sense of connection and freedom. Being a ninja adventurer is going to be exciting!

Visit the Travel Archive

If you’re interested in getting a Starter Guide for Travel & Training, please register here.

History, Facts, Folklore & Inspiration

The armors of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu
The armors of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu

One of the reasons you want to become a ninja is their history itself. You can learn about the old warriors, their tactics and tools. And even, their folklore…

History, Facts & Folklore about Warriors

Takeaway – How to be a ninja in real life?

So, how to be a ninja?

Train in both obstacle movement, and fighting skills. Focus on practical hacks for regular life, and be prepared for conflicts.

By training physically and mentally, you’ll become your best ninja-self!

Visit the individual starter guides here (they aren’t ready but you ought to register for an email alert when they’re ready).

Get started and train like a ninja

Get Started with Training!