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. 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 behavioural psychology)?

Likewise, when you need to be stealthy in the woods and avoid disturbing wildlife, 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.

2. Keep it lawful, practical and realistic

Sure… sneaking around undetected while using fire (gunpowder) as a distraction might have been the modus operandi of the shinobi. But such skills serve no practical purpose for us regular folk. In fact, they might be a security threat.

Opt for warrior hacks that have uses in your regular life, and can be used against probable threats.

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. Go ahead and train in a variety of disciplines. 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.

Have a Mission & Purpose That’s 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)

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?)

parkour through door

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

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

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.

Mental Training (How to Be a Ninja?)

meditation martial artist

Mental ninja training can be broken down into:

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

Psychology, behaviour and body language (External)

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

The key is to read a person’s behaviour 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.

Know-How & Street Smarts (How to Be a Ninja?)

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


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).

Traveling 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!

History, Facts, Folklore & Inspiration

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…

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!

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