How to be a ninja in real life?
You want to be a modern ninja, but these obstacles hinder your quest.
- The real ninja no longer exist.
- None of today’s ninjutsu schools can verify their historical lineage.
- Academic research and reconstruction doesn’t interest you.
And you’ve also ruled out being part of the army, special forces or espionage agency (modern equivalent of the shinobi’s profession).
Becoming a modern ninja – Be practical
Yes. It’s cool to sneak around undetected and use fire (gunpowder) as distraction. But these are skills useful for special ops, covert agents and terrorists.
Regular people – like you and me – have little practical use for such abilities.
Moreover, while actual ninjutsu (based on historical manuals) teach valuable lessons, they need to be adapted for modern-day use.
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 someone’s teeth is? Similarly, would you construct a flaming uchitake instead of using a glow stick for a stealthy night in the woods?
When you want to be a modern day ninja, your training has to be practical. It has to deal with both regular-life and threatening situations. Stubbornly conforming to historical sources for the sake of being authentic serves no purpose, except to experience ninja techniques as used centuries ago.
So, why not consider modern sources for your way of the ninja?
Are you hesitant because it doesn’t fit what you believe about the real ninja and ninjutsu?
Debunking real ninja and ninjutsu in today’s world
Believing that ninja and ninjutsu still exist in its original intended form today is wishful-thinking. The argument that ninja and ninjutsu evolved is also flawed as it ignores the core purpose of shinobi-no-jutsu and assumes that espionage is unique only to the Japanese shinobi.
In short, trying to be a real ninja (which is really a feudal espionage profession) and finding historically-proven ninjutsu today is near impossible.
These articles attempt to find reliable historical proof in tracing ninja history and ninjutsu:
- Ninja History – Are Ninjas Real and Do They Still Exist?
- Where can I learn ninjutsu of the real ninja?
Thus, using history to legitimise becoming a ninja, is a roundabout – and impossible – way to achieve what you really want.
Instead, be open on what attracts you about being a modern ninja. Use that as a basis for your training.
Why do you want to become a ninja?
Be honest. These are some reasons you want to become a modern ninja – and it has much to do with pop culture than history.
- abilities that seem to surpass human limits; functional strength; movement agility; ability to fight.
- to be confident and in control in any situation, to be aware of your surroundings, to know what to do in a threatening situation and to influence the people you talk to.
- to develop yourself with the mysterious techniques and philosophy of the ninja; be immersed in an exotic secret warrior culture.
If this is true, work on these attributes. Revive the essential characteristics of a ninja that are applicable to today’s world.
Become the best ninja-inspired version of yourself – training the mind, body and knowledge.
How to be a ninja – mission and purpose grounded in reality
Modern way of the ninja
Mission: to be the best ninja version of yourself in mindset, physical ability and knowledge.
Purpose: to develop your confidence and abilities to deal with any situation – regular life and threats.
Examples of situations (from threatening to mundane):
- Know what to do when being abducted
- Avoid being scammed when travelling
- “Disappear” when being 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)
How to be a ninja in training – mind, body and knowledge
Training the mind and body of a street smart modern ninja.
Physical ninja training helps you gain functional movement and strength abilities, self-defense skills, and stamina.
These skills give you the confidence to handle various situations (e.g. to escape group confrontations and defend yourself and others when needed).
Functional Movement and Strength
Traverse obstacles, run, climb and lift heavy objects; muscular strength is not the priority, fine-muscle control, endurance and movement technique is.
Examples of training: parkour, street workout and rock-climbing.
Martial Arts for self-defense
The ability to defend yourself and your loved ones, builds your confidence. Training in martial arts and de-escalation tactics will be useful to your modern way of the ninja.
Whatever martial 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.
For resources on the various forms of physical training, check out the following:
- [Calisthenics] – How does calisthenics help you with modern ninja training?
- [Calisthenics] – 4 Effective Ways to Help You Do More Pull Ups Easily
- [Obstacle Course] – How to Overcome 13 Common Obstacles? – Obstacle Course Training
- [Martial Arts] – How Long Does It Take to Get a Black Belt (OR truly master martial arts)?
- [Calisthenics] – Bar Brothers The System Review (Street workout calisthenics program)
Mental ninja training can be broken down into (1) mindset and self-development, and (2) affecting another person through psychology.
Mindset and self-development (Internal)
This training directly develops your own qualities like confidence, assertiveness, discipline and perseverance. It also help motivate you to undertake the physical training of being a modern ninja.
Psychology, behavior and body language (External)
Understanding another person helps you have better relationships, enhances your threat perception and makes you better at influencing others. 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 triggers violence in an attacker; smiling can be mistaken as mocking. Likewise, understanding a person’s thoughts despite his terrible behavior, can give you the compassion to turn an enemy into a friend.
For resources on mental training, check out the following:
- How to Reach Your Athletic Vision as a Modern Warrior? – 5 Steps
- Will Posing like a Superhero Boost Your Confidence? – 2 Minute Hack
- Dealing with Anxiety in Martial Arts and Sports as a Slow Learner (Part 2)
Modern-Ninja Know-how & Street Smarts
Warrior know-how’s are simple solutions, tips and tricks for specific scenarios that you may encounter one day, ranging from how to start a fire in the wild to how to make fitness work. It also covers stealth and street smarts.
For resources on know-hows and street-smarts, check out the following:
- What should you do if someone tries to abduct you with a gun? [Scenario Analysis]
- How to be Safe When Walking Alone at Night? – Bruce Lee’s 5 Tips
Facts & folklores about ninja and other warriors
Not to forget, one of the reasons you want to become a ninja is the shinobi’s history itself. You can learn about the old warriors, their tactics and tools.
For resources on historical facts and folklore, check out the following:
- Ninja History – Are Ninjas Real and Do They Still Exist?
- The Tale of The Gallant Jiraiya (Original Folklore) – from Edo Period
- Banke Shinobinoden Demonstrate Ninjutsu Techniques
What if I already train in a specific martial art or activity?
That’s great. Keep at it and consider cross-training in other activities to develop a diverse set of abilities.
There’s no need to master everything due to time constraints; pick your base activity and pursue only the basics of other activities. If you do bouldering, consider basic self-defense skills; if you do Karate, consider learning basic parkour moves.
The whole idea is to be the best ninja-inspired version of yourself you can be – with consideration to time constraints.
Takeaway – How to be a ninja in real life?
So, how to be a ninja? Make your choice and take action through training.
This is what Way Of Ninja focuses on:
- adapt the old ninja methods for practical modern use
- use the ninja as inspiration for physical and mental training
- help you build your own way of the ninja and be the best version of yourself.
This guide on how to be a ninja scratches the surface. More will be added on how to get started and the specific physical and mental training components, and more.