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

How to be a ninja in real life?

How to be a ninja in real life?

You want to be a modern ninja, but these obstacles hinder your quest.

And you’ve also ruled out being part of the army, special forces or espionage agency (modern equivalent of the shinobi’s profession).

What now?

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

debunking ninja in the modern 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:

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.

Related:  How does calisthenics help you with modern ninja training?

You want:

  • 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

how to be a ninja - modern guide

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 Training

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

parkour through doorTraverse 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

Become a martial artist ninjaThe 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:

Related:  11 Reasons Why Becoming A Ninja is Your Dream
Topic: PhysicalMore resources on functional fitness, movement & martial arts

Mental Training

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)meditation martial artist

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:

Topic: MentalMore on mindset and affecting psychology

Modern-Ninja Know-how & Street Smarts

Warrior know-how

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:

Topic: Warrior Know-howMore on survival and street-smarts

Facts & folklores about ninja and other warriors

ninja night

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:

Topic: HistoryFacts and folklore about the ninja and more

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.

Related:  23 Books for Modern Warriors - that you can listen to for FREE!

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.

jump kick martial artsThis 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.


About Logen Lanka 171 Articles
Logen is a the founder and editor of Before his shoulder injury, he was actively involved in street calisthenics, Aikido and obstacle course racing. He has also served his 2-years conscription with the Singapore Armed Forces as an Armoured Infantry Trooper.
  • Joelle White

    Fantastic expression of the very heart of your website! Thank you!!!


      Thanks Joelle. I meant to rewrite the foundation article for Way Of Ninja’s existence for a long time and finally did. And I’m glad that you identified it as the core immediately.

      Even though this is done, the individual cogs need to be written.

      I intend to do an interview project for people in martial arts, parkour and functional fitness disciplines in the near future. And you are one of those people, if you agree to be interviewed. What say you, my friend?

      • Joelle White

        I am so glad you wrote it – my intuition told me this is what you’re about all along, but it’s very nice that you put it in writing. That way you have something to refer people to whenever they get a bit confused. I’ll bet you’ll do a great job on the individual cogs!

        Oh my gosh, my first interview… Yes!


          Thanks Joelle! Will keep you informed. The interview questions will be sent via email. I’m scheduling it between May and July.

          • Joelle White

            I’ll keep an eye on my inbox!

  • Fab article as always Logen! I would just challenge you on one point if that’s ok. . You say:

    “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?”

    I agree that the examples you’ve picked are incredibly anachronistic. However, the Shoninki also contains a lot of wisdom which (in my view) still absolutely applies to our lives today, as directly as it ever may have done.

    For example, under “How to Avoid Defeating Other People” (pages 152-154 of Antony Cummins’ and Yoshie Minami’s translation), we read, “If you psychologically defeat others, you will not be able to attain a desired result or get your needed information […] they will lose their temper and get upset and become competitive, thus, your aim will not be achieved”.

    The text then goes on to explain “the four principles of conversation (hard, strong, soft, and weak)”, and different methods for “identifying” with your enemy, or “taking” your enemy’s mind, or “disconnecting” from your enemy.

    It’s great stuff, and I just wanted to point that out – because someone reading your article who hasn’t read this text might get the mistaken impression that it’s full of nothing but superstition, and obsolete technologies.

    Taking your point about adapting it for modern day use though, for the chapter I’ve just quoted (for example), we don’t necessarily have to think in terms of “the enemy” nowadays, when applying these principles in everyday life.

    This is not a criticism anyway – you know I think you and your work are beyond awesome 😉


      Thanks Kai, for the feedback. Didn’t occur to me that people would think the Shoninki is full of superstition. Glad you clarified. I totally agree that the Shoninki has a lot of great stuff that applies today.

      And I agree with what you’ve cited and that the knowledge has regular-life uses (and not only to be used against the enemy).

      My main concern was that people in pursuit of the ninja would take historical sources as the end of the search, relying on it solely for modern pursuit – especially when they are subjected to the translator’s interpretation.

      The article, which serves as Way Of Ninja’s core, therefore emphasises the stance of using modern knowledge to enhance what the ninja texts teaches and even attain the pop-cultural attributes (not supported by history) that most are attracted to.

      Anyway, thanks a lot for the support, my friend.