Kowabonga dudes... Unleash the power of NINJUTSU!

Ninjutsu (忍術), also known as shinobi-jutsu (忍 び 術), and as ninpō (忍 法), is the Japanese martial art of espionage and guerrilla warfare. Although this discipline has little known or dated origins, some believe that its origin is Chinese, brought to Japan by warriors or emigrant monks who brought with them the techniques and knowledge that would give rise to future ninjas. The reason why it is believed that its origin is Chinese is that this ancient culture had an advanced concept of espionage and warfare described by Sun Tzu in his book "The Art of War".

Nonetheless, in Japan espionage goes back as far as Shōtoku Taishi (聖徳太子)(572–622). According to the Shōninki (正 忍 記), a medieval ninja text from the province of Kishū, the first open use of ninjutsu during a military operation was in the Genpei War, when Minamoto no Kuro Yoshitsune (源 義経) selected warriors to serve as shinobi during a battle. This manuscript goes on to state that Kusunoki Masashige (楠木 正成) used ninjutsu often during the Kenmu period. The Genpei War lasted from 1180 to 1185, and the Kenmu Restauration happened between 1333 and 1336, according to footnotes in this manuscript. Ninjutsu was developed by the Nanboku-cho era samurai and further perfected in later times by groups of samurai primarily from Kōka and the Iga Province of Japan.

The stealth art or "way of silence", was trained by warriors for superhuman missions, and elite commandos of feudal Japan, and is based on groups of techniques and tactics that the ninja have used for centuries, or at least it is what is believed. This fighting style was complemented by learning many useful skills for espionage, such as characterization or falsification of documents, as well as certain esoteric practices derived from Mikkyō (密教), Japanese esoteric Buddhism. In this way, throughout history, the shinobi were assassins, scouts, and spies who were hired mostly by territorial lords known as Daimyō (大名). Despite being able to assassinate in stealth, the primary role was as spies and scouts. Shinobi are mainly noted for their use of stealth, and deception. They would use this to avoid confrontation if possible, which enabled them to escape large groups of the opposition.

But with the arrival of Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長), the ninja were hunted down in an attempt to stop their growing influence and power. Although this caused some ninja clans to spread throughout Japan when they had to flee from Iga. As early as the 17th century, they were last used broadly in the Christian revolt of Kyūshū (九州) in 1637. In the middle and late Edo period, the decline in the use of shinobi begins, given the long period of established peace by the Tokugawa clan. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the use of ninja mercenaries was legally banned, causing them to be used clandestinely and on a small scale.

In the 20th century, Japan used ninjutsu as a form of training for its elite troops. However, they were regular troops endowed with special training, without being considered true ninjas. The last real record of the use of ninja by the Japanese government dates from the Second World War (1939-1945).

According to Stephen K. Hayes in his book "The Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art", their special forms of ninjutsu have been learned by several different schools (Ryū - 流). One such example is the Togakure-ryū (戸隠流) which appears to have evolved from a defeated samurai warrior named Daisuke Nishina (仁科大助), A.K.A. Daisuke Togakure (戸隠大助), who fled to the area of Iga, and who later came into contact with the warrior-monk Kain Dōshi, who taught him a new way of seeing life and means of survival, that is, ninjutsu. Nonetheless, the internationalization of ninjutsu comes from the hands of the master Masaaki Hatsumi (初見 良昭), heir to nine ancient Japanese martial traditions, including three of ninja origin, and six of samurai origin; which are carried on within his organization called Bujinkan (武神館).

There are different lists, so to get a better understanding of the various styles of arts that a ninja mastered during his lifetime below is a condensed compilation, as the ninja had to know not only the Ninja Jūhakkei (忍身 十八形) but also the Japanese warriors' Bugei Jūhappan (武芸 十八般). Together, both sets of skills form what is called the Ninpō Sanjūrokkei (忍法 三十六景). Also, in his book "Ninjutsu: Traditional Schools", J.M. Collado comments that classical ninja training contemplates, at least historically, the learning of twenty disciplines.

Ninja Jūhakkei (忍身 十八形):

  • Seishinteki Kyōyō (精神的教養 spiritual refinement)
  • Ninpō Taijutsu (体術 ninja body techniques)
    • Hokōjutsu (歩行術 walking techniques)
    • Senkōjutsu (潜行術 infiltration by walking techniques)
    • Hichōjutsu (飛鳥術 jumping techniques)
    • Taihenjutsu (体変術 body movement techniques)
    • Mutō Dori (無刀捕 sword capturing unarmed)
    • Kosshijutsu (骨指術 bone and finger techniques)
    • Koppōjutsu (骨法術 bone method techniques)
    • Jūtaijutsu (柔体術 yielding by using the body techniques - another way to say jūjutsu)
    • Dakentaijutsu (打拳体術 striking fist and body techniques)
    • Hajutsu no Hō (破術の法 method of breaking and tearing techniques)
  • Kenpō / Bikenjutsu (剣法 / 秘剣術 sword methods / secret sword techniques)
    • Daitōjutsu (大刀術 sword techniques)
    • Tachijutsu (太刀術 long sword techniques)
    • Ninja Tōhō (忍者刀法 ninja sword methods)
    • Nitōjutsu (二刀術 2 swords techniques)
    • Kodachijutsu (小太刀術 short sword techniques)
    • Tantōjutsu (短刀術 dagger techniques)
    • Sageojutsu (下げ緒 sword cord techniques)
  • Sōjutsu (槍術 spear techniques)
    • Kamayarijutsu (鎌槍術 sickle spear techniques)
  • Naginatajutsu (長刀術 or 薙刀術 glaive techniques)
    • Bisentōjutsu (眉尖刀術 broad blade glaive techniques)
  • Bōjutsu (棒術 staff techniques)
    • Rokushaku Bōjutsu (六尺棒術 6-foot staff)
    • Hanbōjutsu / Sanshaku Bōjutsu (半棒術 / 三尺棒術 half staff / 3-foot staff techniques)
    • Jōjutsu / Yonshaku Bōjutsu (杖術 / 四尺棒術 cane / 4-foot staff techniques)
    • Shikomi Jōjutsu (仕込み杖術 concealed [inside] cane techniques)
  • Kajutsu (火術 fire techniques)
    • Kayakujutsu (火薬術 firearms, gunpowder, and explosives techniques)
    • Kaki (火器 fire tools)
  • Kusarigamajutsu (鎖鎌術 sickle and chain techniques)
    • Kyoketsu Shogejutsu (距跋渉毛術 ninja sickle [with a ring at the end of a chain] techniques)
  • Shurikenjutsu (手裏剣術 hand blade throwing techniques)
    • Bō Shuriken (棒手裏剣 straight throwing spike)
    • Ita Shuriken (板手裏剣 plank throwing blade)
    • Happō Shuriken (八方手裏剣 eight-point hand blade)
    • Senban Nage (銛磐投 sharp rock throwing)
      • Senban Nage (旋盤投 rotating disk throwing)
      • Teppan Nage (鉄盤投 iron disk throwing)
  • Kyūjutsu (弓術 archery techniques)
    • Bushajutsu (歩射術 normal archery techniques)
    • Kishajutsu (騎射術 archery from horseback techniques)
  • Suijutsu (水術 water techniques)
    • Suiei (水泳 swimming)
    • Suiren (水練 water training)
    • Suiki (水器 water crossing tools)
  • Hensōjutsu (変装術 disguise techniques – connected to jinton jūppō)
  • Ongyōjutsu (隠形術 disappearing and concealing techniques)
    • Tenton Jūppō (天遁十法 10 heavenly [meteorological phenomena and astronomy] methods of hiding)
    • Chiton Jūppō / Omote Gotonpō (地遁十法 / 表五遁法 10 earthly methods of hiding / 5 hiding methods)
    • Jinton Juppo / Ura Gotonpō (人遁十法 / 裏五遁法 10 human [and animals] methods of hiding / reverse 5 hiding methods – connected to hensōjutsu)
  • Kakushi Bukijutsu (隠し武器 secret hidden weapon techniques)
    • Shukō (手鉤 hand claws – connected to tōki climbing tools)
    • Kakushi (角指 horned finger ring)
    • Kusari Fundō (鎖分銅 weighted chain)
    • Fukiya (吹き矢 blowgun)
    • Tekken (鉄拳 iron fist - like brass knuckles)
    • Nekode (猫手 cat claws)
    • Makibishi (撒き菱 caltrops)
  • Ninki (忍器 ninja tools)
    • Shinobi Rikugu (忍び六具 6 tools of the ninja)
    • Tōki (登器 climbing tools)
    • Kaiki (開器 opening tools)
  • Ninyakujutsu (忍薬術 special medicine techniques)
  • Gunryaku Heihō / Bōryaku (軍略兵法 / 謀略 strategies / unorthodox strategies)
    • Chikujō (築城 castle construction; fortification)
    • Chōhō (諜報 intelligence)
    • Innin no jutsu (陰忍の術 covert techniques)
    • Yōnin no jutsu (陽忍の術 overt techniques)
  • Tenmon / Chimon (天門 / 地門 gates of heaven [astrology, astronomy, and meteorology] and earth [geography, topography, and divination])

Bugei Jūhappan (武芸 十八般):

  • Kyūjutsu (弓術 archery techniques)
  • Bajutsu / Kibajutsu (馬術 / 騎馬術 horsemanship techniques)
  • Dakyū (打毬 horsemanship game - very similar to polo)
  • Kishajutsu (騎射術 archery from horseback)
  • Suiba (水馬 water horsemanship)
  • Suiei (水泳術 swimming)
  • Sōjutsu (槍術 spear techniques)
  • Kusarigamajutsu (鎖鎌術 sickle and chain techniques)
  • Naginatajutsu (長刀術 or 薙刀術 glaive techniques)
  • Kenjutsu (剣術 sword techniques)
  • Jūjutsu (柔術 unarmed techniques)
  • Iaijutsu (居合術 sword drawing techniques)
  • Hojōjutsu (捕縄術 rope tying techniques)
  • Hananeji (鼻捻 horse nose twister made out of an iron rod)
  • Yoroigumi (鎧組 fighting in armor)
  • Shurikenjutsu (手裏剣術 hand blade throwing techniques)
  • Ishibiya (石火矢 cannon)
  • Teppō (鉄砲 gun)

As it can be seen from the list above, technically, only our green friend Donatello, the guy that does machines, uses a proper Ninjutsu technique, that is Bōjutsu (棒術 staff techniques), because our fearless leader Leonardo, with his two swords, is employing a style named Niten Ichi-ryū (二天一流) developed by one of the most famous samurai warriors in history, no other than Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵). Raphael, cool but rude, specializes in Saijutsu (釵術); whereas Michelangelo, the party dude, is a master of the Nunchaku (ヌンチャク), the latter two are part of the Okinawan Kobudō (沖縄 古武道).

BUT... In all fairness, AND BECAUSE WE LOVE THESE GREEN DUDES, the ninja had to be masters of multiple arts, many of which aren't even listed above, so who's to say the Sai and Nunchaku are not part of their training, furthermore, Niten Ichi-ryū is after all part of Kenjutsu (剣術 sword techniques)!

Now give a brief overview of each of these arts:

LEONARDO: Fearless Leader!

Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu is the koryu or ancient school of kenjutsu created by Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), quite popularized and romanticized through books and movies. When he was young, Musashi created another style called Enmei Ryu, based on what would later become his definitive style, the Niten Ichi Ryu. This style, practiced to this day, was created in the last years of Musashi's life and represents the entirety of the founder's teachings.

RAPHAEL: Cool but rude!

The ufuchiku, Okinawa police, used the sai to apprehend suspects and for crowd control; but the use of the sai in Japanese martial arts was improved in 1668 by Moto Chohei, an Okinawan prince. The sai finally entered Japan in the shape of the jitte, which typically only has a single prong while some jitte have two prongs like a sai. Both are like truncheon arms, used to stab, bludgeon, and even to puncture several over various locations on the body.

DONATELLO: Does machines!

Bōjutsu is the martial art of using a bō or long staff, usually made of wood, as a weapon. Rods or poles are perhaps one of the first weapons used by man and have been used for thousands of years in Asia. Currently, bōjutsu is generally associated with the kobudō of the island of Okinawa, and with the modern traditional unarmed martial art of karate-dō, of which many of its teachers are also practicing, or with the traditional ancient martial arts or koryū budō of the medieval Japanese warrior or samurai.

MICHELANGELO: Party dude, cowabonga!

The nunchaku is one of the traditional weapons of Asian martial arts, and it is mainly used in hitting and blocking actions; however, it can be used as a complement to various sweeping, trapping, disarming, dislocation, and strangulation techniques. The freestyle nunchaku began with Bruce Lee's displays in his films during the 1960s and 1970s; however, freestyle is not a martial art, rather it is a choreography, even though in many martial arts tournaments there are freestyle categories.

SPLINTER: He's a radical rat!

It's probably safe to say that Hamato Yoshi (濱戸喜) knows all the arts and styles of ninjutsu, after all, he was the greatest master of ninjutsu, not only of his clan known as The Foot but of all Japan. Next to him lived a small and young rat named Splinter, which was Yoshi's pet. In some versions, Splinter is the mutation of Yoshi's pet rat, in others, is Hamato Yoshi himself reincarnated and/or mutated into a rat.

SHREDDER: When evil attacks!

Oroku Saki (小禄 咲) is, by all means, also a master of all ninjutsu arts, indeed he is Master Splinter's nemesis, and how could he even dream of being the leader of the criminal organization known as the Foot Clan and fight the four green dudes at the same time if he wasn't? 

Now that you know some cool facts with which you can impress your friends is time to unleash the power of NINJUTSU! With our Hero Rash Guards inspired in the popular comic books and cartoon series "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", where four superhero anthropomorphic teenage mutant ninja turtles, from the sewers of New York City, battle criminals, evil overlords, mutated creatures, and alien invaders while attempting to remain hidden from society.

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