Ninjitsu is a Japanese martial art that was originally used for espionage purposes. It was the first martial art that portrayed the dark and mysterious ninja. Even though this martial art was largely influenced by Chinese martial arts, Ninjitsu is believed to be of Japanese origin. This martial art has a very long history that is quite magical. It is difficult for even the most studied historians to decipher factual ninja stories from fiction.
Upon its introduction, this martial art was practiced as a way to endure the hardships associated with life. It took three hundred years to develop every skill and technique associated with Ninjitsu. After its transformation, this martial art became the ‘art of stealth,’ which contained 18 principles and disciplines.
Most of the skills of this fighting system prepare a practitioner for a journey into espionage. Training usually emphasizes on spying skills, fighting with weapons, unarmed fighting, escape tactics, disguise and impersonation, archery, medical treatments, explosives, and concealment. Women also train in Ninjitsu and a female ninja is referred to as a “kunoichi.”
Over the course of the last century, the need for Ninjitsu training has declined with very few schools remaining in Japan. The first school to open outside of Japan was in Israel in 1974. While there are a few training centers in the United States, practitioners are taught Americanized versions of Ninjitsu, which often lack Japanese origin and differ with original teachings.
The decline in training of this martial art is due to the changing of times and technology. Most techniques serve little or no purpose in populated locations. Instructional facilities often deal with poor publicity and students who wish to train for unrealistic reasons. However, the “neo-ninja” movement has made way for modern martial arts schools to teach about and base instruction on the Japanese historic ninja.