Essence of Ninjutsu

Takamatsu Toshitsugu

The essence of all martial arts and military strategy is self-protection and avoidance of danger.

Ninjutsu presents itself as the fullest concept of self-protection through war training, because the art of the Ninja protects not only the body but also the mind.

The way of the Ninja is the way of enduring, of surviving, and of victorious over anything that wants to destroy you.

This is more than just dealing punches and slashes, and deeper than simply outwitting the enemy; Ninjutsu is the way to really get what you need while making this world a better place.

The Ninja’s skill is the art of winning. Proper motivation is crucial at the start of training. Without the right state of mind, continued use of martial arts can lead to annihilation rather than self-development.

But this fact is not very different from other useful practices in life taken to extremes.

Medical science is designed for the improvement of health and the relief of distress, and yet the abuse of drugs and the triumph of physicians mean that personal health is no longer in one’s control.

A nutritious, balanced diet is designed to keep a person alive, strong, and healthy, but grossly overeating or overdrinking, or ingesting too many chemicals is the surest way to poison the body.

Governments are created to oversee the harmonious working of all parts of a society, but when the rulers are greedy, power-hungry, or lacking in wisdom, useless wars, disorder, or cultural and economic chaos result.

A religion based on trust through experience, a broad aspiring mind and tireless pursuit of universal understanding brings people inspiration and comfort. Once a religion has lost its original basis, it becomes a deadly thing that deceives, controls and burdens people by manipulating beliefs and fears.

It’s the same with the martial arts. The art of self-protection, intended to create a sense of inner peace and security, is so often developed without a balance of personality, and leads the lesser martial artist into warped worlds of ceaseless conflict and competition that eventually consume him.

When a martial arts expert sincerely follows the essence of Ninjutsu, free from the influence of egoistic desires, the student will realize the ultimate secret of invulnerability – attaining the Mind and Eyes of God.

The fighter who will win must be in harmony with the plan of the whole and have an intuitive knowledge of playing out destiny.

Harmonizing with Heaven’s providence and nature’s incorruptible justice, and following a clear and pure heart, filled with confidence in the inevitable, the Ninja grasps the understanding that will guide him successfully in a battle when he must conquer and himself must be protectively concealed from the enemy.

The great cosmos, beautiful in its cool, impersonal totality, contains all that we call good and evil, all the answers to all the contradictions we see around us. By opening his eyes and mind, the Ninja can follow the subtle periods and grounds of heaven with an open mind, changing when change is needed, always adapting so that in the end nothing can surprise the Ninja.

Takamatsu Toshitsugu, Essence of Ninjutsu

Hatsumi Masaaki

I believe that ninpō, the higher order of Ninjutsu, should be offered to the world as a guiding influence for all martial arts.

The methods of physical and mental survival immortalized by Japan’s Ninja were in fact the source of all Japanese martial arts.

Without full and holistic training in all aspects of the martial arts, today’s martial artists cannot hope to achieve more than simply experiencing the limitations of their muscular capabilities for their own training.

Personal enlightenment can only be achieved through a total immersion in the traditions of martial arts as a way of life.

By experiencing the confrontation with danger, the superiority of fear, injury, or death, and the workings of one’s powers and limitations, the practitioner can attain the strength and invincibility that allow him to enjoy flowers that sway in the wind, of appreciation the love of others and contentment with the peace in society.

The attainment of this enlightenment is characterized by the development of jihi no kokoro or a kind heart.

Stronger than love itself, the kind heart is able to embrace all that employs universal justice and all that finds expression in discovering the universal plan. Born to achieve understanding, by repeatedly striding on the edge between life and death, the ninpō’s kind heart is key to achieving harmony and understanding between the two.

Forgotten in the shadows of the past after so many generations, the Ninja philosophy of life reappears, because once again a time has dawned in human destiny that ninpō needs. May peace prevail so that humanity can grow again to the next, higher level.

Hatsumi Masaaki, Essence of Ninjutsu

Essence of Ninjutsu

Text: Stefan Imhoff