Ten or Heavenly Principles

These principles create an altered world around the Ninja by changing the environment. The balance between in and is shifted in such a way that the Ninja can remain the same, but his environment must change.

Increasing the influence of on the environment means increasing the enemy’s vulnerability. So you can for example make the opponent eager to fight, even when it would be better if they rested. The Ninja can also keep the opponent moving when they should be resting. Or you can get your opponent to give up a good position.

As in’s environmental impact increases, if your opponent is itching to fight, you’ll make them wait, because nothing is more frustrating than holding back surging energies and waiting. Or they are left in the dark about the correctness of the information, lured into narrow corridors or rooms where they cannot fully develop their supremacy.

Gojō goyoku

In order to influence other people, the Ninja used the tactic of gojō goyoku. The opponent is weakened and manipulated by his own weaknesses and mistakes.

  • With the principle of kisha, the opponent is brought down by his own vanity. He is flattered and praised.
  • With the principle of do sha, his irascibility and uncontrollability are exploited. He is made to do ill-considered, stupid actions.
  • If the principle of aisha is applied, the generosity and sentimentality of the opponent are exploited. You make him feel sorry or regretful.
  • rakusha takes advantage of the opponent’s laziness and inertia. You offer him money or luxuries, women or comfort, and bring him down.
  • The kyōsha principle uses the cowardice and fear of an opponent. He is threatened, intimidated, blackmailed, and thus kept under control.

But these tactics only work for a limited time, eventually, every tactic wears out. Therefore, in the long-term context, one must carefully consider whether the use of gojō goyoku is beneficial.

Another way of influencing other people is to satisfy their wants and needs. There are five great needs that every human being is subject to. Of course, there are more, but most fit into one of five categories:


By providing shelter and sustenance to those being pursued, the Ninja makes them dependent and gains control over them. Ideals and political beliefs dwindle when the foundations of survival are not secured.


Almost every person is dependent on the fulfillment of their sexual desires. Men in particular are very easily susceptible and therefore easy to control. When love comes along, caution and common sense fall by the wayside.


Every man has his price. Everyone is on the hunt for a certain amount of wealth, which in turn usually also meets their other needs. With the right amount of bribery, anyone can be manipulated and controlled, earning their temporary loyalty.


Everyone needs the feeling of recognition for achievements and pride resulting from this. When a Ninja appears to elevate and shower another with pride, that Ninja becomes dependent and vulnerable to manipulation and control.


Most people need pleasure, joy, and distraction. It is not for nothing that television, games, and events are always in high demand. When a Ninja provides pleasure for a person, that person becomes dependent on him and is easily controlled.

Chi or Earth Principles

These principles create an altered environment where the Ninja changes but the environment stays the same.

If he increases the influence of on himself, he creates more favorable conditions for himself. If the opponent is stronger or better, he practices and improves until he can trump him. If the opponent has more information, he collects more information in turn. If the opponent’s troops are in the majority, he, in turn, strengthens his ranks.

Increasing the influence of in on the Ninja decreases the threat. If the Ninja is being pursued, he will fall back behind the enemy. If he falls into a raging torrent, he doesn’t fight the tide but simply lets himself be carried downstream. If he is exposed as an agent, he offers his services to the enemy. The Ninja avoids hasty judgment of a situation and tries to evaluate neutrally. If for example, a murderer is lurking in a dark house, you imagine him waiting in the dark, gun drawn, knowing exactly where you are. If you change your point of view, the murderer suddenly seems small and abandoned. He’s waiting in a dark house, not knowing if we’re even going to enter it, which way we’re going, or what weaponry we’re carrying. He feels lost in the dark.

Or in another example, we are faced with a large, physically superior opponent. We could imagine one punch from him destroying us. But when we change our position, the opponent suddenly seems immobile, hampered by his body mass and muscles. Our speed can hit him in vulnerable spots he can barely protect.

Jin or Human Principles

These principles create what appears to be an altered environment around the Ninja without the environment or the Ninja changing. Illusions and tricks only pretend that the situation has changed. The principles of in and are exaggerated, so that as an outsider one can no longer see through the true situation.

This tactic is called kyojutsu tenkan ho, which means lie and truth. The Ninja presents the truth as a lie and the lie as truth. Thus the Ninja can show strength when in fact he is weak, or he can hide his strength when he is strong. We can exaggerate to such an extent that the opponent senses the deception and thinks we’re trying to deceive them, when in fact that’s not the case.

In the Middle Ages, for example, a Ninja could scream wildly at the guard at the gate and tell them about an attack on the other side of the castle or about a fire. The guards moved in that direction and the Ninja was able to exit the castle unhindered.

Or he threw a heavy stone from the wall into the water. The guards now focused on searching the shore and the Ninja was able to escape elsewhere.

A very effective technique for close combat is mentioned here. If the opponent wants to grab the Ninja in close combat, you don’t resist it, but even pull him to your body. He will responsively move his power into the opposite side and pull back with all his might. This is when you reverse your power and throw your opponent.

If you are being pursued by an attacker, you can suddenly slow down, hook the enemy and flee in a different direction. Or you jump at the opponent and pinch your legs behind your back, then drop to the ground and pull the opponent with you.

A Ninja wasn’t afraid to do dirty tricks either. In a fight to the death, it doesn’t matter how honorably you died. Pulling the hair, flattening the nose, tearing the ears, kicking in the soft parts, sand in the eyes, etc. are only a small part of the repertoire.

An important aspect of Ninjutsu is in shin tonkei, maximum effect with minimum effort. The Ninja always tried to change the natural course of things as little as possible.

Text: Stefan Imhoff