Ninjustu Complete

Sea of Rivers


The material in this book is for information purposes only. Neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for the misuse of information contained in this book.

Copyright ©. 2003. This book and all related material is and remains the intellectual property of James Bennett. No information may be reproduced, copied or replicated in any form without the express written permission of the author (James Bennett)™.

This small work is dedicated to my family


The Sea of Rivers


Firstly a few quick notes about this book. This book came about after more than 25 years of martial arts training. I have been lucky enough to study with some extremely talented and giving martial artists in my time. Over the years I have trained in many different styles and learned many different philosophies whilst still managing to maintain the integrity of the arts that I studied on more of a full time basis. So after much deliberation I felt it was unfair to represent my collection of techniques or system as a traditional Asiatic martial arts style. Without being a direct representative or descendent of a particular martial arts system it would be a misrepresentation for me to do so. I do however want to pay homage to all the systems that I have had the good fortune to learn from and must note that most of the techniques within these pages have been passed down father to son and master to student for many centuries.

This book was written so my lifetime of learning would not be lost or forgotten. I appreciate this it but a mere introduction into the arts, a full account would simply fill volumes. I am merely trying to express some of the more interesting and important aspects of self-defence that I have learned throughout the years. If one person learns one thing from this book, It will have been more than worth the writing. I hope that the techniques within are explained simply enough, to allow one who is taking the first step on the path to have an understanding of the true way. I also hope that the more experienced student may see that the true path is a commitment not only to unlocking the physiological and psychological wisdom in technique. My hope is that you also see the truth in yourself. If you have power of mind you will be able to master power over the physical realm with patience, practice, knowledge and the resolution of your own will.

The journey of a martial artist is a voyage of self-discovery, understanding and peace. Many may see this as a paradox. How can you have peace whilst learning the art of harming another. When you find peace in oneself it cannot be touched by physical confrontation. A true martial artist’s philosophy is to defend not to destroy. In today’s age it is a road less travelled that a martial artist seeks. A timeless journey of learning about what is important enough to not only die but to live for.

One who knows all knows nothing
One who knows nothing will know all

Remember to keep your heart and mind open. You will be enriched by all the world will show you, if you learn to look…

Peace, love and respect is the path I tread. It is the hardest yet the most rewarding path for any to follow. It requires conviction to truth and caring for our fellow man. My martial technique has aided in making my path a safer and more enriching one to undertake…

May your journey be as rewarding as mine.

List of Contents

How and why this book came about . Page 3


A brief history of Martial Arts . Page 5
The Birth of Ninjutsu and its architects

Body Conditioning – Taiso . Page 12
Basic fitness and strength training

Body Skills – Taijutsu . Page 23
Joint locking and the Chinese compass

Anatomy of a Fight . Page 44
Why and where to hit an opponent to be most effective
Vital point striking – Kyusho
Technical features of kicking and punching

Stealth and Shadows . Page 68
Strategy and the Art of stealth
Intelligence- Counter Intelligence

Martial Arts Weapons and Weaponry . Page 75
Principles of using weapons to your best advantage





Chapter I

A brief history of Martial Arts

How did Martial arts develop

Martial skills have been around for as long as man has sought to dominate or defend against another man. Martial actually means to be warlike. Since man has gathered into groups and dominated another, we have found it fit to be armed or prepared to fight off our foes. This undoubtedly began with the first inkling of man and his desire to dominate his surrounds both socially and environmentally. These skills have been passed onto other members of the group and the knowledge has come into formation not only in the context of master to student. This desire grew from these combative arts into large armies trained in these martial skills. From simple beginnings, legions were taught fighting methods.

We have great strategies formulated for combat, such as those of the generals of the Roman Empire. Many of which are still used today by the modern army general. If you look closely nearly all countries have some Martial arts legacy. It is the nature of man to tread such a path and throughout history it is the most successful at these endeavours, that have passed them onto the next generation. This has ensured that the warrior has the best true skills to survive a real life encounter. These tried and tested methods are prevalent in societies structured on tradition. This is why Japanese culture holds so many techniques, valued for their real life application from more combative times.

The Asiatic arts and the spreading of knowledge

Many believe that the Asian martial arts spread with bands of eclectic spiritual groups as they ventured out from the Himalayan mountain regions of Tibet. Some of these groups are believed to have headed west into India practising, the then small arts of physical wellness and spiritual harmony. Other groups are believed to have gone to the east, travelling throughout Tibet to China. From China knowledge was believed to have spread throughout the land in such cities as Wuhan (famous for Tai Chi). Much of the knowledge was not only of martial skills. A great portion of the teachings were believed to have roots in meditation and in-depth understanding of the human body and it’s frailty. Much of the knowledge was collected for the betterment of mankind in using the information to heal rather than harm.

These spiritualist’s did however encounter unsavoury elements in there travels and found it necessary to defend themselves from bandits and alike. This is one posture that gives rise to the use of this knowledge in the development of self-defence. This logic also holds true that originally, only the pure of heart were taught such deadly techniques.

The Asiatic arts are then believed to have been transferred all the way South East to Taiwan and North East throughout both Southern and Northern Korea. These wisdom’s also made their way to Japan. Farming families of Okinawa practised these martial skills known as Tote and developed the art into what is now known as Karate. It should be noted that fully formalised schools came later on. Many arts including Karate were taught within a family group or clan. This is true for many such variances of the arts not only in Japan but throughout China and the rest of the world for that matter.

The origin of the Ninja

On the Island of Honshu people were driven into the rugged mountainous regions of Koga and Iga. Now called Iga-Ueno, north west of the prefecture of Mie. It is from this twist of fate that gives birth to a new set of martial skills to later be called Ninjutsu. This was almost a thousand years ago and their legacy lives on to this very day.

The people of this region became host to other outcasts of the day and learned much from people who had fled persecution from places such as China. Sun Tzu’s the Art of war, was a work that influenced many martial systems as well as the Ninja. Among the people many were believed to poses political and martial arts skills. These skills were believed to be past on by these dissidents and refugees. Hence the esoteric views passed to Yamabushi (Mountain warrior priests) and local farmers. Then from Father to Son the knowledge spread, collected and grew.

Make no mistake the ninja did not start out being powerful at all. In fact much of the covert nature of ninjutsu helped them work as agents for local Daimyo (lords). Many of the ninja agents were but poor farmers trying to make a living. Their skills of survival later became the tools of the trade. Many of the ninja missions were fact finding ones to find out the power and size of an opposing Daimyo’s forces and influence (ways and means of measuring buildings and strategy are prescribed in the book Bansenshukai). The ninja worked as a shadow agent in most cases and gathered information. The ninja was not of great number compared to the lords of the day and was in many cases offering their services to whoever would pay their fee.

This was considered a life without honour by the noble houses and Samurai class with their Bushido (A set of rules and conduct of honour). The ninja was considered by most to be of low standing and as such did not carry favour, even from their employers. From time to time ninja would have to carry out missions of assassination.

The Ninjutsu clan that may have had many families was set up in a triad arrangement of power. With three levels of power in the chain of command. Jonin (Headmaster). The person who would be the architect of the mission and hold power over what course of action was to be undertaken. Chunin (Master) The middle level agent who resourced and ran the lower level agent on what they were to undertake and the Genin (lower rank) who would carry out the intelligence gathering, subdefuge or assassination required.

There were also Kunoichi (female agents) used as information gatherers in rivalling lords strongholds in conjunction with having someone close if plans for assassination were necessary. It is also fabled that Kunoichi would catch sexually transmitted disease in order to afflict illness and poor judgement on a particular house or lords troops before battle. This all in a time where such things as antibiotics were not available and infection could easily render serious physical affliction.

There were several more types of agent Inkan (Native agent) one who would be a member of a local community and would play host to inducting agents in a province of activity. The Naiken (Inside agent) someone holding office or a level of power in a removed province. The Yukan (Now friendly agent) someone in a removed province serving a neighbouring hostile region.

The Yamabushi (Mountain priest) played great part in allowing the esoteric art of the ninja to travel in silence among the masses. The Yamabushi was more like a travelling showman or snake oil salesman than a priest in many respects. These artisans that performed for audiences much the way as the travelling magician and circus show did in the west.

Instead of selling such products like cheap liquor, as did there western counter-parts. (Medicinally alcohol does kill bacteria and have use as a neurological agent. It also helps change the blood pressure, and ease the suffering of ill patients of arthritic, blood pressure and circulation affliction). The ninja opted for other such medicines. The travelling street or small stage performer sold such items as toad oil. (Toad oil is actually very useful for contracting the blood vessels around small wounds). So it too is not without desired effect. Other common place cures for everyday ailments were also sold to the general public. These items ranged from musk for perfume or even as a cough medicine. To the scaly bulbs of the tulip (tulipa edulis), with its effects of vitality.

Some of the travelling showman’s displays vary from feats of strength inclusive of standing on the edge of blades and acrobatic demonstrations were also part of the wonder. Some of the trickery would take place by the art of misdirection and deception would vary from performer to performer. Deploying smoke onto the stage and leaving a rat behind as if the performer had undergone a metamorphosis was one such illusion. Another trick of disappearance was to excite a pack of dogs on the small stage and disappear behind a curtain or appropriate alcove. A new dog may have been added to the pack, giving the appearance that a change had occurred in the artisan.

The belt system of knowledge and rank

Most styles of Japanese martial arts including Ninjutsu are ranked in the traditional system of 11th Kyu to Yudansha (Balckbelt). This entails the student starting off from white belt, white showing the emptiness of knowledge. Progressing through the six colours and stripe attached to each colour before obtaining the black belt. Then of course to the twelve degrees of the black belt system itself. This ranking system to this very day signifies a student’s level of knowledge, ability and understanding in a given style. Traditional Chinese systems also use a sash to signify the level obtained by the practitioner. As a curio the belt and sash systems are believed to have development in part for the physical support of the lower back. Many Japanese systems of self-defence such as judo, allow the belt to come from the front centred around the back passing over the other side. They then become folded and knotted at the front.

The old and symbolic system I choose to fasten a belt holds several meanings and is prescribed below. Begin with one end of the belt held in the small of the back, then coil the belt around your waist until we are complete. Bring the belt to the front dropping the back tab out from underneath the small of the spine. Take the imaginary join where the two ends would be knotted to the side of the hip. When we are satisfied the middle join would be level slide the belt around to the front. Take the overlying tab and push it under the belt and out the top. Fold the overlying bottom tab into a knot. Be sure and press the tabs into the belt as we do not want the tabs flying free. The idea is to have the tabs in line with the belt. Freely accessible tabs only offer greater opportunity for an opponent to use as an advantage.

The symbolic side of not having an overlap in the belt shows us that there is no end to our learning. It can also be more supportive to the kidneys and provide greater comfort to the wearer. Traditionally the colour of gold writing is one used on Japanese belts to signify the richness and reverence of the style that is to be written on your belt. Western students may vary this gold writing to signify they are not directly in-line with a particular system.

Diet-Health & vitality

Many people wonder what did the historical ninja eat and how did they manage their health. They ate much of the food available in the era. Some common food sources available to the Ninja were handmade Tofu, a Soya bean product high in protein. Brown rice was another staple of the time. Either Takihoshi rice, a hard rice grain or Yutori rice both a softer grain and of milder taste. The ninja were very health conscious and ate sunflower seeds and hard baked rice crackers called Katayaki. An Iga ninja favourite.

Not only were Ninja living at a higher altitude making training give that much more stamina, they knew much about nutrition and were enlightened about taking care of the physical self through remedial means. Massage was very important and the ninja would take care in maintaining the best physical status they could. Many points were known to relieve fatigue and aid the body to perform at its best. In much the same way a modern athlete ensures they don’t damage or overwork their body ensuring correct health skills are in place.

Yagen (Chemistry-Pharmacology)

Some of the plants used to aid the Ninja were the Chinese cork tree. Its bark made a dye like substance to ensure that paper was not eaten by insects. This maintained documents for long periods of time. This is not only helpful when keeping your own information but vital for documents of importance. Chinese cork was also used as an antibacterial agent for stomach complaints.

Do No hi (coal-fuel) was comprised of charred Japanese paper, Eggplant stems and knotweed. This mixture was placed in a covered copper tube. The purpose of the agent carrying such an item was to give the agent a slow burning medium to light fires, it was also used keep the agent warm whilst facing the elements.

Toyaku (Green Genitan) a small flowering plant helped ease stomach aches and the dye protected undergarments from lice and fleas.

The ever-popular Ginko tree was a favourite with ninja. Making a drink from the leaves, gives one a refreshing drink that also has a disinfectant quality. Items such as Ginko tablets are still popular to this day for the anti-oxidant properties they posses.

From Sappanwood, cloth could be immersed in the dye taking on the disinfectant properties. As well as being used as a bandage the cloth could be used to assist in the filtering of water, for safer consumption.

The ninja also used chemistry for many things other than health products. Blinding powders could be made out of things such as pepper. The ninja embraced gunpowder in the early 1500’s and not only used it in guns, they also made what would now be know as a mortar weapon. They used arrows with gunpowder attached and much more.

The Ninja even had knowledge of making a type of field compass called a Kishuku. How this was achieved was simple. You get a small piece of Iron heat it until it is red hot at the end, place it in cold water. Be sure to hammer it flat and make it into a boat like shape. The end would point north when placed in something like water to allow buoyancy. True north the boat would point and the ninja agent could then take their bearings if lost and continue their journey.

Poisons were used and understood by the ninja, these were used in a variety of ways. A kitten’s claws could be dipped in poison and presented to an unsuspecting person. A flower could be poisoned and someone could go to smell it and be dispatched. These are prime examples of the inventiveness, that the historical ninja employed to dispatch someone with the use of poison.

The Shiba Shinyo School of ninjutsu has held secret to this day a poison ball devise that dispatches adversaries in their quarters. The small ball like device is believed to be made from herbs and chemical solutions. So guarded are these family secrets that even offers of monies for such formulas have fallen on deaf ears. Believed to be delivered by being rolled into ones room and releasing the poison within a prescribed time, thus allowing the ninja to make his escape before any wrongdoing was discovered. This type of device has been documented since the 11th century during the Fujiwara period. The 11th century is also referred to by many as the golden age of ninjutsu, as many ninja artists were practising at this time.

To view how structured a clan or society is we may view its customs and crafts. We can gain great insight into both people and culture by examining every day items. Because of the Iga regions unique clay there are many fine examples of their pottery still around from as far back as the 16th century. The Iga were a group of people with many great skills, not just Martial ones. There is much to be learned from a group of people, through such crafts as pottery. This can tell us a story about the standard of the social order and culture of their people. The groups of this region were well organised and had great sense of community and unity through adversity.

I mention the pottery of the ninja as a segue to understanding that all things no matter how small or seemingly insignificant about an individual or collective group have great impact on events. One should make it a point not only to see things in macro-vision, rather we should see the whole picture with all its nuances. The ninja were experts at noticing detail such as the patterns of respiration of a sleeping companion. Only later to use these rhythms to ensure they were not waking an adversary in an enemy camp. Noticing which hand and manner a potential opponent may take charge of, this may later be important in a combative situation. Such attention to detail has been the ally of great assassins and intelligence gatherers throughout history.

The ninja lived in an age of the unenlightened and took great advantage of simple beliefs such as the mythical Tengu bird that features highly in early Japanese mythological culture. The ninja used Tengu masks to both hide there identity and strike fear into the hearts of the simple minded and uneducated. Any such rouse as to deceive or misdirect will be an ally to an operative in the field. Avoiding opponents knowing what your objective is will ensure greater success. This holds true for an operation of sub-diffuse or a combative contest.

Historical Ninja Exponents

There are hundreds of easily available documented cases in Japanese text of ninja plying their craft. I have included a few brief outlines here to simply show the ingenuity, courage of spirit and resourcefulness the ninja needed to complete the tasks they were to perform.

Hanzo Hattori Masashige

One of the most Famous Ninja was Hanzo Hattori Masashige. An Iga Ninja with great skill and wit. He was only sixteen when he fought in his first battle. This is where he picked up his nickname Hanzo the Ghost. The battle was on Migawa (an Udo castle). In later battles he was given further nicknames such as Hanzo the devil.

Hanzo once claimed to be able to hold his breath for the longest time. He went into the water and after almost an hour emerged only after he was called from his worried companions. They exclaimed his powers were most extra ordinary. He told them he had merely swam behind cover and waited for them to wish his return. This was one of the most useful tricks of the ninja. The art of deception and misdirection, in an un-enlightened age.

In the year of 1582 the Daimyo Oda Nobunga was assassinated and Tokugawa Ieyasu was at Kyoto. This created great instability at the time. Hanzo arranged for Tokugawa Ieyasu to escape through the region of Iga and return to his own castle and safety. This furthermore led to Iga ninja arrangements with Hanzo and great favour from Ieyasu.

Hanzo later became one of Ieyasu’s most trusted warlords and head of the Iga ninja families. This was a force close to three hundred ninja. At this stage Hanzo became known more as a Bushi (Samurai class) that had descended from the Iga region. Hanzo was not merely a Watari Ninja (Soldier of Fortune).

Takaeru Yamamoto

Believed to have assassinated with a knife, two enemies of his family. He used the disguise of an old woman to take the men off guard and stabbed the men in the back. Disguise later to be a component of ninjutsu it is said that Yamamoto was a forerunner in the early 700’s to the craft of the ninja assassin.

Yukimura Sanada

A small holder of land and known for building a fortress called Samdamaru in the castle of Osaka whilst under attack from Ieyasu. Yukimura held off Ieyasu’s forces whilst being greatly outnumbered. Later Yukimura was to stage an assault on Ieyasu’s camp only to fail before reaching final victory. Originally Yukamira Sanada was known as Nobushige Sanada. The Sanada family is one of great exploits in the area of Ninjutsu. The Sanada family had three branch off families of great repute. The Nuezus, Unnos and Mochizuki family.

Yukimura Sanada retained the services of two great ninja exponents in the Tokugawa period. They were Sarutobi Sasuke of the Koga region and Kirigakure of the Iga region. These two ninja learned their art from a hermit called Tojawa Yamashiro-no-kami. Some attribute the art now known as Ninjutsu, to be the design of this hermit who lived in the hills.

So selective did the Koga ninja art become, that during the Tokugawa period a section of the city now known as Tokyo was set aside for the ninja men. This area was called Koga-cho. This art was still so selective that to give up any of the arts secrets to those outside of the school was punishable by death. So specific was the desire to keep the arts secrets within the school or family. One may have had permission to only marry within the extended family group.

Modern Ninja

The warrior spirit is still alive and has continued into the modern age through many dedicated masters of self-defence. Ninjutsu is freely taught to the mass populous upon request by many families that have inherited the ancient teachings. How many ryu (school or tradition) or ryu-ha (sub-school or branch off school) survive is of great question as the art was originally one kept in a particular family. It is believed that as time progresses more of these family arts will emerge out of the shadows. Being associated with Ninjutsu was and still is seen by many as to be of low repute. After all who wants to glorify someone who could have helped dispatch or overthrow a relative.

One such school reputed to have kept alive many of the ninja secrets and martial arts techniques was the Nakano school for spies formed in the year of 1938. The students of this unit officially came under the heading of “training unit for rear duties agents”. It is believed to have trained its young officers in the use of disguises, martial techniques, sabotage and at the time propaganda. Hence some of the ridiculous stories put out by this organisation in regards to ninjutsu and the abilities of its agents. This in essence was a way in which historical ninja used deceit to confuse or misdirect their enemies for centuries. At the very least this school used some of the philosophy of the ninja to their advantage.

Fujita Seiko

Fujita Seiko was a ninja master that claimed his grandfather taught him for several years as a boy, the art of the Koga Ninja. Seiko was a martial artist of great talent, however his grandfather claimed to have burned any record of the Koga ninja and only taught Seiko in a bid to stop him from running away from home to be a travelling showman. Fujita claimed to be the 14th Master of Wada-ha Koga Ryu as well as this he was an exponent of Kempo Sato Ryu. Fujita also studied Shunden Muso Ryu jojutsu as well as aspects of Shuriken throwing and Hojutsu (binding). Some of the Koga ninjutsu ryu-ha Fujita was accredited to have knowledge of were.

Akutagawa ryu
Negoro ryu
Fusou ryu
Ninkou ryu
Kouyou ryu

Fujita collected and wrote many precise works on martial arts over the years. One such book was a collection of vital point striking compiled during 1944 as a government document. This document a collective of all that martial arts masters could give to help the Japanese forces during war. It is said that many of these points were thoroughly tested on prisoners and alike. Fujita was never approached for prosecution of any wrong doings during the war, so any flights of fancy about him killing people in this manner are still unfounded.

Of the books Fujita had collected there are examples still behind glass in the Ninjutsu museum at Ueno, Japan. Fujita wrote many books on martial arts and held rank and even master-ship in other styles.

Unfortunately Fujita died in a car accident in 1966 without having the chance to officially leave a successor. There are many who claim to have been taught by ninja exponents such as Fujita and their credentials are discounted by Japanese martial arts bodies. The Japanese systems of self-defence are handed down directly in a blood line or from one master in an official manner to the next. If these strict rules are not obeyed the system is considered discontinued even if highly proficient exponents of the style are left to carry on leaderless.

Dr Masaaki Hatsumi

Hatsumi would be most remembered for re-popularising the art of Ninjutsu not only to the Japanese but to the world. He has had some very successful western students and his schools collectively known as Bujinkan are by far the largest and most well known collective of Ninjutsu in the western world today. He is the 34th Soke (head of) Grandmaster in an unbroken chain and is also said to hold master ship over several schools of martial arts. The first three prescribed here are directly Ninjutsu. The collected schools taught are as follows.

Togakure ryu
Kumogakure ryu
Gyokushin ryu
Gyokko ryu
Kukishin ryu
Shinden Fudo ryu
Koto ryu
Gikan ryu
Takagi Yoshin ryu

He is himself a student of the equally famous 33rd Grandmaster Takamatsu sensei (Teacher). The exploits of these collective styles are well documented.

Chapter II

Body Conditioning – Taiso

What is Taiso (Body Conditioning)

This is a system comprising firstly of what is classed as soft techniques. These include things such as stretching making the body more supple and strength through making muscle groupings stronger i.e. sit-ups causing torsion in muscles making the lower stomach area less prone to damage if attacked and so on.

The second grouping of techniques in Taiso training would be called hard techniques. This comprises of hardening and making the body less vulnerable through in many cases a long series of graduating conditioning of the weaker softer body areas. This would also include hands, knuckles, fingers etc.

Basic warm-up No.I

Lets begin with the basic warm up techniques that are generally performed before standard training or moving onto the Taiso training. A basic warm up regime can minimise the possibility of serious injury when training. The philosophy of a warm up is to ensure that the weaker or more vulnerable as well as major joints and areas are in order for the training ahead. The warm up can vary dependant upon the techniques to be learned in a particular class.

The warm up can vary from ten minutes to half an hour. Normally the warm up will not be much longer for a single class spanning up to two hours then an entire days training. If the training is to be a full days training, we generally do a basic warm up and then perform individually tailored warm ups as part of a particular exercise before performing the technique involved.

Like many Japanese arts, tradition plays a big part in dictating the etiquette involved. Many Japanese styles of self defence begin with the right hand side then move onto the left hand side of the body. This is both prevalent in warm up and when practising technique.

We start our first warm up exercise by gaining a relaxed standing position with our feet placed at a comfortable shoulder width in distance. Firstly we relax the shoulders then ensure the wrist area has no tension. Firstly we inhale, When we exhale relax the chin to meet the chest. Inhale and lift the head up again. We generally repeat these types of exercises five times or until there is no tension only a feeling of muscle relaxation in the area. (Picture 1,2,3)

The second exercise is ear to shoulder on exhalation then coming back to a straight standing pose on the inhalation. This is then repeated on the left side. It should be pointed out that the neck warm up exercises should only be done forward, back and side to side. Other movements such as twisting or middle movements can cause great damage to the neck area. (Picture 4)

To warm up the shoulder area we start with a relaxed forward shoulder roll or shrug as it’s sometimes explained. Then we move onto a backward shoulder roll. All the time our hands should remain relaxed by our sides. (Picture 5,6)

Holding our arms out at shoulder level we keep our arms straight but not flexed. Holding the hands in a loose fist we begin to rotate our hands in an outward circle motion. We also perform this as an inward rotation. (Picture 7,8,9,10)

Holding our arms out to the side level with our shoulders we start to perform large relaxed forward circles in every diminishing size until we are back to where we began. This is then performed in backward rotation until completed. The next set is almost the same however we have one arm moving in a forward rotation and the other in a back-ways rotation. Ensure that this is done with both arms. (Picture 11,12,13)

To ensure full relaxed motion of the middle to lower back we start by holding our elbows level with our shoulders, inter lock our fingers and keep our head in a straight forward position. Once again we want a relaxed shoulder width apart position for our feet. Try to keep the hips in a static position and turn the torso until the chin rides completely over the shoulder. (Picture 14,15)

The monkey grip hold is first done by touching fingertips then slowly interlocking our fingers in a u-shackle shape. Besides the obvious individual extensions and muscle groups that are exercised, it is important to understand and encourage the flow of blood to all areas of the body. Blood being the life force that supports our bodies with both nutritional distribution and the ever important steady supply of oxygen to cells.

Promoting the flow of blood throughout the body through cardio exercises is also of great benefit as an adjunct to this type of training. Skipping can help build stamina, co-ordination as well as improving the flow of blood throughout the body. Running and even brisk walks over half an hour or more can improve the cardio abilities of participants. (Picture 16)

To perform hip rotations we generally assume a straight position, shoulders relaxed and hands on hips. It is very important to keep our legs straight and begin gentle large circular rotation in a clockwise manner and repeat in an anticlockwise fashion. (Picture 17,18,19,20)

We should now be ready to begin outer single rotations of the hip. Because the knee is on the horizon of the hip we tend to focus on a point to maintain correct balance. When you have completed outer rotations begin the inner rotations without placing your foot back on the mat. Once this is done both sides the hip joints should be fully warmed up and ready for kicking and/or stretching exercises. (Picture 21,22,23)

The next set of exercises utilises being on one foot as before however we wish to rotate the ankle in a circular outward motion whilst holding the thumb back to the wrist as prescribed in the accompanying photo. This manipulation of the thumb actually helps defend against thumb locks and therefore technically crosses over to the class of a Taiso exercise. It should be noted that while the object is to eventually have the thumb touch the wrist we should take care not to damage the wrist joint in the process. These exercises take time don’t be in a rush. (Picture 24)

The second group in this manner of exercise is done on one foot as before however we wish to rotate the ankle in a circular inward motion whilst holding the palm not just the fingers back. Ensure the thumb is placed comfortably on the knuckles to give support to the palm while gently stretching in a back-ways manner. (Picture 25)

Holding our legs straight, feet together we first touch our toes with our fingers. We quickly progress to having our palms on the floor. If you are having trouble relaxing or getting that little extra stretch, hold your ankles with your hands and gently pull. Breathing out when reaching a stretch will relax you that much more. When you are in the stretch you may be able to get a little further by simply relaxing on exhalation and going a little further. Always try to hold the stretch for a count of thirty, this allows the body to release itself to the new position. (Picture 26,27,28)

Taking ourselves at a double shoulder width apart position, we gently lean over one knee while holding the other leg straight. This exercise is to gently flex the inner grouping of the groin around the hip. It is important not to over extend or make hard fast movements when stretching. Jerking motions can also cause damage to the ligaments that hold joints together and tendons that allow the motions of the joint cuffs. (Picture 29,30) Improving flexibility of the lower back and side movements of the frame makes for more natural flow of technique and minimises the possibility of injury during training. (Picture 31,32)

When performing the butterfly position it is important to ensure we push the forearms down on the inner thigh and not put pressure on the knee joint. (Picture 33)

The Chinese splits should be done while ensuring both hands are holding all our body weight with the trunk of the body totally relaxed. Remember you will stretch further when the muscles are first relaxed. (Picture 34)

The American splits can be performed in a number of ways. The best rules for these exercises like all exercise is firstly to not over train. It is very important to give the body time to heal and adjust to new positions and exercise. Consistent training is the key to success. Starting off with sessions four times a week in two-day blocks is more than sufficient to start this type of training before graduating to lengthier routines.

Taiso- Soft techniques

With the basic warm up done, we are moving forward to the soft Taiso exercises. Remember flexibility is strength. The stretching exercises given can take some time to perfect so there is no need to be able to reach your ultimate potential in the first session. It generally takes six weeks to gain any real measure of stamina or flexibility, so persistence and being consistent is the real key to success with these types of exercises.

Complimentary to the basic warm up some of the previous stretching exercises were completed. Because the line is blurred as stretching comes under Taiso, I have not separated it from a basic warm up to save confusion. Therefore they were placed previously for that reason and that reason alone.

Conditioning of muscle groups comes under the banner of Taiso. The first of which is the humble sit up routine. We begin with sit ups then quarter crunches and move onto horizontal leg raises. These exercises are not done because we want to look good at the beach. They are done to make the stomach region less vulnerable to attack. The stronger the defence of an area the harder you become to overthrow from that point. Many of the exercises explained in the body conditioning section come under the class of Isometric exercise. This means two things for us firstly increasing muscle activity without shortening the muscle. Secondly exercise where we pit muscles against each other or a fixed object. I mention this because these exercises are not of the same class as going to a gym lifting weights to make our muscles become bigger. Our goal here is to make our muscles more toned and stronger not necessarily to become much bigger in the way a body builder trains. Although the exercises are different modern day weight training can produce excellent results however we must be sure and understand that there is a difference. (Picture 35,36)

Push-ups are done on hard surfaces to ensure we not only strengthen the muscle groups but become use to the fact that we make contact with the first two knuckles in a horizontal manner. Once perfected we move onto the same exercise in a vertical manner. When more control is gained we start on all fingers and slowly progress to two fingers and a thumb; ultimately we desire to use our pointer finger alone. There are several reasons for this group of exercises. Firstly we develop control in a desirable striking motion and secondly we have strength when doing so. This becomes useful for point striking techniques. (Picture 37,38,39)

Holding our feet on a horizontal plane with the torso while holding up our frame allows resistance for the feet through extension. The outcome of this exercise is to strengthen the ankles and feet. Traditionally this exercise is done as a hold position. Iga ninja would hold this position for up to five minutes. As with all repetitive or endurance exercise fatigue can add to the cause of injury. Ensure we do not arch our back and cause damage when doing this and other exercises. It is much better to gradually build up to such feats of endurance and strength.

A hand strengthening exercise for the fingertips is to hang from a beam for as long as possible only using the fingertips while gently trying to touch the fingertips to palm to cause muscle torsion. Historically Ninja would weigh in at around 60Kg and practice lifting bails of rice that weighed around 60Kg using their fingertips. This training was very useful when we use tiger style hand clawing actions and other hand strikes. One of the useful aspects of this training was for the fact; ninja may be required to hang from beams for periods of time as part of an infiltration mission.

Taiso- Hard techniques

Body conditioning really does have techniques that allow over time great resistance to not only physical obstacles but mental beliefs as well. Through consistent careful training we can get our great machine the human body to perform some amazing feats of strength and endurance. It should be noted that it is foley to simply try and break concrete slabs out of the blue or sustain a hit to the shin area to see how much pain you can absorb for the sheer sake of it. So lets start from the ground up and see how we can make ourselves less vulnerable to attack and stronger on defence through improving ability of certain body areas.

Conditioning the feet in particular the ball of the foot can be done by gradual precise striking on a rock face with the ball of the foot. No foot ware is to be worn. The purpose is to gradually focus our striking technique and toughen the skin around the ball joint of the big toe in particular. (Picture 40)

Three quarter striking with the big toe to nerve and blood gate points in the soft tissue areas of an opponent is aided by the practice of Atemi (striking) of the mid half of the big toe against a hard surface. Using the correct angle and mid step this can be a painful and even fatal attack. One of the reasons we practice these types of strikes is to minimise damage to our selves in a real life situation. Incorrect angle on such strikes and we can seriously cause joint damage to ourselves. It should be noted that many foot hand and body conditioning through Atemi (striking) Waza (techniques) is very likely to result in minor arthritic conditions even when performed correctly.

Going barefoot and running barefoot as part of standard training will help toughen the skin of the foot to aid your striking techniques. There are other striking techniques against the bark and soft flesh of trees. This tends to deform the small joints of toes and ultimately can cause loss of nails and mis-growths. While this can make one more effective when attacking in the modern age this is not necessary and can ultimately give you away as a martial artist. If you are working as an agent, being able to blend in is paramount to the success of many missions.

Conditioning the Knuckle and mid-knuckle region for Panther strikes, two-knuckle hook and reverse punches, three knuckle punches and more generally use the same methodology of hand practice. This training begins like all good training with understanding what technique is required and gradual progression through training.

This training is to begin with extremely light impact ensuring the technique is correct. It is important to be able to perform the technique quickly and accurately before progressing to a further degree of impact. Eventually we should move onto harder surfaces such as wood and stone. This slow progression is also valid for blade and palm heel striking. Many practitioners feel that a Makiwara (punching board) is a great way to progress. This striking board that is bound with rope will allow light hand strikes while the impact on the rope allows gradual toughening of the hand itself, preparing you for the next level of force to be expelled by the practitioner. (Picture 41)

It was once common practice for martial artists to gradually fuse the first two knuckles together in view of giving stronger punching. This was done by holding a block of wood over the knuckles and striking the horizontal or flat block with a vertical block used as the hammer. I personally do not recommend destroying the extreme dexterity of ones hand for this use. It did greatly impair the function of the warriors’ hand and is not necessary to do so in the modern age.

Medicine ball training is a resistance training and this philosophy that western gymnasts and boxers utilise has been one used to its extremes by many martial arts practitioners throughout the ages. With martial arts practitioners this can be done in a number of ways. Firstly students may gently impact a particular muscle group such as the chest by slapping the hand to cause the muscles of the area to contract. This is done in most areas where these muscle contractions can be performed. The more experienced the student the greater the resistance. You may work up to for example lightly hitting the leg with a shinai (Bamboo practice sword) the type used by Kendo students. True masters of this training have been able to withstand full impact across the torso, legs, arms etc and continue to be combative without great injury being sustained. The philosophy is to make a group of muscles tighten when impacted upon and actually become stronger by doing so. This is an extreme form of Isometric training. i.e. pushing against an object to cause muscle tension and strengthening. This training will take most students a lifetime to perfect. Whatever your commitment, this training is very valuable even when practised at its lowest level. There are many benefits besides the obvious elimination of weakness to our opponents. We also become use to the feel of impact and continue on to succeed in our combat. A lot of the earlier philosophy for this type of training was to make us stronger against vital point attacks by our adversaries.

Chapter III

Body skills – Taijutsu

Taijutsu-(Body Skills)

The body skills of a martial artist are elements that range from understanding the whole gamut of natural and irregular movement, the human body can perform. These movements range from slightly bending a knee shifting body weight, right through to the torsion’s and flexibility of joints. Taijutsu forms the entire basis for the unarmed fighting system, or hand to hand combat as it is described in the modern world. The new student will begin with learning to break fall and roll, long before striking is even introduced. This will help the student minimise the risk of injury when moving onto other techniques, this may include grappling and throwing techniques. Learning not to be a sitting target makes strikers (hitting style opponents) and grapplers (joint lockers, throwers, submission style opponents) have to re-evaluate their attacking strategies.

The backward break-fall is designed to minimise injury if you are forced in a backward manner to the point of loosing balance and in effect being pushed over. The whole premise of this technique is to avoid toppling into or onto something that may cause damage. Why just falling in an awkward fashion we can easily injure an elbow etc. For this technique we will have our feet together or at the widest a natural stance would not even be shoulder width apart. At this point note that being on the ground is a vulnerable position to be in. This is only to be used when totally taken off guard. Surprise is used by many to give an advantage. This is one way to minimise the impact of such a Kishuu (surprise attack). (Picture 42,43,44)

We begin this as a practice form with our elbows tucked into the front lower rib cage and fingertips at opposing lapels. Bend the knees until our set is almost at ankle level. We should have been curling our backs on the way down and be ready to lengthen out straight on the ground. Care should be taken not to straighten the neck out, as hitting your head on the ground would then be a real possibility. In a slapping motion we need to slap our palms flat on the ground thus dissipating the impact through our hands. Expelling the energy this way is much more appropriate than having impact injury in a hip joint etc.

The side break-fall uses the same principles however because it is a sideward fall we keep the impact side leg flat while bending the opposing knee. The impact hand is lapelled across while the other hand is either static to the torso or lightly in front of the body.
(Picture 45,46,47)

The straight forward roll is performed by first touching fingers then palms down to meet the ground. Bend the elbows on the way to the ground ensuring the head is tucked under to avoid neck or other damage. The main structure of the torso should start to form a ball and the roll should be produced. The straight forward roll is done normally in a static position and not one of great motion. Like all rolling the keys are placement and ensuring the force or energy is not directed to the ground. We must try to expel the energy out from the roll. (Picture 48,49)

The one armed forward roll is slightly different, as we tend to choose a side on which to direct our selves. We may practice this by bending one leg down and allowing ourselves to gently lean into the circular motion that is created. The head should be tucked under and we roll from shoulder to the opposing hip region before being back on our feet. (Picture 50,51,52 )

The backward roll is done in much the same way as the back break fall instead we roll through the motion and pivot off a given shoulder.

We should always allow ourselves room to perform the roll however never be afraid to get close to the ground before actually rolling. (Picture 53,54,55). There is also the side roll. In this roll we relax off to one side then roll from shoulder to shoulder with the head tucked. A good way to practice this type of roll is with the hands held together palm to palm in front of the body. This roll can be used for many things firstly to quickly roll over a low fence or table. Later on you can perform the same movement however in a standing position, to twist opponents over themselves before you flip them.

Footwork and Stances

Footwork and balance is the cornerstone of all martial arts and as alike with such sports as boxing. Correct footwork will ensure you do not allow yourself to become off-balanced or tangled up. Boxers refrain from cross steps because they can become fatigued and this will inevitably cause them to trip or fall when using such steps. There is also risk of being off balanced if struck while doing such a step. Martial arts tend to have only minor issues in using cross and coil type steps as they plan to finish the opponent almost immediately thus the issue of fatigue related failure or doing many such steps, is not seen as such of an issue as it is with boxing. The step is generally done in view to finish or subdue the opponent.

The ball pivot is performed with a few simple rules. Let’s explain the ball pivot firstly then we can apply its rules. Standing relaxed with feet at a normal shoulder width apart or less distance, turn the ball of the foot inward at a ninety degree angle. You will naturally pivot on the heel of your opposing foot hence making the surface area facing an opponent a fraction of the size and you will notice you have moved to one side. This technique is to be done in a natural motion. Don’t try to force yourself to move body weight to an exaggerated degree. Remaining relaxed is the key to this exercise. The lead or as is more often the back hand flanges out from the centreline and grabs or strikes at the opponent as they attack. This is done as one fluid relaxed motion. This is economy of movement and no matter what anyone says I have never seen anyone that can move faster than what can be relayed for us to do via our nervous system. Speed is a great ally, however distance is its master. (Picture 56,57,58)

Where do you look and how do you see an attack coming without getting hit. Firstly lets examine the principals of movement and how we react to them. Many self-defence students look for signs of attack and aggression in many different ways. Firstly body language such as clenched fists gritted teeth are good simple indications that a fight may ensue. The thing is how do we actually react to the physical attack. A lot of very good fighters use the principle of watching the shoulder line. This being the collar bones line to the points of each shoulder. This is a very affective technique however the limitations are many such as we can only view the movement of one attacker at a time and we are not looking for kicks as much as we are for punches. A more appropriate and longer process to perfect is the technique of overall viewing. This system of visualising or looking at one non-moving point has tremendous benefit. This allows us the ability to see everything else that is moving around us. Multiple attackers, who and how many are actually attacking etc. If you actually see footage of good martial artists in practice they rarely look directly at the opponent. As a matter of interest watch a movie where Bruce Lee may fight multiple attackers, he is looking for movement not just glaring into one opponents eyes to intimidate them.

Traditional stance work

The Kiba Dachi (Horse riding stance) is performed with the legs double shoulder width apart. The feet are almost facing straight forward with the weight evenly distributed through each foot. Much of the movement begins with the ankle changing the distribution of weight as the step is initiated. As with most stances they are to be fluid actions of motion. We don’t stand in one fixed position, as many people seem to think. The traditional stances are in function, to lower the point of gravity while giving free flowing movement. Most of the lower stances will make use of the fumidasu (step forward), ipposagaru (backward step) in circular motions. These circular motions are not just used to create solid stances that may allow for unseen objects on the ground. The real benefit of these steps is that they are used to sweep an opponent’s leg at the same time as moving while we are simultaneously striking, blocking or grabbing the opponent. This is an instance where we use economy of motion and timing to our advantage. Timing is a skill that only comes through practising the technique until we no longer need to think about the technique and just react almost subconsciously to an action or threat put before us. Knowing the physical actions and distance of an attacker in a certain position will help greatly when starting to develop timing skills. (Picture 59)

The Zen kutsu Dachi (Forward leaning stance) is best used when delivering a strike into an opponent. Our power is pushed forward. This stance is generally held with the lead leg bent at ninety degrees with the back leg’s foot flanged out at ninety degrees. The stances are double shoulder width apart for several reasons, the first being the obvious issue of balance. The other important point to mention is the fact we can easily move into another double shoulder width apart stance without having to move our feet. This is a terrific way to build up momentum right from the ball of the foot up and out of the arm while turning the body. (Picture 60)

The Ko kutsu Dachi (Backward leaning stance) lets us retreat from an attack in many cases merely by shifting body weight and is a perfect transition to other attacking stances such as the cats paw stance. The backward leaning stance is performed double shoulder width apart with the lead leg pointing out to the side at ninety degrees and the back leg or as often used as the Jikuashi (pivot leg) from this position to set up a striking posture. (Picture 61)

While the Neko ashi Dachi (Cats paw stance) is used as a defensive guard to let an attacker come in and try to sweep your front leg. Its real purpose is to let an opponent come in while committing to a movement and then you may strike them with a kick, punch or other weapon. Some martial artists will entice there opponent in by looking like they are about to put weight on the lead leg (front leg) and leave themselves seemingly open to attack for there opponent to find out eighty percent of your weight is carried on the back leg. They invariably find themselves with a snap heel kick to the torso or a flicking ball kick to the chin, nose or facial area. Faining a weakness is a good strategy and one of many sucker punch set-ups. (Picture 62)

Gedan Baray (Lower attack stance) Crouching ankle to thigh and the other leg, the lead leg almost straight out with our foot flat on the ground we can quickly spring and change body weight to surprise an attacker. This technique as it is an extremely low stance and thus makes one vulnerable to overhead attack is really designed for surprise attacks or dropping an opponent to the ground by such techniques as leg or ankle twists and a number of groin or lower leg area points. (Picture 63)

The Naguriau Dachi (Fighting stance) is a standard with boxers, kick-boxers and other martial artists alike. It is amazing to me that this stance is not discussed more in classical styles of self defence as it has been used in many martial arts for hundreds of years. We stand with our feet no more than shoulder width apart. Knees slightly bent both for balance and weight distribution. Keeping the knees bent to about ten degrees will also minimise the opponent bending the knee area in a backward manner onto itself. Keep the elbows tucked in to protect the large rib area. Don’t hold the fists in to close or a hard knock may see you hitting yourself with your own fist. Keep the head slightly bent down to minimise the target area. Its important not to lead with the head as many amateurs tend to do this when they try to cover. Receiving an upper cut or chin check style attack could prove vital for your opponent to subdue you. Keep the fists at a level where you can cover the bridge of the nose and you will be able to meet your attackers blows before they ever get to you. (Picture 64)

Try not to leave your arms out to far, for the chances of being grabbed or short blocking punches getting through your defence is much greater. The most vulnerable point besides the legs in this type of stance is the back of your neck near the ear that faces closest to your opponent. It is hard to defend if the opponent lands punches and slips behind you, they can attack you while you are virtually unprotected. So take care not to allow off side attacks unless you are actually trying to slip behind the attacker yourself. This would generally be done once they have committed to striking you. However this is easily defended by stepping inside and grappling your opponent or changing position and seeing other open targets on your attacker. Keeping the weight slightly inward on the feet and gently riding the ball of the foot will allow free and quick movement of weight and stances. This in many cases is the very first stance ninety percent of all fighters adopt when threatened, so it’s important to understand it well.

Kansetsu (Joint locking)

Understanding the human anatomy is of great use to any Martial Artist (MA). It has been studied for centuries by Chinese Martial Artists spreading across to Japan and utilised by Jujitsu exponents and students of Ninjutsu in way of Taijutsu (Body skills), The Ninja’s unarmed combat method.

Why is it so important before performing joint locking techniques you may ask? It firstly let’s one know the limits and boundaries of the human body. The human body has muscles which help hold and move the limbs and parcels of the body by applying a pulley and lever concept with the addition of side muscles that allow stability, thus giving added strength to the motion of ones carriage. This is why many body builders prefer free weights rather than machine weights when working out. As amazing as this human body of ours seems, there are definable limits to the extension and motions available in the most supple human frame and this is what we use to our advantage. It can help overcome bigger and more powerful attackers time after time. We are all simply flesh and blood made up of tendons, veins, muscles etc all of which are subject to attack (Striking points are explained in-depth as part of chapter IV).

In conjunction with getting expert tuition one should practice where the meetable extremes of motion are in relation to different joints in the human body. Not all joints are the same. Some give and allow rotation of the joint cuff where others give definable open and closed locking actions. Open locking motions tend to give us the best leverage of an opponent in relation to single joint locks. To close up an opponent we tend to use several locks in combinations of open and closed. A simple example is having hold of your opponents’ leg. Twist and lock the knee inwardly on a sideways motion, close lock the knee to the lower arch of the back then bend sideways and outwardly on the ankle to subdue your foe. Keep in mind support muscle groups are generally weaker than the major groupings and your opponent will offer less resistance because of this fact.

When applying locks, sometimes moving the body part in the opposite direction then sharply turning it back in the other direction tends to fool our attacker and allows greater manipulation of the attackers joint. This technique is greatly utilised in the process of off-balancing and re-directing the projected energy of an attacker. (Re-direction as discussed in Energy in motion). We can cause the joints of the body great damage when extending them past their normal points of motion and thus causing pain that may cause an attacker to decist in their attack upon you. This is a desirable position for you because it then allows you to continue your plan of defence by either gaining assistance or ensuring the attacker causes you no harm.

It should be noted that the application of throwing and locking joints regularly goes hand in hand. I have divided them into separate groups only so far as to show a clear use of the technique required, when a mixture of the two is required I shall divide them into the area of skill that is to be learned most completely.

Koyubi Kansetsu (Little finger lock)

One of the first ways we start to learn joint locking techniques, is when an attacker goes to grab us. We start with defence rather than attack for several reasons. First of is, defence can be the best attack strategy. The second and most valid in a training situation is that once someone is acting and has a fixed hand etc towards you. Knowing where the opponent’s physical position is becomes much easier to attain; hence applying a lock is a simpler task than attacking them mid flight. (Picture 65)

When an attacker goes to grab you unexpectedly it is a natural reflex to shy away. Let’s say they still catch you with their right hand upon your left chest plate. Take the two fingers from your left hand inserting the index finger and pointer finger to straighten the pinkie finger of the attacker while you gently leaning backwards. Circle step with the left foot leading, this gets you in a better position for leverage. It also gets you out of the way if the attacker was going to trip, kick or attack you. With a sharp semi-circular rotation of your wrist we break the attackers finger. It is important to note that when we say breaking a finger it is not necessarily meant that the bone is broken. Joint locks and throws can cause serious and permanent injuries to soft tissue areas including blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, bones the nervous system and organs. Unless a point is struck with great force we generally see the body damage caused by force that the body has put upon itself by unnatural motions.

Boshi Kansetsu Ichi ban (Thumb lock number one)

When an attacker tries to grab you or attack with an open hand strike, their thumb becomes vulnerable to a single-handed joint lock. Push your thumb in-between the thumb and forefinger of the attacker. Hold the thumb out push the back of the attackers hand toward them whilst applying downward pressure on their wrist. At this point they are open to being attacked or subdued with further joint locks. (Pic

Ninjustu Complete


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