The origins of Ninjitsu are shrouded in the mists of time. It was greatly influenced by
Chinese spying techniques, many of which are found in Sun-Tse’s classic, The Art of War. The
word Ninjitsu itself originated during a war between Prince Shotoku and Moriya over the land
of Omi in sixth century Japan. During this conflict, a warrior named Otomo-no-Saajin contributed
to the victory of Prince Shotoku by secretly gathering valuable intelligence about the enemy
forces. For this service, he was awarded the title of Shinobi, which means "stealer in."
From this ideogram, the character for the word Ninjitsu is derived.
Originally, the role of the Ninja was to gain information about the enemy and to sabotage
his operations. Agents were classified as: Indigenous, meaning local personnel who gathered
intelligence or worked for the Ninja on site; Sleeper, being one long in place, merely
awaiting instructions; Doubled or Turned, a former agent of the enemy who spied for both
sides; and Expendable agents who were used for only one mission and then left to fend for
themselves. Such agents include both men and women, the female Ninja were called Kunoichi
and carried out missions of assassination and sabotage, as well as espionage.
Ninjitsu is not a magical technique which will enable you to disassemble your body and
reassemble yourself somewhere else. It will not change the structure of your body, making it
transparent. This Art of Invisibility consists of the skills employed to make yourself un-seeable;
in this context, the art becomes almost a philosophy.
The ancient masters have said, "A tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it, makes
no sound; but, it falls nonetheless." So it is with Ninjitsu. A Ninja attacking a blind man is invisible,
but he is attacking nonetheless.
To Be A Ninja
To be a Ninja, indeed to even contemplate the Silent Way, one must be a hunter. This
means that he knows the ways of his prey. He studies their habits, patterns of movement, and
routines. In this way, he can strike when they are most vulnerable, or trap them in their own
To be a Ninja, an invisible assassin, one must be a warrior. This means that he accepts
responsibility for his actions. Strategy is the craft of the warrior.
To be a Ninja, one must be a wizard. This means that he can "stop the world" and "see
with the eyes of God." This is the essence of Mugei-Mumei No-Jitsu, which is translated to
mean, "no name-no art." Secrecy is the hallmark of being a spy.
To be a Ninja, one must be strong, one must know, one must dare, and one must be silent.