Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk


Friday, November 30, 2012

Secrets of Ninja (28)


The Ninja, being eminently practical is utilizing natural objects in their penetration of
the perimeter, were also known for their vast array of tools and their predilection for turning ordinary
objects into devices for infiltration.
The Ninja who is a skillful intelligence gatherer will know whether any special apparatus
is necessary for the mission. Remember that any device may become an encumbrance and
every device has more than one function.
Since the Ninja considered the utilitarian purpose of a device to be its most important value, it is little wonder that they devised new uses and variations for the traditional weapon of the warrior-the sword. One variation was the Ninja’s emphasis on the straight thrust
in combat, as opposed to the cut which was more classical. More on
the sword later.

Bear in mind that the Ninja-To, the Sword of Darkness, is considerably shorter than the traditional samurai blade. This contributed to specialization; close-combat swordplay as well as the techniques of Iajjitsu, or fast drawing methods, were thus emphasized.

The Ninja also considered the uses of the tsubo (fingerguard) and the scabbard. Even the parts of the blade were named and correlated to various functions. For example, the spine of the blade represented tile concept of the shield, being the section which deflected or stopped tile enemy attack; the flat of the blade was considered armor, and was the basis for the use of metal bars sewn into the sleeves of the Ninja costume for blocking, as well as the light chain mail which was occasionally worn; the edge of the blade, naturally, headed the category of shaken, weapons which are
thrown or launched at the enemy (shurikens, arrows, etc.).
The tsubo, or fingerguard, of the Ninja-To was often larger than that of the samurai sword.
Most often it was also square, as opposed to the traditional circular design. By virtue of these
modifications, its value as a tool was enhanced.
Fig. 39-Best known of the uses was the practice of propping the
sword against a wall and using the tsubo as a short step. The sword
would then be drawn up by means of a cord attached to the scabbard.
This method is seldom effective on walls over ten feet in
height, but is quite useful for reaching the eaves of a house and
gaining the roof.
Fig. 40-A second purpose to which the tsubo could be put, in addition
to a foothold, is that of a handhold. By hooking the tsubo
over the lip of a low wall, “extending the grip,” sufficient purchase
can be gained to pun oneself to the summit. Further, and this is by
far the most suitable use, one can hang by this method when descending.
Thus one can get closer to the ground and make less
noise when dropping down.

~Ashida Kim