Ninjutsu is a form of martial arts combining many aspects of the martial arts. Ninjutsu was trained to be stealthy and fast. The style was practised and taught by families and children were trained from an early age. There were few if any, schools for training and families all had their styles and secret moves. Practitioners were proficient at running, swimming, throwing of weapons and walking long distances. They were very secretive and hired themselves out to a lord and therefore must fight other ninjutsu in the employ of other lords.
Training & Missions
Their primary employment was to infiltrate meetings and gatherings to eavesdrop on information that may be of use to the employers. They practised strange forms of running and moving with the accent on stealth and silence. This included walking on all fours for places of low height and placing their feet in their hands and walking on the backs of their hands. Methods of breathing were trained to enhance their focus. These included breathing in once and out twice, which should have enabled them to concentrate on the job in hand.
In training, usually in secluded locations, they would learn the skills of the katana, bows and other weapons used by martial artists. Ninja was trained to walk over 100 miles per day and to speed up; they had a way of walking off-balance which gave them an edge over other walkers as it needed concentration and kept their minds focused on the job at hand. Their wooden shops were padded with a cloth to ensure silence when moving. One of their skills was to scale the walls of buildings and castles. They were also skilled in leaping gaps in buildings or holes in the terrain. The ninja could communicate with secret codes and signals to confuse their subjects. Their homes contained secret passages, hollow walls and hidden trapdoors where they concealed their weapons.
Clothing & Lifestyle
Hollywood has depicted ninja warriors dressed in black, which is incorrect. The norm was blue clothing as used by peasants so that they could blend in when in crowds. When on a mission, they would also wear masks to conceal their faces and avoid identification. When not on a mission, a ninja would lead a normal life usually as farmers. When travelling, they would dress as monks or venders. The ninja’s weight was a maximum of 60 kgs to allow for swift movements on roofs and in performing their duties. They would have the strength to climb up ropes and cling to ledges by their fingers.
Ninja had developed strange foods to sustain themselves on missions. For quenching their thirst, they carried a mix of crushed fruit mixed with a grass fungus and sugar. For meals, they used a combination of carrots, flour, yams and rice flour which was soaked in sake for three years, and when dried out, small nuggets were made which were easy to carry. Other foods, as vegetarians included grains, tubers, mushrooms and eggs. They had to avoid foods that increased flatulence and bad breath to avoid detection.