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A History and Style Guide of Ninjutsu


Characteristics of Ninjutsu

Ninjutsu is very different than most martial arts styles. Whereas most styles stress hand-to-hand combat first and sometimes weapons later, weapons are oftentimes a more major piece of ninjutsu training. In addition, the tactics of stealth and espionage are also at the forefront of training.

Regardless, the well-roundedness of ninjutsu and the true characteristics of it depend on the school. Since the Bunjinkan is the most popular of the organizations/schools, by looking at the 18 disciplines noted earlier in this article, one can get a better sense of the characteristics of ninjutsu.

Ninja Weapons

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of weapons utilized in ninjutsu, nor are these weapons exclusive to ninjutsu. Rather, this is a list of some of the more popular weapons practiced within the art.

Bokken: Wooden sword use in Japanese Martial Arts.

Fukiya: A Japanese blowgun, that was often used to fire poison darts.

Hanbo: Small staff.

Jitte or Jutte: A one-pronged sword-catching instrument.

Kaginawa, or Grappling hook: A climbing tool that can also be used as a hook weapon.

Kakute: Rings with hidden, poison tipped spines.

Kama: Farming blade used as a weapon.

Katana. A long, curved, single edge sword.

Kusarigama: A kama linked to some type of weight, often attached by a rope or chain.

Kyoketsu shoge: A hooked rope-dart with a metal ring on the opposite end.

Manriki, Manriki-gusari and Kusarifundo: Chain weapons.

Nagamaki: A pole arm with an approximately equal length blade and handle.

Naginata: This pole arm was often used by women and samurai.

Ninjato: A short bladed weapon.

Rope: Designed to help ninjas practice their stealth. Pretty self-explanatory.

Sai: A two-pronged sword catching instrument.

Shikoro: A door-opening device that can stab or slash.

Shuriken: A ninja star. Enough said.

Tachi: Slung sword.

Tantō: A dagger.

Tekagi-shuko and Neko-te: Look like hand claws.

Tekko: Similar to brass knuckles.

Throwing spike: These are darts. Like many other ninja weapons, they can be poison tipped.

Yari: A Japanese spear.

Yumi: Bow and arrow.

Wakizashi: Short sword.

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