Experts in disguise, infiltration, espionage, and counterintelligence, the ninja had spiritual values and magical traditions that distinguished them from the soldierlike samurai. Their art of ninjutsu, invisible as well as indispensable, was transmitted in secret schools and relied on only a few books, which were written in code.
The Shoninki , one of the most important of these coded manuals, was written in 1681 by Master Ninja Natori Masazumi. Presenting all facets of the art of concealment, espionage, and physical prowess, including methods of disguise and survival techniques, this source text also contains teachings on spiritual meditations, psychic powers, the art of face reading, controlling the emotions, and magic spells. Revealing the connection between the ninja and the yamabushi--warrior monks who were endowed with supernatural powers--this classic text confirms the path of the ninja as an authentic spiritual discipline, one of self-realization and detachment and the way to mind-body harmony.
True Path of the Ninja is the first authoritative translation in English of the Shoninki —the famous 17th century ninja training manual. Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami worked closely with Dr. Nakashima Atsumi, author of the most comprehensive modern Japanese version of the Shoninki , thus making this English translation the closest to the original scrolls. The information and insights found in this translation are invaluable for understanding the skills, techniques and mentality of the historical ninja. Whether it involved tips for surviving in the wild, advice on intelligence-gathering techniques, or methods for creating chaos in the enemy camp, the True Path of the Ninja unveils secrets long lost.
Also included is the first written record of the oral tradition "Defense Against a Ninja" taught by Otake Risuke, the revered sensei of the legendary Katori Shinto Ryu school of swordsmanship. It reveals for the first time the traditional teachings on how the samurai can protect himself from the cunning wiles of a ninja.
In feudal Japan, ninja warriors were credited with supernatural powers of invisibility and ways of learning any secret. They also were feared for their skill in espionage and assassination. Behind these legends is the reality of an ancient, sophisticated, highly systematic martial art: ninjutsu. Perhaps the least understood martial art of Japan, ninjutsu emphasizes naturalness of movement, responsiveness to one's adversary, and total practicality. Women as well as men were trained in this obscure deadly art. As its form crystallized, practitioners established an organized system for maintaining absolute secrecy. Now, all aspects of ninjutsu are revealed in this remarkable book written by the first American trained as a ninja.
A Ninja was someone whose very existence expressed the spirit of Budo. He would protect himself with techniques not of assassination but rather of sensation and an acute awareness of his natural surroundings. He would avoid unnecessary conflict, and even if armed with a blade, would find a way to win without staining it. These are the true techniques of Ninjutsu, and the art in which Ninja persistently trained.
Ninja exercised endurance throughout their secretive lives in order to protect their families, their clans, and their country. Their harsh training endowed them with a tough but pliant spirit, and martial skills suitable for coping with any situation, together with a sense of awareness that had universal application.
Often translated as "the art of remaining unseen," Ninjutsu has a long history, and is probably the most renowned and misunderstood of all martial arts. Still an active school, Ninjutsu continues to thrive today, and the idea of the ninja as a black-clad "super spy," combat master and secrecy expert continues to hold power over the imagination
Despite its popularity, the history of Ninjutsu is still murky, its origins surrounded by mystery and legend. But for the first time, The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan furnishes an in-depth, factual look at the entire art of Ninjutsu, including the emergence of the Ninja warriors and philosophy in feudal Japan; detailed historical events; its context in the development of other schools of martial arts; and the philosophies and exercises of the school today.