hatsumi

Masaaki Hatsumi, one of Japan’s few remaining ninja practitioners, describes the ninja of old as the perfect all-around athletes of their day. Learn about the intense regimen that produced such well-rounded warriors.

It's a testimonial to the ninja that Japan's 1964 Olympic team seriously considered using a number of ninjutsu training methods. Masaaki Hatsumi, one of Japan's few remaining ninja practitioners, describes the ninja of old as the perfect all-around athletes of their day — expert in running, jumping, swimming, climbing walls, long-distance hiking, throwing, etc. Of course, the ninja excelled in all the martial arts of their day, such as kendo, kyudo and naginata-do. They were also skilled in hand-to-hand combat, using wrestling and boxing techniques that were the forerunners of judo and karate. If a child were born into a ninja family, his ninjutsu training would begin during childhood. The art was handed down from father to son as a trade, and a number of great ninja clans arose. The secrets of those clans were closely guarded. The members of one clan would often be in hire of one lord and thus pitted against warriors in the employ of another lord. At such times, it always paid off to have a few secrets in one's bag of tricks that were not generally known to others.

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