Ninjutsu Exercises

Ninjutsu sensitivity training involves learning how to move through wild terrain undetected.

Ninjutsu sensitivity training involves learning how to move through wild terrain undetected.

Originating in Japan about 900 years ago, ninjutsu utilizes a system of physical techniques similar to other martial arts. If you aim to perform ninjutsu exercises correctly, you should seek a qualified instructor who can guide you on correct form and the progressive training regimen. To practice ninjutsu is to pursue a way of life, which revolves around the philosophy of nenpo, or the principle of patience.


Ninjutsu movement pivots on the ability to move with speed and stealth. This system of movement, or taijutsu, relies on the spine for power. The training regimen includes body conditioning, or jun un do, and specific exercises, or junan taiso, to improve the range of motion in your joints. Because a ninjutsu practitioner rarely attacks an opponent head-on, her ability to stay low to the ground and conduct evasive maneuvers depends on flexibility. The focus in taijutsu is typically on unarmed fighting, such as punching, grappling, rolling and kicking. An example of a punching exercise begins with standing in a natural position. Step forward with your right leg and simultaneously punch with your right fist shooting straight out from your hip. Keep your hips open to maintain balance. Compared to a straight-on jab or side hook, this punch comes from below the waist and catches your opponent from a blind angle.

Ninjutsu Kicks

Ancient Japanese martial arts emphasized joint locking and throwing rather than striking, according to Sebastian Philllips’ article, “Kicking Techniques of Ninja Warriors,” published in Black Belt. Ninjutsu’s fighting techniques were devised by warriors in heavy armor. If you punch someone wearing a metal helmet, you’ll just bruise your own knuckles. The majority of kicks in modern ninjutsu training come from shinden fudo ryu, or one of the nine schools that make up the bujinkan, a martial arts organization, in Japan. Compared to high roundhouse and front kicks seen in Kung Fu, ninjutsu kicks are characterized by low sweeping angles. The stand-out kick in ninjutsu is the zenpo-geri, or the stomping heel kick. In this move, a partner stands before the fighter with his arms crossed in front of his chest to shield his ribs. The fighter delivers the kick as a stomp to his partner's chest and sends him across the dojo. This should only be attempted under the guidance of an expert.

Spiritual or Sensitivity Exercises

Ninjutsu training involves exercises in concealment, stalking and silent movement. You work with light and shadow patterns to navigate charts and terrain. You also learn how to sense the presence of others in darkness. In particular, night training engages students in the metaphysical journey of the ninjutsu regimen. For example, one night exercise would have you standing with your eyes shut and listening to various sounds in your environment. Another ninjutsu student will brush your shoulder or attempt to distract you with noises. A group exercise involves two teams trying to move undetected through a dark forest. When one team detects the other, the exercise ends. Both teams must figure out what triggered exposure.

Ninja Festivals

The Shadows of Iga ninjutsu festival was held in the 1980s and introduces about 150 people from all walks of life to ninjutsu techniques. Courses included training in taijutsu, pistol tactics, improvised explosives, stick fighting, fast-draw sword technique, archery and assault rifle training. You could learn how to fight in water as well as how to rappel down the side of a cliff. Instruction was also provided on hand-held weapons, with special emphasis on a three-foot stick, a single-edged blade, a knife and a short chain.

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  • Black Belt; Kicking Techniques of the Ninja Warriors; Aug. 1997
  • Black Bel; Ninja in the Modern World; Feb. 1983
  • Black Belt: Can You Protect Your Family? The Ninjutsu Method of Defending a Third Party; Feb. 1997
  • Black Belt; The Women of Ninjutsu; July 1984
  • Black Belt; Three Fallacies of Ninjutsu, The Truth About the Ninja’s Past; April 1995
  • Black Belt; Taijutsu: Unarmed Combat of the Ninja; Nov. 1984

About the Author

Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.

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