Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Flip Out Like a Ninja

I wasn't thinking about ninjas until just now, but whatever.

I shall now rant about the ninja arts!

A ninja is sly
And one with the night
Silent and unseen

Ha, I wrote a haiku about ninjas! (it only took a second or two, really)

There are twenty ninjas hiding in this post. You can't see them, but they're watching... BWAHAHA!!!

A lot of people write about ninjas, and about their counterparts, the samurai!
Ninjas are way cooler, though! :)

But, seriously, ninja arts? Way useful! There are a lot of deviations from ninjutsu in the modern world, too, such as:

Jujutsu -- Literally meaning the "art of softness" or the "way of yielding" is a collective name for Japanese martial art styles consisting of grappling and striking techniques, it originated in Japan, and it actually was primarily used by samurai. (but ninjas are awesome enough to steal it!)

Tai Chi -- Tai chi is typically practiced for a variety of reasons: its soft martial techniques, demonstration competitions, health and longevity. I believe that a ninja would practice it mostly for stamina-building and correct breathing. As an old master once said; if you breathe correctly, you will move correctly.

Karate -- is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands from indigenous fighting methods and Chinese kenpō. It is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands and ridge-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.

Judo -- meaning "gentle way", is a deviation of jujutsu. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking the elbow or by applying a choke. Strikes and thrusts are applied mostly in prearranged forms called katas, and are not allowed in official judo competitions.

Tae Kwon Do -- is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. It is the world's most popular martial art in terms of number of practitioners. Kyeorugi, or sparring, is an official Olympic sporting event. In Korean, tae means "foot"; kwon means "fist"; and do means "way"; so taekwondo is loosely translated as "the way of the foot and fist" but can be best translated as, "the art of kicking and punching."

Shooto -- Shooto is less of a martial arts and more of a shootwrestling thing. Legal techniques include general grappling, choke holds, joint locks, kicks, knee strikes, punches, take downs and throws. Illegal techniques include biting, elbow strikes, eye-gouging, forearm strikes, hair pulling, headbutting, pressure point techniques, kicking or kneeing the head of a downed opponent, small joint manipulation and strikes to the groin, spine or throat.

Kendo -- Kendo, or "way of the sword", is the Japanese martial art of sword-fighting. Kendo is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese swordsmanship, kenjutsu. It is a physically and mentally challenging activity that combines strong martial arts values with sporting-like physical elements.

A modern day ninja would combine all of (or at least most of) these techniques to form a full arsenal of combat.

Tradition ninja weapons are (but not limited to):

Shuriken -- a throwing star, often coated with poison, most often used for distraction.

Katana -- a Japanese sword with a curved blade. Must be 60 cm or longer to actually be classified as a katana.

Wakizashi -- a Japanese short sword that ranges in length from 12 to 24 inches. It literally translates to "side arm."

Kunai -- Once more commonly used as a farming tool, it was a multi-functional weapon. Its more common uses were as grappling hooks or for stabbing in hand-to-hand combat.

Chigiriki -- It consisted of a staff with a weighted chain on the end. The stick was usually as long as the wielder's forearm, while the length of the chain was not set.

Bo staff -- A bo staff is a long pole, usually made of tapered hard wood, for example white oak, bamboo and in some cases for training purposes, rotan. Sometimes it is made of metal or plated with metal for extra strength. It was usually about 3 cm wide and six feet long. It has its own style of being used, called bojutsu.

Sai -- Sai were short unsharpened daggers, usually symmetrical in design.

Kama -- Kama were most commonly used in Feudal Japan when weapons among peasants were outlawed. They were actually small hand scythes that could disguise a small dagger in the handle.

Tekko -- The English equivalent is brass knuckles. The literal translation is "knuckleduster."

Surujin -- It comprises a 2-3 meter long rope with a weight tied to each end. Historically this weapon is very prevalent and can be found attached to a weapon or used separately. It was specifically designed for warfare.

Tonfa -- Also known as tong fa or tuifa, the tonfa is a traditional Okinawan weapon from which the modern side-handled police baton is derived.

Tambo -- It is a light, evenly balanced stick measuring two to three feet and made of bamboo or wood. A martial artist cuts a tambo to fit his or her size. The length is determined by measuring from the hip socket to the top of the ankle. This length ensures that the tambo can be swung freely without hitting the floor.

Ninjas were usually divided into either dojos, where many ninjas studied martial arts together, or clans, where families of ninjas studied a secret type of martial arts known only to that family.

Ninjas, or shinobi, were primarily hired as assassins, sabotage, scouting, theives, or spies, due to their ability to get in and get out without being caught, but they had their own codes of honor that they typically followed without hesitation or exception. Of course, there were some bad eggs, but... All in all, ninjas were very strict about their code of honor.

Lately, I aspire to become a ninja. In fact, I've picked up karate in order to more effectively do so! What thinkest thou? Are ninjas awesome or what?

Now that I've given you some of the history of ninjas, I hope we have some new fans of the ninjas hanging around!

This post dedicated to
ninjas around the world!
And to my baby brother,
For his many protests to the contrary
and, begrudgingly, to my mom
who constantly forces me off the computer
And to the creators of the Batman and Robin!
For the pure awesomeness that is them!
And to you
my dedicated followers
for sticking with me and my craziness!
--the Lioness

1 comment:

lotusloq said...

Wow! That was very informative. I am now a ninja fan. Watch me strike a pose! Waaah! Hihyaah!