Ninjas, the elite class of warrior of ancient Japan that specialized in assassination, thievery, and infiltration, are constantly surrounded by myths. Myths that numb the reality, making them more and more powerful than what they actually were. After all, ninjas were human – in theory.
So what’s really a ninja?
Ninjas were basically the first spies in Japan. These guys have been trained since childhood in the art(s) of acting, infiltration, explosives, medicine, theft, espionage, geography, meteorology, creation of disguise (yes, try to imagine a Ninja crocheting a sweater), and use of spiritual energy. Not to mention, several styles of hand to hand combat and the use of weapons in order to complete the missions of their shogun, without calling attention to themselves.
When it’s time to infiltrate a castle in the night and kill a target, ninjas never hesitated in wearing their classic dark suit and using everything in their arsenal of techniques and tools.
Ninjas weren’t ever more than mere humans, although popular culture tends to exaggerate in coolest way possible. For instance, in movies ninjas are known for being lightning fast and strong enough to cut a human body in two. They have reflexes so acute that it allows them to see a speeding bullet and block it with their magical abilities. Powers such as the ability to project fire/lightning bolts or perform any kind of trick that defies reality.
And because of this stereotype, ninjas are considered one of the most generic kinds of characters in video games. This means that they appear in several genres such as RPG’s, platformers, Beat Em’ Ups/Hack and Slash, 3rd person games, and of course, fighting games (where they can performs some of the most insane techniques of all).
Also known as the aerial suplex, this is a move in which the ninja grabs the opponent and proceeds to jump several meters in the air in order to drop them head first. This is one of the deadliest moves of the ninja, and if done correctly, you’ll kill your opponent by breaking his head/neck on the ground. If you did this move wrong, then you’ll end with a severe headache.
This move has a lot of names, but it basically consists of moving so fast that you leave a residual image or bait to fool your opponent. Then you can proceed to kill them, when they least suspect it.
The Ninja Punch:
Believe it or not, this is an actual move. Ninjas were trained to punch in sensitive areas, designed to directly injure the organs. If being punched in the stomach is painful, then try to imagine being hit with a punch that was specifically designed to attack your liver. In short, a punch from a ninja hurts… a lot!
And if those techniques don’t impress you, then check out some of the weapons and tools that ninjas tend to use when they fight.
Swords and Knives:
Basically, any small, sharp object is a potential weapon of mass destruction in the hands of a ninja. They usually used a light knife, due to the fact than some missions required more discretion. However, when it’s ‘go time,’ these fellas don’t hesitate in using some of their heavy artillery, like the Katana (1.1-1.3 Kg and 60-73 Cm). The Katana is a sword that can be used in several ways rather than just stabbing and cutting people (for example they work great as limbo sticks). Some ninjas even put red pepper, dust, or broken glass inside the scabbard so when they draw their sword near enemies, they also throw these components into the enemy’s eyes to blind them.
Shurikens and Kunai:
Shurikens (or ninjas stars) is a name given to any small bladed object. However, we usually use this term to reference a circular and flat, metallic object that possesses several blades (sometimes with a hole in the middle). Kunai, on the other hand, resembles the point of a spear, and has a handle with a ring in the pommel. This ring is used to attach ropes and such. Many of the ninja weapons were like this because originally, they were just farmer’s tools. These are mainly used as the projectiles that many video game ninjas have to finish off the enemy, but in reality, these weapons were mostly used in close combat, as a distraction or as a tool. Kunai were also used as a means of climbing walls when a rope is attached.
The classic tool to use for disappearing and re-appearing behind your enemies. Probably not the most dangerous item of the ninja arsenal, but it is by far one of the most useful. When you have to escape from a castle while hundreds of royal guards are chasing you, you’ll definitely want one. As I said before, ninjas were trained in the use of explosives, so they can create most types of home-made bombs without problems. Normally in movies and video games, the smoke bombs are spheres that the ninjas throw in front of them, and upon exploding, they release a big wall of smoke that covers the ninja or anybody who is near of the bomb.
It’s said that ninjas had the ability to walk on water. Some people now believe that they used a device called Mizugumo. Basically, this is a kind of shoe in which each pair consisted of a disc made out of wood. This “shoe” was divided into four sections that are attached with some ropes or metal; in the middle there was a small square where the ninja put his foot. This allowed them to slowly slide across the water. Others believe that ninjas could do this by using his/her Chi energy to generate and manipulate water ripples with his feet, allowing them to walk on it.
The above examples were merely a small summary of what a ninja can do. Ninjas were trained in improvisation and the use of any kind of weapon, they often used tools like chains, scythes, spears, claws, and wires. However, if I covered all these things, this article would be just too damn long.
The only thing you have to know when you fight against a ninja is that they are fast and strong. They can also resist a lot of gun fire, which is why you can’t kill a ninja so easily. Unless in fact you are ninja, because the only way to kill a ninja, is with another.