[ ~ First of all: pre-sorries if I butcher the Japanese language here :p ~ ]
Ahh! Our girl, Yei, pictured on the right-- cute, isn't she? Hehe, anyway, she's the daughter of a depressed Korean businesswoman and a troubled Japanese police detective so when she was just a baby neither of them took the time to look after her, or even bond with her (like all parents should-- and like normal parents would). Their reasons for neglecting baby Yei was that their 'demanding careers got in the way', but we know, that they know, that we know, that child neglect is inexcusable and they should have known better. They obviously didn't, though, so baby Yei had to live with her obaasan (grandmother) instead. That was probably for the better considering her parents kinda sucked. Fortunately she and her obaasan got along fine. For baby Yei, her obaasan was the only parent, sister and friend she had, while for her obaasan, baby Yei was like an elixir of rejuvenation. They would often play on the playground at the park that was just a few blocks away from their home and roll around in the grass or go for long strolls in the city for no real reason but for the heck of it. Sometimes they'd just stay at home and bake cookies while making little hand crafts to play with during rainy days. Baby Yei's favorite time with her obaasan was during the night, though, because at bedtime her obaasan would tell tales about the mysterious ninjas of feudal Japan and their awesome adventures. Baby Yei used to looooove those stories and her obaasan liked telling them, too. They enjoyed each other's company very much.
Alas, the wonderful times they shared together didn't last too long since her obaasan died when she was just 4 years old. Pretty tragic.. but to make matters worse for poor baby yei, her still 'ever-so-busy' parents continued to use their careers as excuses to neglect her and so they decided to enroll her into the Kashima Art Institute then. Well, I guess it wasn't that bad. The Kashima Art Institute IS a great school, after all, and baby Yei's mom and dad DID make sure to visit her whenever they could, which was somewhat decent of them to do, I think. I mean, up until now she's never had any mental breakdowns or anything like that, and if she does suffer emotionally from the neglect at all, then she's mastered the art of acting like she's fine --but let's not get off topic, now.
.. and so, with the magic of story telling, we find that our 'baby' Yei grew some. Indeed, so we'll just call her 'little Yei' from here on out. Okay, so little Yei was accepted into the institution's academy of traditional martial arts (or 'the shrine academy' for short) at the age of 9. She entered the great Kashima dojo, thinking back to all the ninja bedtime stories told to her during her early childhood as she stepped forward with eager intent to begin learning from the dojo's league of masters, all the while vowing silently to her late obaasan that she would-- Oh crap! Wait! Let me go over who the 'league of masters' are really quick. The league of masters are direct descendants of many of the Kashima Grand Shrine's long lineage of 'shrine protectors'. In the old days these guys (and gals) would defend the shrine and the mythical 'Bokuden blade' from outsiders who sought to either desecrate the sacred site or steal the demonic sword. Centuries have passed since those days, though, so now the masters' significance has been reduced to defending the holy shrine from students who seek vandalize it.. ahaha, jokes aside, they're still 'masters' so they're no... well, 'joke'.
Alright back to the story, folks. Yei arrived at the dojo filled with kiddish excitement, wanting very much to be placed into the academy's kagedeshi program (which is essentially like a modern version of a ninja sect), proceeding into its grand halls while reciting a silent vow to her dearly departed obaasan that she would embark on her own set of illustrious adventures once she was initiated; and sure enough; three months into her membership with the shrine academy she was able to achieve her goal.
Hard work and immeasurable efforts made towards enduring the dojo's rigorous training had cultivated little Yei's seemingly natural gift for martial arts, and her diligence managed to earn herself a special invitation into the school's kagedeshi society from the academy's very own honorary Iga Doshu.
So after being admitted into the kagedeshi society, she was given the title ranking of 'delta kageshojo', or 'novice youngling of the sisterhood of shadows'. Wow, what a long winded translation. Anyhow, the term 'shojo', when applied to girls of the academy's sisterhood of shadows, was used to distinguish the lower ranking 'little sister' apprentices from their 'elder sister' seniors, the kageshi/kageane-- and speaking of which..
Little Yei was placed under the tutelage of alpha kageane Vanessa Arredondo, a foreign exchange student who held an impressive track record within the shrine academy's kagedeshi society. Now before I get off topic again, let me just remind myself that this IS still little Yei's story we're talking about so I'll just say that with Vanessa's arrival into her life, little Yei finally had someone else besides her obaasan to look up to and the term 'kageshimai' had a deeper meaning to Yei every time she used it in reference to her senior.
With the magic of story telling we once again move forward a couple years to when 'little Yei' became 'teenie Yei', and it is at this time that we see that her progression through the kagedeshi rankings was actually pretty slow. I mean, she was a promising kageshojo and all, outstanding even, but she didn't do anything to make herself actually 'stand out' among her peers. Instead she carefully bided her time as an apprentice under Vanessa, meticulously studying the prestigious alpha kageane's conduct, taking note of all her strengths and weaknesses so as to learn from both her successes and failures. Teenie Yei was smart like that. She never allowed herself to fall for the rush of competing to obtain high status within the sisterhood of shadows. So while her fellow kageshojo raced to the metaphorical finish line, teenie Yei kept a slow and steady pace, confident in her ability to shoot past them when their inexperience and lack of incite would serve as obstacles and barriers to their advancement.
Okay, 'storytelling magic', I choose you! That's right, folks. Once again, we skip details and find ourselves at another period in our protagonist's life. Here she's already an adult.. awww, our little Yei, all grow'd up, hihi. I think we can just call her 'Yei' now, but um, she's done pretty well for herself. After all these years she's become quite an accomplished student. She earns A's and B's in her academic courses, is a member of the school's leadership committee with top positions in at least two of its divisions, AND she's even become a high ranking member of both the shrine academy and the Kagedeshi society. That sure does go to show what patience and perseverance can do for ya, huh? MmmHmm. Nowadays they call her the 'kagehime shihanke', or the 'heir' of the 'shadow princess' name. Basically, Kagehime was a legendary kunoichi who originally served Kotaro Fuma sometime back in the mid 1600's but she abandoned the clan after learning of the latter's insidious plot to steal the demonic Bokuden Blade from the Kashima Shrine and use it to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate. Oh boy I'm starting to ramble about things irrelevant to Yei again, aren't I? Anyway, stay tuned, cause I'll be keeping you updated on all of Yei's epic adventures!
Conservative, usually not the one who initiates a fight but when in one she tends to let the opponent strike first then moves to counter or evades in order to create a distance between herself and the enemy where she may use projectiles or long-range offensive ki. When on the attack Yei can be especially aggressive, however, yet still very light on her feet. She may blend supīdo into her strikes to make them quicker with more momentum behind them, or she may utilize kuutaiku for the element of surprise. The section below is a more comprehensive study of her combat skills and styles, none of which are to be taken as absolute examples as they are more for reference. (source-1 source-2)
The ninja were very competent hand-to-hand fighters. They were trained from birth to fight with their hands and feet. They knew where and how to hit to paralyse or even kill when needed.
One reason that their style of fighting (Tai-jutsu) was so effective, was that they not only studied punching and kicking, but they studied the human body as well. Learning all about the weaknesses and strengths. For example, punching a man in the face can be painful, but it might just piss him off, whereas a punch to the throat will be much more devastating.
Grappling was a strong part of the ninjas fighting technique. Along with bone-crunching kicks and punches, the ninja were equally as strong fighting from the ground. When on the ground grappling, it is not likely that a punch or kick could be used effectively, so techniques such as arm bars and joint locks were used. The grappling was very similar to todays judo or jui-jitsu.
A ninja studies the art of Taijutsu or "body movement". Taijutsu doesn't teach rigid and fixed methods like almost every other martial art does. Instead, it stresses fluidity, natural movement and spontaneity. Also, the ninja learned to exploit the joints and pressure points of an enemy. When a punch or kick was thrown, a ninja wouldn't simply block the attack, he would strike a pressure point or nerve center to cause the limb to lose its function. Not only did the ninja learn to disable a person, he also learned to quickly and effectively kill. It is true that a ninja could kill with one blow by exploiting the weaknesses of the body. Another important aspect of Taijutsu was learning to reverse any situation or attack. They were trained from childhood to be extremely flexible and could therefore escape any hold or lock they might be put in. They even played games as children where they were tied up and the object of the game was to get yourself untied as quickly as possible; within a few years, a ninja learned to get out of any type of binding.
The shikan-ken is the fundamental fist of the Togakure-ryu. It is used against hard, broad surfaces of bone structure. The fist is formed with the fingers half-folded, leaving the middle knuckles protruding. The striking points are the knuckles, which may be applied to the facial bones, breast-bone, and sides of the middle ribs.
The punch goes straight in, bullet-like, with all the force behind the striking points. The elbow should not rise along the outside of the fist's path, or the punch will bend and hook. The elbow is kept close to the ribs, forcing the punch straight into the target. The teacher warned that the fist is not flipped into place and withdrawn, but used to knock the adversary back. The thrust of the punch continues through the impact with the target.
Fudo-ken (Clenched Fist)
This is the conventional clenched fist, which can be used to strike from many different angles. It is used against a variety of targets, but is especially effective against areas of the body in which the edges of the bone structure are accessible. This fist is formed by curling the fingers into the palm and clamping the thumb beside the index finger. The front slab of the fist, the outside knuckles, or the inside knuckles can be used to strike targets such as the nose, jaw, lower edges of the ribs, arms, and legs.
Boshi-ken (Thumb-Drive Fist)
The boshi-ken is unique to the ninja's system of combat. This fist's single striking point is used against semisoft targets, generally muscles covering bone structure. It is especially well suited for attacking nerve centers with precision. The fist is formed with the thumb protruding, and the hand in a position resembling that used to grip a golf club. The thumb is positioned for a driving jab, reinforced by the curled index finger. This single striking point is used to attack targets such as the side of the neck, the sides of the upper ribs, the solar plexus, and the lower abdomen to the inside of the hip bones. As with most of the punches in ninjutsu, it is essential to follow powerfully through the target, and not merely poke and retreat.
Shuto (Sword Hand)
The sword hand is not really a fist, but it is an important striking weapon. The lower outside edge of the palm is used against the structures of the limbs and neck, as well as for striking into the joints. In the shuto, the planes of the palm and fingers form an angle of 45 degrees, and the thumb is clamped along he base of the index finger.
When beginning the sword-hand strike, maintain the hand in a conventional fist to disguise your intention. The hand swings around into the target, drawing power from the weight and motion of the arm and body. At the instant before contact, the hand is opened to shuto position and smashed through the target at a 90-degree angle to its surface. The hand is not flicked into place and quickly withdrawn. The strike is intended to stun or to break through the bone structure attacked.
Ninjutsu is best described as the collection of skills utilized by the Ninja while Ninpo, often referred to as "the higher order of Ninjutsu, " implies a philosophy for living based on the principles of Nin.
Nin translates into patience, but can also imply perseverance, or stealth. The Japanese character for Nin consists of two parts or radicals. The upper radical is called yaiba which refers to the cutting edge of a blade. The lower radical can be read either as kokoro or shin, both of which mean heart.
The character po, which implies natural law, is used rather than do (i.e.. judo, kendo, aikido,etc). Referring to our art as Ninpo rather than Ninjutsu stresses training which is concerned with the internal development of the individual's character along with the technical skills of martial training. It isn't enough just to know techniques, it is where your heart and spirit are as a person that is important. For this reason, Ninpo stresses philosophic and spiritual training in conjunction with the physical training. This refinement of one's spirit is known in Japanese as seishinteki kyoyo.
Ninpo is concerned with the defense of the whole self, and recognizes that defense against a life-threat is dealt with by the spirit as much as with physical technique.
In Kuji-in the thumb represents the source of power (Ku), and the fingers represent the four elemental manifestations. They are Chi (earth - solids), Sui (water - liquids), Ka (fire - combustion) and Fu (wind - gases).
The ninja were very knowledgeable about poisons. Poisoning a victim was as effective as stabbing them, but with very little mess or chance of failure. Once the poison was ingested by the victim it was already to late. The poisons were mostly organic based, but some were taken from animals.
One method was to take the fungi poison out of the blowfish or puffer fish. This poison is very strong and can kill in small doses. Another animal based poison was the bufo marinus. The bufo marinus is a large toad with an extremely toxic poison behind its eyes. This poison was often used on darts, arrows and spear tips.
Spiders and scorpions were also used. Not always just the poison extracted from them, but sometimes it was just as easy to slip a couple of scorpions in the bed of the victim.
One of the organic poisons used was made from common fruit. Cyanide was extracted from a variety of sources, such as apple seeds, plum seeds, cherries seeds and many more. It was readily available to the ninja and was used often.
Tomato and rhubarb leaves also held a poison. Eating the leaves cause cardiac problems, ultimately resulting in cardiac arrest.
The amanita phalloides is a deadly mushroom. The poison in the mushroom was 10 times more powerful than that of cyanide. Eating the mushroom was certain death, and it was easy to slip a piece of the mushroom in almost any meal.
The poison could be used in various ways, depending on the situation. For example, if the ninja could slip it into the victims food while its being prepared. Without knowing what kind of danger he was in, the victim would eat the food infested with the poison. Not all the poisons used by the ninja were fatal, some of them were used to merely paralyze or cause blindness. It was not always necessary to kill.
Another thing the ninja did was dip their weapons, such as the shuriken or their sword, in the poison. This was so when it punctured the skin of their target, the fast acting poison would take its course, causing much more devastating than the blade itself.
Escaping from bonds. The process is easily visible to a guard or other person present, and can be interfered with. Due to childhood training, a ninja may use this skill to squeeze through openings which would normally be too small for a person of the ninja's size. The suppleness necessary for this special skill can only be achieved through childhood training. Ninjutsu - the art of ninja, ninpo, and nin
ways to see in the dark
Horsemanship (fighting from horse back)
earth escape art, like hiding underground or using the ground as an escape route
the art of disguise kind of like acting but making it real not just acting
this is not the grappling art.... ten syllable power methods. "skills said to enable a ninja to accomplish what conventional warriors could only back away from,"Stephen Hayes
ninja's style of grappling
staff and cane fighting
the art of harmonizing with the universal force
shout of intention as a weapon
explosives and fire arms
bone breaking or damaging
nerve or soft tissue striking
making the impossible possible and making the possible impossible
joint working & joint locks
wood escape art, like hiding in the trees or in a log on the ground or using the trees as an escape route
linking (not sure I think linking one empty hand technique and/or weapons technique to another)
pinning methods of pinning your opponent to the ground with nobody hurt
flag discarding......this is when an army copies the flags of the enemy and the enemy thinks it allies
Shoten no jutsu
vertical surface running
water escape art, like hiding under water, or using water as an escape route
the art of throwing objects
hypnotism and mind control
rolling traveling method
the art of being invisible
reversing your opponents attack