We all know Ninja & Ninjutsu from movies, but how did the martial art originate? And how could it rise to its current popularity? In this article we would like to show an insight from the first steps to today’s state.


800 years ago – Yamabushi monks

The art of Ninjutsu looks back on a history of about 800 years. Since the martial art originated in Japan, its roots are closely linked to the history of the country, the people and the wars that prevailed there. In the twelfth century, monks – the so-called Yamabushi – lived in the mountains and forests, always in search of spiritual enlightenment.

They lived by the philosophy of finding a way of life to live in harmony with nature. In this context, they explored the limits of their own physical and mental capabilities. The spiritual leaders in Japan at that time did not tolerate this development, which is why they sent troops to the remote regions to put a stop to what was happening there. The Yamabushi then developed a way of fighting to protect themselves and emerge unscathed from a combat situation. Often the monks had to deal with a superior number of heavily armed soldiers.

Further Development & Blending

Over the years, more and more masterless warriors and refugees from Korea and China came to these areas and hid there from their persecutors. In this way, the warrior, spiritual and cultural knowledge mixed and formed a whole new way of survival. The constant pressure of the prince’s troops ensured that the method of self-defense was further refined, so that finally an uncompromising way of fighting emerged: ninjutsu.

Training & Ninjutsu Schools

Living together in the mountains led to the development of fixed living conditions over the decades. Some families splintered off and settled in other regions of the country. As a result, ninjutsu was able to develop freely and with enormous diversity in the increasingly large clans. Thus, over the centuries, several schools formed, some of which were very different.

However, of the numerous schools that existed in Japan at that time, only a few have survived to this day. At that time there were also people who abused and sold Ninjutsu as a martial art. The negative image sticks to the Japanese martial art until today and can be found in numerous (bad) movies.

Today’s spread

The art remained closed to the rest of the world until about the middle of the 20th century. Only the 33rd Grandmaster Toshitsugu Takamatsu and especially today’s 34th Grandmaster Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi brought the decisive turn about Ninjutsu. It is only thanks to them that meanwhile people all over the world have the chance to train Ninjutsu and thus form a unique community.

Through the seminars in different countries and through modern communication possibilities, ninjutsu contributed to the growth of many friendships all over the world.