Does the word ninjutsu sound strange to you? Then, “ninja” may ring a bell! Ninjutsu is the ninja's martial art since the middle Ages, in Japan. Far from being a myth or just a good idea for movies with masked fighters dressed in black and hopping all around, this discipline is eminently linked to Japanese culture and history.
Two trends of ninjutsu are often quoted as being the most famous ones: Koga and Iga. Whereas there has actually been 73 ninjutsu schools, those two became way more popular. The first was said to be dedicated to protecting the Emperor and that it had been created on his decision, and the latter dealt with intelligence and intervention missions.
Lately, it has come out of the shadows in France. And this year, the club Le Temple du Ninja (ninja's temple) is back at Japan Expo to promote the discipline and introduce you to the mysteries of the ninja's way. The Fédération française de ninjutsu (ninjutsu French federation) was only founded in 1983 by Philippe BARTHELEMY. Before that, ninjutsu did not really exist in Europe and no club had been created to spread the discipline. Thus, this federation is an European pioneer, and it aims at promoting this ancestral martial art in France.
The ninja discipline
Historically speaking, a ninja was a spy working for the Japanese government. During the Edo period, he became some kind of policeman. But more than mere spies, more than a warrior or a policeman, the ninja was a real weapon. Consequently, he could officially use effectively his training whichever way he wanted to, and also use all the means necessary to accomplish his mission. And this includes, of course, those considered as unfair and treacherous by any other fighter.
On the training side of this art - and according to the experts teaching ninjutsu in Japan - the fighting techniques were grouped in 36 schools. Each ninja was specialized in one discipline in which he excelled: climbing, swimming, document searching… Some of them turned to more scientific techniques, which allowed them to make ingenious gadgets they could use during missions. Over the years, the famous smoke balls or miniature crossbows and other discreet weapons were added to the range of ninja. As for the specialization, it determined the choice of one ninja or another for a particular action, contract, and mission.
Master Philippe BARTHELEMY, pioneer in ninjutsu in Europe and in yagyu-shingan (school founded in 1602 that regrouped all ninjutsu clans) in Occident will be at Japan Expo.
Come attend striking demonstrations and try the ninja's arts on the Budô area: the tatami are there for you!