Ever since the concept of the ninja made its way out of Japan, it has thoroughly captured the imagination of Western audiences.
Anime shows like Naruto have certainly portrayed ninjas as ridiculously overpowered warriors who are so far above the norm that only other ninjas have a chance of facing them.
But the allure of ninjas goes back even further back as there have even been black and white TV shows portraying the intense battles of “white” (i.e., good) vs. “black” (i.e., bad) ninjas in a theme that has managed to mix Western concepts of good and bad with traditional Japanese folklore regarding these shadowy warriors.
Check out his ninja skills below.
Video credit: Rumble
The reality is much more subdued because ninjas were simply spies and saboteurs who were disdained by the samurai of the era because their tricky tactics seemed to fly in the face of “honorable” warfare. The real ninjas were more likely to wear farmer’s clothes or merchant’s clothes since they needed to move while disguised into enemy strongholds.
And they couldn’t be seen carrying around swords and shurikens because that would defeat the purpose of infiltrating.
So these were either well-hidden or they carried common farming implements that could be used as weapons if warranted.Examples of these are the short staff which could be disguised as a walking stick or the kama (short sickle) that could be passed off as a farming implement.
But all this historical information hasn’t stopped people from wishing to become the mystical warrior known as the ninja. One of these is a man named Gard Ryum, from Bergen, Norway. Gard has been practicing martial arts for nearly 30 years and he is currently undergoing intense training so that he can “revive” the ancient ninja combat skills.
He has studied several styles, from wrestling to ninjutsu itself, and has traveled to various dojos in Europe, the US, and Japan, in the hopes of distilling everything he learned into a combat system that any modern ninja would be proud of.
To this end, the 46-year-old martial arts enthusiast spends most of his free time in training. He can already use a katana to smoothly cut vegetables, and he knows how to throw knives and shuriken (throwing stars). He even punches marble and meditates under a waterfall as part of his training.
Gard, who works as a supervisor, said: “Throughout the years the concept of Ninjutsu has changed so much as to almost be unrecognizable, having become a business for many people.
“This and many other factors led me to establish my own curriculum, going back to the roots of extreme physical training.
“I have seen that what I do is of very inspirational to many people, and this makes me very happy.
“Helping other people to become the strongest, healthiest and highest versions of themselves also brings enormous enjoyment to me.”
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