Ryu is obviously a quite skilled individual. His talents run across multiple disciplines of martial arts and weapons styles, parkour, and even into the realm of the esoteric with Ninpo spells and scrolls. So, let’s dive on in and learn the skills of the Super Ninja!
Ninjutsu (and broken hearts)
Okay, so I have some good news and some bad news for you. Bad news first: Ninjutsu probably doesn’t exist. I mean, it does, in the sense that there was once a school of combat and tactics referred to as “ninjutsu,” and it exists in the fact that there are modern-day ninjutsu schools. But, there is little to no evidence that the modern-dan ninjutsu dojos have anything to do with actual early feudal-era espionage specialists. The sad fact is, most of what we think of when we think of “ninjas” (or shinobi, the more proper term), is based mostly upon 80s and 90s action movies. Seriously. Plus a whole bunch of books by a total quack named ‘Ashida Kim.’
Yes, there were ancient espionage experts, who studied various schools of combat, and existed in the time of the samurai. They were not, however, super secret villages of ninjas. They were most likely more like the modern-day CIA – specifically employed and trained individuals who acted as a stealth-branch of various feudal houses. They had quite a bit in common with samurai of the era, and were schooled in many of the same arts, with additional training in stealth and espionage techniques. In fact, it’s likely that quite a few shinobi actually were samurai, just with specialized training and less battlefield-oriented missions.
So, does this mean you can’t become a super ninja in the style of Ryu? Absolutely not. First off, modern ninjutsu schools can still be good places to learn martial arts, even if they don’t have definitive proof of ancient lineage dating back to feudal japan. A friend of mine in karate actually “double majored,” so to speak, after he got his black belt in isshinryu, at a ninjutsu school in the area. Trust me when I say, his skills with the katana, throwing weapons, and other ninja-things are quite legitimate.
Now, of course, you want to make sure that whatever school you do find isn’t a McDojo. You may also have a very difficult time finding a ninjutsu dojo, period. We’re still dealing with some holdover nonsense from the ninja craze of the 90s, and as such, a lot of places that were not exactly reputable failed miserably after the mystique wore off, and kind of lower public opinion of such dojos. In the event that you can’t find a ninjutsu school in the area, I would look into a good style of karate, judo, Japanese jiu-jutsu, or even kendo/kenjutsu (if you can find it).
At the end of the day, any legitimate martial art is still worth studying, even if it isn’t exactly ninjutsu or ninja-oriented. Fighting is fighting, and the sooner you start building your tool set, the better you’ll be!
This is Ryu Hayabusa.
Throwing Pointy Objects
Oh yeah, this is going to be a good time. Throwing sharp things is a stupid amount of fun, and I’ve burned more than one afternoon destroying a sheet of cheap plywood with my friends. First off, let’s cover throwing stars, because ninja.
Stars are fun because, honestly, it doesn’t take much skill to get ’em to stick. You don’t have to worry about rotation, and you can just play around with different angles and styles of throwing. If you want to graduate to something a bit more difficult, you can move on to knives!
Throwing knives is a little more difficult, but much more satisfying as a result when you get a good stick!
Finally, let’s throw some axes! Ninja-like? Probably not. But if you put a sharp tomahawk in Ryu’s hands, do you think he would not figure out a way to kill someone at a distance with it? Yeah.
So, in short, throwing sharp things is fun! I’d recommend sticking to plywood and tree stumps, unless you’re looking for some trouble with the law. Then again, I guess you could always try hunting with them? =P
How to flip out like a ninja!
Sure, working out is cool and all, but you gotta put those muscles to work sometime! Enter the Wall Flip! One of Ryu’s signature moves, for a wall flip you run vertically up a wall, and flip backwards off of it! This is an advanced tricking technique, so don’t just run out and try it without any training! I’d recommend checking out The Skills of Faith to brush up on your regular parkour skills first (including wall runs), before starting to work on this! Anyway, with that said, here’s an AWESOME video tutorial by Jesse LaFlair!
For a somewhat simpler wall-movement option, we also have the Tic-Tac! This is a great technique for getting some quick height off a wall. You can even chain tic-tacs in a corner like a pseudo-wall run to ascend a significant height (definitely one of Ryu’s moves). Check it out:
The great thing about this tutorial is Jesse discusses the physics of the maneuver at the outset, which helps to build your tool set so you can understand things a bit better and build your own move set. Enjoy!
So, that’s about it for The Skills of Ryu! I’ll see you again on Thursday with The Mind of Ryu! Until then, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace