| March 28, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #290: Everything You Know About Ninjas Is Wrong

When you hear the word “ninja” what do you imagine?

Hooded and masked men in black garb, stealthily running across tiled roofs? Ninja stars? Renegade warriors engaging in a special hand-to-hand combat system against their sworn enemy, the samurai? 

If that’s what you think of when you think of ninjas, I’m afraid my guest today on the podcast is here to tell us it’s all completely wrong.

His name is Antony Cummins. He has spent his career researching and translating feudal Japanese texts on samurai and ninjas. Today we’re talking about True Path of the NinjaIt’s a translation of a 17th century text called the Shoninki, a field manual for would-be ninjas. 

Today on the show, Antony uncovers the biggest myths we have in the West about ninjas — like the fact that there isn’t really a ninjutsu fighting system, nor were samurai the ninjas’ sworn enemy — and then gives the real history of these ancient warriors. Antony then shares what lessons actual ninjas can teach us folks living in the modern West about psychology and interacting with others in business and life. 

The bad news is that we’re going to ruin your childhood conceptions about ninjas in this podcast, but the good news is that the real story of ninjas is even more fascinating.

Show Highlights

  • When and how ninjutsu began
  • The role that ninjas had in the military
  • Misconceptions that people have about ninjas
  • The differences between ninjas and samurais
  • The not-so-unique fighting methods of the ninjas
  • Driving principles of the Shoninki (a ninja training manual)
  • How ninjas were trained
  • The typical ninja wardrobe and EDC (hint: it doesn’t involve black robes and ninja stars)
  • Ways that ninjas disguised themselves for covert operations
  • How ninjas interacted with people
  • How a ninja gets at the truth in any conversation
  • Why the ninja tried to “lose” and look dumber than he really was
  • Lessons that ninjas took from animals
  • The ambiguous advice that the Shoninki gives on teamwork
  • Clandestine tactics ninjas used to infiltrate buildings
  • The system ninjas used to count the number of people and buildings in an area
  • Ninjutsu magic and witchcraft
  • Are there ninjas left in the world today?
  • Lessons that us moderns can take from historical ninjutsu

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And thanks to Creative Audio Lab in Tulsa, OK for editing our podcast!

Read the Transcript

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Last updated: April 6, 2017

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