Authors Note: “This piece should not be interpreted as an endorsement of terrorism in any way. The intent is to draw similarities between ninjutsu and terrorism for educational purposes.” See Legal Ramifications of Attaining Skill in Ninjutsu for more info.
“Our challenge is to get through and to know where and how to hide, leaving the enemy bewildered in areas he doesn’t know. Being familiar with avenues, streets, alleys, ins and outs, the corners of urban centers, its paths and shortcuts, its empty lots, its underground passages, its pipes and sewer systems, the urban resistance fighter safely crosses through the irregular and difficult terrain unfamiliar to the police, where the police can be surprised in a fatal ambush or trap at any moment.”
These are the words of Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist responsible for shooting, bombing, and killing 77 people in Oslo, Norway and Utoya Island on July 22, 2011. Why am I presenting this quote? Well, to the ninjutsu enthusiast, Breivik’s notes on pre-attack surveillance and the carrying out of attacks hold parallels with the pre-operational surveillance traditions of the shinobi. Having personally read through these manuals in combination with modern texts on security against terrorism, I can draw a conclusion that will make all you fanatics of ninjutsu question what it is you are trying to learn, and hopefully get you to stop feeding the shadows:
Ninjutsu is Terrorism
This conclusion must be qualified, so let me present the premises upon which it stands.
Arson and Explosives
Within the obscure manuals of ninjutsu there are recipes for explosives, incendiaries, and traps. There are many mentions of arson, and sometimes even instruction is given on the burning down of entire villages. Why? Because a shinobi was in service to his lord who in turn had a political objective of seizing power throughout the land. No big deal so far, right? That is until you connect this political motivation for the commission of arson and killing of innocents to the modern legal provisions of Title 18 USC and the US Code of Federal Regulations which defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
You see when a shinobi was given a mission, it was carried out to further the political objectives of those he served, therefore if a shinobi and his lord existed in modern times, in light of their operations they would both be painted as terrorist conspirators.
Shinobi were not “spiritual wizards” who were somehow incapable of human indecency and oh-so-concerned with human suffering. They were rugged warriors who had no qualms with killing you if the lord deemed it necessary or if you happened to breach the security of their clandestine plan to burn down a village. They were NOT what is presented in the Bujinkan and other “ninjutsu” organizations (i.e. commercially consumable personalities), rather they were killers and terrorists who carried out their objectives in accord with stringent adherence to a pre-attack surveillance and operational logistics planning – hallmarks of the modern terrorist.
Too bad Stephen K. Hayes didn’t say this when he explicitly wrote in his ‘Warrior Ways of Enlightenment’ series that ninjutsu was not affiliated with terrorism in any way. I say to this misguided apperception…you’re wrong, read the manuals.
Pre-Attack Surveillance Operations
Another parallel between ninjutsu and terrorism exists in the shinobi traditions of surveilling infrastructure, buildings, roads, waterways, and “ins-and-outs” of every town, village, and military compound visited in addition to those targets pre-selected by a ‘superior’.
As delineated by modern security expert Richard Kirchner in his book Surveillance and Threat Detection, terrorists incorporate surveillance into a number of steps of their pre-attack planning cycle. Surveillance for a terrorist attack may include the following behaviors and activities (note: suspicion should be aroused if a combination of these is evinced by any individual by or within a protected area).
- Watching, videotaping, photographing – infrastructure and critical utilities
- Sketching, drawing, measuring, timing, counting – doors, personnel, windows, vehicles, etc.
- Testing security personnel response time and reactions
Shinobi traditions found in historical ninjutsu texts that are similar to these terrorist surveillance activities include:
- Watching guards, troops, and civilians
- Sketching, drawing maps of a military compounds and towns (or otherwise unspecified target)
- Mingling with the public and loyal guards through Yo-nin disguises and a silvery tongue
Surveillance and scouting is just as much an activity of ninjutsu as it is of terrorism. In 2000, Dhiren Barot a terrorist who acted through loyalty to the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed, extensively surveilled targets in Manahattan and passed this intelligence up a chain of command in preparation for a bombing attack on the Citicorp building. His notes of the local area, compiled through extensive surveillance operations throughout the area, were highly detailed going so far as to note where children daycare centers and puppet shows were being held. Thankfully, Barot was identified and the attack was pre-empted.
Letting Go of Ninjutsu
There are plenty more examples of how ninjutsu is nearly a mirror image of modern day terrorism (or allied espionage operations) and I leave the reader to collate and research these.
I simply want people who have a deep association with ninjutsu to let go of it and stop feeding the shadows that the art harbors. Ninjutsu is truly for those with a mind that can discern between good and evil and have a sense for the dangers its principles represent…
As I have said before, it is not of any value for commercial enterprise or “fitness and health” that so many dojos advertise nowadays. It is a black art with ties to things so dismal and macabre that I must attest I can barely find any use for it other than sowing destruction, misfortune, and pain.
As some of you out there know, why I fell into the waters of ninjutsu is connected to my own deviant past.
I used to consider myself an anarchist and went so far as to commit two felonies to procure laboratory chemicals for explosives. What did I intend to do with these? I dont know…but law enforcement had its theories…
I was a misguided youth back then…and I can say now that I am truly happy that I was apprehended before continuing down a path of fire and fuck-all…
Ninjutsu gave me an outlet for my destructive tendencies…but I have grown in conscience throughout my years and can now say that anyone who wants to make the precepts of ninjutsu as modern as possible while retaining the historical accuracies of just what a shinobi did is, quintessentially, creating a toolkit for terrorism.
I am not a terrorist, I do not seek to endanger or harm anyone that is undeserving.
I just want peace to exist on this earth like any other person…
It has taken me so long to realize this because I have been fighting a battle within my whole life. I have blamed my problems on the external; corporations, governments, police…I became obsessed with violence, security, and destructive techniques because I viewed everyone and everything in the world as a threat..It has been a long road getting here, and I am surprised I haven’t fucked myself over.
Dont worry, the Shadow Zone will remain, but as for coloring my life black with the darkness of ninjutsu, I have to take a few steps back and reassess the path.
Don’t feed the shadows…