One of the most mythical figures in Japanese folklore is that of the Ninja. Unlike the Samurai (the warrior class of the military) the ninja was a secretive figure, often hired as a covert agent or mercenary. Think of him as a Japanese Jason Bourne. He could sneak around undetected, he knew martial arts and was taught, from an early age, how to use multiple weapons like swords, daggers, darts, spikes, knives and star-shaped disks (shiruken).
One of things we wanted to do in Kyoto – for at least an hour – was to take a ninja training course. Luckily it’s not complicated; there’s only one place and that’s Ninja Dojo and Store.
Below: Don’t mess with Sensei Izo. He can kill you in about 100 different ways…
Izo, the owner of Ninja Dojo and Store, comes from a long line of ninjas. We spent an hour with him, learning Ninja techniques: how they meditate before an assignment, how they breathe, how they walk. Then we got into the really fun stuff: throwing shiruken, darts and even chopsticks at targets. You would never think that chopsticks could be used as a weapon – look at the video further below and you’ll see how lethal they are in the hands of Izo.
Below: Throwing shiruken
Below: shooting blowdarts
Below: learning techniques on how to detect an enemy in the dark using swords.
Below: Have a look at this video, I’m proof that being a ninja is not as easy as it looks.
Below: Some of the weapons in a ninja arsenal. Whether you need some blowdarts, Xmen Wolverine-type claws, or just something to pop your neighbors tires, you’ll find it here.
Izo is fantastic: he’s passionate about what he teaches but is easy going and patient…We took the 1 hr class but he also offers a more detailed 2 hr class. The lesson was both a learning experience and a lot of fun and we would recommend it to anyone. It was one of our highlights in Kyoto. Check out the website: Ninja Dojo and Store.
What do you think? Would you train as a ninja?
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