Mastering the Art of the Ninja – What the Black Belt Levels Mean in Ninjutsu

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Often, when teaching my ninja students, I find it necessary to discuss the advanced levels of ninjutsu training, progress, and ability within the black belt degrees. Since ninjutsu is a results-oriented system, as opposed to a "style-based" system, students often have difficulty in recognizing the value of continuing their own training after attaining shodan, 1st degree black belt.

If you really want to master the ninja's art, you must understand how progress through the mastery levels is different within ninjutsu than it is in the more conventional and "popular" sport martial arts. In fact, this is critical to your eventual development to not just wearing a black belt, but in being able to think, live, and act like a real ninja.

Here is a brief outline of the 1st four degrees in the black belt levels of ninjutsu:

Shodan – 1st degree ("beginner level") – Having knowledge of, and proficiency with, the kihon or "fundamental" techniques of the art.

Nidan – 2nd degree ("level 2") – The ability to respond appropriately against whatever a real attacker throws at you.

Sandan – 3rd degree ("level 3") – This level requires that the student can strategically manipulate the attacker's choices to cause him to attack you the way you want him to. It also includes the ability to escape and lock, hold, or throw.

Yondan – 4th degree ("level 4") – Here, the student seems to break the laws of physics as he or she slips into the perfect position that causes the assailant's attack to backfire against him. Here, the ninja student finds the eye in the proverbial hurricane that allows him to access his attacker's targets, while simultaneously making it almost impossible for the opponent to return fire.

As you can see, ninjutsu training moves from the mechanical, step-by-step, physical training where most martial artists tend to stop, and into the realm of the strategic. There are still several realms through which the aspiring master must pass, but this should give you and glimpse into how ninjutsu take a very different approach from that used by most martial arts systems that you will encounter in the world today.

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Source by Jeffrey Miller

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