CAAMFest 36, May 10-24

So You Want To Be a Ninja?

December 1, 2005

Illustrator Patt Kelley

You did it, I did it, we all did it: the childhood ninja phase. When you learned that being a fireman was actually dangerous, policemen were assholes, and you would never make the height requirements for an astronaut—being a ninja was a solid alternative to fill in the “what I want to be when I grow up” slot in your life. Why leave those dreams to the kiddies? Simply follow the wealth of advice listed below and you’ll be on your way to becoming the most feared covert operations agent since the Sengoku Era (1467–1615) of Japan.

Be misunderstood: Thanks to the great, white culture-vulture known as Michael Dudikoff, the infamous star of the craptastic cinematic epic entitled American Ninja, the reality of ninja culture has been diluted in the stew of American pop culture. Contrary to how they are portrayed in American cinema, ninjas do not color-coordinate their uniforms, they do not cruise around downtown L.A. in broad daylight and they most certainly do not let a gai-jin and all his military grunt buddies thwart their diabolical plans.

Ninjitsu, It’s not just for boys: Women have been an alluring and deadly force in ninja culture since its inception. Known as kunoichi, female operatives were masters of deep infiltration, psychological manipulation and information retrieval. Working undercover, kunoichi were known to posses an almost supernatural power of manipulation. Let’s just say, being a kunoichi sure comes in handy when you’re trying to argue your way out of a parking ticket.

You are like the wind: One of the most well-known characteristics of a true ninja is the ability to move silently. Using a variety of movements, breathing techniques and an acute awareness of one’s surroundings, a ninja was able to pass through even the most well-guarded environment unnoticed. Aside from having the power to sneak into the Pentagon if need be, this also means stealing out of the office 15 minutes early is no longer a problem. Plus, your girlfriend or boyfriend will get a real thrill when you scale the apartment wall, sneak in through the window and silently slip under the sheets for a sizzling 2 am ninja booty call.

Loose lips sink ships: Yes, ninjas have the ability to run on walls, vanish at will and become one with the shadows. They train and meditate for 14 hours a day and only sleep for 15 minutes with one eye open, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to know about it. Ninjas have secrets, more secrets than Willy Wonka and his mysterious chocolate factory. Very few written records have ever been found dealing with ninjas and their tactics, which has caused a great amount of speculation as to their true historical significance—aside from kicking serious ass, which any respected historian will agree on.

Don’t quit your day job: In between assassinating heads of government with a blowgun and scaring the shit out of the public at large, the life of a ninja can be quite conventional. Many ninjas operated in sleeper cells under the guise of civilians for up to years at a time until, one day they get a dried cherry blossom in the mail and poison the local well and eliminate an entire village. Cruel? Undoubtedly, but that’s just how a ninja rolls.

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