Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Tools of the Ninja

Before modern technological advancements such as gunpowder, machine guns and cannons, it was ‘challenging’ to kill an enemy, without risking one’s own life. In ancient Japan, when regional lords wanted to eliminate an enemy, they’d call on the service of the Ninja – dedicated assassins, specialized in the art of concealment and deadly weapons.

To this day, many of the tools of the Ninja are amazingly effective, for their low-tech design. One of the import tools of the Ninja is surprising found on the feet, the Ashiko – a row of metal spikes worn on the feet to help ninjas climb trees and walls to either scout or gain access to an enemy.

Ninja are trained not only in fighting skills using weapons, but they’ve many other tools that help them to locate their targets and overcome obstacle like walls. The Kaginawa – a simple grappling hook was also a standard Ninja tool to help them climb higher, more challenging obstacles like mountain cliffs and castle walls.

Because Ninja carry many tools with them on missions, the need to keep these secure while traveling and climbing is paramount, because maintaining silence is everything to a ninja. One tool that helps Ninja to maintain silence, by keeping their tools and weapons firmly secure is the Kyahan – leg wraps that prevent loose pant legs from catching on anything as they move about in the dark. These also can hold small weapons like Kunai – small throwing knives, as well as poisoned darts.

Once a ninja locates their target, the next step is to eliminate them, and the Ninja have many, many tools that they can use. One of the main reasons why they were used as assassins is that they could eliminate their opponents without being heard or seen, and Ninja tools and weapons are designed to be used quickly and quietly.

The first choice is the Fukiya – a specialized blowgun Ninja use that shoots poisonous darts, this is the ideal weapon that a ninja will try to use first, because it is quite and allows the ninja to attack from a safe distance out of site. Poisons and medicines were carried in a Kusuribin – a small ceramic container, which’s used to apply poison to dart tips and knife blade, or medicines to wounds.

The tools of the Ninja are many, and a whole life can be spent learning about them. Many people today do not fully understand why Ninjas were used so often in Japan, but one of the reasons is an honorable one – Ninjas were used sometimes to eliminate those who were the cause of wars, and many wars and lives were spared, because of them.

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