Is he simply a mythical assassin, treading softly across the moonlit night, armed with throwing stars, hand claws, and explosive clouds of blinding smoke? Does she exist solely to attack with lethal effect? Or does the concept of the ninja find its way into our imagination, our parody, and our fantasies because of something far greater? Something that resides in each of us, awaiting discovery like a third nipple?
The legend of the ninja strikes fear into the hearts of the ruling class, the powerful, and the oppressors of mankind. The bravery and cunning of the ninja has inspired resistance among the people throughout the centuries. Whether you are with the ninja or against him, you must admit he commands respect among the elite warriors of history. Updated for our times you might say the ninja knows how to stick it to The Man.
The politics, spirituality, and military strategies of the ninja arose as cultural opposites to the conventional outlooks of the times. Ninjutsu developed as a highly illegal counter culture to the ruling samurai elite, and so the origins of the art were cloaked by centuries of mystery, secrecy, and deliberate confusion of history. Perhaps the ninja is long gone - forgotten with the sated largesse of our complacent modern life.
But some of us know better. We feel the ninja blood in our veins, the need to escape and undermine a reality which seeks to control us. The inner ninja lays dormant within, waiting for a spark, which then rises like a fire in the night, liberating us from our cubicles, mortgages, and 6 AM alarm clocks.
This blog is dedicated to the modern ninja. We are each made in the image of Him, the Ninja, the Inner Ninja that resides, godlike, in our hearts, waiting to be unleashed against the forces which restrain us. It is only a matter of degree.
For some that restraining force may be a career mired in mediocrity, or a boss who humiliates us. For others it may be that shady figure of subjugation collectively despised as The Man. Or it may take shape as an oppressive government which aims to replace our precious freedoms with mantras of fear and indoctrination. For yet others, this force of tyranny may simply be an expensive wedge of Roquefort Cheese at the supermarket. Whatever it is, at least it serves to awaken the Inner Ninja in all of us. This fragile dream must be discovered, nurtured, and then unleashed upon the forces which keep us down.
To accomplish this, one must utilize stealth and deception. The odds against us are just too great - any accountant can tell you that we are simply outnumbered by lemmings. Therefore we must hone the moral flexibility to sneak up on our enemies and steal back our Swingline Staplers, to take a bathroom break and return fully clad in black, crashing through the glass window to begin a new life, but without the open bloodshed of the repeated frontal assaults The Man would prefer. We must be smarter.
The legendary Masaaki Hatsumi once wrote: “The ninja lived their lives as naturalists and mystics, while the main-stream of society became increasingly structured, ranked, stylized, and eventually tightly controlled.” How chilling are these words, how prescient! Do we not confront these very issues in our modern world? Do some of us not seek to protect nature, spirituality, more weeks of vacation, and Radiohead’s artistic integrity? Do we not yearn for a world that consumes less of itself, that is freed from the military-industrial-political trinity? Do we not support personal responsibility instead of the lawsuit hell that embroils our society?
We do not hate the players, we hate the game. We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men might one day wear black ninja suits and fly across the sky, soaring like motherfucking Apollo himself. We unleash the indomitable potency of the Inner Ninja.
Furthermore, we assert that exaggerations of the ninja archetype such as supernatural powers, invisibility, walking across water, and reading minds, shall be acceptable. While purists may find this objectionable, it is felt that the term ninja should be one of inclusion rather than privilege. How else shall we grow the inner ninja revolution if we exclude those ninjas who kick the most ass? I don’t know about you, but if we’re taking on The Man, I want someone with throwing stars, foot spikes, and the ability to walk on the fucking ceiling to get my back.
Therefore I propose the following criteria for ranking our leaders, celebrities, and public figures as they would exist in the world of the ninja:
1. Stealth - could this person, if necessary, sow confusion among her enemies with deception and sabotage? Could you envision him dressed in all black, secretly kicking ass all night long, without so much as rustling the leaves on the ground?
2. Fighting Skills - could this person, armed with ninja-to, shuko, and shuriken (short sword, brass knuckles, and ninja throwing stars) emerge victorious in battle… even when it’s ten on one? If this person fights in a virtual arena such as politics, can he withstand the onslaught that claimed JFK, RFK, and MLK?
3. Counterculture - could this person be a force against the ruling elite? Could he stand up to George Bush, Vladimir Putin, or Bananas in Pajamas? Could you see her hanging out with a group of ninjas, or a group of corporate lawyers?
4. Sex Appeal - could this person do all the above, namely fight, use stealth, and represent the counterculture - and still look sexy doing it? While this is certainly the most controversial (and perhaps the least authentic) aspect of the ninja, one cannot deny that the modern day ninja is sexy. Just consider the powerful element of eroticism in Japanese Ninja literature, cinema, and gaming.
So it begins. Take not this endeavor lightly. Apart from the quest for world peace and lower carbon emissions, we will be working on a taxonomy of ninjahood that has the power to do… something big.