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on 17 March 2011
Being one of the few available translations of the original scrolls to study this book was quite a find.

For quite some years I've struggled to comprehend the presented image of the ninja and this book certainly clarifies much of the reality behind the veil of disguise.

the book itself is clearly open to personal interpretation and requires a certain mindset of understanding.

The text runs through various schools of thought on purpose, beliefs and practices which varied somewhat to the traditional texts of the neighboring samurai.

I was fascinated to understand that the system invariably fit in with the persons natural abilities and therefore questionably used that which was available to each individual as opposed to a predefined syllabus; this would by nature have led to their undoubtable demise.

It was this mass variation which kept the opponent from ever being certain of what they were to overcome when faced with these soldiers.

This knowledge clearly calls much into question about modern available systems and would explain why there is little in the texts regarding physical combat technique.

The best way to describe this book is to read it, not just once or twice but to live it and breathe in the words within the pages until the knowledge is applied into your own resources and translated towards a deeper understanding.

If you've already bought into a legacy this is undoubtably going to open your eyes to a much wider possibility, if you haven't then this is without a doubt the place to start your study of the mysterious masters of scouting and information gathering who saw a very different world than we could ever begin to imagine.
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on 19 February 2011
OK, so making sense of this book can, on occasion, require a few extra seconds of thinking, but all in all it's a very interesting insight into the historical practices of the ninja/shinobi/whichever name you prefer. Now, I'll state straight up that, whilst there were things here that i'd not read before, much of the information given has been widely used in novels and other texts related to the subject area. What this offers that is different is an insight into the mindset of the "ninja".

Be aware that this is not a martial arts book! It does not say "if X does Y, then you do Z". It does not have cod drawings of stick men throwing each other on the floor. What it does have is information on psychological, social and even engineering practices of a group of people with very specific needs.
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on 14 August 2011
Being new to Ninjutsu having now been a student for 3 years, I am still constantly amazed at the perception of the art from a western perspective. I stumbled into ninjutsu not as a martial art but as a way of life a spiritual calling if you will. A purer, simpler way of facing the trials and tribulations of life today.
This piece of literature is, in my opinion, the closest account of how I view the art today. Once you have read the first 30 pages you soon get a real understanding of exactly what ninjutsu is all about. How this art was born in times of such despotism that ninjutsu became so necessary. It is not about being the ultimate warrior with an arsenal of exotic weaponry, and this is not an instruction book on how to fight in the physical sense. This work is a very rare look into how to survive mentally, spiritually and physically in a world that really was every day you survive is a bonus.
The thing that stuck in my mind the most after reading this book is that it is clear that you have too question subjectively the art as it is portrayed today. Nothing was written down, every family Ryu was different and passed on verbally. So what is the system that is being taught today? Certainly from my teachings it is all about the physical side of the art. But what about the other two thirds of the art? In my opinion this book will help explain ninjutsu to you in a way no modern western instructor is able to.
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on 18 July 2011
The shoninki does not teach how to fight, meaning no combat skills.What the shoninki does is give a deep insight on how to avoid being caught from a more ancient time when things were simpler from a time were glass lanterns were lights and swords were guns. I really enjoyed it from a philosophical perspective and enjoyed the stories and and subtle techniques of evasion.All in all it's not that long a book and for anyone interested in martial arts in particular nintitsu it's a book worth owning!It is also worth owning if your interested in the military in particular the S.A.S as the ninjutsu men sound an awful lot like what we know as the special forces nowdays.Fun book
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on 23 October 2012
The book is a fairly short but is reasonably well written and the content is ok but better versions are available.
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on 7 December 2012
Some facts - some recent interpretations?
An introduction by a member of the 'black suit brigade' says it all really.
ps Stephen Turnbulls ninja accounts are far better.
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on 15 April 2012
Quite a short book, some very funny bits particularly when the books advises about women, some useful insights into the real Ninja.
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on 2 August 2012
Not a great book for techniques but fantastic book for the philosophy side a really good read and highley recommended
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on 14 August 2014
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