The 5 Key Training Areas For Mastering Close Quarter Combat Ninjutsu


Expert Author Jeffrey MillerWith all of the techniques, weapons, and skills that make up the martial art of ninjutsu, which ones are really the most important for close quarter combat? If you’re serious about learning how to protect yourself using the Ninja’s self-protection method known as Ninpo Taijutsu, then you need to make sure that you know how to translate all of the “classical,” 16th century lessons into a form that will work in a street fighting self defense situation today – in the world of the 21st century! This article will help you to do that by focusing on the 5 key training areas of combat ninjutsu.

Now, before we even get started, if your idea of combat ninjutsu, or using ninpo taijutsu for self defense centers on what you see in the movies, or what is being taught in most ninpo or budo taijutsu schools and clubs, then I can tell you right now that…

…this article is not for you!

It’s not for you because my focus is not on living out a fantasy of being some lone, superhero type warrior dressed in black and taking on guns with exotic, ancient ninja weapons. Nor is it delusional and guided by the mistaken belief that the guy on the street is going to be coming at me with the same “traditional,” 13th or 15th century punch that most students practice against today.

close-quarters-combatIt’s focused on being able to deal with modern attacks, thrown at you by modern attackers – and being able to do this at lightening speed and in the chaotic, no-holds-barred experience called a self-defense situation. And I have that focus for 2 reasons:

1) I grew up in the inner city and saw, first-hand, what real violence was all about. And…

2) I came to ninjutsu after disqualifying a ton of other martial arts and self-defense systems – including what I received as a part of my training as a police officer.

But, I came to a form of ninjutsu that was practical, effective, and…

Suited for real self defense. Not looking like every other martial artist who conformed to and was limited by an “official” style.

So, what are the key areas of training that you need to focus on in combat ninjutsu – if your goal is to be able to handle a real, down-and-dirty, close quarter combat situation?

They are:

English: Steven Ho executing a Jump Spin Hook ...
English: Steven Ho executing a Jump Spin Hook Kick. Steven Ho: Jump Spin Hook Kick. Martial Artist Steven Ho kicks a focus mitt. Steven Ho, martial artist and action choreographer. हिन्दी: स्टीवन हो एक जम्प स्पिन हूक किक को दर्शाते हुए. ಕನ್ನಡ: ಒಂದು ಜಂಪ್ ಸ್ಪಿನ್ ಹುಕ್ ಕಿಕ್ ಅನ್ನು ಜಾರಿಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಸ್ಟೀವನ್ ಹೋ. తెలుగు: స్టీవెన్ హూ ఒక జంప్ స్పిన్ హూక్ కిక్‌ను ప్రదర్శిస్తున్నాడు. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Iri (“Entering”) – This is the art and science of effectively and strategically getting through his defenses so that you can be in the right position to apply your punch, kick, lock, or whatever. Often mistaken for the actual technique, especially when practicing kata (“prearranged fight scenario”) training, this is the adaptive and subjective part of the training which, when mastered, “allows” you to be able to do the ninjutsu technique that will finish him.

In short, you have to be able to get inside his defenses – you must be able to “move in” so that you can earn the dominant position and be able to break his body down.

2. Taihen (“Body movement”) – Everything from stepping and lateral shifts, to the ability to effectively neutralize his attempts to damage your body with strikes, kicks, or grabbing attacks falls under this skill area. While most students are content with leaning some cool rolling and vaulting maneuvers, combat ninjutsu requires that you focus on being able to move directly, from point to point, with no delay or tell-tale signals that would allow him to stop you from being able to defend yourself against his assault.

3. Kuzushi (“Balance-breaking”) – Here is where the rubber really meets the road, so-to-speak. Because, in order to stall, or get a determined opponent into one of your techniques, you’re going to have to “earn it.” And that means that you’re going to have to create or take advantage of those moments when he can’t attack or defend – when he is busy dealing with his own body fighting itself! This can be done physically, psychologically, emotionally, or through a combination of any or all of these three.

The point here is to get him doing something other than dealing with you – if only long enough to get that strike, lock, or throw on him!

4. Atemi (“Striking“) – Not only do you need to be able to form the right fists and match those fists to the right targets on his body, but your strikes must be able to do maximum damage with minimal effort. If not, the fight may take longer than you have energy for – especially if you’re dealing with a larger, stronger attacker who is accustomed to fighting, and able to withstand the typical force that most fighters deliver during a fight.

Remember, you must be able to break his body down – not just hit him. As my students learn in the advanced stages of their training, where they learn to take a hit to lure him in – there is a huge difference between getting “hit,” and being “damaged.” Your job is to “damage.” Let the sport martial artists feel cocky and confident because they scored a point for “hitting!”

English: Martial arts training session Dansk: ...
English: Martial arts training session Dansk: Kamptræning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Dori (“Catching”) – This is the ability to lock him up, whether it’s catching and breaking up the joints of his body with locks, or being able to pin him to the floor until the police arrive once you get him down. And, again, we’re not just talking about applying physical “moves” on him, but also being able to take up positions where he gets “stuck” and can’t get at you to do what he wants. From here you can deliver strikes, sweeps, or whatever you need to – to do what?

Right… to “break his body down!”

Of course, there are literally dozens of techniques in each of these categories, but…

…there are only a handful of principles and concepts that you’ll need to become adept at, in order to be able to handle a brutal, hand-to-hand attack situation with combat ninjutsu training. But, that’s something that I cover in another lesson.

The point that you must remember is that, if you’re going to possess the survival skills you need for the streets, then you must go way beyond the ideas and beliefs about what skill is, and which skills are critical, that are held by most martial artists – including those studying (and teaching) ninpo taijutsu in today’s world.

Are you serious about mastering the art of ninjutsu – about being able to use your ninjutsu training in a real, close quarter combat situation? Do you want to know what it takes to progress through the levels of self defense mastery using ninpo taijutsu and combat ninjutsu?

Martial Arts
Martial Arts (Photo credit: Tom Gill.)

How? By insuring that your training is about strategic application of skill and skill proficiency – not just learning a bunch of classical “moves”! Get started by reading this valuable ninja training book, “Becoming The Master.” Get your free copy at:

Jeffrey Miller is a former federal police officer, private detective and body guard. He is a master-teacher in ninpo taijutsu and that area of ninjutsu training known as combat ninjutsu. Each month he shares his 30+ years of training, research, and knowledge – combined with his years of real-world experience using these teachings on the dangerous streets of our modern world – with literally thousands of students from all over the world. Shidoshi Miller says, “If you really want to learn combat ninjutsu, and be able to use your ninjutsu techniques in a real close quarter combat attack, then I can show you how to defend yourself against practically any attacker!”

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