Ninjutsu (also referred to as 'Ninjitsu'), which can mean the "Art of Forbearance" or "Ninja Techniques" or is the Japanese martial art created by a group of families originally from the Iga and Koga regions of Japan. The term shinobi is the native Japanese word for a practitioner of Ninjutsu. Ninjutsu is sometimes used interchangeably with the term ninpō (忍法, Ninja Art)
Skills relating to espionage and assassination were highly useful to warring factions in feudal Japan. However, because these activities were seen as dishonorable, Japanese warriors hired people who existed below Japan's social classes, literally called "non-humans" (非人, hinin?), to perform these tasks. At some point, the skills of espionage became known collectively as ninjutsu, and the people who specialized in these tasks were called shinibi no mono, and later, ninja.
Ultimately, the skills of ninjutsu were so essential to conducting warfare that some samurai began to practice their techniques, as well incorporating ninjutsu into their formal schools of martial arts (ryū). The school of Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū claims to have been the first to incorporate ninjutsu into its curriculum, and other schools make competing claims.
Ninjutsu was developed by groups of people mainly from the Iga Province and Kōka, Shiga in feudal Japan. Throughout history the shinobi have been seen as assassins for hire, and have been associated in the public imagination with other activities which are considered criminal by modern standards.
Ninjutsu was developed as a collection of fundamental survivalist techniques in the warring state of feudal Japan. The ninja clans used their art to ensure their survival in a time of violent political turmoil. It also included methods of gathering information, non-detection, avoidance, and misdirection techniques. Ninjutsu can also involve training in disguise, escape, concealment, archery, medicine, explosives, and poisons.
Even though it may have been influenced by Chinese spying techniques and the strategic principles of Sun Tzu, ninjutsu is regarded by its adherents as being wholly of Japanese origin.
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