Ninjas were Japanese warriors whose skills and lifestyle were centered around the traditional martial art known as Ninjutsu. They are highly trained individuals who practice how to be stealthy and maintain a low-profile to take out their enemies with fatal techniques and weapons. The origins of the Ninja go all the way back to medieval Japan, where they took part in espionage, guerrilla warfare, and stealth attacks to take out their opposition at the time of the Japanese civil wars. They are interesting individuals who have inspired a variety of different martial arts films as well as Ninjutsu practitioners to follow their sneaky ways and techniques. So, how do Ninjas fight, and what kinds of weapons did they use?

How do Ninjas Fight?

Ninja with Ninjas Sword

The Ninjas fighting style was based on a traditional martial art called Ninjutsu, which is still practiced by some to this day. The ninjitsu that you know to this day was, in fact, completely different to the Ninjutsu that Ninjas used to use.  In the past, the term Ninjutsu was actually an umbrella term for all of the ways in which the Ninjas trained how to fight. Their fighting techniques and styles were broken down into different areas which comprised different weapon techniques as well as martial art styles. 

It could be argued that Ninjas aren’t actually supposed to ‘fight’ because of the way in which they did fight. This is because the whole point of the Ninjas was to carry out the tasks in which the samurai did not want to do. Being sneaky, setting up traps and misleading enemies, were all things that Ninjas specialized in. Not standard hand-to-hand combat.

Martial Art Styles

Martial Artist Kicking Bag


Shurikenjutsu was the martial art surrounding the weapon we know as the Shuriken. Ninjas would master the throwing techniques involving shurikens to take out their enemies from a medium to long-distance, as well as master using them in a closed area.


Kenjutsu was a style that orientated around Japanese sword fighting and means “art of the sword”. Ninjas would have to be highly trained in Kenjutsu to make sure that they could handle themselves if they were forced to fight closely with their enemies.


Sojutsu is similar to that of Kenjutsu, however, focuses around the Ninja’s ability to fight using a spear. They would use a spear to keep a safer distance from their enemies when fighting.


The Bo Staff is a famous weapon used by Ninjas and other Japanese martial artists; and the style of fighting with the staff was called Bojutsu.

Japanese Jujutsu Techniques

If you’re a fan of mixed-martial-arts (MMA) and vale tudo, you most likely know what grappling and jiu-jitsu are. The foundations of grappling and BJJ came from traditional Judo and Japanese Jujutsu techniques. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (JJJ) is centered around using momentum and grappling techniques to either throw or submit your opponent with chokeholds and joint-locks (Other techniques involve weapons). Ninjas would have to be skilled in JJJ, and other grappling techniques for close hand-to-hand combat, where they didn’t have weapons. 

What Weapons Did Ninjas Use?

Man Holding Sword
  • Ninja Sword (Ninjato)
  • Shuriken
  • Throwing Knives
  • Kama
  • Crossbow
  • Nunchucks
  • Blowgun
  • Kunai Knife

Who Did Ninjas Fight?

Samurai Warrior

A common foe of the Ninjas was in-fact the Samurai. Ninjas would often face the task of taking out high-ranking Samurai leaders to destroy the foundations of Samurai groups. 

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