(This is an article I wrote as part of an assignment, I thought maybe you would find it interesting, enjoy!)
I know people have asked this before; I first saw it in Ninja magazine around 1989 when Batman appeared in the movie theatres. This was roughly the same time I joined the Bujinkan and started learning Ninjutsu. Yes, I wanted to be a ninja! Although I wasn’t going to tell anybody that. The first rule in ninja school is that you don’t talk about ninja school, unless you are bragging to friends about the cool stuff you are learning, which is how I ended up one night in a freezing cold dojo upstairs in an old brick warehouse on Hobson Street, pretty much where Sky City is now all because my friend was raving about this awesome new martial art that she had found.
Back to Batman, on the surface, he certainly looks the part, dark costume, stealthily sneaks around, has the batarangs, all sorts of cool gadgets, and of course, no one knows who he is.
Suppose Batman were learning Bujinkan Ninjutsu now, especially if he was in Japan. In that case, he’d actually be learning nine different martial art schools (Ryu’s). These are traditions in their own right that, over time, have been brought under the Bujinkan umbrella. Each of these is a complete martial art and has its own specialities. Such as,
- Togakure Ryu – They cover throwing stars, blowpipes, and a little pyramid-shaped ball with long points on each side called a Tetsubishi. These will give you a nasty surprise if you step on one.
- Koto Ryu – A striking system used for close range and designed for maximum bone and joint damage.
- Gyokko Ryu – This is more about pain manipulation and nerve strikes.
- Shinden Fudo Ryu – This one has similarities to Aikido, using redirection of the opponent’s strength and size to control them.
- Takagi Yoshin Ryu – Again, similar to Aikido, but the technique is designed for the opponent not to be allowed to roll out or escape. Think of rugby spear tackles and broken bones.
- Kuki Shinden Ryu – This is striking and grappling, but its real focus is mainly as a weapons school. sword, walking cane, 6-foot staff, battlefield arms and more.
- Gikan Ryu – It is a striking art but not taught outside Japan.
- Gyokushin Ryu – It is a throwing art. But, since it is not taught in open classes, little is known about it. Again not taught outside Japan.
- Kumogakure Ryu – This one covers field craft and espionage, not taught outside Japan.
With all this, Batman would get a good grounding in most of his tradecraft, throw in some high-level driving skills, loads of dedication, time and buckets of money. I would say that, yes, Bujinkan could produce a Batman. For one of us, it would definitely be the place to start.
Being Batman would be superb, and having a batmobile would be pretty epic. But all that time and training wouldn’t leave you much time for other pursuits. I love my downtime with my books and am terrified of heights. Sorry, Batman, although it would be cool to have your job, I’ll have to pass and just be me.