Within the very traditionalist and often ceremonial world of the
asian martial arts simple things, such as a ceremonial bow, can be very important; in the case of the Ninja bow this is doubly
true. Within the simple bow of the Ninja warrior is enfolded, or implicated, a great deal of their powerful philosophy and
teachings. This is very appropriate, given that the esoteric martial arts in general deal not with the explicit - forms, techniques,
muscular strength and so on - but with the implicit - that which is hidden from sight, but is nonetheless contained within
the outer forms and movements.
It is particularly instructive to compare the ceremonial bow of
the Ninja with the traditional bow of the Kung Fu practitioner. They are very similar in form and meaning but with one very
important difference. In the kung fu 'sun and moon' bow the right hand forms a fist, and the left had is held open with the
fingers pointing upwards and the palm pushed up against the fist made by the right hand. The Ninja bow is exactly the same
except that the fingers of he left hand are folded down over the fist to enclose it.
In both of these gestures the right hand, made into a fist, represents
the sun; the left hand in each case is representative of the moon. The sun represents the fiery energy at the centre of the
practitioners world - it is the will, power and intention, the internal energy or Chi; it is singular and central. The
moon represents the many outer forms which reflect and contain this energy - knowledge, techniques, movements and so on. In
kung fu the practitioner tries to unify the sun and moon; to harmonise the inner energies of the mind and of the body's Chi
with the outer movements of kung fu technique. Whilst this is also true of ninjustsu there is also an additional element -
the sun (right fist) is covered, or hidden, by the moon (left palm). Thus the Ninja seeks to conceal his intentions,
his force, and the inner meaning of his movements within the outer forms of his techniques, and thereby to deceive and manipulate
his opponent, controlling their responses to suit his own ends.
There are many ways in which that may be done, and I shall make
every effort to reveal as many as possible of them to you here, starting with the most simple and basic and moving on the
the more advanced later: