At some time in our lives, we’ve all thought about how cool it’d be if we woke up as a ninja one day. There’s no denying it. The idea’s run sneakily through our heads in the night like we’re a feudal samurai lord’s rooftop.
You can dream – and you can start prepping for if that day ever comes. The Ninja Trainer kit’s out now, an official training item with the seal of approval from the Japan Ninja Council.
A legit, safe way to improve your skills
The Ninja Trainer set’s a wooden board, with 2 holes for fixing it to the wall, and 3 shuriken (throwing stars). And the instructions, but we’ll teach you how to play further down.
These stars are made from soft rubbery PVC, for getting your ninja style on in the safety of your own home. Still pointy as you expect, but they’re not gonna hurt if you miss the board. Japan has rules against exporting real, sharp shuriken and other blades, anyway.
To make sure those stars hit the target and stay there, the board’s covered in a special thermoplastic surface (patent pending!) that ‘catches’ stars. It makes each shuriken you throw way less likely to bounce off – as long as you’ve thrown them right.
The art of sending that star spinning through the air’s ‘shurikenjutsu’ (朱里剣術) – 1 of the 18 main ‘ninjutsu’ (忍術) techniques you need. It covers other throwing weapons, but is named for the shuriken (手裏剣) ’cause that literally means ‘blade in your hand’.
During the Tokugawa period in Japan, shurikenjutsu got outlawed and taken underground. With that, and the samurai system disappearing in the Edo period, we nearly lost these skills to history. We’re lucky to still have that star-throwing knowledge going around.
Learn to throw just like a shinobi
Take on ninja training with your friends and family – there’s no limit on how many people can join in. It does say ‘for age 15 and up’, though, sorry kids. Whoever gets the highest score at the end of 4 rounds wins.
There are 2 ways to play: ‘Concentration’ (aim for the middle of the board) and ‘Target Crushing’ (aim for different areas each round). On each turn, you throw all 3 stars one after another – like you’re playing darts.
When you play ‘Concentration’, hitting the middle square’s worth 50 points and all the other squares are worth 30 points. You can score up to 3 times in a turn, for a max of 150 points scored.
For ‘Target Crushing’, the scoring areas move every round. The red area’s worth 50 points, the blue area’s 30 points, and the grey area’s 10 points. You only score once for hitting each area during your turn – if you get all 3 in the red, that’s still 50 points total.
In both games, stars landing anywhere outside the board means a big fat zero. There’s a free scorecard PDF on the Ninja Trainer website, so you can keep track of who’s winning.
Using the Ninja Trainer set‘ll improve your shuriken throwing style for sure. Check this quick video on how to stand, aim and throw properly before you start:
That’s it, feet in place, bend your knees a little, lift your arm over your head… and score some points!
DEJAPAN: proud to support budding ninjas everywhere
Take your first silent, cautious steps towards becoming a ninja across the nightingale floor of online shopping. You can order the Ninja Trainer from Japan with DEJAPAN.