You see them in the movies, performing stunning martial arts feats while dressed in black from head to toe... Are ninja real? And what is a ninja, anyway?!
A ninja is a person skilled at the Japanese martial art of ninjutsu, often for the purpose of special missions.
Hundreds of years ago, ninja trained and fought in Japan, and they were committed to activities such as espionage, or the use of spies to get secret information! As they trained, ninja learned a variety of special skills, such as how to disguise themselves and how to escape when the need arose. In addition, ninja knew how to defend themselves with a variety of weapons and tools.
Ninjutsu was originally developed in Japan as a form of protection against samurai warriors. Ninja areas of study included sword and spear techniques, horsemanship, water training, geography, meteorology and more.
While ninjutsu and the ninja way of life flourished in Japan hundreds of years ago, people in a variety of countries still study ninjutsu skills today.
Another fun fact: Ninjutsu is also known as ninpo.