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How to Jump Like a Ninja

By Monica Miller

Jumping techniques are an important part of ninjutsu training. An element of taihenjutsu (body movement skills), jumping techniques, or tobi, are learned early on and practiced often. On the battlefields of feudal Japan, the ninja needed to be able to jump nimbly in order to avoid slashing swords and spears. Warlords who suspected a ninja was in their midst would have small children toss a spinning top in the suspect's way to see if he avoided it with an agile, ninja-like jump. Today's modern practitioners recognize not only the defensive benefits of jumping drills, but also the incredible gains in leg strength, balance and coordination.

Stand straight and relaxed. Don't squat down or bend over like many people naturally do when beginning a jump.

Keep your shoulders still. It is a natural reaction to shrug your shoulders at the start of a jump, but it will also give away your intentions.

Jump straight up, bringing your knees toward your chest and tucking your feet into your body. Take care not to let your feet go behind you, as that will make it easier for your feet and lower legs to get hit.

Land with your feet apart, and touch both feet to the ground at the same time.

Be silent, or as close to it as you can. An experienced ninja can jump and land quietly, letting his legs absorb the impact--and sounds--of the jump.

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