Preparing Ninja for a Mission

My name is Ichiro Watanabe.  I am a chunin, a middle level ninja of the Togakure clan.  Our small village is secluded deep in the mountains near Mt. Togakushi, otherwise known as Togakure Mountain.  I could tell you exactly where, but I’d have to kill you.  No joke, it’s a matter of survival for my family and clan.  You see the year is 1601, one year after the famous Battle of Sekigahara which brought Ieyasu Tokugawa to power uniting Japan.  There is still much to do, however, and the need for the services of our ninja clan is still very great.

In the past I was one of the top operatives for my clan successfully completing dozens of missions all over Japan.  I went by many names, played many roles, and brought great favor to our clan.  My exploits are “legen- wait for it -dary” among ninja warriors.  Today have retired from active duty and assumed a position where I am in charge of the physical preparation training of our up and coming ninja recruits.

Based on my background and experience, one of my goals as an operative turned trainer is to completely revamp our ninja fitness training program.  My main concern is – What Does a Ninja Need?.  What I’ve done is put together a sample training program for you to get a glimpse into my world and see how I am training the new recruits.  Remember, this is just a snippet of the complete training package, based on my decades of operation and training experience that I have put together for the ninja in training.  There is much, much more….

So, how does one prepare ninja physically for a mission?

  • Pulling and grip strength are an absolute must for scaling castle fortifications,
  • Anaerobic and aerobic endurance,
  • Burst-recover-burst ability for escape and evasion,
  • Not to mention power-  a unique blend of strength and speed to enhance technical ability and fighting prowess should a ninja come face to face with a samurai intent on doing him harm.
  • Jumping ability
  • Agility
  • Core strength/activation since power is generated from core out to the extremeties

If you decide to attempt this sample workout, make sure you begin with a good warm-up.

I’ll tell you about the super-secret dynamic warm-up that we do here in a future installment.  Keep an eye out for it!

Ninja Warrior Physical Prep Workout

5 Towel pull-ups

10 Rock-up Deck Squat and Leap

10 Fingertip Pushups

10 Hanging Leg Raises

Repeat as many times as possible (AMTAP) in 20 minutes (rest as needed).

Finisher – Heavy DB farmer walk or heavy sandbag carry x 3

There you go, an officaly ninja warrior workout direct from the 16th century!  How well do you stack up?

Ninja Mission Pic



Jon Haas is a certified Underground Strength Coach and has been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years. He has been training in the Budō Taijutsu arts of the Bujinkan for more than 22 years and is currently ranked as a Kudan (9th degree black belt) under Jack Hoban Shidōshi.
Jon is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for VX Global and is a certified VX Sport Coach.

He is the owner and founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems and author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts.

Jon Haas is also a certified conflict resolutions specialist through Resolution Group International (RGI)

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  1. Hi Jon,
    What a great way to lead into your “Warrior fitness”program.Very creative….I might add.After your Genin go through your fitness boot camp, better send them to California for some skillsets in climbing,stealth and water crossing here at “Club Buyu:Passport to your next adventure”.Take care!

  2. Awesome, Dave!

  3. Very well done, Jon. Love this post!

  4. This is a very cool post Jon!

  5. Thanks Josh!

  6. Thanks Steve!

  7. Ron Forzani says:

    Drawing from the past or the present, Jon knows!

  8. I love the concept!

    BTW, What is a “Rock-up deck squat and leap?”

  9. Hey Hannes,

    Rock-up Deck Squat and Leap: Stand naturally, drop down into a flat foot squat and roll back. Roll up through flat foot squat back to standing posiiton and then leap into the air.

    Hope that helps!


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