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Tools & weapons

Ninja with JaneA ninja's climbing claws are some of their most treasured tools. They allow you to scale walls and cross ceilings - and sometimes foot claws are used as well.  They're quite like the hand spikes a climber might use for mountaineering - but my biographer Jane wanted to buy some brand new ninja climbing claws for the launch of Hattori Hachi: the Revenge of Praying Mantis. And that's when we got into trouble... One day she got a phone call from customs, asking why she was trying to import terrorist weapons! Apparently these claws are on the list of banned items in the UK.  The customs officer was pointed towards this website to read about how they were just to be used as an illustration of ninja tools. But that wasn't good enough. The climbing claws were destroyed - although an evil looking grappling hook and a bag full of throwing stars were allowed, but only with the promise that they wouldn't be given to children...

There are many other tools and weapons that a ninja keeps hidden - either concealed in the pockets of their dark ninja outfit, or pre-set in places where they're going to be fighting, or stored in the dojo where they train. My favourtite tools are my rats - Bushi and Akira.  

Bushi and AlkiraThey travel in my pockets on secret missions and can be sent to spy in the smallest places. Even better, they can cause chaos by running through a crowded street, distracting everyone long enough to give me valuable time to spy or escape or carry out another daring ninjutsu act.

My clothes are the most valuable thing to me, especially my shinobi shozoku - my dark jacket with a hood that's impregnated with special properties to purify drinking water, filter smoke and act as an antiseptic for binding wounds.  It protects me in the darkness and make me invisible day and night as I keep to shadows, walking silently in my split-toed canvas shoes or tabi.  My tools include my bo (a two metre staff), my shuriken (throwing stars) and shuko (the extremely useful climbing claws!)

Although ninjutsu sometimes appears to be magic, it's the result of really tough training and smart thinking - it's nothing for my Sensei-san (Yazuki) to make me spend hours submerged in an ice cold pond with only a reed to breathe through.  Or for me to sprint for hours on end with a straw hat placed on my chest - kept there just by the force of the air as I run.

I'm lucky that I have highly tuned perception, hearing and night vision.  My mum made sure of that.  I've learned to 'fly', using Yazuki's monkey-like acrobatic skills, I can climb walls and scale ceilings, stalk the enemy like a cat, blend into the environment - my shimmering form changing colour with the night.  I can even appear to walk on water and disappear before my enemy's eyes.   It's great being a secret ninjutsu warrior - until an evil renegade Kataki comes looking for you!