May 13, 2022

Modern VS Natural Survival Tools

Modern survival and the traditional survival skills of the shinobi make use of similar principles, but the practice is vastly different in tools and strategies used.

Traditionally the shinobi were masters of concealment and remaining unnoticed. This had a unique difficulty. The shinobi could not always carry tools nor any form of identification that could link the shinobi to their trade. This means that the knowledge and use of naturally available material for survival was crucial. It was also considered taboo to carry any form of identification that related to your master or client during a mission.

Depending on the mission requirements the shinobi might have carried a target master’s identification or even recognizable clan clothing and tools. This was done so that if the shinobi was caught it could still lead to mission success by way of misdirection or creating suspicion. For this short article I would like to make a comparison between natural items used for survival and modern items available.

Modern / Manufactured

For this short article I would like to make a comparison between natural items used for survival and modern items available. It is important to remember that a shinobi needs to know traditional and modern methods to be fully prepared for any situation. I will start by mentioning a very convenient modern item that is lightweight and very easy to carry and hide. It is called the “survival card”.

survival cards
survival cards

These cards are made from stainless steel and are resistant to most elements of nature.

This item comes in a variety of different combination tool sets and also in different quality ranging from a thin cut metal for standard practice to a thicker metal profile for more strenuous use. In the below picture I am holding this item in my hand as a size indicator and it's quite small and holds surprisingly many items of practical use.

modern survival card
modern survival card

Natural / Primitive

Now for its natural counterpart. Nature itself and all the tools nature provides for us. We normally look at trees to craft wooden items or rocks to shape knives and other tools but we hardly look at plants. For this example I will show plants that can be used as fishing hooks and plants that have naturally occurring spikes. Even though the plans shown in this article are specific to my geographic area, most areas across the planet have some form of plant that can be used in a similar way. Note: Plants need to be studied before being considered for safe and effective use.

I did not make mention of the plant names but would recommend that the plan features to be considered are to be tested for viable use. There are 8 things to consider when working with plants as a shinobi:

  • Toxicity
  • Edibility
  • Fiber strength
  • Growth area
  • Natural environment
  • Disturbance visibility
  • Ease of use
  • Scent emission when damaged

An example would be a plant high in fiber would be easiest to use in making knots and rope-like items where a plant low in fiber will easily crack and normally gives off a sharp scent. Thorny plants need to be tested because some plant species' thorns detach easily while others are part of the growth and very resilient to force. Note: This is highly dependent on the environment and different climates change these most factors.

The plant in the image below has a high fiber strength and the thorns are resilient to force. It is good for use when fishing, trapping and as a deterrent.

hard thorns
hard thorns

The plant in the image below is young and low in harder fiber strength and is not good for use.

soft thorns
soft thorns

The plant in the image below is low in fiber strength but the spikes are extremely sharp and hard. Good for trapping and deterrent use.

green leaf thorns
green leaf thorns

Making use of the natural occurring plants and elements to help with survival is crucial knowledge to a shinobi. Using modern and natural survival elements have advantages and disadvantages that can only be experienced in practice and cannot be transmitted with written word only.

Do your best to familiarize yourself with the modern and natural survival aids and skills available to the shinobi.

Article written by Yuhkimaru Musashi
Yuhkimaru of the Musashi clan is avid student of survival skills and martial arts used during the era of the Samurai. Yuhkimaru aims to use his writing skills and knowledge of human psychology to further the ideals of the Musashi clan and share it with the world. Wisdom from the past carry much weight towards the application of the clan principles for use in modern times. "To insure the security of a bright future through education for all the people of the world is my dream." (Yuhkimaru)