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Hi light

So you want to be a ninja? Ninjas are one of the most famous types of warriors in the world. They were masters in spying, sabotage, assassination and guerrilla warfare. To help them, they developed a martial art (ninjitsu) that relied on disguise and trickery, as well as on armed and unarmed combat. They even developed tons of clever weapons and gadgets (Check out Page 3!). Did you know that ninjas did not in fact wear black clothes? They usually wore dark blue since black will actually make them appear as a silhouette, which is not the best way to stay hidden. Most of the time however, the ninja would look like everyone else. They had day jobs, cover stories and a whole false life to keep them from looking suspicious. Monks, peasants, farmers, blacksmiths, dancers, performers... your next door neighbour could be a ninja and you wouldn’t know! Female ninjas were rare, didn’t wear red costumes and were actually called kunoichi. Some were fighters like the men, but most often, they were trained as spies and messengers to help gather information that would help their clan. Now you might be thinking, how hard is it to be a ninja j anyways? y y Well, physiWel We ell, ll, ninjas nin niinjas as d did d a lo lot ot off ph p phy hyysiysi tried cal all train trainin ttraining a ning n ga and d trie ed to o keep kee ke ep ep

their body weight around 60 kilograms. They lifted 60-kilogram rice bags with one hand for strength, sprinted at great speeds backwards and sideways, and trained hard to develop skills in climbing, jumping, swimming and moving through difficult terrain. Finger strengthening exercises were done so they could hang from trees and walls for hours. They were forbidden from eating meat and ate brown rice to boost their concentration. A boy training to be a ninja would have to acquire some understanding of explosives, poisons, and other skills to survive. They would learn how to purify water and cook rice. The young ninja would have to keep physically fit and his favourite pastime activities in the future would include scaling walls of fortresses, enduring the strikes of martial arts opponents on various parts of the body, etc. The boys learned the principles of ninjitsu through their dads, who were there primary instructors throughout their life. They also had to learn basic drawing skills as the ninja might be, later in life, expected to draw maps. Ninjas even went to school so they could learn how to read and write. That’s not all, young ninjas learned underwater breathing by utilising g techniques q Later bamboo b amboo boo o tu tubes. ttubes es. s. L Late La ate in life they might hide mig migh igh h h ht have ve e tto o hid d for hours under th the he surface ssurfa u face ce of of a lake or river to detection avoid det detec ecct c io ion by enemies. They we were also given vital swordsmanship training; sw worrds rdssm the th he ki kkids kid dss were taught deal with a how tto how ho od attackers. They ring of atta how to throw also l o learned earned ho

spears, shuriken and shoot arrows so they could hit a target accurately. Now if you’re thinking that after training to be a ninja, you would become the ultimate fighter, then you’re wrong. Ninjas were not typical warriors, and while they were trained to fight more than one opponent, they considered escape a victory! Their enemies usually outnumbered them, so they used tricks that would scare or injure their enemies. The ninja’s main job was to spy on the enemy and pass along the information to their head ninja. While ninja did kill, and there were times when they acted as assassins, these jobs were not very common. Ninjas would generally use stealth, blend in with the common people instead of killing everyone in sight like in the movies. If they were part of an attack team, they would sneak into the castle days before the assault began and hide. When the attack began they would come out of their hidng places and cause panic by murdering guards, opening gates from the inside, setting fire to towers, or assassinating enemy leaders.


Hi light

The ninjas used different tools for different rent pu purposes but they rarely brought everything with them on a mission. packed their bags ssion. They pac depending on their mission. Here are the five important weap weapons and tools that every ninja would carry: rry:

A shuriken (translated as: sword hidden in the hand) was generally used for throwing, and sometimes stabbing or slashing. Shuriken are commonly, and mistakenly, known in the West as “throwing stars” or “ninja stars” though they took many different shapes and designs during the time they were used. Shuriken was the name given to any, small sharp object and they were made from a variety of everyday items such as needles, nails, and knives, as well as coins, washers, and other flat plates of metal.

A kunai is a cross between a knife and a paint scraper, to cut and carve and eventu eventually make a hole through ugh which the ninja could get inside. nside. Many ninja developed weapons from farming tools. Since ince kunai were cheaply produced ced farming tools of a decent size ze and weight, and could be easily ily sharpened, they were easily converted into simple weapons. They were mostly used just like knives. As a weapon it is larger and nd heavier than a shuriken, and d with the grip could also be used ed in hand to hand combat more e easily than a shuriken. It could ld also be used for climbing, as a kind of grappling hook.

There was also the more widely known kusarigama (sickle and chain). Attacking with the weapon usually means swinging the chain in a large circle over one’s head, and then throwing it forward to trap an opponent’s spear, sword, or other weapon. This allows the Ninja to easily rush forward and strike with the sickle. The Ninja might also strike with the spinning the chain directly while still outside the range of an opponent’s hand weapon.


Let’s say the ninja is being chased by his enemies. He’s outnumbered and has to escape, what does he do? He throws some makibishi behind him and runs off! Makibishi are small razor sharp spikes that are designed in such a way that however they land, a pointy spike will always be pointed up. The modern word caltrop is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘foot trap’ and was used to slow down people and animals. The makibishi could easily penetrate the thin shoes that were commonly worn back in the day. They could be carried in a bag attached to a belt along with other commonly carried weapons and tools.

The Ninja’s main weapon in battle was the traditional Japanese sword, the katana. The katana was used not only to attack, but also to defend. The ninja used a shorter and straighter version of the katana than the ones usually carried by the samurai. Climbing was made easier this way, especially because the ninja’s sword would not be worn on his belt, but rather over the shoulder with the blade edge up and the handle near the left ear. While exploring potentially dangerous dark places such as the shadowy corridors of castles, a ninja would balance his sword’s sheath out in front on the tip of the sword blade, with the scabbard’s cord held between his teeth. If the scabbard’s end met a hostile, the ninja would let it fall and push forward towards the enemy.

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Activity Corner

4 Ninja Nunchucks

Supplies needed: • Tube of foam (at least 16 inches) • Yarn • Pen or pencil • Scissors • Ruler (optional)


Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7

Cut the tube of foam core so you have two pieces about 8 inches long. Next, cut some yarn. Each piece should be roughly 6 inches. Using your pen or pencil, poke a hole through the foam core on one end of each foam core piece. The hole should be about an inch from the end of the tube. Stick each piece of yarn through each hole. Now tie the pieces of yarn to make little loops. Cut a piece of yarn about a foot long. Tie each end of yarn to one of the loops. In essence you have bound the two foam core pieces together creating your homemade, injury-avoiding NUNCHUCKS! Now you and your friends can have a blast battling bad guys!

Remember kids, always get permission from your parents before you start. It’s always a good idea to have a helper nearby.


World wide weird


Get your weekly dose of the unusual and funny from across the globe!

Great fall of China

Spid-ear This incy wincy spider didn’t go up the waterspout. It climbed into Ms Lee’s ear. Her ordeal began when she woke up five days prior to her hospital visit, to China’s Changsha Central Hospital, with an itchy ear canal. After medical photography discovered her head’s new tenant, doctors flushed the animal out with a saline solution because they were scared the little creature might dig his barbs in deeper if nudged. Lesson to take away from this: put a pillow over your head when you sleep. SOURCE: IO9.COM

A massive section of the centuries-old Great Wall of China collapsed after bungling workmen in northern China dug up a city square in front of it. Tons of bricks and rubble crashed down from the 100ft section of the ancient wall running through Zhangjiakou, in Hebei province, in the early hours of the morning. “There is an investigation into the causes of the collapse. A number of things may have contributed, including the building work,” said one city official. “But we have a conservation and rebuilding plan and it is already underway,” they added. The original Great Wall dates back to seventh century China, but the section in Zhangjiakou was rebuilt more than 500 years ago in 1484 during the Ming Dynasty. “The wall has been constantly rebuilt and repaired throughout history. Like any building project, some work lasts longer than others,” said one expert.

High waters Are you afraid of heights? Do you have acrophobia? If the answer to any of the questions is yes, then steer clear from what might just be the world’s scariest swimming pool. The Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiaoin in China , has built a glass-bottomed pool that partly hangs over a 24-storey drop. The pool is designed to make guests feel they are swimming in the sky. How thoughtful! “We wanted to provide our guests a unique swimming experience, and let them feel they’re vacationing even in a bustling city,” a hotel spokesperson said. One impressed hotel guest said: “I felt as if I was flying in the sky — I could also enjoy the beautiful scenery of Pudong from here.” SOURCE: WEB.ORANGE.CO.UK

Trashy escape


Sand-y expression! Who needs to toil with a bucket and spade on the beach when you can use a modified tractor to do the needful? An artist, Gunilla Klingberg, proves that sand art is simple to make as he creates the ultimate summer artwork by driving patterns into the sand using a steamroller-type vehicle set-up. The star-pattern is composed of truck tires attached to a beach cleaner tractor which print reliefs on the sand at low tide on Laga beach in Spain. The manufactured steel-cylinder is driven from side to side of the beach in the morning, creating the pattern covering the whole beach area. The pattern will be created on days when the low tide hour allows for the steamroller to work. SOURCE: WEB.ORANGE.CO.UK

Bear necessities Looks like this bear must have a real sweet tooth! This black bear just can’t resist candy as he has gone multiple times to a Colorado candy store to steal the tasty treats. The bear stole some treats from the Estes Park store, including English toffee and some chocolate-chip cookies dipped in caramel and milk chocolate called “cookie bears.” Surveillance video at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory showed the bear prying open the door and grabbing some candy near the registers. He took the treats outside and ate them, then returned for more. The bear made seven trips in about 15 minutes; finally leaving after a passing car apparently scared him away. Store owner Jo Adams said: “He was very clean and very careful. He ate a lot of candy.” SOURCE: HERALDSUN.COM

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Two prisoners, who clearly seemed to be running out of options, attempted to escape a Brazilian jail disguised as garbage. Sidney da Cruz, 24, and Carlos Pereira, 19, allegedly tried to escape the Delegacia de Furtos jail in Curitiba, Brazil, in hopes of being taken out of the prison with the real garbage. They then climbed into the plastic trash bags and somehow put themselves next to the other bags and waited until lunchtime trash was collected. Something was clearly not right when prison guard Cleverson Mineiro noted that two of the bags were “breathing”. “I was walking past the sacks of rubbish and I noticed something moving,” he told a Brazilian TV network. “At first I thought there was a rat,” he added Authorities are still trying to figure out how the two suspects tied the trash bags while inside them. SOURCE: HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

Prison break They won’t be facing any charges for escaping this heavily-guarded prison, simply because they are members of, quite literally, the animal gang. For better understanding: A kangaroo is on the run in Germany after breaking out of a wildlife park. His suspected accomplices, a fox and a wild boar! Michael Hoffmann, assistant head of the park, said the male kangaroo was one of three that escaped overnight. He said the kangaroos got out of their enclosure after a young fox snuck into the park and dug a hole next to the cage’s fencing. Two of the three were then able to get out of the park entirely through another hole dug by a wild boar under the exterior fence. Hoffmann says “We’ve got two of them back; now we’re just looking for the third.” Well, good luck with that. SOURCE: HUFFINGTONPOST.COM


Did you know?


s n i g i r O d r o W Bless You We’ll say “Bless you!” (or “God bless!”) when someone nearby sneezes, but does anyone really know why we do this? Are we trying m to protect the sneezers from evil spirits? Are we congratulating them g on their coming good luck? (As silly as this may sound now, sneezing was at one long-ago time seen as a sign of good things to come.) At one time people believed a man’s soul could come out of their bodies if they sneezed really hard, thus “Bless you!” was to protect neeze itself was their soul from the devil. On the other hand, some thought that the sneeze the demon leaving one’s body therefore the “Bless you!” Some also believed that the heart was believed to momentarily stop during a sneeze (it doesn’t), thus the “Bless you!” was uttered as a congratulation upon its successful restart. Others claim that in the old days sneezing was a sign of disease, thus the “Bless you!” was intended as a prayer for the sick.

How to say 'I love you' in different languages? Arabic : Chinese : Dutch : Esperanto : Persian (Farsi) : French : German : Greek : Gujarati : Italian : Korean :

Ana Behibek (to a female) Wo ie ni Ik hou van jou Mi amas vin Tora dust midaram Je t’aime Ich liebe Dich S’ ayapo Tane Prem Karoo Choo Ti amo Tangsinul sarang ha yo

Cool facts

Crocodiles have brains no larger than a cigar. Cheetahs were trained by man for hunting as long as 3000 BC. Horses can’t vomit. A group of frogs is called an army. Tigers can see 6 times better at night than humans. Starfish don’t die of old age. Heron’s eggs have a greenish-blue pale colour. You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider. All dolphins have a different whistle.



Fun & games

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From Our Readers

Zainab Omer Bhatti

Age: 8 Maayedah Ghani

Age: 5

The Express Tribune hi five - August 19  

The Express Tribune hi five for August 19th 2012

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