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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ask a Ninja


Being a ninja is serious business.

Just ask Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, creators of the award-winning video podcast Ask a Ninja, which features the hilarious witticisms of a masked martial artist.

Luckily for non-ninjas who aspire to be inducted into the International Order of Ninjas, The Ninja Handbook, which hits shelves Tuesday, can serve as a sherpa through the rigorous learning process. Read the book to discover how to build a proper ninja clan, execute deadly kicks and defeat vampire pumpkins. (What Ninja Handbook won't teach you is how to jump from a successful web video series into a movie deal, a feat that Nichols and Sarine have pulled off -- they're working on an Attack of the Killer Tomatoes remake.)

Ninja Handbook is no slapdash rehash of the web videos, according to Nichols. "It's all original material written by myself and Douglas [Sarine]," he said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We really wanted to expand upon the world we've thought about and imagined, and play to that."

With Nichols' help, wrangled The Ninja himself away from his busy duties in the International Order of Ninjas to give us a few tips to help us on our path to ninjahood. (Watch a video, after the jump, of the Ninja going into more detail about the book.) We're just grateful he didn't kill us. How can we join The International Order of Ninjas?

The Ninja: If you want to become a true ninja you have to start training at six weeks old. This book is the second-best way. And even then, if you want to become a full-fledged ninja you have to enter a ninternship. But only two people have every survived: Joan of Arc and Ben Franklin. And this kid from Montana. It's a very rigorous process. What would be a good ninja weapon for beginners?

The Ninja: Ninjas can kill people with practically any object, even atoms of salt. So for non-ninjas who want to live, start out with something considerably less sharp. Like a water bottle. Or a chair that your mom doesn't really care about. What's the first step?

The Ninja: A good clan name. It should be a collection of things that confuse and scare people. It's kind of like a lethal Mad Libs process of picking a noun, verb and action. Like the Clan of the Very Deadly Shoebox. Be honest. What are our chances of surviving The Deadly Path to Ninjadom?

The Ninja: There's nothing to ensure that. I can guarantee this book will be the book of their lives. Either they will embrace it and, perish the thought, become an actual ninja, or it will kill them. Either way, it will be a seminal moment in their lives. Just some lives will be longer than others. Is there anything we can do to increase our shot at survival?

The Ninja: Being very quiet and very quick. Even when you think you're being completely silent, your body is making sounds. You will need to do things like explore every sound your body makes and categorize them, fight beasts and make flags out of felt. It's all very deadly stuff.