The Mystic Arts of the Ninja begins with a discussion of the history of ninjutsu and some of its historical figures such as: Hattori Hanzo, Fujibayashi Nagato, and Kato Danjo. This historical view of ninjutsu is then compared with the limited conventional view of the day revolving around moonlit nights with black masked assassins murdering their enemies.
Following this discussion of history, Stephen Hayes then explains the Fu No Kata, and how fighting skills for self-protection are much different than the martial arts often taught in sport focused schools. Japanese ninjutsu evolved from the need for pragmatic self-protection under difficult odds in a time of continuous civil warfare.
The Mystic Arts of the Ninja then continues with a discussion of ninja aruhi ~ stealth and ningu ~ ninja tools to include the han-bo and ninja sword. Both of these sections contain several photos (as does the whole book) helping the reader learn the techniques described.
In-ton the art of concealment and camouflage is discussed next. This chapter includes a discussion on gontonpo ~ the five element concealing and escaping methods. Gontonpo looks at general combat and escape strategies as represented by the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Stephen Hayes continues with a discussion of the shuriken. Although often thought of as a "ninja weapon" many other Ryu included shurikenjutsu as part of their training. Here however we see the way the shuriken is employed within the art of ninjutsu.
The book concludes with a brief discussion of saiminjutsu ~ the ninja's power of directing the mind.
I enjoyed reading The Mystic Arts of the Ninja, and found it to be well written and illustrated with numerous photographs. This book should be in the collection of any student of ninjutsu.