posted on Jul, 11 2005 @ 01:37 AM
Well funny when I did a google search on league of shadows I got your posts rather than anything relatively useful ... but as far as secret societies
go the oldest known (at least to the Western world) "secret" societies date back to the Crusades. Many modern orders such as the Freemasons tie
into older Christian Knights (Knights of Malta, and so on) societies that were generally created by middle and upper class citizens who pledged their
lives towards the many crusades (battles with Islam).
I think your question is not at all stupid I found myself wondering the same things when I saw Batman, and while I suspect this idea is fictional,
it's quite a curious one, which is simply asking the question "are there secret societies in the Eastern world?" Certainly there are many well
known and lesser known cults of martial arts of various flavors (the League of Shadows in Batman is purportedly a Ninja cult) that largely trace their
roots to the flow of Buddhism through China and to Japan.
It's interesting to me now thinking about this to see how these ancient "orders" were generally tied to religion in some way. In the Western world
this relates to the tales of King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail, with ancient knights who would pledge their lives to the re-capture of
Jerusalem from the Islamic armies, and contrary to what Bin Laden professes, was actually held successfully until the breakup of the Ottoman Empire
less than 100 years ago.
There was a huge ideological battle between Catholic/Christian-based society and Islamic society, much of this centered about the control of the
"Holy Lands" after the fall of the Roman Empire, which had taken the province of Judea, in which time Jesus is said to have lived (see the movie Ben
Similarly, the modern forms of martial arts derive from the teachings of the Shaolin Monks and earlier, which are supposedly remnants of certain
survival and hand to hand combat skills taught by the Buddha himself as he traveled over the Himalayas from India to China. Many strains of Kung-Fu
claim "pure" roots to these ancient styles and are therefore "better" than some of the newer forms, although their purpose in today's political
structure is essentially health, fitness, and self-defense. As travelers learned and brought these forms to the Koreas and to Japan, new forms arose
that each society claims are superior to the older forms. It is in my own brief studies of karate and more recently kendo that I have found this
information out, mostly by reading random books on the history of the martial arts.
The Ninja cults tend to be less public and more obscure from the apparent purposes and presence in the Western world. It is less clear from these
books what the history of ninjas are, and if they existed before the time of Buddha. But, the Batman movie adequately captures a sense that we in the
Western world have of ancient mythical Eastern cults. People that I have met from Eastern countries (esp. China) often claim in conversation that
their society is "older" than Western societies, and indeed, their calendar certainly is if nothing else, dating back before the time of Jesus
Christ. While it's not clear how (and why) the sacking of Rome would have been carried out by roving bands of Ninja tribes, it is certainly
well-known what Genghis Khan and his meandering warriors did to what is now Bahgdad Iraq (and why China built the Great Wall).
The best thing to do is to conduct your own research in the literature, and get back to us with your results, as Google will probably be limited since
nothing much is available online on this subject.