The game begins with the game asking the player to enter their initials. The player starts the game as a white belt, and the object of the game is to pass four events in order to advance in belt rank. In order to advance to the next exercise, the player must beat the qualifying score shown in the lower left corner and has three tries to beat it, except for the second event which has no qualifying score. All except one of the events is reflex based.
The first event has the player standing in the middle of the screen, and the object is to deflect arrows that come flying out from either the left or the right of the screen by punching or kicking them. Low arrows require a kick and high arrows require a punch. The player scores points by successfully deflecting an arrow, if the arrow hits the player no points are received. The total score of all three tries is added up for a total score.
The second event is the classic event where the player has to chop a slab a wood with their bare hands. The object is to alternate in pushing two keys (the "V" and "B" keys on the ZX Spectrum version) to advance the power meter until it passes the line, if the player has advanced the power meter passed the line before time runs out, they will chop the wood and receive points. If not, the player will not chop the wood and no points are received. The player gets three attempts at this event and each successful chop adds points to the total score. This is the only event that doesn't have a qualifying score and is also the only one that doesn't test the players reflexes.
The third event has the player equipped with a sword and the object is to deflect ninja stars that come out from the right side of the screen. The ninja stars come out at three different heights: high, middle, low. There is a key for striking high, middle, and low in order to deflect the ninja stars. Like the first event, the player has three attempts to beat the qualifying time, and all attempts add to the total score. Points are received by successfully deflecting a ninja star, and if a ninja star hits the player no points are received.
The final event does not relate to the previous three events, it is a shooting gallery type event. The player is fixed at the center of the screen holding a gun and a cylinder moves across the screen from right to left. The player must time the shot correctly so that it hits exactly when the cylinder passes over the gun. The player receives points for successfully hitting the cylinder, and missed shots receive no points. Like the first and third event, there is a qualifying score and the player has three attempts which add to the total score.
Once all the events are complete and if the player beat all the qualifying scores they move up in belt rank. The belt ranks are as followed (in order from least to greatest): white, yellow, green, blue, brown, and black. As the player advances in belt rank the qualifying scores get higher and the game increases in difficulty. Beating the events again after becoming a black belt ends the game, and the player receives the title of true ninja master.