One of the most important parts of ninjutsu in Naruto are the hand signs. For each special move, there is a different main hand sign, or multiple hand signs, that triggers the ability. While fans may marvel at Sasuke's fire breath or Naruto's shadow clones, it's the hand signs that help those flashy moves happen.
Each of the 12 basic hand signs takes inspiration from Chinese astrology. Also, quite a few of them are associated with specific nature releases and styles. For example, the Rooster or Bird hand sign is paramount in Wind Release ninjutsu. Between the hand motions and the meanings behind them, these signs can get pretty complex. If any Naruto lovers out there want to quickly learn about the basics, here is A Guide To Naruto Hand Signs.
For the Rooster hand sign, users connect their thumbs, index, and pinky fingers. Otherwise, the other fingers are dropped between them. While the sign shows up in several ninjutsu, it is most commonly used in Wind Release nature transformations. This means that Naruto uses the Rooster sign quite a bit. However, all of the seals are used in various abilities.
For example, Gaara uses all basic hand signs while summoning some of his jinchuriki powers in the Chunin Exams. Temari, Jiraiya, and Minato are other well-known ninja that rely heavily on Wind Release and the Rooster hand sign.
While the Boar hand sign isn't connected to a particular nature transformation, it does serve another important purpose: this sign is the first ninja using in any Summoning Jutsu. As Naruto progresses, Summoning Jutsu becomes more and more important. This ability summons Jiraiya's famous toads, Orochimaru's snakes, or Tsunade's slugs. Even the Third Hokage uses the move to summon a primate companion in battle.
When using this hand seal, a ninja has to have their elbows out and their palms facing downward. From there, make fists and connect them at the wrists. The Boar seal is, by far, one of the most uncomfortable ones to maneuver.
By placing their left hand flat on top of their right fist, a ninja creates the Dog hand seal. This hand seal is used most in Water Release ninjutsu. In both Zabuza and Kisame, the hand seal is used several times to create their signature moves. For Zabuza, that's Water Dragon Jutsu. Both previous members of Kirigakure, they shine some light on the fearsome and powerful nature of the village.
The hand sign evolves in Naruto The Movie: Clash in the Land of Snow, where the Dog hand sign also is used in Ice Release.
While the Dragon hand sign is very complicated itself, the Jutsu it features most in is pretty easy to figure out. After all, they are Dragon Flame Jutsu, Water Dragon Jutsu, and Earth Dragon Jutsu. Apparently the Dragon seal is used in dragon ninjutsu, which is a bit crazy if you think about it. Zabuza, Sasuke, and Hiruzen all use this.
When it comes to making the hand sign, though, it's a little more complex. A user starts by connecting their pinkies, but after that it's a stacking game. Each corresponding finger much be stacked on top of one another (thumb to thumb, index to index, etc.) but the left one must always be on top. Then, all fingers are fanned out to make a sort of teardrop formation.
The Hare hand sign looks a lot more complicated than it is. To start, make your left hand a single-barrel finger gun. Then, lay your right hand flat. While sliding the left thumb between your right pinky and ring finger, gently close your fist (other than the pinky). Annoyingly complex in theory, but easy once tried.
Despite having such a complex look, the Hare hand sign is just tossed randomly into a bunch of Jutsu. For example, this awkward motion is shoved into the middle of the Chidori and the Ice Release: Rouge Nature Jutsu. A true hand master is needed to do this seal quickly without fumbling.
By far, any move Sasuke does often becomes a fan-favorite. After all, despite any of the bad things he's done, Naruto lovers still adore him. One of Sasuke's most iconic moves is an Uchiha classic, as the Fireball can be seen in Sasuke's Fireball Jutsu. In a particularly tremendous battle, Sasuke uses Naruto's hands to help him create the correct signs to summon the fire. The Horse is also only one of two spells used in the Dispel Jutsu.
Creating the Horse sign is a little more difficult than others. To start, a ninja must connect their index fingers with their palms facing in. Afterwards, they must stack the knuckles of their other fingers with right digits always on top.
The Chidori is one of the two most popular signature moves in Naruto, the other being the Rasengan. While Naruto mastered the Rasengan, Sasuke mastered the Chidori. The Monkey hand seal is the vital final hand sign used in during the first two levels of the Chidori.
However, the Chidori isn't the Monkey sign's only use. In summoning Zabuza's infamously long Water Dragon Jutsu, it's used six times. To create the Monkey hand seal, the process is pretty simple: rest the right hand on top of the left, pinkies and thumbs flush to one another.
While the Ox hand sign can be intimidating, it's one of the easiest to master. If a ninja spreads out the fingers of both palms and then turns their right hand horizontal and left hand vertical, they've done most of the work. Now, just slide the fingers of the right hand through the left. Finally, press down the middle and ring fingers of the left hand to create a bullhorns look.
This sign is used twice in the used twice in Phoenix Safe Fire Technique. A Fire Release move, every major Uchiha in Naruto uses it, with the inclusion of a few other, strong fire users.
When it comes to Naruto, the Ram hand sign is pretty important for some of his favorite moves. Between Summoning Jutsu (it ends the summoning) and Shadow Clone Jutsu (it's one of three hand signs used), the Ram is vital. Even though Naruto sometimes skips out on some of the basic hand signs, they still matter.
For a ninja to create the Ram hand seal, connect your index and middle fingers. Then curl your leftover right hand fingers in and cover them with your free left fingers. Results may vary, as this is arguably the most confusing hand sign to replicate. There's differing descriptions of how to do it all over the internet.
Though Fire Releases are generally, but not exclusively, for the Uchiha clan, the Rat hand sign is particular to the Nara clan. After all, they are the clan with shadow abilities and, like others are tied to nature transformations, the Rat sign is for shadows.
Fan-favorite Shikamaru Nara is often using this sign in his ninjutsu. His signature move, Shadow Possession, uses the hand sign as a trigger. To create the Rat hand sign, a ninja makes a fist out of their left hand, but then extends the middle and index fingers. Then, they wrap their right hand around the extended left-hand digits.
When it comes to nature transformation, the Serpent hand sign is most versatile. While other hand signs mostly only focus one style, Serpent features heavily in Earth, Lightning, and Wood Releases. This means it can be seen in sparky ninja like Kakashi or Sasuke and also grounded ones, like Hiruzen and Hashirama.
However, beyond nature transformations, the hand seal is useful in Shadow Clone Jutsu. Though it isn't Lightning, Wood, or Earth, the Serpent hand sign is one of the three signs used (even if Naruto never uses all three). To make Serpent, all a ninja has to do is intertwine all of their fingers, making sure their left thumb is on the outside.
The Tiger hand seal will most used by Uchiha clan members. After all, the Uchiha clan is one of the most proficient in Fire Release ninjutsu. The sign is a part of most of of Sasuke's most signature fire abilities. Furthermore, when Itachi and Sasuke use one-handed nunjutsu, often they are just using one half of the Tiger hand sign.
To make a Tiger hand seal, the user must connect their index finger and thumbs together and lay them flat. Meanwhile, all their other fingers weave together in a tight-knit seal that can cause a lot of fire damage.