Were there ninja bloodlines and generations of ninja families?
Yes, you were born into it, and you were probably a landowner or working those fields, fixed to a particular estate. Loyalty would have tied you to an area and your family. It was very feudal.
Is being a ninja more a tactic than a defining identity?
You go back in history and the whole thing becomes extremely vague. Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military theoretician, talks about the art and necessity of deception if you want to win in war. And it’s from that belief that the ninja crept into Japanese life. There’s evidence in old fables of underhand, secretive assassin types.