Yep. You can't really separate it out as that's the way Kurt (who did the ninja) tends to model. He starts with nurbs primitives, pushing and pulling CVs and lining up seams...then converts to poly to merge pieces and start detailing. Then, like Dave said, it's back and forth between poly/sub-d.
If you want a good pure poly modelling tut, try the apache...it's long but really worth it and completely step-by-step. It's not organic, but is really the same technique you'd use. Otherwise, just do a google on box modelling characters or something....lots of info out there.
"Terminat Bora Diem, Terminal Auctor opus."