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Thread: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

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    Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Hola all,
    I just read a response under the recent thread about Shihan Van Donk. In it the scribe says that Shihan Van Donk is a 10th degree Ninjutsu black belt and a 14th degree Taijutsu black belt.

    What I am getting to is this: Is there a difference between ninjutsu and budo taijutsu or is it just a name change. I am asking this because in the last dojo I studied Budo Taijutsu at the instructor (a talented Nidan) said that Budo Taijutsu was only the physical skills (H2H and related, and weapons) and did not cover the entirety of the 18 skills of the Bujinkan that included field craft, stealth, and the other skills traditionally associated with the "ninja."

    Based off of what my former instructor said and this response in the other thread is there a difference between Ninjutsu and Budo Taijutsu, can you still study "Ninjutsu" as opposed to Budo Taijutsu? I am really curious because if that is the case I would like to find a "Ninjutsu" instructor since the last time I studied it it really helped me in my field training and instruction (believe it or not) with the Army and Air Force.

    On another note how is it in the Jinenkan and Genbukan, do they teach the field skills (non-combat) and how is it done? I understand that Genbukan calls it ninpo and they have a jutaijutsu/jujutsu program alongside their taijutsu/ninpo progression program (I think)?

    Thanks much.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Hi Hudson69,

    Okay, this may get a little complicated, so bear with me here.

    In the 70's and early 80's what is commonly refered to as Ninjutsu (refering to the Takamatsu Den arts, Togakure Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu etc) were all refered to under the generic title of Togakure Ryu. It is thought that that was primarily because the Togakure Ryu has the longest list of Soke, with 34, so that gave it the highest degree of respect. This is not dissimilar to arts such as Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu also encompassing arts such as Irraku Ryu Kusari Gama and Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu.

    The name was later changed to the Bujinkan System of Martial Arts, with a focus on Ninpo Taijutsu, then changed again to Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu in the 90's. This was done to reflect the fact that Togakure Ryu is only one of 9 different arts that go towards to makeup of the Bujinkan systems, and the change from Ninpo Taijutsu to Budo Taijutsu reflects the fact that the majority of arts in the Bujinkan are not what would be considered "Ninjutsu" arts, although most have some connection.

    The other reason the name was changed was due to the fact that the various systems are not commonly taught as separate individual arts, but rather the various principles of each are combined to make a unified approach to combat currently refered to as Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. There are less-charitable reasons that could be listed here, but they are unnecessary, so I'll leave them.

    So that's the name dealt with. As to what is encompassed in the teachings, commonly in the Bujinkan schools only the physical skills as listed. The other aspects of the Bugei Juhappan and Ninja Juhakkei are really just symbolic of training every aspect of yourself to as high a level as possible (or at least, that's how I approach the concept), but you can still find particular parts taught depending on which school you are learning from. For example, we have held workshops on bajutsu (horsemanship), Kyujutsu (archery), Intonjutsu (stealth and concealment) and more. So it could be taught, or it could not. But Budo Taijutsu as only the physical is a rather narrow interpretation in my opinion. The term Taijutsu refers to the body skills, so that is the physical, but the term Budo refers to the methods and approaches of the warrior, so that is much more far reaching to my mind.

    When it comes to studying Ninjutsu rather than Budo Taijutsu, it can be done, but is not common. You would need to find someone who can, and will, teach you pretty much nothing but Togakure Ryu (pretty well acknowledged as the only completely "ninjutsu" system being taught, Gyokushin Ryu and Kumogakure Ryu being rarely taught at all), including not only the Densho material (Santo Tonso No Kata, Ukemi no Kata, Hiden Kata, Bikenjutsu etc), but also all the Kuden aspects to the art as well. Not easy. The Bujinkan teachings actually encompass much more than just Ninjutsu, so you are limiting what you would get out of them if that is all you are looking for.

    To be honest, I don't think you've had much exposure to Ninjutsu, rather you have experienced Bujinkan methods, which may or may not have included Ninjutsu aspects to them. But systems such as Togakure Ryu are still not very well understood in the main (even after the theme of a year ago, it's just a very unusual art, and very different to systems such as Koto, Gyokko, or Takagi Yoshin Ryu), so the amount of exposure you would have had in the past is probably minimal, just so you know.

    The Jinenkan focus on individual Ryu-ha study, taking each scroll in order, and learning the techniques the way they are written. So, yes, you will most likely learn the other aspects, but that will be quite a way down the track. The focus there is on the basics, so you will spend the first few years (at least!) just working on those, taken from various Ryu. But remember that each art you learn will be based on what your instructor has already studied themselves, if htey haven't studied Togakure, but they have studied Kukishinden, then you will be learning Kukishinden Ryu first.

    The Genbukan was formed around 1984, and in the early 90's it was split into two sections, the Genbukan which focused on the Ninjutsu and Ninjutsu-related systems, and the Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei (KJJR). My personal feeling on this is that it is a reflection of the various teachers that Tanemura Sensei learnt from, and a way to more easily manage the various lineages he holds. He has since added to that another grouping known as Koryu Karate, as well as having a section devoted to the Amatsu Tatara, but that is only for high level members on the Genbukan if I recall correctly. You can be a member of just the Genbukan, the Genbukan and the KJJR, or more, and you will recieve rank in each of the various organisations as appropriate.

    As to whether or not the "field skills" are taught here, again if you study the individual Ryu-ha, then that includes the Kuden, so yes. In the Genbukan/KJJR you can study an individual system after achieving Sandan. This is a great way to get the real depth of an individual Ryu, but remember that you are limiting what you get out of it if you choose a system as limited as Togakure Ryu. So most in the KJJR choose arts such as Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu or Asayama Ichiden Ryu, and in the Genbukan I think Gyokko Ryu is one of the most popular. Tanemura Sensei has recently begun teaching Tai Kais on single Ryu, and has one planned for 2010 on Gikan Ryu, so maybe a number of people will study this rare art after that.

    Finally, on Richard's rank, the idea of him being a 10th Dan in Ninpo Taijutsu and a 14th Dan in Budo Taijutsu I think is confusing you a bit. For one thing, he is a 15th Dan these days, although that is really a 10th Dan. In the Bujikan the 10th Dan is split into 5 separate sub-levels, each named for a particular element (Chi, Sui, Ka, Fu, Ku), and for expediency and simplicity they are commonly refered to as 11th-15th Dan. So I think that the 10th Dan was given when the name used for the art licenced was Ninpo Taijutsu, and his later certificates came after they were changed. That's all.

    Oh, by the way, any members from these various groups please feel free to correct anything I've gotten wrong here. I'm sure there's one or two things, I'm going from memory...
    With respect,
    Chris Parker

    www.ninjutsuaustralia.com

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parker View Post
    The Jinenkan focus on individual Ryu-ha study, taking each scroll in order, and learning the techniques the way they are written. So, yes, you will most likely learn the other aspects, but that will be quite a way down the track. The focus there is on the basics, so you will spend the first few years (at least!) just working on those, taken from various Ryu. But remember that each art you learn will be based on what your instructor has already studied themselves, if htey haven't studied Togakure, but they have studied Kukishinden, then you will be learning Kukishinden Ryu first.
    I read an interview with Manaka sensei that he will never grant licensure in Togakure ryu or any other ryu, except possibly jinen ryu. So I don't think you can learn just togakure ryu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parker View Post
    You can be a member of just the Genbukan, the Genbukan and the KJJR, or more, and you will recieve rank in each of the various organisations as appropriate.
    Yep. althouth in order to receive dan rankings in ninpo, you need an equivalent dan ranking in KJJR jujutsu. Higher level practisioners usually alternate the exams.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Parker View Post
    As to whether or not the "field skills" are taught here, again if you study the individual Ryu-ha, then that includes the Kuden, so yes. In the Genbukan/KJJR you can study an individual system after achieving Sandan. This is a great way to get the real depth of an individual Ryu, but remember that you are limiting what you get out of it if you choose a system as limited as Togakure Ryu.
    Actually, this is true, but it is not only for yourself that you do this, it is also an obligation to the JMA traditions. From various things I read, I have the impression that Tanemura sensei wants the individual ryuha to survive and be passed on.

    So learning an individual ryuha is not only for yourself, but also to make sure they survive. From shihan dan levels, you have to achieve menkyo kaiden in a number of systems in order to progress to the next dan grade.

    A reason that only higher level practisioners can receive licensure is (IMO) to prevent the lineages from exploding and people training only to achieve menkyo kaiden and then running off to form their own system. Sandan in Genbukan takes 15 years or so to achieve, so by then you are probably there to stay.
    武道は花道ではありません

    Diplomacy is about haggling with people you'd prefer to shoot, which results in agreements that everyone hates, but can't live without.

    To practice deadly but not drilled fully OR not deadly but drilled against full resistance; that is the question.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno@MT View Post
    Yep. althouth in order to receive dan rankings in ninpo, you need an equivalent dan ranking in KJJR jujutsu. Higher level practisioners usually alternate the exams.
    I don't believe that is entirely true. I personally know of a few people who have no KJJR ranking, but have dan grades in ninpo. There are also some dojo, if I'm not mistaken, that require you to learn KJJR first before going into ninpo. It is pretty much up to the dojo-cho, from what I understand.

    As far as ryu-ha training, Tanemura Soke seems to have opened this up a bit from what it used to be. If I'm not mistaken, you didn't necessarily get to choose what ryu-ha you'd study. Of course now the Genbukan has ryu-ha Tai Kai, in which students are allowed to either obtain shoden menkyo ranking if they are a dan grade, and kirigami ranking if they are kyu level. For instance, Koto Ryu is being taught at the Canadian Tai Kai in a couple of weeks. Next year I believe Togakure Ryu is being taught at the German Tai Kai, and in 2011 Gikan Ryu will be taught at the Japan Tai Kai. After that I have no idea if a student's study of those ryu-ha will progress once they reach the higher levels. I'd pretty much bet big money that Gikan Ryu will not be taught past the Japan Tai Kai, nor Togakure Ryu past that Tai Kai...at least not to every Tom, Dick, and Harry.
    Eric Bell

    Genbukan Ninpo

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Quote Originally Posted by EWBell View Post
    I don't believe that is entirely true. I personally know of a few people who have no KJJR ranking, but have dan grades in ninpo. There are also some dojo, if I'm not mistaken, that require you to learn KJJR first before going into ninpo. It is pretty much up to the dojo-cho, from what I understand.
    If you look at this page (all renshi level practisioners and above)
    http://www.genbukan.org/cgi-bin/site.pl?aboveRenshi

    You'll see that there is exactly 1 person to which this doesn't apply, and this could be because he is active and has dan grades in judo, kendo, and taiho-jutsu.

    Given that observation and the fact it is mentioned explicitly in the genbukan rule book, I'd say that it is entirely true, and that Morisawa sensei has receivedan exemption under special circumstances.

    It is true that you can reach shodan in ninpo without being a KJJR member. To progress after that to master level, you need the KJJR grade.
    武道は花道ではありません

    Diplomacy is about haggling with people you'd prefer to shoot, which results in agreements that everyone hates, but can't live without.

    To practice deadly but not drilled fully OR not deadly but drilled against full resistance; that is the question.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno@MT View Post
    If you look at this page (all renshi level practisioners and above)
    http://www.genbukan.org/cgi-bin/site.pl?aboveRenshi

    You'll see that there is exactly 1 person to which this doesn't apply, and this could be because he is active and has dan grades in judo, kendo, and taiho-jutsu.

    Given that observation and the fact it is mentioned explicitly in the genbukan rule book, I'd say that it is entirely true, and that Morisawa sensei has receivedan exemption under special circumstances.

    It is true that you can reach shodan in ninpo without being a KJJR member. To progress after that to master level, you need the KJJR grade.
    Right, all but one of the current master-level instructors have both rankings. However, looking at the current rules for the Renshi title it says "Yondan in Ninpo/KJJR. Shoden in a Ryuha." I take that to mean that you have to have a yondan in either Ninpo or the KJJR, not both. Nowhere in the rules does it ever say you have to join more than one of the organizations. Doesn't matter though, because I'm nowhere near obtaining a master-level ranking.
    Eric Bell

    Genbukan Ninpo

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Interesting. I checked and you are right.
    Yet my sensei told me this and I distinctly remember reading it somewhere.
    I will check with my sensei tonight and post back here.
    武道は花道ではありません

    Diplomacy is about haggling with people you'd prefer to shoot, which results in agreements that everyone hates, but can't live without.

    To practice deadly but not drilled fully OR not deadly but drilled against full resistance; that is the question.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    That's fine, I'll ask my sensei as well since he's on that master-level instructors page. No matter what the answer is, I have a lot more study, sweat, bruises, etc. before I can even begin to worry myself about that situation.
    Eric Bell

    Genbukan Ninpo

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    I'll start worrying right about... never, probably
    武道は花道ではありません

    Diplomacy is about haggling with people you'd prefer to shoot, which results in agreements that everyone hates, but can't live without.

    To practice deadly but not drilled fully OR not deadly but drilled against full resistance; that is the question.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    Here we are again.
    I asked my sensei.

    It is not mandatory to grade in both systems, as in 'it is not written in the rules'. However, Soke says it is 'best' if you grade in both because it makes you a more complete fighter with a broader knowledge. So while it is not in the rules, there is probably the unspoken expectation to do what Soke thinks is best.
    武道は花道ではありません

    Diplomacy is about haggling with people you'd prefer to shoot, which results in agreements that everyone hates, but can't live without.

    To practice deadly but not drilled fully OR not deadly but drilled against full resistance; that is the question.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    I got essentially the same response from my sensei as well. I know we kind of hijacked the thread, so I apologize to the OP and others who tried to answer his question.

    If one wants to study actual ninjutsu, then be prepared to do many, many years of taijutsu before the keys are handed over and you learn ninjutsu skills. This is even true if you tried to bypass the Takamatsuden and go to someone like Kawakami. I think even he requires 10 years of bujutsu study before you actually learn his ninjutsu. Honestly though, how much ninjutsu do you really need? In my opinion taijutsu is much more applicable for today than sneaking around,spying, making poisons, and explosives. I think those techniques need to be preserved, and they have been so far. However, the opportunity to learn it all is for a very small group of very dedicated practitioners.
    Eric Bell

    Genbukan Ninpo

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    kaizasosei is offline
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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

    the spiritual side of ninjutsu is also called ninpo by many practitioners of the arts nowadays.

    When you say ninjutsu, it sounds like you are talking about wizardry. But when i think of ninjutsu i think of simple stealth tactics soldiers with many tricks and knowledge of how to employ and manipulate nature.
    Wizardry is known as senjutsu and encompasses many teachings more or less identical with many concepts in taichi. So the key would be taijutsu. Then many of the techniques of wizardry having to do with power spots and various mental techniques of manipulating the surrounding energies. like hojutsu or dojutsu. Having to do with directions or with directions in a certain vector or bodily mass that are moving or living.

    There is so much more to this subject than meets the eye.


    But simply, budo taijutsu is the prefered name for the one art. Why? Calling the art ninjutsu in japan can easily evoke negative images and come off like saying 'i am into some pretty freaky stuff' or more likely like a child that wants to be superman. This is because many people do not know that there are actual schools nowadays and can't understand.
    budo taijutsu you narrow it down for them, budo evoke good, strong even morals and all, taijutsu does sound like some authentic skill a warrior would need to have...so it's just plain good. AT least or especially in japan, ninjutsu evokes the image of murder, treachery and deceit.

    But maybe that will change some now that the art is being practiced in such a constructive way internationally.

    I just say budo...could be anything right. Some people asked what kind of budo... then i just say yes.
    Last edited by kaizasosei; 09-04-2009 at 04:16 PM.

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    Re: Ninjutsu vs. Budo Taijutsu?

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