Central London Bujinkan

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Razor, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Razor

    Razor Green Belt

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    Hello guys,

    Just wondering if anyone knows anything about this dojo: Time Place

    I am interested in doing some training at it, but my instructor has not heard of it and the instructor's name is not listed on the website. My instructor encouraged me to just go to a session and see what it is like, which I will do, but I was just wondering if anyone on here might have been to it, heard of it, or have any kind of comments they would like to give on the dojo.
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    I have a feeling it's Dunc's club… but as you say, the information is scarce. I'd check with them to be sure.
     
  3. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Seems really weird that the instructor has a bio page which lists his/her training but not his/her name.

    Or maybe Mr. and Mrs. Instructor just decided to name their kid "Chief"? :D
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Actually… looking at the page in a bit more depth… I really hope it's not Dunc's club… there are some rather iffy occurrences across the site.

    We can start on the linked page… there is some katakana on the side, which is used in Japanese to write out foreign words… but reading it out seems a bit… odd. It reads: (right column, should be read first) タイミング, which is read "Taimingu" (timing), (left column) デイスタンス, which reads "Deisutansu" (days and?)… so it's written backwards… and not particularly well… to mean "days and times". Okay, that might just seem nitpicking… and it might be… so let's continue.

    The "Classes and Formats" page, under the description of "So what are the classes like?" talks about a lack of formality, likening such things to "egotistical hierarch(ies)"… uh, no… it would actually make it like traditional Japanese martial arts… of course, this is just the way the classes are run, and such approaches certainly have their place… but the seeming disdain for all the cultural Japanese elements to a supposedly "traditional Japanese martial art" school I find a little… disconcerting.

    We could then look at the "The Art" page… which has a number of rather dubious ideas put forth, and some rather ignorant sweeping generalisations and assumptions (the descriptions of other organisations and other martial arts are particularly troubling)… but let's look at some simply incorrect information. Under the heading "Different Styles of Samurai Martial Arts (Jujutsu or Bujutsu)", there are a couple of paragraphs of related systems to those found in the Bujinkan, specifically Kukishinden Ryu and Takagi Yoshin Ryu. The Kukishin material is wrong on a number of issues, but the other is worse. Instead of naming the system as Takagi Ryu, it instead constantly references it as "Yoshin Ryu". Nope, wrong, sorry, completely different art.

    Each of the systems that are cited (Hontai Yoshin Ryu, although they incorrectly cite the previous head, Inoue Munenori, who passed a number of years ago, rather than his son and successor, Inoue Kyoichi, and Moto-ha Yoshin Ryu, which is a modern branch of the Hontai Yoshin Ryu founded by a Menkyo holder in the 80's, Yasumoto Akiyoshi), although not featuring the "Takagi" portion to their name anymore, are part of the Takagi Ryu line of systems… the Yoshin Ryu line is completely different, sometimes referred to as the Akiyama Yoshin Ryu, and is no longer extant, although there are a number of systems that trace themselves back to that art, such as Shindo Yoshin Ryu, Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu, and Yoshin Ryu Naginata. But the point is that, despite the similar name, there is absolutely no connection between the Takagi systems and the Yoshin Ryu lines… so that's a major fail in simply knowing their own art.

    I'm also with Tony in that the lack of a name for the instructor is something I find a little worrying… what we can figure out is that they are at least Judan, as there's a Judan patch on the site, and there is reference to the instructor having "inadvertently accumulated all the bling, badges & grades along the way" (an interesting way to say that the grade, although coming from the head of the system, isn't something to be proud of earning…), but that's about it. Couple that with the "we're more serious than anyone else" style comments ("as this is a real martial art…"), and I really, really hope this isn't Dunc's site. If it is… it really needs to be done over, as this is the site of someone who exemplifies all the issues with the organisation (large rank, lack of belief of personal ability/earning of the grade, tacit acceptance of low quality, lack of any real knowledge or understanding, lack of awareness of a range of realities, lack of awareness of the traits of Japanese arts, a desire to be doing something more than others without actually recognising what the reality is, and so on). The more I read, the less I would recommend even contacting them.
     
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  5. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    There is also Simon Yeo whom I have met and enjoyed talking two. He comes recommended from
    a friend who spent a lot of time training with him in Japan.
    Welcome
     
  7. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's one of the ones I saw, how cool you know the chap though!
     
  8. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Met him at a Tai Kai here in the States and he's a good guy!
     
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  9. Razor

    Razor Green Belt

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    Thanks for the in depth analysis Chris, I will bear that in mind. All I can say about the lack of formality is that the sound of that reminds me of my own instructor - although he doesn't say any of that on his website, he runs his sessions in a very friendly and informal way. This is in stark contrast to training at my TJF Jujutsu club; they are very much in to lining up in grade order and shouting at one another. Just different styles I guess! I would assume he may be coming from the angle of thinking that that sort of thing is what puts people off starting some martial arts.


    Thanks Brian, yes I am aware of him! I have his book, helped me out with remembering a lot of the basics of the Kihon Happo. Very helpful for low grades as he goes through them all step by step with sections on common mistakes. His dojo is more expensive and more difficult for me to get to though, although I would like to train with him at some point, as I've heard good things too.

    Thank you for the input everyone. I am going to go for a session at this dojo tomorrow to check it out and I will come back with my view on it (for whatever it's worth coming from a 4th-kyu!).
     
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  10. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Not a problem.

    Don't get me wrong, though… there's nothing wrong with a more laid-back, relaxed atmosphere… where I have an issue is where the aspects that make it traditional Japanese art are not only ignored, but belittled. I've seen people denigrate some of, what I would call the essential aspects of Japanese martial arts… things like reiho… as they consider them not useful for "fighting". There is an odd dichotomy happening in the Bujinkan in places, where certain members want to identify themselves as training in traditional Japanese martial arts, but actively minimise, avoid, or cut out anything that would actually identify them as such.

    I mean… in pretty much all Koryu training I've dealt with (and, let's face it, that's about as "traditional Japanese martial arts" as you can get), there's always a relaxed atmosphere… except when it's necessary to be less-relaxed. It's never the uber-militarised, hyper-serious, completely regimented image that many might have of it… in fact, modern arts are more likely to do that than koryu are… but there's also never the avoidance of what makes it a traditional art in the first place.

    Ah, Simon… yeah… look, my dealings with Simon have been rather different to this… I like a lot of what he's trying to do, honestly, but there are some other questions I have over how successfully he manages it…

    Cool, look forward to it… and hoping it's not Dunc's class!
     
  11. Jameswhelan

    Jameswhelan Yellow Belt

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    it says ディスタンス
    not デイスタンス

    'Disutansu'.

    Timing and distance. Two core principles of Mr Hatsumi's art written on their page about how far you may have to travel to get to them and when you should turn up. Quite clever actually.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
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  12. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Sorry I'm an occasional visitor to MT - hence the slow reply

    That'll be my site...

    I wrote the site ages ago and haven't really given it the time it deserves

    Chris is right - The Yoshin Ryu section should be Hontai Yoshin Ryu &/or Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu and I should update the text etc
    No idea what's wrong with the kukishinden description, but it's minimal

    I try to run the club with the same level of formality that one sees in our soke's classes - ie very little vs say most traditional Japanese arts. The intention is to highlight the difference, not to disrespect other approaches

    I believe that the enforcement of hierarchies, grades etc tends to detract from the training. Maybe it's my own baggage, but to be honest, in the bujinkan's context I think it's healthy to distance oneself from that side of things. I also feel that that's consistent with how Soke runs things

    I'm a bit concerned that it may give the impression that the site
    Not my intention clearly :)

    Probably I should have a look at it sometime soon

    Would welcome people's thoughts as to how it might be improved
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
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  13. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Not my martial art so know next to nothing about it but would like to say welcome to MT Dunc. I think that's a really good post too, honest and humble. :)
     
  14. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Don't slag off other styles in your website. It comes across terribly.
     
  15. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    There are several other UK organisations and instructors that claim to teach ninjutsu. Examples are The British Combat Ninjutsu Association, the UK Shinobi Kai and so on. Unfortunately I have not seen any of the people leading these organisations study for a meaningful amount of time under a qualified instructor of the old Japanese systems. As a result their use of the term ninjutsu in marketing is, in my view, quite misleading.
     
  16. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Mr Pot? There's a Mr Kettle on the phone for you.
     
  17. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Am I slagging off other styles?

    My intention is to be neutral and respectful of the founders of the other xkans and the traditional styles

    Maybe a bit of a pop at Ashida Kim's, Combat Ninjutsu and outlining the difference between Bbd (easily confused with bujinkan).....

    Perhaps that's a bit immature, I take your point
     
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  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    A pop at a total nutter like Ashida Kim is always warranted...
     
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  19. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad to have you here and hope to learn more about your dojo and your training!
     
  20. Razor

    Razor Green Belt

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    Just wanted to finally say what I thought as well (got a bit busy there for a couple of weeks). Things that I can't comment on like Japanese and website design aside, the dojo was very good in my opinion. Duncan is a very helpful, encouraging and attentive instructor. Obviously I'm not qualified to comment on technique or anything, but everything seemed to be in a similar vein to what my normal instructor teaches, maybe with a slightly different perspective on a couple of things.

    In terms of formality, the dojo is actually slightly more formal than I'm used to as they do the formal start and finish (sitting in seiza, bowing and clapping), however the class is also bigger than my normal one, so perhaps this makes more sense with more people.

    On a more personal note the people are all very friendly and helpful and all seem up for meeting new people, so I'll definitely be looking to return to this dojo!
     
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