Central London Bujinkan

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

  1. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Not a bad thing though, it gets you in 'the mood' for training and then finishes with a quiet mind rather than still 'hyped up'.
     
  2. Razor

    Razor Green Belt

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    Agreed Tez, I do not have anything against it personally - I've trained at clubs in the Bujinkan and TJF Jujutsu who have both done and not done this kind of start and finish. I don't mind it too much myself, but I suppose I am a bit more accustomed to the informal approach as the first Bujinkan club I started at (and indeed the first martial art I started) did not do this. In my opinion it's ultimately up to how the instructor wants to run the club, so if that's what they want to do, I'll go with it as I'm only a guest at their dojo!
     
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  3. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    I believe it's up to the instructor to run the class as they see fit
    It's a personal preference - so I think it's cool either way

    In my small classes I don't do the do the bowing in and out, but in the main class I run it as close as I can to the way classes are run in Japan

    The only difference is that, as it's a long class, we switch partners periodically during the evening. This is done at one of the shihan's classes in Japan and used to be done at a few dojos before the hombu was built. I like it because it's good experience to train with different people and it helps everyone get to know each other
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi James,

    Ah, good catch. Yep, I didn't notice the smaller "イ" there... you're quite right.

    Hey Dunc,

    Cool.

    Er... no. It should be "Takagi Ryu", if you want to go that way. The Hontai Yoshin Ryu is a line of the Takagi Ryu, not of the Yoshin Ryu. As far as the Kukishin information, the idea that the Bujinkan is the only place to find it might be argued with by the Genbukan membership, for instance...

    With the idea of commenting on other organisations, schools, systems etc, to be honest, it can look a little petty when talking about how you don't recommend them, and when listing other schools around, unless you know what's actually around, simply listing the ones you know about is rather, well, pointless.

    Sure.

    Oh, I get the way the Bujinkan works... but when you talk about the age of the schools, talk about the idea that the criteria is "a strong link to Japan", but then go completely against the way traditional arts are structured, it gets rather, well, odd. And, bluntly, I have major issues with that aspect of the Bujinkan on a number of fronts, and see it as symptomatic of the larger issues, as listed earlier.

    Okay. Again, the views on the issues with the Bujinkan are mine... I freely and openly accept that the Bujinkan is the way for many people, and that it works for them, fantastic.

    Cool. And, to clarify, when I was saying that I hoped the site wasn't Dunc's, it wasn't a comment on Dunc as a practitioner or teacher... in fact, quite the opposite. I'm quite fond of the way Dunc comports himself, and was hoping that a site with such issues (as I saw them) wasn't associated with someone I do like (as a practitioner).
     
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  5. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Hi Chris

    I know that you disagree with much of the bujinkan's approach to things and that's cool

    I feel that a strong link to Japan is important to have credibility in teaching these arts. The heirarchies, formality etc are separate to this point

    However, perhaps the wording used on the site causes some people offence or creates more confusion than it solves and I'm resolved to update it when time permits

    Best

    D
     
  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I would also concur that a strong and current link to Japan is essential in studying the Takamatsuden arts.

    Whether it is with the Bujinkan and Hatsumi Sensei, Genbukan with Tanemura Sensei and or the Jinenkan with Manaka Sensei. I really don't care even though my preference is of course with the Bujinkan. It is hard if not outright impossible to study the Takamatsuden arts without a link to Japan.
     
  7. Jameswhelan

    Jameswhelan Yellow Belt

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    What is the level of your Japanese proficiency?
     
  8. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Just playing devil's advocate (since I don't train in the Bujinkan anymore), but why?

    Hatsumi trained with Takmatsu for ten years. Therefore, whatever he knows of the Takamatsuden arts (and later passed on to Manaka and Tanemura) was either a) material that could be learned in ten years of instruction or b) material that could be figured out in subsequent self-training by someone who has that foundation of ten years instruction.

    At this point, there are numerous people who have had at least ten years of direct instruction from high-level teachers of the Takamatsuden arts. Some have many more than that. (I'm not counting the folks who stopped in to Japan for a week or two of training each year for ten years.) Hatsumi has been teaching for over 40 years. Unless he is the worst teacher on earth, there should be quite a few individuals, not all Japanese, who are just as qualified to teach the Takamatsuden arts as he was when he became Soke.

    I do understand that Hatsumi has put his own personal stamp on his interpretation of the arts in the Bujinkan. If you want to pursue that particular interpretation, then you need to stay connected to the Bujinkan. However anyone who has that same technical foundation that he started with should be able to develop their own interpretation of the Takamatsuden arts which is just as valid as the interpretations Hatsumi, Tanemura, and Manaka have come up with.
     
  9. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Correction to my previous post - Wikipedia says Hatsumi trained with Takamatsu for 15 years. For some reason I was remembering it as 10. Either way, my point still stands.
     
  10. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Tony,

    Hatsumi Sensei inherited the arts from Takamatsu Sensei. That is a big difference than everyone else training. Tanemura Sensei received Menkyo Kaiden as well as Manaka Sensei. Another huge difference! Unfortunately since the early years people have gone to Japan trained a little and then went out to set up their mini-ninja empire. Most of the time they had some decent training say up to Shodan or maybe a little above. Which if you take into account how grades are handed out in the Bujinkan that is not very much give or take of course on the individual because their are exceptions of course. So quite frankly there were some poor teachers out there teaching that really should not have been teaching. Which has led us to the great mess of quality control that is in the Bujinkan. So how to counter this? How to make sure that you are getting quality training? Simply train with a sensei who consistently goes to Japan and or brings someone who does train in Japan. That is one sure way to make sure that you are receiving authentic training. Another would be to move to Japan and study with Hatsumi Sensei and the Japanese Shihan. If you want "the goods" in the Takamatsuden arts then you pretty much have to go this route. If you want "these goods" your going to have to sacrifice a bit. Otherwise you run the chance of training with someone who simply doesn't have the skills in the Takamatsuden arts because they do not have a link. Which of course unfortunately their are a lot of people out there who fit this.

    If you train in the following three organizations:

    Bujinkan
    Genbukan
    Jinenkan

    and your teacher trains in Japan and or has people who train in Japan come and teach at his/her dojo then you are probably getting quality training.

    If not, then you are probably not getting authentic Takamatsuden training.

    This would be no different than training under a BJJ purple belt. If he wasn't affiliated with a BJJ black belt for quality control then you might not be getting good Brazilian Jiujitsu training. It might be okay but not to the standard of what it should be.
     
  11. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi, Brian.

    None of that information is news to me. I'm familiar with the history of the X-Kans and with the ... idiosyncratic approach to ranking within the Bujinkan. It doesn't address my point.

    To reiterate that point - a reasonably talented and dedicated student who trained in Japan with Hatsumi or one of his Shihans consistently for 10-15 years should have about the same level of mastery of the Takamatsuden arts as Hatsumi himself did when he became Soke. (Likewise for someone who did the equivalent level of training with Manaka or Tanemura.) Practitioners like this exist. Some of them live in the United States, Europe, and Israel. Someone who trained under one of these practitioners should be linked to a source of Takamatsuden knowledge and skills as legit as someone who trains in Japan.

    I can imagine objections you might raise. Let me address some of them.

    Objection 1: Hatsumi inherited the Soke title. Manaka and Tanemura received Menkyo Kaiden.
    Titles don't magically convey knowledge or skills. The Soke title indicates a certain type of "cultural copyright" in Japanese society, for those who care about such things. (I don't.) In some koryu traditions the Soke isn't even a practitioner of the art, just a member of the founder's family who maintains "authority" over an art he doesn't even practice. Menkyo Kaiden at least informs you that the recipient has (in the opinion of the issuer) received the full art that is being credentialed. Realistically, such licenses may be issued or not issued based on a variety of factors beyond skill and knowledge. If Manaka and Tanemura had not received said licenses, they would still have had the exact same skill and knowledge. (As a side note, I believe that there are folks outside Japan who have received Menkyo Kaiden in various arts from Hatsumi at this point.)

    Objection 2: Hatsumi is extraordinarily gifted and was able to learn more in his time with Takamatsu than others could learn in an equivalent amount of time under him.
    This would be difficult to prove or disprove. I will say that if in over 40 years of teaching Hatsumi has not managed to fully convey everything he learned from Takamatsu several times over to numerous students, then he is a crappy teacher.

    Objection 3: The Takamatsuden arts are culturally Japanese and foreigners will not be able to grasp the nuances of Japanese culture and language well enough to master the arts without continued guidance from Japanese masters.
    I think this argument would have much more force if we were discussing koryu arts where preserving a cultural tradition is more of the central point. The Bujinkan arts have been promoted as something universally applicable, not as a cultural artifact comprehensible only to those who grew up speaking the right language. Anyway, physical skills either work or they don't regardless of your cultural background.

    Objection 4: But Instructor X from the ABC X-kan splinter group had very little actual training and a low level of skill before breaking away to become grandmaster of his own organization.
    Yeah, I'm not talking about instructor X or anyone else specifically. Just talking theoretically. (I will note that if Hatsumi didn't want these folks diluting his brand, he probably shouldn't have awarded them high dan ranks, but that's another discussion.)

    Objection 5: Hatsumi has progressed over the decades since Takamatsu's death and by staying connected to Japan you gain the benefits of those decades of experience.
    I have no objection to those who want to follow this path. Just remember that those decades of experience are essentially Hatsumi teaching himself. Theoretically anyone who started with an equivalent knowledge base could teach themselves the same way.

    If you have different objections, I'd be curious to hear them.
     
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  12. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Tony if someone reasonably trained in Japan with Hatsumi Sensei, the Japanese Shihan or with Tanemura Sensei in the Genbukan or Manaka Sensei in the Jinenkan for 10 to 15 years I believe they would have plenty of experience to be teaching. I would have few objections with these type of people who invested their time to learn the Takamatsuden arts in a serious manner like this. There are of course people out there like this though they are few and far between though. Though there are some. The question is what do we think of as trained in Japan? If someone lived there I would imagine they were getting good instruction directly from the source. If someone traveled there once in awhile and supplemented their training with learning from people also going I think this can work as well. If someone trains with a Sensei who goes there frequently (I know several) then this could work as well also. All of these require a link to one of the leaders of the Kan's. Unfortunately, a good proportion of practitioners do not and have never trained with people fitting these requirements. They have in general gotten from what I have seen poor transmission of skill sets. However, you know this as well as I do!123
     

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