Consistency In The Bujinkan

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Shinobi Teikiatsu, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Shinobi Teikiatsu

    Shinobi Teikiatsu Green Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Austin
    I train with a dojo that has separated from the Bujinkan, but has not formed its own organization (My sensei just decided he's learned enough) Either way, we still train in the Bujinkan method and I have spoken with several other Bujinkan members (Friends of mine, people I met from other dojos)

    See now, here's the thing that irks me. I know all the Japanese names to the kihon happo, the sanshin and so forth, but as for actual attacks and strikes, I don't, and so when I speak with these people, I have to ask them to describe what they're talking about when they mention Japanese words that I'm unfamiliar with. My question to everyone here is, should I be looking up these things of my own accord, or is it that my dojo is not teaching what it should be?
     
  2. stone_dragone

    stone_dragone Senior Master

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,507
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Sunny San Antonio, TX
    I'm not Bujinkan, but if I may intrude for just a second to point out that anyone who decides that they have just "learned enough" probably isn't teaching the right stuff or for the right reasons anyway.

    I've been wrong before, though.
     
  3. Omar B

    Omar B Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    3,687
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Well I think you pointed out the problem yourself. You are studying an art where you don't have the vocabulary to talk about it. Would you go to a music teacher that is not able to define scale, mode, timbre, chord, key, etc? As good a natural musician he may be what you learn will not be the whole picture.
     
  4. ElfTengu

    ElfTengu Blue Belt

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    South Coast England, UK
    To the OP,

    If you don't already have one, buy a copy of 'Unarmed Techniques of the Samurai' by Masaaki Hatsumi and ask your instructor to show you how to do everything in it, and if he can't, then perhaps he has ceased his own learning prematurely.

    I am also guessing that he isn't a 15th dan, because I don't know a 15th dan who doesn't still consider themself very much a student.

    I think you knew the answer to your question before you posted it. If there are no other dojos in your locality then it is better to continue training there than give up, but be aware of the limitations, and try to move on at some point.

    Can I also ask, does he dissuade you from attending seminars by other Bujinkan teachers? Because that would be a major warning bell.
     
  5. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Messages:
    3,399
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Another issue is that you won't be able to grade in Bujinkan, since your teacher has no standing to grade you anymore.

    If you stick with him, and a couple of years down the road you switch to a real Bujinkan dojo for one reason or other (for example you relocate) then your rank will be meaningless and you will have to start over at the last rank you had when your teacher left Bujinkan.

    Perhaps this is not important to you now, but just be aware of it
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Messages:
    30,187
    Likes Received:
    427
    Trophy Points:
    208
    Location:
    Cromwell,CT
    I'm not Bujinkan either, but thought I'd toss in my .02 anyways, seeing that this is a question that is not just limited to this particular art.

    IMHO, the learning never ends, no matter what rank you are, or how much time you've put into the art.

    If you're not getting what you want or what you feel you should be getting from the training and the teacher, then it may be time to move on to another teacher.
     
  7. JadecloudAlchemist

    JadecloudAlchemist Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Miami,Florida
    Your teacher should be using the termology in Japanese.

    He could then explain the English meaning but should be teaching you the said name of technique in Japanese so you not only understand the meaning of the technique but also so when someone is talking to you then you can mention the Japanese name so everyone knows what you are talking about.
     
  8. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Messages:
    3,399
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    108
    If you are in a Japanese MA, then they should use Japanese names. Period.
    I think it is silly when people use 'localized' names like 'armbar' or 'figure 4' or whatever in a japanese system. This is not because of elitism or being an asianophile, but simply because there will be a lot of confusion if people from different dojo (or different countries) meet up.

    If I were to visit a French Genbukan dojo or an international taikai, then I know what someone means if they say 'sayu sabaki' or 'zenpo kaiten'.
    The sole reason for this is that we all learn the japanese names.

    It is for the same reason that doctors still use latin names for the various human body parts. Not because it is fancy, but because that is the only way to make sure that doctors of different nationalities understand each other.
     
  9. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Messages:
    9,998
    Likes Received:
    206
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Im gonna go the other way on this and say I think knowing the names are secondary.

    Don't get me wrong we use them, but when someone comes up to me and says "Hey can you show me Ashi Domi" and I look at them with a blank stare and they go "you know that one where its like a leg thing" and I go "Oh right" and we do it, or If I go to someone and say "lets work on some muto dori" and they scratch their head till I say "lets do sword disarms" I dont get my panties in a bundle.

    I try and learn the Japanese names for eveything, but there is a lot of material, and I think it can take time to get it. Id rather undertand what I am doing then what it is called. I do agree with the consistency thing that Bruno mentioned however.
     
  10. stephen

    stephen Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    28

    I agree, also most Bujinkan dojo I know are this way as well.

    I think that while those from other backgrounds may have fine general advice, I'd be careful giving advice about specifics.
     
  11. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,561
    Likes Received:
    67
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Location:
    DeKalb, IL
    I think you should look into finding the names of everything, simply because once you have the name you can recall a technique or kata better, that is my experience.
     
  12. newtothe dark

    newtothe dark Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    My way of thinking is that its a historical system and the correct names are a part of the history. No one says Bill Clinton freed the slaves , so correct names are the start of the journey towards perfection. Just my thoughts.
     
  13. stephen

    stephen Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    28
    My point is that picking a teacher/dojo based on the amount of Japanese on their website is not necessarily the best idea.
     
  14. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Messages:
    9,998
    Likes Received:
    206
    Trophy Points:
    173
    No, but someone might say an American President did. Your argument is closer to saying "Omote Gyaku" and meaning the collection of techniques that are "Batsugi" than saying "Leg Tackle" and meaning "Keri Suki."
     
  15. Shinobi Teikiatsu

    Shinobi Teikiatsu Green Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Austin
    I'm gonna have to agree with one of the previous posts about having a common lingo, so to speak, to ease communication with people from other dojo's.

    I don't believe he's ever told us not to attend other bujinkan seminars, in fact, he has told me in the past of ones that he himself has attended. Unfortunately, he is the only legit Bujinkan (or should I say Budo Taijutsu) teacher in the area, and so most seminars held around here are held by him (Other than that there are the ones in Dallas, but being a student and not having a drivers license makes that difficult for me to get to)
     
  16. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Messages:
    9,998
    Likes Received:
    206
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Well, if he is unable/willing to use the Japanese Terminology, you can as you suggested always research them yourself. They are out there if you look. It might not all be in one spot, but you can find it.
     
  17. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    6,093
    Likes Received:
    971
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi,

    Not all of my instructors and seniors have been interested in knowing all the names, in fact, one instructor I know of used to say that the names are not really anything of use at all. So I went out of my way to find them for myself, because I don't like not knowing something if the information is available to me.

    And what I found was that he was right. And he was wrong. It depended upon the focus of the training. The instructor in question had the philosophy that it didn't really matter if you can list all the names of the various kata for Takagi Yoshin Ryu, and the full histories of Kukishinden Ryu with all it's different branches, if you can't actually hit anything, or perform the art under pressure. Basically, he felt that if you could do it, the words were not important, and if you couldn't, then knowing the words wouldn't really help in anything other than impressing people who didn't know any better. So I wasn't really encouraged to learn al of that side of things.

    But I did anyway. For the record, there was no way my instructor was going to let me get away with being anything less than effective with everything I did from a physical standpoint either, and I appreciate that more than anything. However, my personal interest took me to quite a number of outside sources (outside of our schools, that is). And I began to learn to understand the various names, and the way things were named.

    Some schools are very nice in their names, I found, in that they would tell you very simply what the kata does (Togakure Ryu, for instance, has names such as Kata Ude Tonso no Kata, or "Strike The Arm and Escape Pattern", in which you avoid a sword cut, strike to Uke's arm, then escape...simple), whereas other schools gave a more "poetic" style naming. But if you understand the school, and the pattern, the name not only makes sense, it can point you to the underlying secrets of the art that the kata is designed to impart to you.

    So to truly understand the entirety of a classical Japanese Martial Art, you need to understand the naming of it as well. But you don't need to understand the naming of the art in order to hit really hard, for that you need good, real training. And that should be the most important.
     
  18. JadecloudAlchemist

    JadecloudAlchemist Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Miami,Florida
    Speaking of namess in Japanese. Do you feel the name of a technique such as Oni kudaki(demon/devil crusher/smash) help illustrate the point better than say an arm lock or key lock?

    How about Ganseki Nage(Rock/Boulder throw) do you feel it also helps illustrate the throws leverage,power and technique vs an English meaning of throw?
     
  19. Hudson69

    Hudson69 Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Utah
    I have been part of three schools of the Bujinkan in two states; besides the main topics such as zenpo ukemi, kihon happo or sanchin I almost never got a speciffic name for a technique (although the which school the technique originated was always covered, hmmmm?). But along those same lines the instructors all seemed to be able to provide a name when asked (hmmmmmm?).

    I would have to say that besides what is actually covered in your schools' BB curriculum similar to what Mr. Van Donk provides (this is or was actually used by two of my prior instructors) I wouldn't sweat it. Although once you achieve your BB I think that you are taken into a back room and mystically made aware of the names of all the techniques, schools and histories of the Bujinkan.....

    I will say this as well; there is consistency in training. All of the schools, over a 18 year spread, have the same basic training as far as I have seen; though every instructor emphasizes things very differently so the flavor of each dojo has been very different.
     
  20. nitflegal

    nitflegal Green Belt

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    MA, USA
    My argument against not knowing the names is that the more I get into the techniques the more subtle hints there are about the techniques and their connections to other techniques.

    Matt123
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

o ashi bujinkan