Help finding a school!

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by bigfootsquatch, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    Hey guys,


    I have been interested in studying bujinkan or genbukan taijutsu for a while. I currently live in Shreveport. I've noticed several schools in the area. The closest one is in Texarkana about an hour away. There's some other schools in the Dallas area and in little rock Arkansas.


    I was wondering if you guys have heard of any of these schools and your thoughts?


    Dallas
    Jigokudojo - Luke Molitor


    Kusakage Dojo - George kohler


    Arkansas and Texarkana,TX




    Arkansas Bujinkan Dojo Online - Affiliated Dojos


    Looking primarily at Mushin Dojo (it's closest)


    Any advice??


    Also any good videos or books to help supplement. All schools are bujinkan minus Kohler's school. Will have to travel to train, so closer is ideal, but I've heard good things about Molitor.


    I have prior experience with tae Kwon do and Brazilian Jiu jitsu if that means anything. Lol




    Thanks for any feedback!
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Cool!

    Not the schools per se, but the persons...

    Luke has a very good reputation, in the US Bujinkan, and is pretty well known as the "Bujinkan sword guy", amongst other accolades. He often does seminars with Don Roley, as well as others, and is very well received from all reports. For Bujinkan, highly recommended.

    George Kohler is a very serious practitioner, and an absolute wealth of knowledge. A very senior member of the Genbukan, and very highly recommended.

    These persons I haven't come across… a quick look at the page linked shows that, although affiliated, don't (on a quick view) seem to have the experience of either George or Luke…

    Sure… it's honestly the only real advice here that matters, and would be the same even if we knew each intimately, or knew nothing about them at all. Go to as many of the schools as is possible for you, and see which of the teachers you like the most… who can you respect, who you can learn from, and who you "groove" with… then make up your own mind. On paper, my choice would be George Kohler in a heartbeat… but the Genbukan and Bujinkan are quite different beasts, and my preferences aren't necessarily yours.

    Videos and books? Nah, not yet. Training first. Most of the good Genbukan videos you can only get once you're a member anyway (officially… at least…), Bujinkan videos are a fairly mixed batch, with opinions quite spread… I'd wait to pick an instructor, and listen to their guidance first and foremost. They will be able to show which they like (and state why), from which you can start to build a base of understanding to make your own mind up.

    Ha… nope. Doesn't mean a thing. And I'm saying that from a TKD and Karate background, and having cross-trained in BJJ…

    No problems. Let us know how you go.
     
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  3. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    Why would you pick Kohler? I'm not that interested in organizations. I know bujinkan quality varies. I think genbukan may be stricter in general. I've seen tons of bujinkan videos and several aren't good, but I've seen the good also. I know there's good skill under the right instructor regardless of bujinkan or genbukan.
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    I've interacted with George here and on other forums, and he is, as I said, an absolute wealth of knowledge. Combine that with the higher level of consistency in the Genbukan, and it matches my personal preferences… but I really do have to emphasise here that they are my personal preferences, so all it means is that that would be my choice. That said, there are things in the Genbukan that I'm not particularly fond of… as with the Bujinkan, and the Jinenkan. I'm happier where I am, honestly, for a variety of reasons, none of which have any real bearing here.

    Okay… depending on exactly what you're wanting to get out of the training, it can be quite important, or not.

    Hmm… yeah. That's one way of putting it…

    I don't know that I'd say stricter (they certainly are in terms of the organisational rules), but they are far more consistent.

    Cool. This is where we start to get to your answers… what did you like about the ones you felt were good? What didn't you like about the ones you felt weren't good?

    Very true.

    Oh, and I saw the PM attempt… I'll clear some room in case you want to try again… give me a few minutes to pick what I want to sacrifice…
     
  5. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    Cool. This is where we start to get to your answers… what did you like about the ones you felt were good? What didn't you like about the ones you felt weren't good?


    To be perfectly honest, some of it looks like a complete joke. the way the moves are demoed are completely unrealistic with people falling before they are touched. Ive seen a video where the instructor was teaching a "guard pass". I "" guard pass because I know white belts with better guard passes. This was toshindo, but I know toshindo is based off Bujinkan taijutsu.

    The older ninjutsu videos of Hatsumi (black and white) look much better than most anything ive seen. It appears very authentic and practical for the most part. That's what I liked. Ive seen some of Richard Van Donk's Combat Ninjutsu and it was OK. Some of it ive seen before. Some of RVD's stuff looks iffy, but then he'll show something really cool.

    My understanding is that there is very little sparring due to the nature of the techniques. I don't know what to think of that to be honest. In BJJ we roll every day with armlock, chokes, leglocks, etc. Without resistance, how do the students know if they can apply their techniques?

    I basically posted the same thing I was going to PM you.

    Thank you for your time!
     
  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I have several personal friends that vouch for Luke Molitor so if you can make it to train with him that would be great! My preference is to be as close to "The Source" as possible and that is Hatsumi Sensei. Luke has a strong reputation and travels to Japan regularly so if you can train with him great. On the other side I have heard nothing but good things about George Kohler as well. Check out all the schools you are interested in by visiting and training as a guest if possible and then find the one that fits you the best! Good luck!
     
  7. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Cool. As I implied, different people will see different things in the same material. For example, many years back, my instructor gave me a copy of RVD's "Combat Ninjutsu" tape with the words "Here, just so you can see how bad a 10th Dan can be…"

    Just to absolutely clarify something here… Hatsumi is certainly considered the "source" for the Bujinkan… but that's all. If you were to go to the Genbukan, he's simply the head of another organisation, albeit closely related, and Tanemura is your "source". Confusing them due to a sense of loyalty is understandable, but not correct.
     
  8. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Just as a clarification, is RVD referring to richard von donk or ronald duncan (I don't know his middle name)? If the first, no questions since i havent heard of him before googling rvd combat ninjitsu. If the second, what video did you watch/what reasoning do you have for thinking he is 'bad' in said video?
     
  9. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay… yeah, I was referring to Richard Van Donk (RVD)… but I do have to ask, if I had meant Ron Duncan, why would you be surprised that I'd be rather critical of his work as well?
     
  10. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    Ron Duncan lied about his training ( my understanding ). There are NO more Koga ryu anymore. I don't know how good his skill was, nor do I care. There's no need to lie about your training.....

    Richard Van Donk has a bad rep for his homestudy courses. I've read some of people's experiences. I think home study courses CAN be done IF the student sees the instructor from time to time. Some instructors have gone do far as to use Skype to correct in real time , but I wonder how much detail is still missed?

    As far as Donks skill? I've seen worse. (And Better)

    The bujinkan could use a little regulation. It seems to me that there's the inner circle of true hatsumi students, and then everyone else. Just my opinion
     
  11. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Truthfully it depends on how you look at it. Hatsumi Sensei is "the source" for most of Tanemura Sensei training, Manaka Sensei training etc. Sure they are the head of their systems but he was their teacher! This is not meant as a dis to either Tanemura Sensei or Manaka Sensei it just is what it is! Personally, I would rather be closer to "The Source" of the Takamatsuden Arts. Of course other people may feel differently or train in another of the Takamatsuden systems and that is perfectly fine and I wish them all the best. I have great respect for Tanemura Sensei and Manaka Sensei. They are fantastic martial practitioners and teachers.
     
  12. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting issue. Hatsumi trained with Takamatsu for 15 years. He has been teaching for well over 40 years and I am given to understand that he is still introducing new material on a regular basis. That means that either he has been holding back from his students to a ridiculous degree or else much of what he teaches originates not from Takamatsu but from his own personal explorations and experiences.

    I believe the second option is the correct one and that much of what Hatsumi teaches is really his own art, although rooted in Takamatsu's teachings. By the same token, Tanemura has had 30 years since he left the Bujinkan to develop the Genbukan into its own thing, including gaining knowledge and certifications in other arts. From that perspective, Hatsumi really is not the primary source for what is taught in the Genbukan today. The Bujinkan and the Genbukan teach systems which share common roots, but I wouldn't venture to say which is closer to what Takamatsu was teaching 50 years ago.
     
  13. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Tony we are not really that far off in our opinion based on both or our postings past and present. I would expect both Tanemura Sensei and Manaka Sensei to grow as teacher's and explore their martial systems after they left just like you illustrated Hatsumi Sensei has done. That is natural and good. I personally have several prominent teachers in my background and while you can see them in my movement you can also see a difference because of my exploration. This is clearly the same for both Tanemura Sensei and Manaka Sensei. However, while I might move slightly different than some of my teachers they still are my teachers. (I have just happened to stay on great terms with them) That is just the reality of the situation. Regardless if we train every day or once in awhile. In the Takamatsuden arts Hatsumi Sensei is "the source". Other people have trained with him, stayed with him or moved on but in the end he still is "the source". He was the source for their Takamatsuden training. (not including a few weekends else where) I actually like the fact that some senior students have moved on and created their own way. That is good and healthy and I would encourage people to train with them. Before he broke away many of my contemporaries trained with Tanemura Sensei. Almost everyone of us trained with Manaka Sensei. They are great martial practitioner's and doing their own thing which is great. My perspective, for me is that I would rather train with Hatsumi Sensei or people that regularly train with him. That is my perspective. Other people will disagree and that is fine! Some will enjoy training in the Genbukan or Jinenkan and they will get great training as well in those systems.
     
  14. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    More wondering about what you would be critical of. Never met the man while he was alive, but have met some people who say that they've learned from him, and they're all pretty good, so wouldn't expect his videos to be the ones a person shows to show how bad a MAist could be.
     
  15. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    His videos are not good and I have met the man and talked with him a couple of times at a Tai Kai.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  16. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Haven't seen his videos, mind linking one?
    What was your opinion when you met him?
     
  17. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    One just does not train with someone for 21 years as their primary instructor and then poof they are or were not their teacher! That probably is the only thing that bother's me about Tanemura Sensei. (my personal opinion) However, their family dispute is really none of our business and is an old dead horse. Still regardless of that I really like what he has done with the Genbukan and has managed to turn out some great practitioner's. With Manaka Sensei this issue is not a problem as he acknowledges Hatsumi Sensei as his primary teacher. He was just ready to move on and go his own way. Nothing wrong with that and for some people it is important to grow as a martial practitioner. I absolutely love what Manaka Sensei has done with the Jinenkan. Tanemura Sensei, Manaka Sensei and several others are or were at a level where they could easily move on and found their own system. There is nothing wrong with this, it is natural and for some practitioner's it is important for their own growth. As an instructor one should never try to curtail someone else's growth. The key as an instructor is to recognize this and when someone is at a level to move on we should help them. However, that is hard for some people! Always has and always will be. Still in the end "the source" for the Takamatsuden arts is Hatsumi Sensei as designated by Takamatsu. That is just the way it is.

    If we were to draw up a proper hierarchial lineage of the three Takamatsuden arts and the Kans it would primarily look like this:

    ..........Bujinkan
    ..................↙ ↘
    Genbukan Jinenkan

    Of course each instructor had outside influences as well!


    Or a teacher chart:

    ........Takamatsu
    ...................↓
    .........Hatsumi
    .................↙ ↘
    Tanemura Manaka

    Of course we could insert a whole lot of other people in this as well! I know these charts do not jive with some people but..... they are accurate!

    This in no way implies that any one of these systems is inferior to the others. Slight differences yes but the similarities abound regardless of outside influences! I like the quality control in the Genbukan and the Jinenkan but can understand the impossibility of this in the Bujinkan. Nor does restrictiveness jive with how Hatsumi Sensei does things. Having been around all of the highest level practitioners I like being closer to "the source" and at the highest level in Japan the movement in the Bujinkan. (that is also having experience with high level Genbukan and Jinenkan members) Yet, that is just my opinion and nothing more!

    I would also add that to this point no westerner who has broken away and found their own system had enough experience or knowledge for their new system to be included in the Takmatsuden lineage as a Takamatsuden art. This is because of their lack of knowledge, skill, ability, etc. While they certainly may be some what Takamatsuden derived they certainly lack what Tanemura Sensei and Manaka Sensei had at the time of their departure. (skill and knowledge) This of course does not even take into effect Menkyo Kaiden. (both Tanemura Sensei and Manaka Sensei had this) This of course is very important in Japanese Martial Arts to be included in the Takamatsuden lineage. So they really do not get to sit at the table. There are of course some westerners who now have the ability at least in the Bujinkan. (a very small group) Whether they have Menkyo Kaiden or not is between them and Hatsumi Sensei but would be important for them to be included in the Takamatsuden lineage chart and to form their own Kan. I frankly do not know about the Genbukan or Jinenakan in this regard.

    In the Takamatsuden Arts the gold standards are the Bujinkan, Genbukan and Jinenkan. My preference is the Bujinkan. Other people might have another preference! As I stated earlier based on other people's recommendation of Luke Molitor that I personally know he would be a good person to check out and see if his teaching would work for the OP. Still he should check out everyone else on his list and find the right fit for him! ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  18. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The brief conversations I had with him were nice.

    I do not have any links to his videos but have watched a few and they were not good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  19. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Ok, I'll not be lazy then and find them on my own.
     
  20. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Ahh I was speaking of RVD not Ronald Duncan.

    Ronald Duncan well that is a whole different can or worms never met the man and happy not to have. I think it is fair to say he made everything up in regards to his system of ninjutsu.
     

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