Help finding a school!

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

  1. bigfootsquatch

    bigfootsquatch Purple Belt

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    Ive never seen Ronald Duncan's videos either, nor do I care about his skill levels. Im tired of people making up lies to sell their arts to the uninformed mass. Regardless of RVD's videos, AT least he has trained with Hatsumi. I don't know how skilled he is. From what ive seen on Combat Ninjutsu and from snippets of his black belt home study course (im not a home study student don't worry lol), it doesn't look like the right fit for me

    Honesty though, some of Hatsumi's newer videos make me wonder about the effectiveness of some of it, but I haven't been on the receiving end so I will not judge

    I do like the older Bujinkan videos though. Good stuff!
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    To be frank. that's putting it mildly. Duncan claimed to be teaching "Koga Ryu Ninjitsu" (mis-spelled), which seemed to include non-Japanese weapons, non-Japanese training methods, non-Japanese movement forms, and so on… kinda odd for a traditional, historical Japanese art… hmm… In terms of his abilities, nothing really special to talk about… basic level jujutsu/aiki methods, fairly deplorable weapon work, odd striking ideas, and a hell of a lot of fantasy…

    RVD doesn't only have a bad rep for his Home Study Course, for the record… As far as the "inner circle" idea… yeah, that gets floated a fair bit… it's probably got some credence to it… but, honestly, nothing I've seen shows anything to indicate the type of distinction that's implied. The idea of the senior Japanese instructors being superior due to inner circle training, Menkyo Kaiden (which, frankly, is rather irrelevant…), or anything else, other than simply the fact that they are talented people who have been doing it longer than the Westerners, and have developed along with Hatsumi, just doesn't hold water for me. Especially the idea of Menkyo Kaiden being, well, anything… but I'm not getting into that here.

    Lots to be critical about as far as Ron Duncan is concerned. His claims to have learnt Koga Ryu from Donn Draeger (only made after Draeger had passed on), who never knew/learnt Koga Ryu, never claimed to know it, and so on, through to his actual teachings themselves...



    Nothing thrown in distance, no sense of actual combative realities, no realistic consideration of the limitations/usages of the weapon itself…

    There's lots more… his gun defences are good ways to get shot… the "knife fighting" isn't… and isn't even related to anything Japanese, let alone ninjutsu (which he claims it is, for the record)… it isn't even bad FMA stuff… just a series of "get close and stab them", no ethical consideration, no real technique, no strategy or tactical understanding, and so on.

    Brian, you saw where I said "Confusing them due to a sense of loyalty is understandable, but not correct"? Yeah… that.

    Exactly.

    Honestly, Brian, this is (in many ways) abject denial of the reality in favour of your personal investment in, and loyalty to Hatsumi. I'm not arguing the Jinenkan idea, but you're off in your take on the Genbukan and where it's drawn from.

    Hatsumi is the "source as designated by Takamatsu" according to Hatsumi, though, Brian. He was not the only one...



    Actually, Brian, no, this is not accurate. A more accurate one would be:

    Takamatsu --> Sato Kinbei --> Tanemura


    -->Kimura Masaji --> Tanemura


    --> Hatsumi --> Manaka

    That's simplified, and I'm sure you'll notice the lack of mention of Hatsumi --> Tanemura, but that's due to the fact that almost all of the Genbukan's material/Ryu-ha comes from other students of Takamatsu, not Hatsumi. Manaka's systems (other than Jinen Ryu) all come from Hatsumi… which is freely acknowledged and correct. To assume that this is the case in the Genbukan is not correct… even with Tanemura's background with Hatsumi in mind.
    Preferring one organisation's approach over the others is fine… but again, this idea of Hatsumi being "the source" for any group other than the Bujinkan is just, well, wrong. Oh, and the only reason such control is impossible in the Bujinkan is due to the way Hatsumi has set it up… organisationally, it's really not impossible at all. In fact, it'd be quite easy.

    Garbage, Brian.

    Bluntly, this is an application of an unrealistic standard (a ranking system no longer used or applied, which has only a passing relevance unless the person is claiming to teach and licence in a particular ryu-ha itself), and does nothing but show an elitist attitude, misplaced and arrogant. And, for the record, I do know about the Jinenkan and Genbukan in this regard. As well as a range of Western groups.

    This I can agree with… with the caveat that your personal preferences (or mine, or anyone else's, other than the OP's) are not really anything other than our personal preferences… the OP should check out as many options as they can, and make up their own mind.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  3. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well Chris,

    We have to disagree a lot here.

    Tanemura Sensei trained with Hatsumi Sensei for over 21 years. His foundational training as well as advanced actually comes from Hatsumi Sensei. I know this because well it is fact. People were actually there. People actually were in class, tai kai, etc. where Hatsumi Sensei taught and Tanemura Sensei demonstrated as one of his advanced students. This is indisputable! Sato Kinbei came towards the end as a piece to help establish credibility and differentiation. (absolutely nothing wrong with that) Probably they trained on weekends and he received some finishing touches from Sato Kinbei. (once again nothing wrong with that and really very cool) However, that does not change the fact that Hatsumi Sensei was his primary teacher and will have always have been in the Takamatsuden arts. This is fact, not heresay, as people once again were actually there. (a few high ranking Genbukan members and a slew of Bujinkan people) Actually my lineage chart is correct but if you please you can put Sato Kinbei in there as well after Hatsumi Sensei. ;) I see the time with Sato Kinbei as more of a footnote to get a license to move on and nothing more. (my opinion) The foundational training happened under Hatsumi and let's not forget in the Bujinkan where Tanemura Sensei was in the second position before he left and the family dispute had happened. These are facts Chris. Sorry!

    Early westerners who broke away simply did not have the abilty, skills, knowledge to do so and create their own Kan and be recognized as such by Hatsumi Sensei, Tanemura Sensei, Manaka Sensei or any practitioiner in the Kans. Nor have they been. The ones that did break away or were driven out such as Stephen Hayes, your teacher, the head of the BBD, etc. Unfortunately did not have the skills or knowledge to found a system and call it Ninjutsu and be recognized as such by the above people who matter in this regard. Nor did they have Menkyo Kaiden. (very important in a Japanese system Chris but you already know this) Look at it this way if we had a table and assembled the world's leading practitioner's in the lineage of Ninjutsu. Who would we put at that table? Hatsumi Sensei obviously, Tanemura Sensei obviously, Manaka Sensei obviously, the Japanese Shihan in the Bujinkan obviously, (they are peers of Tanemura Sensei and Manaka Senei) anyone else? Kawakami maybe? However, no one else that I can think of would be invited. If the table had a head place and was not round who would sit at the head? Obviously this would be Hatsumi Sensei he came first and is also the most senior because he is "the source" and that is undisputable. Some people may not want it to be that way but it is.

    Hatsumi is "the source" of the Takamatsuden arts because he taught all the principles who would be at the table. However he was also designated that by Takamatsu Sensei and these are the Takamatsuden arts we are talking about are they not? Tanemura Senei learned from Hatsumi Sensei, Manaka Sensei learned from Hatsumi Sensei, The Japanese Shihan learned from Hatsumi Sensei. Do you see a common theme there? Except Kawakami who might get an invite.

    You talk about my vested interest Chris but really what is yours? Your group claims to teach Ninjutsu and you seem to use the word more than most practitioners. Your teacher was by all accounts ousted out of the Bujinkan (common knowledge) and obviously that clouds your judgement and why in recent years you have taken liberty to bash the Bujinkan. (hence why we have an issue) Now, I do not know you guy's from anything but I appreciate the direction your instructor currently has taken moving to more of a self-defense based approach. Maybe that is the direction you guy's should take as unfortunately you have no ties to Japan or any lineage in Ninjutsu. Once the ties are cut while you do not lose your skill sets, (if you have them) they may erode or change so that they do not even represent what was and is in Japan. I personally do not care if you use the Ninjutsu moniker (as it does not really affect me) but you unfortunately need to know how people see your group. With no verifiable link to Japan and doing your own thing it is not much more than a step up from neo-ninjerdom. No matter how learned you are through books and Japanese history. Now of course if you re-established a link, trained and corrected mistakes that have happened through the years then your lineage would be thought of differently by members in the Takamatsuden arts. I am not the only one to say or feel this. People in all of the Kans feel this way and have mentioned it to me when I asked about certain individuals. Whether you are in the Bujinkan, Genbukan or Jinenkan you have a direct link to Japan and instruction in these arts at the highest level. Hatsumi Sensei, Tanemura Sensei, Manaka Sensei are the zenith in this field. They are at the apex! If you do not have that link then well you are missing some thing and it starts with an L!
     
  4. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll agree that Hatsumi was the original and (at least in terms of total training time) primary source for Tanemura's background in the Takamatsuden arts. (I also think it reflects unfavorably on Tanemura's character that he would drop two decades of training down the memory hole like he has - but that's mostly irrelevant. I haven't met the man and no one in the Genbukan really cares about my opinion on the matter.)

    My point was that neither Hatsumi nor Tanemura is attempting to pass along an unchanged image of the arts that Takamatsu taught in the way that he taught them. Each man is teaching his own art, derived not only from the Takamatsuden arts, but also other martial arts and their own experiences. Since neither one is really trying to teach exactly what Takamatsu taught, I don't see why it matters which of the two is more directly connected to Takamatsu.

    If you prefer the training you've received in the Bujinkan to what you've seen from other organizations, it's probably because you appreciate Hatsumi's personal approach to things rather than because the training is closer to Takamatsu's approach. Nothing wrong with that.

    I will point out a problem with the idea that practitioners must always maintain an ongoing link to Hatsumi and his Shihans to correct mistakes and keep up with the new material. Hatsumi only trained with Takamatsu for 15 years. Who has been correcting his mistakes and teaching him new material for the last 44 years? If he has been able to grow and progress without further guidance from his instructor, why couldn't someone else who trained in the Bujinkan for 15 years before splitting off do the same? Of course, if you want to stay current with the latest developments in Hatsumi's personal art you will need to stay connected to his organization, but that's a little different from what you seem to be arguing.

    (I also don't really much care who Takamatsu designated as soke of which line of which art. The whole thing obsession with sokeship smacks of the "divine right of kings" as far as I'm concerned. Either you know the material and can teach it or you don't. Heck - I understand that in some ryu-ha the sokeship has been passed down to blood relatives of the founder who have minimal training rather than the most advanced practitioners.)

    I think we agree that the best approach for a new student is to try out the training that is available in their area and decide what suits them best.

    BTW - just a note with regard to your list of who would be at the table of the world's acknowledged leading ninjutsu practitioners and who is qualified to form their own ryu - did you happen to read an interview with Hatsumi that was published shortly after Tanemura broke away? In that interview Hatsumi blasted Tanemura and stated that "everyone knows" that Tanemura "isn't qualified." Maybe that was what prompted Tanemura to start pretending that Hatsumi wasn't one of his teachers.
     
  5. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    No doubt Tony you and I agree on most things.

    We are also practical people!

    You are correct in that I like the way Hatsumi Sensei transmits his teachings within the Bujinkan. While it is difficult for beginners it is perfect for advanced martial practitioner's. So I like his flair and his methodology and freedom of movement. When I want basics in Budo Taijutsu I would seek out a Japanese Shihan or a Western Shihan with strong links to Japan. Genbukan or Jinenkan practitioiner's will of course like what they are doing and that is perfectly okay with me. They in turn will seek out a qualified teacher with links to in their system to Japan. I like the movement in the Genbukan and Jinenkan as well. I just do not have a connection to a teacher in those systems. To each their own!

    I would also agree that in Japanese martial systems the lineage thing is not only overdone in my opinion but then they do not care about my opinion, your opinion or even Chris opinion. It is what it is. You either have the papers or you don't and if you do not then you go find someone who can give you papers. (Menkyo Kaiden, Sokeship, etc.) My point about having someone to train with is relevant if you are in a Japanese system and also claiming to teach a Japanese system. Hatsumi Sensei, Tanemura Sensei, Manaka Sensei have enough skill set and credentials that they are OK and past the mustard test. Westerners who have to this point broken away unfortunately do not. Sure they can teach but setting themselves up as the next Ninja Master does a disservice to them and particularly to their future students who are sure to be let down in the end. There are however, Bujinkan westerners who have Menkyo Kaiden albeit in a different line that could break away and teach that. (Phil Legare and Shinken Gata is one) Yet if they broke away and taught the 9 ryu-ha that make up the Budo Taijutsu and declared themselves the next Ninja Master they would be out of place if they did not have menkyo kaiden in those ryu-ha. Particularly if they cut ties to Japan. They would not necessarily have a place at the table so to speak. I do not know about the Genbukan or Jinenkan in this manner as I do not know who holds menkyo kaiden within those organizations. It is kind've like all the ninja larpers out there that have no connection to Japan at all yet take on students and teach them ninja larping. The Ron Duncans, Collins, Jacobsen, etc. of the world. It would be no different than someone who teaches BJJ without any training. We would call them out as well. Now someone who had training, moved away and broke ties but still calls it Ninjutsu probably should rethink what they are doing and maybe just maybe rename what they are doing so as not to mislead the public as well. Chris's instructor has been moving in this direction and good for him! (hopefully they will continue that move) I am actually okay with Stephen Hayes and his system of To Shin Do. Not my cup of tea but I am okay that he moved on. I personally know some people that trained with Stephen and liked the way he moved. What people within the Kans are not necessarily okay with is Stephen Hayes utilizing the N word and marketing it to the end all while trotting out photos of him and Hatsumi Sensei when as we all know he is not a part of the Bujinkan, hasn't been for a long, long time and that the circumstances of him leaving are not good. It does not mean he is not a good martial practitioner just that he is not a good representative of the teachings in the lineage of Takamatsu. A lot of people have much bigger problems with Stephen because of what they were told by him, taught by him not jiving with what is taught in Japan. You see they thought they were getting the real deal straight from Japan. Which brings us of course back to lineage and how in Japanese martial systems it can be pretty important.

    We totally agree that the OP should check out several teachers and see what works best for him. That is the perfect way to decide how to practice any martial system. Finding the right fit, with the right instructor is essential so that you go to training and get inspired to keep training! We could probably go on with ten, fifteen or twenty pages of infighting regarding lineage in the Takamstsuden line. ;)
     

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