Had first ever bujinkan class- initial thoughts

combatisshinryu

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So my MA background has been primarily judo, bjj, and isshinryu. Saw a buj training group and went to a class. Definitely different from what I am used to. I see potential in the training and am actually attracted by some of the more esoteric aspects. That being said, I think that along the way somewhere the bujinkan practitioners de-emphasized certain aspects of training that i feel impact the effectiveness.

First is physical attributes. I believe the system used to emphasize "junan taiso" which I believe was physical attribute training. The training I see in most videos has an aikido like feel to it. The training I see that I like the best so far is the AKBAN folks.

I plan to continue training to see if it is a good fit for me but I certainly can see where I would need to do alot of training on my own with the techniques outside of the buj class to bring in an element of intensity.
 

arnisador

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My first art was isshinryu--I still sometimes throw that vertical punch! I'll be interested to hear more of your experiences.
 
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combatisshinryu

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So the group is inactive for a spell but, I have been watching some vids and doing some training on some of the concepts we worked on at my first class. The group will start back up once the instructor gets back in town from some training. My observations thus far are that the technique we worked "catching the wind" is partly successful. It was moving into the attack/strike of the opponent and working an angle and a hand to ear type of wedge block followed by an offbalancing of the opponent with an arm grab temple strike then unlimited options from that point for finishing. What I found when pressure testing the technique was that the initial angled movement into the attack and the wedge block are legit and the catching of the arm is about a 70-30 proposition of success to failure. This was done with a gloved hand and a realistic intensity strike. If the striker was using a snap back jab style boxers punch the success rate diminishes further still. The classic haymaker with full commitment produced the best results.

secondly, I have been playing with the kamae and think that the concepts here with distancing, movement, angles etc. may be where the art shines the most and is probably practiced/trained the least. Just a guess. I have been working the kamae into some taiso sessions and getting good results, even just moving from the ready stance/natural posture (name escapes me) into a sort of horse stance with arms out to sides and back alternating sides and then moving into Ichimonji sp? left to right produces a good workout if done enough.

the striking concepts from what i can gather rely on learning to use the whole body momentum so i have been working ichimonji and shifting front to back and then when i feel it perfect moving forward launch the strike and then reduce the movement distance each time until it is nearly imperceptible but i have full body momentum in the strikes.

I think reducing these concepts in the art back to basics and away from the whole no strength/pure technique/charlatanism i see in alot of the training will produce a good budo system
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I think you will find a wide assortment of different people practice Budo Taijutsu. I have been in a class where almost every practitioner was in great shape and of course I have been in the reverse of that too. It is after all one of the bigger systems under one head instructor in the world. (lots of students) The system is big on distance, movement, angles, subtleties, etc. The system is also incredibly efficient with it's breakfalls, rolls, etc. Probably the best in the world in that particular aspect. One of the things I like best about Budo Taijutsu is that it has a heavy emphasis on body movement that also translates to utilizing tools/weapons. All in all for a personal protection system you would be hard pressed to find a system that gives you lot's of options in the moment. If you train in a relaxed manner without utilizing muscle/strength then you will have a better chance in the long run of developing your technique. You can always put strength into it in the moment but..... if you rely on muscle a lot then over time your technique might not be as sharp. Just some words of advice. Keep training and enjoy!
 

Aiki Lee

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The only time you would need to utilize a lot of muscle strength in a technique is if your angle and timing are wrong. Proper taijutsu allows you to fit into gaps and the principle of tsukuri allows you to secure a good technique without relying on muscular strength or speed. Timing and positioning are everything.
 
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combatisshinryu

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Well, regarding muscle strength I beg to disagree. Timing, distance, angle etc. all have their place in technique; but physical attributes do as well. If we take a basic kick/push kick etc. the movement forward and the resulting impact will be increased with an increased speed of movment/direction change and a more forceful drive from the ground. Coupled with good technique the kick is thus maximized. What you speak of is the ideal, though hardly realized in the chaos of combat IMHO.

I think training should be done with the ideal in mind but with the realization that physicality may be necessary to make up for something less than the ideal, as the opponent gets a vote too.
 

gapjumper

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So the group is inactive for a spell but, I have been watching some vids and doing some training on some of the concepts we worked on at my first class. The group will start back up once the instructor gets back in town from some training. My observations thus far are that the technique we worked "catching the wind" is partly successful. It was moving into the attack/strike of the opponent and working an angle and a hand to ear type of wedge block followed by an offbalancing of the opponent with an arm grab temple strike then unlimited options from that point for finishing. What I found when pressure testing the technique was that the initial angled movement into the attack and the wedge block are legit and the catching of the arm is about a 70-30 proposition of success to failure. This was done with a gloved hand and a realistic intensity strike. If the striker was using a snap back jab style boxers punch the success rate diminishes further still. The classic haymaker with full commitment produced the best results.

secondly, I have been playing with the kamae and think that the concepts here with distancing, movement, angles etc. may be where the art shines the most and is probably practiced/trained the least. Just a guess. I have been working the kamae into some taiso sessions and getting good results, even just moving from the ready stance/natural posture (name escapes me) into a sort of horse stance with arms out to sides and back alternating sides and then moving into Ichimonji sp? left to right produces a good workout if done enough.

the striking concepts from what i can gather rely on learning to use the whole body momentum so i have been working ichimonji and shifting front to back and then when i feel it perfect moving forward launch the strike and then reduce the movement distance each time until it is nearly imperceptible but i have full body momentum in the strikes.

I think reducing these concepts in the art back to basics and away from the whole no strength/pure technique/charlatanism i see in alot of the training will produce a good budo system

"Catching The Wind"?

Did he call it by any Japanese name at all?

Also you cannot expect to go to one lesson and then understand a waza enough to pressure test it and then when you cannot make it work claim it is a bad technique.

And LOL. "I think reducing these concepts in the art back to basics and away from the whole no strength/pure technique/charlatanism i see in alot of the training will produce a good budo system". Again, one lesson and you understand everything....oh my. People are supposed to master those basics (and continue to pratice them) before moving on and looking at other stuff. But after your one lesson I am sure they will value your input greatly!

Pffft.

Good luck in your future training. Though I'm guessing it will be short.

(Wow I'm sounding negative today!)
 
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gapjumper

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I think training should be done with the ideal in mind but with the realization that physicality may be necessary to make up for something less than the ideal, as the opponent gets a vote too.

Errrr....obviously. Is this a "state the bleedin' obvious" thread? :)

Have you ever thought of emptying your cup? You may get more from your new training if you do.

BTW: Which dojo are you training at?
 

arnisador

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Have you ever thought of emptying your cup? You may get more from your new training if you do.

He's looking for a new system. I've tried some arts for only a month before deciding to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. You have to form an opinion on whether a new art is going to be a good fit for you and a good investment of your time or not. It seems to me that the views he's getting here from those with some experience in the art might help him make the decision. Anyway, I always find it interesting to hear what someone new to an art thinks of it.
 

Dirty Dog

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Folks, let's take a minute to scroll up to the top of the page. Any page will do...
Notice where it says "Friendly Martial Arts Community"? Cool, huh?
Let's make it a point to keep thing friendly, shall we?
 
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combatisshinryu

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"Catching The Wind"?

Did he call it by any Japanese name at all?

Also you cannot expect to go to one lesson and then understand a waza enough to pressure test it and then when you cannot make it work claim it is a bad technique.

And LOL. "I think reducing these concepts in the art back to basics and away from the whole no strength/pure technique/charlatanism i see in alot of the training will produce a good budo system". Again, one lesson and you understand everything....oh my. People are supposed to master those basics (and continue to pratice them) before moving on and looking at other stuff. But after your one lesson I am sure they will value your input greatly!

Pffft.

Good luck in your future training. Though I'm guessing it will be short.

(Wow I'm sounding negative today!)

So despite your negativity I will answer your question. I believe he called it DOFU or something to that affect.

As for pressure testing a technique, yes since my primary background is in two arts that DO THAT constantly I feel adequate to pressure test the technique we worked on since it involved a grapple (seizing the arm post block/entering).

I don't need to practice it 100 or a 1000 times with compliance to be able to see that it isn't going to work without it.

And though I never claimed to understand "everything" as you stated, I do understand BS when I see it and sadly it manifests in a lot of stuff out in the MA world, bujinkan included. Since I do see incredible potential in many aspects of the bujinkan system I will give it a fair shot before fully judging it as to its utility in my overall path.
 

Aiki Lee

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Well, regarding muscle strength I beg to disagree. Timing, distance, angle etc. all have their place in technique; but physical attributes do as well.

Physical strength is beneficial no doubt, but it is obviously no substitute for poor technique as I'm sure you will agree. I do believe being in better physical shape allows you to be a better martial artist for two reasons. 1) You do not fatigue as quickly and 2) You retain better muscle control and thus better control of your body, but forcing a technique means that you improperly applied it.

If we take a basic kick/push kick etc. the movement forward and the resulting impact will be increased with an increased speed of movment/direction change and a more forceful drive from the ground. Coupled with good technique the kick is thus maximized. What you speak of is the ideal, though hardly realized in the chaos of combat IMHO.

To generate the power for an effective thrust kick requires proper hip movement, balance and coordination which requires some muscle control. All of that is technique to me, when I refer to "muscling through something" I'm speaking in terms of relying on muscle over positioning which creates tension in the body hindering its ability to move efficiently. Things will always break down in reality, but the less you rely on muscle strength in training, the less you will rely on it in combat so long as your training utilizes pressure testing.

I think training should be done with the ideal in mind but with the realization that physicality may be necessary to make up for something less than the ideal, as the opponent gets a vote too.

From my point of view, I always train with the idea that my opponent will be stronger, faster, larger, and more aggressive than I will be. This means my physicality will never match that of the attacker, so my positioning must be perfect. Of course, like you said, it breaks down which is why it is important to know how to properly transition from one position to the next to stack the odds in the favor of the defender. So like I said before, physicality is important but doesn't make up for bad positioning or timing. If the defender screws up and finds themselves in a bad position it is important IMO to find where there is available space to move to as opposed to struggling through a technique that is no longer applicable.
 

jks9199

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H'mmm....

After a single class in an art, where someone was introduced to a technique, they proceeded to decide whether it worked. Their conclusion? Maybe, if things go the right way.

So other folks start jumping on them for coming to a conclusion too quickly.

Really useful way to encourage them to delve deeper... and maybe realize that there are pieces that they may not understand about how this particular technique works.

I don't train in the Bujinkan, and the times I've tried to meet up with someone to play together a bit never quite worked out. But I have looked into it from the outside a fair bit. There's a lot of variation in how the different dojos teach taijutsu. And, while it can seem fairly simple on the surface, there's a huge amount of depth, intricacy, and complexity to the system. Things that aren't going to reveal themselves in a single class... sometimes not even after a year of study. (Incidentally, this can be said about most arts...) Sometimes, the surface lesson of a particular technique or kata isn't even the real lesson or key! The teaching methodology involves paired kata, where initially, the uke is very compliant so that tore can do the technique and find the lessons. Ideally, as practice continues, uke should be less compliant.

That said... I understand walking away, and saying "well, let's see how this works if someone isn't quite so compliant", and trying with a buddy. Especially for an experienced martial artist. But maybe we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that we understood everything about how the technique works after a single lesson, either...

I hope the OP spends a couple more classes and gets a better feel for the training than a single night. After all, one night can be deceptive... and not at all representative of regular training...
 
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Brian R. VanCise

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Like anything in life you have to figure out if it is for you. This is absolutely true in the Martial Sciences as well. People coming from one system that is quite a bit different from what they are used to will have an adjustment period. Some times that is a big adjustment period and some times it is not. Bottom line if you like it train in it if not move on. I think you are right in your assumption that Budo Taijutsu and more specifically the Bujinian has a lot to offer. It certainly does particularly in it's ability to move from empty hands to a multitude of weapons/tools.

Like you I am a huge believer in having great attributes and building those up to their potential. I am also a firm believer that attributes will come into play in a violent encounter. Yet when working on technique I rely on distance, angles, structure and do my best to stay away from any kind of muscling. I can also add muscle back in during an encounter but my technique might not be so good if I am muscling during training.

Good luck!
 

gapjumper

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Undoubtably there is a lot of hokum in martial arts, but what do you consider to be "BS" and "charlatanism" in martial arts?

Is it specific things/concepts, or simply things you do not understand at present?

As for muscling through techniques instead of getting them correct...that is a very superficial understanding of martial arts.

As for the Bujinkan class, have you asked the instructor about the concerns you have over the techniques you saw? I would suggest talking to him and explaining you tried it outside class and couldn't see how it would work against resistance. They might be able to show you.
 

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Gap jumper, I suspect you would like to be a fly on the wall , if this student is going to ask his instructor just how the technique really works , lol, any how I find it really interesting that ppl know so much after such a short time doing something whether its martial arts or some sort of work /job, an example would be that in I.T. I'm been in it for over 15 years , and I'm still learning new and old stuff, maybe I'm just slow , I DNT know , but me thinks there's more to a technique then what you might THINK you know or see , but I might be wrong .... Or not :)
 

arnisador

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But what if you train in an art for 15 years and eventually figure out that Master Ken was right about it? One must make decisions with the data available, just as I invest in a stock today with only my best guess as to where it'll be in 10 years.
 
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combatisshinryu

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Which dojo are you at?
It was not a dojo. It was a training group, or rather is, but I chose not to return. I thought as I was getting older I was ready to explore some less harsh arts but I am just not ready for the world of bujinkan. The more I researched and watched video the more suspicious I became of it all. Don't mean to offend anyone but its just not for me. The AKBAN guys were about the best I saw, with some of the worst being barely above LARPing ( which is fine and is some peoples' thing just not mine). I think I will keep looking for something grounded in competition and reality.
 

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