Learning Ninjutsu by Correspondence/DVD course?

Fushichou

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I am interested in studying with the Bujinkan, but there are no Shidoshi around me that are running any dojo that I know of.

I know Richard Van Donk has his DVD course, and theoretically you can earn up to 4th Dan through it (and up to 1st Kyu without having to test in person), but I'm skeptical of learning an art purely by correspondence.

I've got some martial arts experience in a number of arts, but never to the point of a dan rank. One of my instructors was teaching a form of Kempo but also had a 1st dan in Budo Taijutsu and sometimes threw in elements of his Bujinkan training into class over the years, so unless he was completely making stuff up I've been taught some rudiments of that school albeit unofficially.

I can easily see it being nigh impossible for somebody with no prior experience learning only by a video, but I'm intrigued to the idea that I could learn from it, having at least some martial arts experience, but I'm still just skeptical enough to avoid spending the several hundred dollars charged for the course (and a video camera to record my tests, and a black gi, and by the time I add up everything I'd need).

I'm wondering if anybody here has had any experience with this course, what is it like, how hard it is it to learn essentially on your own?
 

Bill Sempf

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Hi, Fushichou. You may have a hard time learning Ninjutsu without constant feedback and a training partner. That said, I am studying in an online school called Impact Ninjutsu taught by a Bujinkan Godan(www.impactninjutsu.com) and I have nothing but good things to say about them. It isn't Budo Taijutsu, it is Bansenshukai Ninjutsu, but it is about 75% techniques from the Bujinkan. And the other 25% os some cool stuff.

If you have someone you can train with, and previous experience I think you can get something out of a live course online like Impact Ninjutsu offers. Of course, the belts are just an artificial benchmark of your progress - what matters is: are you getting what you want? I also study in a live dojo and I get different things from each source. If you are in a place where you need to learn a few things on your own, then a video/online course like Impact Ninjutsu offers can be a great thing. If you are looking for live feedback of every move, keep looking for that dojo.

Many of the students at Impact Ninjutsu are just like you - they have eperience in other arts and are just looking to learn some new stuff. The comeraderie is great on the forum for the school. Shidoshi Dameron has a lot of really good ideas to teach - he is a police instructor and takes on a lot of very tough real-life examples. Check out the sample courses and see if you are as drawn to it as I was - the quality of instruction is second to none.
 

stephen

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There are not many places anymore in which there are no Shidoshi. Although not all groups are advertised.

Where are you located?

Have you tried www.winjutsu.com - if there are none in your city, I suggest emailing the otherwise closest and asking about anyone closer they may be familiar with.

If all of that fails, sorry...might just not be in the cards.


Just remember that it's better to 'waste' 10 hours a week traveling to train with a good teacher than 'waste' 10 years training with a bad one (or none).
 

Logan

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hmm....I come back and get a very strong sense of deja vu......

I would recommend searching for the numerous discussions on this. Try keywords such as "online training", "course", and "DVD" (along with ninja etc).

Or if you are lazy I can summerise that online/video/dvd/telepathy is NOT a good form of training and you will only learn bad habits and waste money.

Go to a seminar and try the art. If you really want to do it after that, you will find a way to go to a dojo with a good teacher.

The internet/books/videos etc are fine for supplementing but martial arts are are physical rather than academic. What your mind sees may not actually be the reality blah blah blah blah blah
 

Logan

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oh and the word obvious is in my head for some reason....
 
OP
F

Fushichou

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There are not many places anymore in which there are no Shidoshi. Although not all groups are advertised.

Where are you located?

Have you tried www.winjutsu.com - if there are none in your city, I suggest emailing the otherwise closest and asking about anyone closer they may be familiar with.
I'm currently in Crab Orchard, Kentucky, a tiny out-of-the way town about an hour from Lexington and two hours from Louisville or Cincinatti (a good distance away from any main road). I may be moving Lexington or Frankfort, Kentucky soon, depending on how some job prospects pan out.

I know that there was a Bujinkan dojo in Lexington a few years ago, there is still a big wooden sign on a building on South Broadway with the Bujinkan name and logo, but that sign looks pretty old and the building it's on looks all but abandoned. I'd heard rumors from some other dojo I'd studied at in Lexington that it closed after a year or two. Winjutsu lists there being a dojo in Lexington and having a website that goes to that dojo, but it doesn't look like it's been updated in years. It might still be open, and the rumors be false (or it might have closed and reopened with a new Shidoshi, the one listed there isn't the one I'd heard mentioned in those rumors) but I'll have to see about that.

oh and the word obvious is in my head for some reason....
I said I was skeptical about it, interested in it but skeptical.

I was wondering if the idea that I could already throw a punch or kick and knew some basic throws and counterjoints and breakfalls and how to handle some weapons would mean that at least for the first few ranks I wouldn't have much problem learning some new ones.

Essentially, I was hoping the DVD course would serve as an introduction to Ninjutsu and I could at least spend some time learning from it until I could study under a live instructor. The idea of taking nothing but video courses, only interacting face-to-face at my 1st through 4th dan tests, then going on to the 5th Dan test with Hatsumi-sensei sounds outright preposterous. I was thinking of it more of an introduction to the art and a supplement to a live instructor if and when I can find one.
 

stephen

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I was thinking of it more of an introduction to the art and a supplement to a live instructor if and when I can find one.



IMO not worth it. Take Judo (for throwing) or Aikido (for ukemi) and study with a shidoshi when one comes into 'range'.

Have you emailed the other dojo in the state to see if they know of surrounding groups?
 

Mr. E

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I was wondering if the idea that I could already throw a punch or kick and knew some basic throws and counterjoints and breakfalls and how to handle some weapons would mean that at least for the first few ranks I wouldn't have much problem learning some new ones.

Actually, that would probably work against you.

That may sound strange, but it is true. The way a karateka punches is very different from the way a Taiji player does the same. And the Silat guy would look at both and say "very nice- but not what I do."

But if you do not have complete mastery of at least one art, and probably more than one, you would look at things and just assume they were all the same.

Take a look at how most of us look at a tree and say "tree." But if you really, really spend time around trees you would know a Birch from a Larch from an Oak. For most of us, it really does not matter. But for those that want to master something, it matters a great deal. It is not the similarities that are important, it is the very subtle differences that need to be discovered to become a master.

You have learned something. That means you have habits and a way of looking at things. Sad to say, it means you have some habits for looking at things. So more than most, you would need someone to stand over you and point out when you were using your old habits when you should be doing it the new way.

Oh, and you might want to check out the following thread.

http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=52867

As you can see by reading the above, the founder of "Impact Ninjutsu" turned tail and ran when asked some very direct questions. Look for post #19 where the following was asked.

Based on the original poster's bio on the site linked in his signature... Let me ask a simple question. Would a web-based training program be an adequate substitute for a police academy and subsequent field training, especially for a new rookie with no prior law enforcement experience? Or would it be lacking something essential for most to succeed?

The founder of Impact ninjutsu actually ignored it and stoped posting in that thread. Then he started posting in another thread. When the same question was brought up by the same poster, he again decided to ignore the question and flee. It looks like he now would prefer to let others do his marketing for him.
 

benkyoka

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I clicked on the impactninjutsu website and happened upon the omote gyaku video. Unfortunately for me, I started bottle feeding my infant daughter just after pushing 'play' and not wanting to interrupt her meal, I had to watch the video until she finished. impactninjutsu makes baby jesus cry...

Oh, to be on topic, you can't learn from videos, especially really poor videos.
 

Bill Sempf

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I was actually downmodded for spam becasue I honestly answered Fushichou's question. Fascinating how this public forum has a facility for people to anonymously insult me, my school and my teacher.

Anyway, I stand by my comments. I don't think a newcomer could learn everything they need to learn to safely pursue any martial art through an online school, but I think people with above average intelligence and some MA experience can gain a lot from video courseware. I learned my sword safety and kata in a live Aikido dojo, but I learned all of my techniques from Hatsumi-soke's video courseware. It has its place.
 

Shicomm

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Any "course" on video is an extra to your regular training at best...

Just remember that it's better to 'waste' 10 hours a week traveling to train with a good teacher than 'waste' 10 years training with a bad one (or none).

So true!
 

Doc_Jude

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"Bansenshukai Ninjutsu: The Evolution of Ninjutsu"

That was funny. Thanks, I guess I needed a good belly laugh today.

This "Shidoshi Damron" is an Ohio State Trooper. You'd thing that LEOs from the midwest would have a little more integrity than that, to just steal techniques from an authentic Japanese master's videos to use as filler in his new and improved art. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what it looks like to me.
 

benkyoka

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but I learned all of my techniques from Hatsumi-soke's video courseware. It has its place.

So you learned what you think are the techniques from video...

Or you are learning what you (and the video's maker) think are 'ninjutsu' techniques from video...

Or you learned all your full-of-holes-and-mistakes techniques from video...


just please tell me you didn't learn how to do omote gyaku from that video... please?
 

jks9199

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"Bansenshukai Ninjutsu: The Evolution of Ninjutsu"

That was funny. Thanks, I guess I needed a good belly laugh today.

This "Shidoshi Damron" is an Ohio State Trooper. You'd thing that LEOs from the midwest would have a little more integrity than that, to just steal techniques from an authentic Japanese master's videos to use as filler in his new and improved art. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what it looks like to me.

Nothing about this addresses either his integrity or professionalism as a trooper, nor has he simply presented the material as his own, out of whole cloth. I'll give him that much. I'm not digging up the posts, but I believe he earned a dan ranking in the Bujinkan. Now, he's presenting "Bansenshukai Ninjustu" based on what he learned, and apparently what he resurrected from translations of some scroll he's got. He's been straightforward about that.

My question regarding academies wasn't intended to challenge his qualifications as a trooper; it was intended to show one perspective on the question of internet based training. Namely -- that it's not appropriate or sufficient for some material, like law enforcement basic training or martial arts. I'd love it if he'd respond... He's got every right to.

I can't address the techniques as he's demonstrated them; I don't train in any form of ninjutsu or related arts. I'm not impressed by how he taught the one I saw; I think that, given the medium and method he's chosen to employ in teaching, he seemed to be glossing over some important details and parts of the technique that probably should have been explained better.
 

Doc_Jude

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Nothing about this addresses either his integrity or professionalism as a trooper, nor has he simply presented the material as his own, out of whole cloth. I'll give him that much. I'm not digging up the posts, but I believe he earned a dan ranking in the Bujinkan. Now, he's presenting "Bansenshukai Ninjustu" based on what he learned, and apparently what he resurrected from translations of some scroll he's got. He's been straightforward about that.

I looked at the Impact Ninjutsu, Bansenshukai Ninjutsu, and Columbus Ninjutsu Club websites, and the only mention of the Bujinkan that I found was a pic of Takamatsu-sensei with a quote, and a few Bujinkan schools in the links.
Oh, & the use of the word "resurrected" is kinda strong. "Cobbled up" is probably a more accurate description. The Bansenshukai documents are mostly philosophy and some ninja methods, stuff like that, little to no techniques.
Taking techniques from the Bujinkan and whipping up some obscure ninja philosophy from an old document, and calling that "the evolution of ninjutsu" is a bit of a misnomer.

My question regarding academies wasn't intended to challenge his qualifications as a trooper; it was intended to show one perspective on the question of internet based training. Namely -- that it's not appropriate or sufficient for some material, like law enforcement basic training or martial arts. I'd love it if he'd respond... He's got every right to.

Here's a point: If you're gonna try to study from videos, you better get them from the cream of the crop, not these Impact Ninjutsu guys. You'd be much better off with Richard Van Donk's dvds.

I can't address the techniques as he's demonstrated them; I don't train in any form of ninjutsu or related arts. I'm not impressed by how he taught the one I saw; I think that, given the medium and method he's chosen to employ in teaching, he seemed to be glossing over some important details and parts of the technique that probably should have been explained better.

& there you go. This inadequacy probably comes from a lack of real understanding of the techniques.
 

Bill Sempf

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My question regarding academies wasn't intended to challenge his qualifications as a trooper; it was intended to show one perspective on the question of internet based training. Namely -- that it's not appropriate or sufficient for some material, like law enforcement basic training or martial arts.

I can tell you this. My latest project is the writing of a learning management system for a courseware company. I won't say who, in case I get downmodded for spam. One of our clients is an Attorney General office, who is in charge of training police officers. While many of the online courseware offerings are Terrorism and Document Authentication and the like, some of the most popular teach new techniques for physical tactics. They are popular, well reviewed and effective. Some are required for certain officers.

We also handle some military clients. They also use a large number of online video courses for physical tactics. It is used a lot. I believe in it strongly, for a number of reasons including but not limited to:
  • You can watch a specific tactic 24,000 times if you want to.
  • You and your buddy can train at 3AM in Iraq.
  • You can get a lot of different ideas from a lot of different people and try them out in the gym.
I think the big problem is the number of people who get Ashida Kim's videos, watch them, get a $19 black japanese theatre outfit from Amazon, and then a tattoo that says "I IS A NINJA!". They then proceed to knock them selves unconscious. And that stinks.

However, there are a lot of people - many more, I would imagine - who legitamately want to learn a fighting system that works, and are willing to have a few different thengs explained to them in a comfortable setting, try them out, and discard what doesn't work. I think online martial arts training works well for that. I use it, I enjoy it. It isn't for everyone.

< offtopic > Regarding Shidoshi Dameron: he is an honorable, brilliant, phenominally talented man, serving his state in a demanding role and taking his time to give a few lucky people the benefit of his instruction. Please stop with the personal attacks. People who make personal attacks look mean and petty. If you dilike his training, don't train with him, and I'll make you a deal - I won't train with your teacher. Fair nuff?

Nothing about this addresses either his integrity or professionalism as a trooper, nor has he simply presented the material as his own, out of whole cloth. I'll give him that much. I'm not digging up the posts, but I believe he earned a dan ranking in the Bujinkan. Now, he's presenting "Bansenshukai Ninjustu" based on what he learned, and apparently what he resurrected from translations of some scroll he's got. He's been straightforward about that.

Thank you for that. It is a common occurance on this forum for some users to automatically bash any idea, new or not. There are a lot of problems with that, of course, whic I won't get into right now, but I am remembering why I don't post here often. MT keeps sending me emails that say "Hey, we miss you, why don't you come post?". I want to reply saying "because of the quantity of egomaniacs on your forum!" but I imagine that it woudln't change anything.</ offtopic >

Thanks to those of you who are participating in this discussion in a quality fashion. Hey Fushichou - but you didn't know what you were getting into, huh?

S
 

jks9199

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I can tell you this. My latest project is the writing of a learning management system for a courseware company. I won't say who, in case I get downmodded for spam. One of our clients is an Attorney General office, who is in charge of training police officers. While many of the online courseware offerings are Terrorism and Document Authentication and the like, some of the most popular teach new techniques for physical tactics. They are popular, well reviewed and effective. Some are required for certain officers.

We also handle some military clients. They also use a large number of online video courses for physical tactics. It is used a lot. I believe in it strongly, for a number of reasons including but not limited to:
  • You can watch a specific tactic 24,000 times if you want to.
  • You and your buddy can train at 3AM in Iraq.
  • You can get a lot of different ideas from a lot of different people and try them out in the gym.

But none of this is addressing basic or introductory training; I probably could learn taijutsu tactics/techniques from a video reasonably well. But I've got more than 20 years of other martial arts training. Similarly, I know I can watch a video on DT (whatever the medium of the video), and learn from it. Again -- I'm working from already having a solid grounding backed up with real world experience. Now, if video based training is working for you, or giving you what you want, that's great. But I haven't seen the military decide that the thousands of hours of HALO or whatever that the Nintendo generation has played has reduced the need for any part of basic or advanced infantry training, let alone special forces training.

However, there are a lot of people - many more, I would imagine - who legitamately want to learn a fighting system that works, and are willing to have a few different thengs explained to them in a comfortable setting, try them out, and discard what doesn't work. I think online martial arts training works well for that. I use it, I enjoy it. It isn't for everyone.

Again -- if you're comfortable and satisfied, that's great. For you. For me, were I to choose to begin training in any of the ninjutsu arts, I'm going to look for an actual, physical dojo to attend. I don't personally believe that there's any substitute at early levels of training in the martial arts (or, for that matter, even at advanced levels) for trained, experienced eyes to review and correct your technique.

< offtopic > Regarding Shidoshi Dameron: he is an honorable, brilliant, phenominally talented man, serving his state in a demanding role and taking his time to give a few lucky people the benefit of his instruction. Please stop with the personal attacks. People who make personal attacks look mean and petty. If you dilike his training, don't train with him, and I'll make you a deal - I won't train with your teacher. Fair nuff?

Thank you for that. It is a common occurance on this forum for some users to automatically bash any idea, new or not. There are a lot of problems with that, of course, whic I won't get into right now, but I am remembering why I don't post here often. MT keeps sending me emails that say "Hey, we miss you, why don't you come post?". I want to reply saying "because of the quantity of egomaniacs on your forum!" but I imagine that it woudln't change anything.</ offtopic >

Unfortunately, he created a kind of bad impression, because every chance he got, he seemed to be working a plug in for his program. And sometimes, sneaking 'em in on the sly. It's not egos -- or at least not necessarily - it's just I, speaking for myself, don't like finding ads in discussions... Especially if the person isn't being straightforward about the ad...
 

Bill Sempf

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But none of this is addressing basic or introductory training; I probably could learn taijutsu tactics/techniques from a video reasonably well.

Point well taken. I am coming to Ninjutsu from a solid 6 year Aikido background. While I sometimes feel like a rote beginner, I am not. I do study this art in a Dojo and use the videos as an adjunct to my training, some do not. I see where you are coming from.

But I haven't seen the military decide that the thousands of hours of HALO or whatever that the Nintendo generation has played has reduced the need for any part of basic or advanced infantry training, let alone special forces training.

Good example! I think my thousands of hours playing Halo should qualify me for SOMETHING other than carpal tunnel.

Seriously, I think we are agreed that you can't pick up any art cold and learn from a video. You need someone to look and say "nope, a little to the left." I can agree with that.

I can't get on board with the "go find a teacher, videos suck" mentality. I still think they have their place in the MA.

Unfortunately, he created a kind of bad impression, because every chance he got, he seemed to be working a plug in for his program. And sometimes, sneaking 'em in on the sly. It's not egos -- or at least not necessarily - it's just I, speaking for myself, don't like finding ads in discussions... Especially if the person isn't being straightforward about the ad...

Duly noted. I have been a admin/webmaster since 1992 and have spent a fair amount of my time booting people from NNTP groups and (more recently) blog comment threads for advertising. This particular forum seems a little over sensitive. If he were just trying to get his ideas vetted by the community, and wasn't selling anything, it would be easier. But he is trying to get his ideas vetted by the community and IS selling something - can't hide that fact. I'll pass on the feedback.
 

Doc_Jude

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Point well taken. I am coming to Ninjutsu from a solid 6 year Aikido background. While I sometimes feel like a rote beginner, I am not. I do study this art in a Dojo and use the videos as an adjunct to my training, some do not. I see where you are coming from.



Good example! I think my thousands of hours playing Halo should qualify me for SOMETHING other than carpal tunnel.

Seriously, I think we are agreed that you can't pick up any art cold and learn from a video. You need someone to look and say "nope, a little to the left." I can agree with that.

I can't get on board with the "go find a teacher, videos suck" mentality. I still think they have their place in the MA.



Duly noted. I have been a admin/webmaster since 1992 and have spent a fair amount of my time booting people from NNTP groups and (more recently) blog comment threads for advertising. This particular forum seems a little over sensitive. If he were just trying to get his ideas vetted by the community, and wasn't selling anything, it would be easier. But he is trying to get his ideas vetted by the community and IS selling something - can't hide that fact. I'll pass on the feedback.

If you're supplementing your dojo training with video, then that's one thing. You can choose who you want to train with, it's a free country. God Bless America!

But if you're planning on ever getting out and sharing what you know with the rest of the world, you better make sure that it works. Not just in your little training group. (*** Many Bujinkan folks are guilty of this, too, I'm not leaving them out. They should roughen up their training, & go a little Ol' School, IMO***)

& unless you plan on living a really sheltered life, train in something that the rest of the MA community will respect, either through lineage, or utility, or both.
 
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