Multiple question thread


White Belt
Sep 6, 2015
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I am interested in getting back into the martial arts after a long break. I was interested in one of the x-kans(?) since when I was a teenager I took lessons for a couple of years but this was before there were three big organizations. Here are my questions:
#1) Do I need to start all the way over (not really an issue due to time lapse)?
#2) Was there a set curriculum in the early late 80's or 90's?
#3) Based off of question #2 are any of the current three following a similar curriculum?
#4) I have found out that there are several Bujinkan schools, at least one Genbukan school but are there any Jinenkan schools anywhere between Denver and Pueblo, in Colorado?

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Nov 11, 2005
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Lexington, KY
Am I correct in guessing that your training as a teenager was in the Bujinkan? If it was in the late 80's, that seems likely. For purposes of answering your question, I'm going to assume that was the case unless you say otherwise.

1) If you haven't trained in 25 years, then you will probably be starting over from scratch in the learning process. As far as rank goes, that's up to your instructor. If you were awarded rank in the Bujinkan and you are starting back up at a Bujinkan school, the instructor might have you start over or might just keep you at your current rank until your skills catch back up to where you were at before.

2) Not really. There were standard techniques and principles being taught, but individual instructors had pretty much carte blanche as far as how they organized the material into a curriculum. There was never a set understanding that students would learn x at 6th kyu and y at 3rd kyu.

3) The fundamental art should be recognizable, regardless of which organization you train with, but as you might guess from my answer to #2, the curriculum may be organized very differently.

4) Not that I know of, but maybe one of the other members here might know of one.

One thing to consider - back in the 80's, the Bujinkan arts (marketed as "ninjutsu" at the time) were fairly new to the U.S. and the technical level of most instructors was not very high. These days you can find instructors with a much greater degree of skill and experience and their approach to teaching will reflect that. It may or may not feel like what you remember from 25 years ago.

BTW - the map shows me that Colorado Springs is located between Pueblo and Denver. Colorado Springs Bujinkan is run by Don Roley, who is one of the most experienced Bujinkan instructors in the country


White Belt
Sep 11, 2015
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Pretty much this. Also, there are some fundamental differences to how the X-Kans have evolved. I have had a (little) experience with some students outside of Bujinkan. Here's some background and the subtle differences:

Back in the 80's is when my teacher started. Most of who are teachers now were in a different phase of training back then - the "Shu" phase, where they were doing techniques "by the book". As Soke progressed in higher levels of understanding of movement, Shoto Tanemura and Manaka Unsui were kind of in charge of teaching the lower phase of training. Also, Stephen K Hayes mostly trained under Tanemura. Now it seems that Someya Sensei is filling that role, but in Japan everyone is trying to keep up with Soke's concepts.

Depending on the teacher, they may be placing more emphasis on what Soke is doing now. It still connects back to the techniques and basics, but you might find a lot of new concepts introduced in training.

When Manaka left and created the Jinenkan, he really stuck to the kata and preserving it. Jinenkan overall has super solid basics and technique, but don't explore the concepts that Soke is playing with now.

Tanemura also stuck to the basics, but if you trained in a Hayes school (which is pretty likely), some of the concepts may seem familiar since there are analogies to the Godai like Hayes has with Quest and To Shin Do - just more hardcore.

In the end, it's all about the people and the teacher. Also, I'm relatively new (I'm a Godan) but this is my understanding on how they all fit together.