Questions regarding authentication

RogueShooter06

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I am here looking for answers, and I would appreciate it if only those of you who are actually knowledgeable about this matter reply to it, as it is for a research article that I’m writing.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of debate within the martial arts community regarding the validity of ninjutsu, and those who teach it. I’ve spent several hours tonight online reading different articles, and walked away with zero answers.

To begin, there are many who claim that a Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in Japan is the last living person who is a true teacher of ninjutsu, while others claim that he is a fraud, and presented their version of evidence to support it.

I have also read articles that claim that Ninjutsu in the United States is not authentic, and has reportedly been monetized by an individual named Stephen Hayes. Again, others in the martial arts community support Mr. Hayes as a true practitioner of Ninjutsu.

I want to know what the veteran practitioners and instructors in the martial arts community think of this, and how you determine who is telling the truth?

From what I have learned over the past several days, there are very few historical records to go on where Ninjutsu is concerned, and fewer still which have been translated into English.

The one that was recommended to me by a Mr. Antony Cummins, has also received discredit on a number of websites as well.
 

Dirty Dog

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I am here looking for answers, and I would appreciate it if only those of you who are actually knowledgeable about this matter reply to it, as it is for a research article that I’m writing.
I am quite confident that every single person who responds will be a subject matter expert. And if they're not, how would you know?
There seems to be a tremendous amount of debate within the martial arts community regarding the validity of ninjutsu, and those who teach it. I’ve spent several hours tonight online reading different articles, and walked away with zero answers.
Several hours? Oh my! You must be exhausted!

So your idea of research means asking a bunch of random strangers to tell you what the answer is?

You already know the answer. There is no definitive answer.
 

Urban Trekker

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Sounds to me like you know fully well that it's all BS, and you're looking for someone to give you that little tiny ray of hope.
 
D

Deleted member 39746

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There seems to be a tremendous amount of debate within the martial arts community regarding the validity of ninjutsu, and those who teach it. I’ve spent several hours tonight online reading different articles, and walked away with zero answers.
100% no **** posting here, if you are intrested in "ninjutsu" you should probbly seek private investigator training and similar.

Thats at least the closest you can find to similar skills, that actually work. Look into security pen testing as well, and similar things. (you can learn camoflauge **** and small unit tactics from some tactical trainers, or maybe find a mil sim group that could hook you up)

Not the end all be all of answers, but apply research into things of this vein. Just as a disclaimer the laws about private security and what they can do vary greatly globally, and so does the quality of military training and police training, and private companies quality varies a bit as well.

You can also get a actual job off this education/training and actual qulifications.
 

Urban Trekker

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BTW, wasn't Seiko Fujita the last Japanese government-recognized shinobi? It's funny how it wasn't until after his death - the death of the last person who could authoritatively call BS - that "ninjutsu" started popping up everywhere.
 
D

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BTW, wasn't Seiko Fujita the last Japanese government-recognized shinobi? It's funny how it wasn't until after his death - the death of the last person who could authoritatively call BS - that "ninjutsu" started popping up everywhere.
I think thats his name, there is very definitively one man named "offical ninja" and he left no heir. It would be intresting to know if these schools exist in japan and what capacity (since most of these regualtory bodies are japanese)

Although, just read more of the OP, i dont think peopelc ite the actual doccument of that, just he is and by either the governemnt or a regualtory body in japan or other body in japan. ( i have heard he was curator of the ninja musuem, or the ninja musuem gave him/somone the title/honour)
 

Urban Trekker

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I really wasn’t expecting such replies from members of the martial arts community, but I guess that assholes are everyone, including here.

People tend to eat their young on old school message boards. I got it when I first got here, and I'm still not sure that I'm completely out of the woods yet. You'll be fine.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I really wasn’t expecting such replies from members of the martial arts community, but I guess that assholes are everyone, including here.
There are some on here who will likely have good answers for you. It's working hours for a lot now so may have to wait a few hours.
 

Tony Dismukes

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There seems to be a tremendous amount of debate within the martial arts community regarding the validity of ninjutsu, and those who teach it. I’ve spent several hours tonight online reading different articles, and walked away with zero answers.

To begin, there are many who claim that a Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in Japan is the last living person who is a true teacher of ninjutsu, while others claim that he is a fraud, and presented their version of evidence to support it.

I have also read articles that claim that Ninjutsu in the United States is not authentic, and has reportedly been monetized by an individual named Stephen Hayes. Again, others in the martial arts community support Mr. Hayes as a true practitioner of Ninjutsu.
Okay, your answers are going to depend on what you mean by "validity" and "ninjutsu."

For the sake of discussion, let's define "ninjutsu" as a sub-category of historical Japanese martial arts traditions which were largely concerned with subjects that we would classify in modern terms under military intelligence, espionage, recon, or special force operations. That's probably not exactly right from a pedantic historical perspective, but it gets us in the right ballpark.

There are a number of historical (koryu) Japanese arts which still include some small aspects of "ninjutsu" in their traditions (or at least their documents, I don't know how much they are actually practiced). These would typically just be mundane things like methods for estimating enemy troop numbers, not vanishing in a puff of smoke.

As far as Hatsumi goes, he runs an organization named the Bujinkan and under that he teaches his interpretation of 9 martial arts traditions that he legitimately inherited from his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu. Of those 9 traditions, 3 are considered to be forms of "ninjutsu." Also, of those 9 traditions, 3 are historically documented to have existed before Takamatsu started teaching them. However - the 3 which are known for sure to be genuine historical martial arts are not the same as the 3 which are considered to be ninjutsu arts.

So, what about the other 6 martial arts (including 3 "ninjutsu" systems) which were taught by Takamatsu but which can't be verified to exist prior to his teaching? It's hard to say exactly. We do know that his claimed lineage for those systems is at least highly exaggerated. Some students of the art have been doing research and think they have found evidence that Takamatsu did have a teacher from a family which had a history of being involved in the sort of military operations which might be associated with our ideas of ninjutsu. Perhaps that teacher did pass on some or all of those arts under the names they have now, or perhaps Takamatsu synthesized some or all of these arts in their present form based on his other studies and then invented a long line of supposed prior grandmasters to give them a sense of legitimacy. We'll probably never know for sure.

Whatever their historical origin, the "ninjutsu" aspects of the Bujinkan arts (stealth, intelligence gathering, etc) are only a very small portion of the normal curriculum. The overwhelming majority of the training in the Bujinkan is oriented towards unarmed and armed fighting methods. (Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is the blanket term for Hatumi's personal synthesis of the 9 systems he learned from Takamatsu.) In decades past, Hatsumi and the Bujinkan leaned a lot more on selling the system as "ninjutsu", primarily as a marketing tool. These days it is typically presented more as just an historical martial art with modern application.

Steve Hayes is just one of many people who trained in the Bujinkan for a while, was granted instructor licensure, and then broke off to do his own thing. At this point there are a number of organizations which have splintered off from the Bujinkan for one reason or another. Some have changed the curriculum drastically, others not so much.

So getting back to the question of "legitimacy", Hatsumi is the legitimate headmaster of a number of martial arts that were passed on to him by his teacher. Some of those arts are definitely legitimately historical. Some of those arts may or may not be historical. This includes the "ninjutsu" systems which might have a direct lineage connection to actual historical "ninjas" or might be educated reconstructions with only a loose lineage connection to historical ninjutsu or might be just completely made up by Takamatsu out of his own head. At this point I don't believe that anyone living really knows for sure.

The other "legitimacy" question which gets raised is whether the techniques and training methods of the Bujinkan and it's offshoots (commonly referred to as the X-kans) actually work and are effective for their intended purpose. This is a more contentious issue and I feel compelled to mention that the MartialTalk terms of service prohibit art bashing. From my own experience in the Bujinkan, I would say that it includes some genuinely valuable concepts and principles as well as some techniques which can be effective under the right circumstances. I would also say that the training methodology is not one which I would personally recommend and that this approach to training has led to some techniques being taught by some instructors which range from sub-optimal to absolute suicidal nonsense.

I hope this helps.
 

dunc

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Okay, your answers are going to depend on what you mean by "validity" and "ninjutsu."

For the sake of discussion, let's define "ninjutsu" as a sub-category of historical Japanese martial arts traditions which were largely concerned with subjects that we would classify in modern terms under military intelligence, espionage, recon, or special force operations. That's probably not exactly right from a pedantic historical perspective, but it gets us in the right ballpark.

There are a number of historical (koryu) Japanese arts which still include some small aspects of "ninjutsu" in their traditions (or at least their documents, I don't know how much they are actually practiced). These would typically just be mundane things like methods for estimating enemy troop numbers, not vanishing in a puff of smoke.

As far as Hatsumi goes, he runs an organization named the Bujinkan and under that he teaches his interpretation of 9 martial arts traditions that he legitimately inherited from his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu. Of those 9 traditions, 3 are considered to be forms of "ninjutsu." Also, of those 9 traditions, 3 are historically documented to have existed before Takamatsu started teaching them. However - the 3 which are known for sure to be genuine historical martial arts are not the same as the 3 which are considered to be ninjutsu arts.

So, what about the other 6 martial arts (including 3 "ninjutsu" systems) which were taught by Takamatsu but which can't be verified to exist prior to his teaching? It's hard to say exactly. We do know that his claimed lineage for those systems is at least highly exaggerated. Some students of the art have been doing research and think they have found evidence that Takamatsu did have a teacher from a family which had a history of being involved in the sort of military operations which might be associated with our ideas of ninjutsu. Perhaps that teacher did pass on some or all of those arts under the names they have now, or perhaps Takamatsu synthesized some or all of these arts in their present form based on his other studies and then invented a long line of supposed prior grandmasters to give them a sense of legitimacy. We'll probably never know for sure.

Whatever their historical origin, the "ninjutsu" aspects of the Bujinkan arts (stealth, intelligence gathering, etc) are only a very small portion of the normal curriculum. The overwhelming majority of the training in the Bujinkan is oriented towards unarmed and armed fighting methods. (Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is the blanket term for Hatumi's personal synthesis of the 9 systems he learned from Takamatsu.) In decades past, Hatsumi and the Bujinkan leaned a lot more on selling the system as "ninjutsu", primarily as a marketing tool. These days it is typically presented more as just an historical martial art with modern application.

Steve Hayes is just one of many people who trained in the Bujinkan for a while, was granted instructor licensure, and then broke off to do his own thing. At this point there are a number of organizations which have splintered off from the Bujinkan for one reason or another. Some have changed the curriculum drastically, others not so much.

So getting back to the question of "legitimacy", Hatsumi is the legitimate headmaster of a number of martial arts that were passed on to him by his teacher. Some of those arts are definitely legitimately historical. Some of those arts may or may not be historical. This includes the "ninjutsu" systems which might have a direct lineage connection to actual historical "ninjas" or might be educated reconstructions with only a loose lineage connection to historical ninjutsu or might be just completely made up by Takamatsu out of his own head. At this point I don't believe that anyone living really knows for sure.

The other "legitimacy" question which gets raised is whether the techniques and training methods of the Bujinkan and it's offshoots (commonly referred to as the X-kans) actually work and are effective for their intended purpose. This is a more contentious issue and I feel compelled to mention that the MartialTalk terms of service prohibit art bashing. From my own experience in the Bujinkan, I would say that it includes some genuinely valuable concepts and principles as well as some techniques which can be effective under the right circumstances. I would also say that the training methodology is not one which I would personally recommend and that this approach to training has led to some techniques being taught by some instructors which range from sub-optimal to absolute suicidal nonsense.

I hope this helps.
I think this is a good summary of the situation

For more recent information on the connection between today and the schools from Iga (some of which are ninpo) see Sean Askew and Kacem Zoughari. Both have published their research openly in English language
 

Tony Dismukes

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I think this is a good summary of the situation

For more recent information on the connection between today and the schools from Iga (some of which are ninpo) see Sean Askew and Kacem Zoughari. Both have published their research openly in English language
Do you have any links to what Askew and Zoughari have written? I think I may have seen some of Askew’s posts, but it’s been a few years so there may have been updates. I don’t know that I’ve seen any of Zoughari’s research.
 

dunc

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Do you have any links to what Askew and Zoughari have written? I think I may have seen some of Askew’s posts, but it’s been a few years so there may have been updates. I don’t know that I’ve seen any of Zoughari’s research.
Both have published books
Sean Askew put a fair bit up on his Facebook account
Kacem may have some YouTube content, but not sure….
 

Tony Dismukes

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Both have published books
Sean Askew put a fair bit up on his Facebook account
Kacem may have some YouTube content, but not sure….
Thanks! I see that Askew’s book is available for free with my Kindle Unlimited subscription, so I’ll check that out first.
 

Chris Parker

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Okay, this might be a bit... and, honestly, potential the most controversial answer I could give here... let's see how we go!

I am here looking for answers, and I would appreciate it if only those of you who are actually knowledgeable about this matter reply to it, as it is for a research article that I’m writing.

So, before we even get started, there's a few things to look at here... firstly, this is a worldwide forum, and anyone who wants can answer anything they want... regardless of your wishes. You can ask that those who answer qualify their answers with their experience, but that's about as good as you can get... and, to a fair degree, you'll need to take it on faith. That said, Tony trained in the Bujinkan for a while back in the day, Dunc is a long-time member of the Bujinkan, and as for myself, I have been training and teaching the Takamatsuden arts for near-onto three decades now. My school was the original Bujinkan school in Australia, beginning in 1981, however we split from the Bujinkan in 2001, and the organisation as an entity was disbanded when my Chief Instructor retired at the end of 2016. I have trained at the Bujinkan Hombu, with classes held by a number of the senior Japanese instructors, Western instructors, and Hatsumi himself, but am not, technically speaking, a member of the Bujinkan itself (there's a whole other conversation as to whether or not there even is a Bujinkan anymore...). All other members posting on this thread as of now are not practitioners, nor have they had much experience or exposure beyond you-tube, and conversations in places such as this.

Next, you say that this is for a "research article" you're writing? For who? What level of "research" does this article require? Cause, to be honest, this is not what I would consider actual research...

There seems to be a tremendous amount of debate within the martial arts community regarding the validity of ninjutsu, and those who teach it. I’ve spent several hours tonight online reading different articles, and walked away with zero answers.

Yeah, honestly, not surprising. Most (well, really, all) people will write or comment from their own perspective, and with their own agenda... and, in the case of something like the Bujinkan, where much of it centres around the personality of Hatsumi, there can be some very emotional, if not entirely rational, reasoning made on both sides... often from a place of ignorance and blinders, frankly. This ranges from people who will belittle the martial approach without ever having tried or experienced it, nor attempting to come to understand it in any way, through to what I would class as "true believers", who will excuse anything, and often come to some rather odd conclusions regarding what it is they do...

To begin, there are many who claim that a Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in Japan is the last living person who is a true teacher of ninjutsu, while others claim that he is a fraud, and presented their version of evidence to support it.

It's actually a bit more nuanced than that... the claims aren't necessarily that Hatsumi himself is a fraud (although that implication can certainly be inferred by looking at the surface), it's that a number of the arts he teaches are potentially fraudulent in their historical claims... Tony touched on it, but I'll get a bit more into detail in a bit.

I have also read articles that claim that Ninjutsu in the United States is not authentic, and has reportedly been monetized by an individual named Stephen Hayes. Again, others in the martial arts community support Mr. Hayes as a true practitioner of Ninjutsu.

Stephen Hayes was the first American to study with Hatsumi, going to Japan in 1975, gain a teaching rank, and bring the art back to the US in the early 80's. For clarification, he was not the first American to study with Hatsumi... nor was he the first non-Japanese to gain a teaching rank... but his family background in marketing, and his training in theatre, made for someone who was able to publicise the newly introduced art very well, and present it in a way that generated interest by capturing imagination, more than any other method. An art linked with mythical "ninja" was pretty much custom made for such an endeavour... and Hatsumi really didn't do much to minimise that (in fact, very much the opposite!). Of course, the question would be why monetising the art would make it inauthentic? After all, monetising a hamburger by franchising out stores doesn't make the meal itself not a hamburger anymore... quality may indeed suffer, but that doesn't make it not authentic anymore...

When it comes to "ninjutsu in the United States", however, we don't just look to Hayes and the Bujinkan... we need to bring in people such as Ronald Duncan, who claimed to be a teacher of Koga Ryu Ninjutsu, which he said he was taught by Donn Draeger (a Marine, Judoka, and one of the great pioneers of Classical Japanese martial arts in the West). Draeger studied a number of arts, and helped revitalise the study of hoplology (think anthropological combative studies, or the study of combative teachings and methods from a variety of cultures), including the study of Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu, a classical sword art that includes teachings of ninjutsu (after a fashion). Draeger wrote one of the first books on the subject as well, "Ninjitsu (sic): The Art of Invisibility". His real connection to Duncan, though, was that he was a senior at Duncan's Judo club... before Draeger went to Japan. So no chance Donn could have taught Ron an art he never studied, that didn't exist anymore, and that he hadn't started any research in himself.

Duncan, realistically, did a bit of an off-shoot Aikijutsu art (Hakko Ryu), some karate, some judo, and spun a tale about retroactively teaching "ninjitsu" (sic) about a decade before Hayes started publicly demonstrating and teaching, claiming to have been teaching it privately (and secretly)... his demonstrations, though, belie no authentic Japanese classical approach at all, and a mish-mash of weaponry and techniques from Okinawa, Japan, China, and so on... in other words, despite his followers claims, the likelihood of Duncan teaching, knowing, or studying such an art.

There are others as well... the concept of a secret art of Japanese secret agents living and working in the shadows throughout Japan's histories seems to invite people to create fanciful stories to con people... something of a worldwide situation there, though. I could cite examples throughout the US, Australia, South America, Africa, the UK, and Japan... and I'm sure there are plenty in most of the rest of Europe as well, if I could read their websites!

I want to know what the veteran practitioners and instructors in the martial arts community think of this, and how you determine who is telling the truth?

This is the problem... you can't. All you can do is look at the available evidence, and make up your own mind. That said, if the evidence doesn't support it, even if it doesn't absolutely rule it out, then a reasonable response should be to err on the side of caution rather than faith... unfortunately, most tend to rely on their own faith and pre-determined expectations and opinions... which makes them somewhat blind to what's actually in front of them.

From what I have learned over the past several days, there are very few historical records to go on where Ninjutsu is concerned, and fewer still which have been translated into English.

The one that was recommended to me by a Mr. Antony Cummins, has also received discredit on a number of websites as well.

The first thing to understand is that Japan was a highly documentary culture... records were kept on pretty much everything. However, the idea of ninjutsu being separated out from basic military methodologies just wasn't a part of it. Looking for specific accounts would be like looking for military texts that only deal with marching... it's just a part of how a military group operates. Many classical systems included (and still retain) "ninjutsu" teachings, such as the aforementioned Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu, Tatsumi Ryu, Araki Ryu, and more. But this gets to the first thing Tony talks about, which is how you define the idea of "ninjutsu" along the way... if you include the popular image of "assassination", then you have to include pretty much all samurai arts as well... as that's really not a "ninja" thing... ha!

For the record, though, no, Antony Cummins is not recommended in any way, shape, or form. He is a publicity hound with no real credentials, no skill in reading or speaking Japanese, using a team (basically a "Kanji Study Club") to do the actual translations, then he re-writes them to suit his own (deeply lacking) understanding and perceptions. His works are often minor, largely unimportant texts that he over-inflates in importance to make himself (and his work) seem far more important than they are. He has no clue as to the minimalist scope they actually apply to, and he presents a small work in a minor domain from a particular period of time as representative of all samurai culture and history... as he has literally no idea what he's talking about. Avoid entirely. (By the way, this is the highly sanitised version of why to avoid him... there's a hell of a lot more...)

BTW, wasn't Seiko Fujita the last Japanese government-recognized shinobi? It's funny how it wasn't until after his death - the death of the last person who could authoritatively call BS - that "ninjutsu" started popping up everywhere.

Fujita Seiko claimed to be the last (14th) head of Wada-ha Koga Ryu Ninjutsu. He was a prolific martial researcher, and quite a character in and of himself... some of the stories told almost beggar belief (one has him intimidating a group of yakuza in a restaurant by taking a blade, slicing thin strips of his own thigh off, cooking them, and presenting them to the yakuza...). He was legitimately an experienced, master-level practitioner of Shito Ryu karate, Shingetsu Ryu Shurikenjutsu, and was said to have practiced at time arts such as Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu, various Bojutsu, Kenjutsu, and Jujutsu systems, and more. He made the decision to not pass the ninjutsu tradition to anyone, although he did teach the other arts to a number of students (some stated he occasionally demonstrated something, and said "this is the ninjutsu way", but he never formally taught the art). He died in the mid-60's from cirrhosis of the liver (although there is a persistent report that he died in a car accident in 1966 with his three top "ninja" students... this is not the case).

All that said, the idea of there being a "government recognised shinobi" is a bit of a fallacy in and of itself. Fujita is often described as the last "ninja' employed by the Japanese government, however his employment consisted of being a guest instructor at the Nakago Military Academy, who also hosted teachers of the newly emerging Aikido, and other karate teachers, as well as Iai and other arts. His employment was not as "a ninja".

I really wasn’t expecting such replies from members of the martial arts community, but I guess that assholes are everyone, including here.

Yeah... look, as the sentence structure there doesn't make a lot of sense, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were discussing the idea that "opinions are like....", and weren't just being a rude, conceited child who didn't get exactly what he wanted immediately... right?

I think thats his name, there is very definitively one man named "offical ninja" and he left no heir. It would be intresting to know if these schools exist in japan and what capacity (since most of these regualtory bodies are japanese)

Fujita Seiko laid claim to being the last ninja... mind you, so did Takamatsu Toshitsugu (sometimes referred to as the last "combat ninja", as he relied on his combative skills, including swordsmanship and other weaponry, in his exploits in China in the early 20th Century)... and today, Kawakami Jinichi is described by the Iga-Ryu Ninja Museum as being the last genuine ninja... mind you, he's also the honorary curator, so that might have some influence there....

Kawakami came onto the scene about a decade and a half ago, seemingly emerging out of the shadows (ha!), with a similar claim to Fujita's and Takamatsu's... in that, as a child, an older man (grandfather or uncle in Fujita's and Takamatsu's case, just a guy in a park in Kawakami's) instructed the youth in the ways of ninjutsu before disappearing or dying, leaving the young person to hide their art for decades, before finally revealing themselves and their claims to the public. He claims to also have a Koga Ryu line, referred to as Ban-ke Shinobi no Den, teaching Koga Ban Ryu Ninjutsu, along with a number of combative arts of varying skills. To add to his credibility, Kawakami came out to the US around 2008 or so, and gave a lecture and demonstration to interested people, including a number of well known koryu teachers and practitioners. The basic consensus was that "if it was real, his story was, in the main, how it would have been passed down" (paraphrasing)... however that is far from validation. In 2011, he also took a position as a professor at Mie University, where the study of ninja and ninjutsu is actually something you can get a degree in (whether or not that's simply catering to a market, or is a legitimate area of study, is the debate...).

Out of these three potential "last ninja", Fujita didn't teach anyone his ninjutsu arts, Kawakami has taught them (his most senior student is Kiyomoto Yasushi), but has stated publicly that he is not passing the title of soke onto anyone, stating that ninjutsu has little to offer a modern world. Kiyomoto is teaching the Banke arts, including the ninjutsu side of things, and has followers and students of his own, in Spain dominantly, although he is reportedly no longer taking on any new students himself.

Although, just read more of the OP, i dont think peopelc ite the actual doccument of that, just he is and by either the governemnt or a regualtory body in japan or other body in japan. ( i have heard he was curator of the ninja musuem, or the ninja musuem gave him/somone the title/honour)

There is no government or "regulatory" body in Japan or elsewhere that accredits, acknowledges, or grants validity to any form of martial system whatsoever. There are a couple of cultural promotion societies (such as the Nippon Kobudo Shinyokai) that acts as a sort of basic level of legitimacy, but those groups are not arbiters of anything other than stating that their members are, well, their members. Then you have a range of status' that various levels of government (local/prefectural, federal etc) might decide to grant to a particular school, or dojo, or system... the most famous of which is the Katori Shinto Ryu's granting of a status of "intangible cultural asset" in the 1960's, due to the work (and, likely, lobbying) of the late Otake Risuke and his teacher, Hayashi Yazaemon. This was originally prefectural (and the first of it's kind to be given to a martial tradition), but all it says, really, is that the art is valued as a cultural treasure of the area, not any specific claim or validation of it's history.

Okay, your answers are going to depend on what you mean by "validity" and "ninjutsu."

Tony's done a good job overall, so I'm not going to overly disagree with his comments, but will add to them.

For the sake of discussion, let's define "ninjutsu" as a sub-category of historical Japanese martial arts traditions which were largely concerned with subjects that we would classify in modern terms under military intelligence, espionage, recon, or special force operations. That's probably not exactly right from a pedantic historical perspective, but it gets us in the right ballpark.

That's one version of "ninjutsu", and certainly the more, I suppose, standard one. There is a secondary (historical) application of the term, or at least a historical equivalent, which would apply to various groups geographically centred around the historical regions of Iga (present-day Mie Prefecture), and Koga/Kohka (present-day Shiga Prefecture). This idea comes from a number of families in the area, most famously the big three, the Momochi, Fujibayashi (with branches under the name "Ban"... and in Ban-ke, or "Ban Family" Shinobi no Den "Ninja transmissions"...), and the Hattori, itself with multiple branches. The latter of these included a leader known as Hattori Hanzo, a local bushi (warrior) who came into the employ of Tokugawa Ieyasu as he completed his control of the country. To this day, Tokyo (then known as Edo) has a gate in the north known as Hanzomon, or Hanzo's Gate.

Today, a third definition can also be applied... arts that are linked to the geographic location, whether tenuously or not... and that's where the modern arts of "ninjutsu" come into it. Where this leaves us is the question, and one that has been debated over and over, as to whether or not "ninjutsu" constitutes combative fighting techniques or not. Simply, the answer is no... however it can be expressed in conjunction with related combative methodologies, which is where the bushi of Iga and Koga come into it...

There are a number of historical (koryu) Japanese arts which still include some small aspects of "ninjutsu" in their traditions (or at least their documents, I don't know how much they are actually practiced). These would typically just be mundane things like methods for estimating enemy troop numbers, not vanishing in a puff of smoke.

In bushi traditions, this is correct. It was simply considered a part of a martial education, something that needed to be known in order to properly engage military troops. Of course, it depended greatly on the tradition itself... more rural (goshi) arts would be less likely to include aspects of ninjutsu, but an art aimed at higher ranked (socially) samurai would often include them as part of a more complete education. Of course, it wouldn't always be called "ninjutsu"... Tatsumi Ryu, for example, refers to their scouting and intelligence teachings as "monomi". How much is taught, though, can vary from ryu to ryu... and even from branch to branch.

As far as Hatsumi goes, he runs an organization named the Bujinkan and under that he teaches his interpretation of 9 martial arts traditions that he legitimately inherited from his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu. Of those 9 traditions, 3 are considered to be forms of "ninjutsu." Also, of those 9 traditions, 3 are historically documented to have existed before Takamatsu started teaching them. However - the 3 which are known for sure to be genuine historical martial arts are not the same as the 3 which are considered to be ninjutsu arts.

Not entirely correct... but pretty close. Let's see if we can clear it up a bit.

In the 1950's, a young Hatsumi Yoshiaki had studied karate and judo, heading towards martial arts early in life to avoid an alcoholic and abusive father. He had found, however, with a number of US GI's in Japan after WWII who he taught Judo to, they could often overcome his technique with sheer and simple strength... so, feeling that there must be a better approach, he began to seek out the older martial systems. His first teacher in this new/old approach was a man called Ueno Takashi, with whom he studied a few different arts, such as Bokuden Ryu Jujutsu and Asayama Ichiden Ryu Taijutsu, attaining Menkyo Kaiden in Asayama Ichiden Ryu within 3 years. In his original telling, Hatsumi then says that Ueno told him that he'd taught all he could, and to go further, he needed to talk to Ueno's teacher, a man named Takamatsu. Hatsumi, at the age of 28, then went and met Takamatsu, and became his student. Of course, the problems are that Ueno was not Takamatsu's student, he was a contemporary who trained with him, exchanging training concepts and arts in a number of ways... and that, after leaving Ueno (likely behind Ueno's back) to join Takamatsu, Ueno gave Hatsumi hamon... basically expelling or excommunicating him, making his ranking and licensing in the arts he learnt from Ueno all null and void.

However it happened, from around 1958, Hatsumi began studying with Takamatsu. Takamatsu, at this point, had semi-retired from teaching, after giving out the various arts he had studied to students such as Akimoto, Sato Kinbei, Kimura Masaji, and so on, but he took on Hatsumi as a new student (there are speculative reasons that I'm not going into here...). Hatsumi lived (and still does) in Noda, to the north of Tokyo, and Takamatsu lived in Kashihara, outside of Osaka... so Hatsumi took hours worth of trains to visit Takamatsu on the weekends to train and study. Two years later, Hatsumi was awarded soke in Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu (Ninjutsu), and Menkyo Kaiden in Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu (according to the histories presented by the schools, both are Iga traditions) a year later. Over the next decade or so, he was also awarded licenses and soke titles in Koto Ryu Koppojutsu (also an "Iga" tradition), Gyokushin Ryu Ninjutsu, Gikan Ryu Koppotaijutsu, Kumogakure Ryu Ninjutsu (all also Iga schools, but these three are pretty much not taught... and there was a letter Hatsumi sent to the Kuki family after Takamatsu had passed on stating that he was the soke of 8 arts, not nine...figure that out for yourself...), and Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, and Kukishinden Happo Biken... these are often cited as the "legitimate" ones that prove the others, but even there it's far more complicated and nuanced...

To begin with, let's look at each school individually. We'll start with the "ninja" ones... which is actually more than just three.

Togakure Ryu, Kumogakure Ryu, and Gyokushin Ryu are all classed as "ninjutsu/ninpo taijutsu", however neither Kumogakure Ryu nor Gyokushin Ryu have really been demonstrated/taught at all, so we can largely ignore them... in fact, Kumogakure Ryu was the "missing" school in the earlier correspondence with the Kuki family. Togakure Ryu was the first school that Hatsumi got licensing in, being given the title of soke after two years with Takamatsu, so it was the name under which Hatsumi began to teach. It also has the longest list of claimed headmasters at 34, so gets seniority of the traditions... when the Bujinkan first opened, it was described as teaching "Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu" as it's martial art of name, despite the variety of other arts housed under the Bujinkan's roof. These schools do not exist outside of the Takamatsuden traditions so there's little way to verify them outside of the records of the Bujinkan itself...

Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, and Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu are schools of various unarmed combat, said to come from the Iga region (giving them a "ninja" connection/status), and each are somewhat related, with Gikan's and Koto's histories both stating they were founded by different generational heads of Gyokko Ryu itself. These arts are also not found outside of the Takamatsuden, although a rather different version of Koto Ryu is found in Ueno Takashi's lineage, and Gikan Ryu is also taught in the Genbukan (headed by Hatsumi's cousin, and former Vice President of the Bujinkan, Tanemura Shoto... in fact, in a court case, it was declared that Tanemura's claim to being soke of Gikan Ryu was verified, but Hatsumi's was not... another wrinkle in the whole saga, really). What's most interesting is the terminology of the schools, being Koppojutsu (and it's variant, Koppotaijutsu) and Kosshijutsu. There is a modern Japanese art focusing on knife combat which also uses the term Koppo, but other than that, I haven't come across the term in any historical writings or systems... amusingly, I have seen a description of Gyokko Ryu as "the oldest form of Kosshijutsu still in existence"... my question would be, what others are there?

Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu gets a slightly special place, as the dojo Takamatsu was said to have been sent to as a 9 year old, which belonged to his uncle (Toda), was a dojo of Shinden Fudo Ryu. After a period of time, Toda was said to have taught the young Takamatsu Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, and Togakure Ryu... but the primary art was SFR. The problem starts to come up when we ask questions like "Which Shinden Fudo Ryu was taught there?" There are three main schools that used the name at least, being Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, Shinden Fudo Ryu Jutaijutsu, and Shinden Fudo Ryu Kenpo (interestingly, the founder of Bartitsu, a British martial art created by Edward Barton-Wright that served as the basis for the fictional art of Baritsu in the Sherlock Holmes novels, studied a form of jujutsu in Japan named as Shinden Fudo Ryu as well... although it's never clear which one). The Kenpo version is said to be extinct these days, whereas the Jutaijutsu, alternately known as Taijutsu, is also preserved in the Jinenkan, Genbukan, and Ueno lines, and was apparently also taught by Takamatsu along with the Dakentaijutsu... making it a bit murky as to which one the official school of Toda's dojo was... this is combined by conflicting information as to the lessons that Takamatsu received.

Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu is the next one... and this is one of the most legitimate arts that there are in the Takamatsuden arts... however, even it's not without it's issues. According to the histories, Takamatsu learnt two different forms of this art, known as the Ishitani-den and the Mizuta-den. The Ishitani-den is the primary version found in the Genbukan, and gets a full name of Hontai Yoshin Ryu Takagi Ryu Jujutsu, whereas the Mizuta-den Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu is the one found in the Bujinkan and Jinenkan... These two lines get their name from the teachers of Takamatsu, with his first teacher being Ishitani Matsutaro, and then later receiving a second line from Mizuta Tadafusa, said to be a student of Fujita, who was a contemporary of Ishitani. To be honest, I haven't found much contemporary evidence of Mizuta outside of Bujinkan lineage lists... of course, I haven't seen everything related to the line, however it does open up the possibility that this lineage was created by Takamatsu to give Hatsumi a line of Takagi Ryu after already handing the soke-ship of the school (Ishitani-den) to Sato Kinbei... but this is conjecture on my part. It does, however, explain the differences between the two lineages, with the Mizuta-den seemingly a "simplified" version of the Ishitani teachings.

Kukishinden Happo Biken... okay, this one gets messy... You may note that I haven't used the term "Ryu" in the name here, and that's because, realistically, it shouldn't be applied here. The term "Kukishinden" here refers to the transmissions from Kukishin arts... and the make-up of the school as taught in the Bujinkan is put together from a couple of different expressions of Kukishin arts, as well as ones that were either created by, or largely adapted by Takamatsu himself. Sections such as the Dakentaijutsu, the Shoden/Chuden/Okuden sections of the Bojutsu are more properly called Kijin Chosui Ryu Kukishin Ryu... with Chosui being the name Takamatsu went by during his time as Shihan in the Kukishin Ryu. The Keiko Sabaki Gata for Bojutsu is largely derived from the mainline that Takamatsu taught there, but most of the rest is, simply, not. So, while Takamatsu was genuinely a Shihan of the Kukishin Ryu, that does not mean that what is taught in the Bujinkan (and related organisations) is the same thing... nor that they share the same legitimacy.

Of course, this also brings up a naming issue... outside of the Takamatsuden arts, I haven't come across terms such as Dakentaijutsu or Jutaijutsu... this is seemingly a way to differentiate different lines that Takamatsu was giving out, a way of creating lineages to avoid doubling up on licenses...

So, what about the other 6 martial arts (including 3 "ninjutsu" systems) which were taught by Takamatsu but which can't be verified to exist prior to his teaching? It's hard to say exactly. We do know that his claimed lineage for those systems is at least highly exaggerated. Some students of the art have been doing research and think they have found evidence that Takamatsu did have a teacher from a family which had a history of being involved in the sort of military operations which might be associated with our ideas of ninjutsu. Perhaps that teacher did pass on some or all of those arts under the names they have now, or perhaps Takamatsu synthesized some or all of these arts in their present form based on his other studies and then invented a long line of supposed prior grandmasters to give them a sense of legitimacy. We'll probably never know for sure.

Sadly, much of the "evidence" found by people such as Kacem Zoughari and Sean Askew are highly co-incidental, and far from conclusive... passing mention of locations or names that are then stretched to connect to the exaggerated or outright fictionalised histories presented. My personal conjecture on this (and, really, I doubt we'll ever know for certain) is that much of the arts are either altered versions of arts that Takamatsu legitimately held rank in (his personal name card when travelling to China described his ranking as "Takagi Ryu Jujutsu, Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu"... no mention of other licences...), or ones that he developed, likely from his studies in the Kukishin archives (he had a large part in helping preserve the records, re-writing large portions of the Amatsu Tatara records, as well as helping reconstruct their naginata techniques), or from his travels in China, which is likely where Koto Ryu and Gyokko Ryu come from... but, again, this is my personal conjecture... although it does explain a fair bit of their methodology.

Whatever their historical origin, the "ninjutsu" aspects of the Bujinkan arts (stealth, intelligence gathering, etc) are only a very small portion of the normal curriculum. The overwhelming majority of the training in the Bujinkan is oriented towards unarmed and armed fighting methods. (Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is the blanket term for Hatumi's personal synthesis of the 9 systems he learned from Takamatsu.) In decades past, Hatsumi and the Bujinkan leaned a lot more on selling the system as "ninjutsu", primarily as a marketing tool. These days it is typically presented more as just an historical martial art with modern application.

So, a bit to unpack here as well...

Yes, the "ninjutsu" (espionage, stealth, information gathering) is a minor aspect and rarely touched upon, with the emphasis being on Budo Taijutsu, as Tony says. When it comes to the naming, the original usage of the term Bujinkan is specific to the dojo that Hatsumi taught out of ("Kan" refers to a hall, or building), teaching Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu. As mentioned, that was due to the fact that this was the first art Hatsumi was given the headmastership of, so it was used as the "banner" art. This, naturally led to the dojo being seen as teaching "ninjutsu", even though the techniques drew from primarily non-"ninjutsu" arts (Gyokko, Koto, Takagi, Kukishin, and Shinden Fudo, with a bit of Togakure)... I'm not entirely sure I'd class that as "for marketing purposes"... Hayes, yeah, definitely leaned into the advertising, and I think Hatsumi did later, but initially, it was just due to the reasons above.

The next thing to look at is what is actually taught... and here's where it gets a bit bubble bursting for some, at least potentially.

You aren't learning any of the schools in the Bujinkan.

You aren't. They aren't taught, and honestly, they never were. In fact, I would suggest that Hatsumi never really learnt them... instead, he travelled to train with Takamatsu over the weekends over around 15 years... but it wasn't every weekend. In some cases, he would visit every few months (three or four times a year)... so, if we take that into account, it's highly doubtful that anyone, no matter how gifted, could fully master 9 separate complete arts, with their own individual quirks and traits, in such a short amount of training time. More likely (and realistically), Takamatsu gave lessons more in physical combative principles, and those were then applied across the board... but, even if the arts were fully and properly transmitted, they aren't taught today. Instead, what is taught is Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu... which, regardless of the historical questions or veracity of the various arts, isn't any of them. It's a modern system created by Hatsumi Masaaki, based on ideas taken and drawn from the various lineages, as well as using the kata of them as framework to explore the concepts.

This can be easily seen by looking at other lines of the same schools, and comparing them. In the Bujinkan, all the various ryu-ha have very similar postural concepts (a kamae called Hira Ichimonji turns up virtually identically in four or five of the schools taught, the idea of one foot forward, with the same side hand extended, the rear held back, the weight back, make up the frame for postures from Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, Kukishin Ryu, Takagi Ryu, and Togakure Ryu)... the attacking method of a stepping straight punch is also consistent, as is the blocking method, as well as grappling concepts, and so on... of course, once you compare them with other lines of the same school, such as the Ueno-den approaches, or the mainline forms of Takagi or Kukishin Ryu, it becomes apparent that, simply speaking, the ryu-ha as done in the Bujinkan are wrong. Of course, that's only if you're looking at them as being the ryu-ha themselves... if you're wanting to study the Bujinkan, of course, you want the consistency... it's how the system works.

Steve Hayes is just one of many people who trained in the Bujinkan for a while, was granted instructor licensure, and then broke off to do his own thing. At this point there are a number of organizations which have splintered off from the Bujinkan for one reason or another. Some have changed the curriculum drastically, others not so much.

Yeah... with me, it's drastic... ha!

So getting back to the question of "legitimacy", Hatsumi is the legitimate headmaster of a number of martial arts that were passed on to him by his teacher. Some of those arts are definitely legitimately historical. Some of those arts may or may not be historical. This includes the "ninjutsu" systems which might have a direct lineage connection to actual historical "ninjas" or might be educated reconstructions with only a loose lineage connection to historical ninjutsu or might be just completely made up by Takamatsu out of his own head. At this point I don't believe that anyone living really knows for sure.

I wouldn't personally put it that way... Hatsumi was given the soke title of a number of arts (8 or 9? or 6? hmmm...), however, frankly, he has really been soke in name only... after all, being soke is about being the guardian of the school, and if he isn't teaching them, or licensing in them (rank in the Bujinkan is in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, not any of the ryu-ha), then he isn't being the guardian of them, he's letting them die. What's a bit odd, to me, is the recent situation where he's given out the soke title for 8 out of the 9 ryu (the 9th has been stated, but not officially announced yet...), and he's split them up, giving them to individual people. This, really, only serves to split a power base, keeping Hatsumi above the others... if he gave all of them to one person, then that person would be the new go-to person, removing Hatsumi's power structure... of course, it's really quite symbolic, as the new "soke" aren't teaching the arts they've been given the title of guardian of... as, again, they haven't really been taught them (as distinct ryu-ha)... they're still teaching Budo Taijutsu, making them being soke rather irrelevant. In addition, a number of the new soke are in their 70's... which makes appointing them a rather questionable decision... after all, are they then going to have to pick someone new in a year or two? And what are the chances that another person could actually act as a soke to a tradition they've never really been shown? It's just a really bizarre set of circumstances...

The other "legitimacy" question which gets raised is whether the techniques and training methods of the Bujinkan and it's offshoots (commonly referred to as the X-kans) actually work and are effective for their intended purpose. This is a more contentious issue and I feel compelled to mention that the MartialTalk terms of service prohibit art bashing. From my own experience in the Bujinkan, I would say that it includes some genuinely valuable concepts and principles as well as some techniques which can be effective under the right circumstances. I would also say that the training methodology is not one which I would personally recommend and that this approach to training has led to some techniques being taught by some instructors which range from sub-optimal to absolute suicidal nonsense.

Yeah... I get what you mean... and, bluntly, from training in these arts for three decades, I agree completely. That said, I think this is a major failing of Hatsumi, a mixture of his need to be "on show", his lack of understanding of the structure of classical martial arts, his refusal to properly teach the arts in a consistent and systematic fashion, and his willingness to accept all manner of terrible performance in his organisation so long as they remain loyal members (even if that loyalty is bought with ridiculous ranks and other perks), and finally what I view as a complete lack of understanding of real violence. That said, this is not an issue if your aim is to find an art that allows you to be creative, flow, have a wide variety of experiences and tools (weapons), and some trappings of a "traditional" art... but if you think you're learning a genuine traditional art, if you think you're studying a historical system, if you think it's even representative of traditional Japanese martial arts (or, really, Japanese arts at all in many ways), then sadly, I feel you may be in for a bad experience.

This, of course, is not even consistent in itself... there are certainly instructors that do strive to be more understanding of such things as realities of violence, and take a much more systematic approach to their study... but I still wouldn't class any Bujinkan class as genuinely representative of traditional arts... in fact, in conversations with Bujinkan instructors, there is a major disconnect between a number of facets that are very much a part of traditional arts, but are completely missing in Bujinkan approaches, as well as misunderstanding such concepts as embu... no matter how dedicated and determined the instructor is.

I hope this helps.

As do I. Let's see how it goes!
 

Tony Dismukes

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Sadly, much of the "evidence" found by people such as Kacem Zoughari and Sean Askew are highly co-incidental, and far from conclusive... passing mention of locations or names that are then stretched to connect to the exaggerated or outright fictionalised histories presented.
I’m reading Askew’s book now and plan to give a quick review in this thread once I’m done. Unfortunately I am seeing some major issues in his reasoning and the quality of his evidence already. He seems to be operating from a mindset of “let’s assume that everything Takamatsu said and wrote is factual, then track down some historical events and names which might connect to that.” Maybe that will improve as I get further into the book. We’ll see.
 

Chris Parker

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I’m reading Askew’s book now and plan to give a quick review in this thread once I’m done. Unfortunately I am seeing some major issues in his reasoning and the quality of his evidence already. He seems to be operating from a mindset of “let’s assume that everything Takamatsu said and wrote is factual, then track down some historical events and names which might connect to that.” Maybe that will improve as I get further into the book. We’ll see.

Yeah, that's basically the feel of it... he did a facebook post recently titled something like "Togakure's Influence on Early Ninjutsu"... it was a translation of a text regarding certain mystical (spell) teachings from different areas, and Togakushi (the mountain or village, the document didn't specify) was mentioned... once. No connection to the school or anything else, just a mention of a place...

As for Kacems' book, well, it's not great... most of it is poorly written, and contradictory in places, and the "modern history of ninjutsu" he presents is essentially Bujinkan propaganda barely veiled... not what I would consider historically valid tomes....
 

Nigel

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Yeah, that's basically the feel of it... he did a facebook post recently titled something like "Togakure's Influence on Early Ninjutsu"... it was a translation of a text regarding certain mystical (spell) teachings from different areas, and Togakushi (the mountain or village, the document didn't specify) was mentioned... once. No connection to the school or anything else, just a mention of a place...

As for Kacems' book, well, it's not great... most of it is poorly written, and contradictory in places, and the "modern history of ninjutsu" he presents is essentially Bujinkan propaganda barely veiled... not what I would consider historically valid tomes....
Just out of interest Chris, you teach these traditions yourself so what difference is there in your teachings as opposed to the Bujinkan teachings? Specifically, Togakure Ryu? Do you follow the scrolls?
  • Takagi Yoshin Ryu
  • Kukishinden Ryu
  • Gyokko Ryu
  • Koto Ryu
  • Togakure Ryu
  • Shinden Fudo Ryu
 

Buka

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I really wasn’t expecting such replies from members of the martial arts community, but I guess that assholes are everyone, including here.
Relax, my brother. And welcome to Martial talk.

You can get some seriously good information here, from many, deeply experienced Martial Artists.

It's best to keep in mind that the Martial Arts Community is not only vast, but globally and intrinsically different.

Welcome aboard, go forth and have fun, bro.
 

Nigel

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I am here looking for answers, and I would appreciate it if only those of you who are actually knowledgeable about this matter reply to it, as it is for a research article that I’m writing.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of debate within the martial arts community regarding the validity of ninjutsu, and those who teach it. I’ve spent several hours tonight online reading different articles, and walked away with zero answers.

To begin, there are many who claim that a Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in Japan is the last living person who is a true teacher of ninjutsu, while others claim that he is a fraud, and presented their version of evidence to support it.

I have also read articles that claim that Ninjutsu in the United States is not authentic, and has reportedly been monetized by an individual named Stephen Hayes. Again, others in the martial arts community support Mr. Hayes as a true practitioner of Ninjutsu.

I want to know what the veteran practitioners and instructors in the martial arts community think of this, and how you determine who is telling the truth?

From what I have learned over the past several days, there are very few historical records to go on where Ninjutsu is concerned, and fewer still which have been translated into English.

The one that was recommended to me by a Mr. Antony Cummins, has also received discredit on a number of websites as well.
HI RogueShooter06, I don’t think you are going to get any objective or factual information on the Bujinkan from these forums. Some of the information in the thread is skewed to personal bias and/or ignorance. If you are doing research on the authenticity of the Bujinkan then you will need to do a lot on the lineage of each school to satisfy yourself. The 9 schools of the Bujinkan are
  • Takagi Yoshin Ryu
  • Kukishinden Ryu
  • Gyokko Ryu
  • Koto Ryu
  • Togakure Ryu
  • Shinden Fudo Ryu
  • Gikan Ryu
  • Gyokushin Gyu
  • Kumogakure Ryu
Maasaki (formerly Youshiaki) Hatsumi became Soke of these 9 schools in 1972 when Takamatsu died.

As you mentioned there is some dispute over the lineage of these schools. Sean Askew, who spent a decade training with Hatsumi before leaving in 2001 to form his own school, wrote a book call Hidden Lineage of the Ninja Toda Clan which claims to have filled in the blanks in the lineage issues. You will have to read it for yourself and decide for yourself.

Hidden Lineage - The Ninja of the Toda Clan: Sean Askew: 9780578513423: Amazon.com: Books


On the issue of Stephen Hayes, he was 10 Dan in Togakure Ryu in 1993. Stephen Hayes was the person who brought ninjutsu to the US in the 1980’s. It was not under the umbrella of the Bujinkan but Togakure Ryu. Hayes was removed from the Bujinkan in 2006 and the reasons for that removal is still somewhat blurred. Some say he was expelled others say he left.


Then we have a man called Wayne L Roy, an Australian who brought Togakure Ryu to Australia. Wayne L Roy went to Japan in 1980’s and trained then came back to Australia and started the first Togakure Ryu school. Suffice to say a lot of **** when down with Roy and in 1999 Hatsumi started collecting votes from foreign Shihan to remove Roy from the (now called) Bujinkan. It was a requirement that all Shihan had personal experiences of Roys actions to be able to vote. Only 3 Shihan voted but despite that Roy is no longer a member of the Bujinkan

Chris Parker is a student of Wayne L Roy and is not a member of the Bujinkan but has his own school which teaches 6 of those 9 schools mentioned.

The other 2 “somewhat educated” posters, one is not a member of the Bujinkan and like never has been and the others credentials is dubious considering he apparently is a member but doesn’t seem to like it much.

I guess what I am saying RogueShooter06 is to do your own research and come to your own conclusions on this as you will not get any unbiased advice from these forums on the Bujinkan.
 
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