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Steve

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@Tony Dismukes , thanks for the review... it matches my thoughts as well.

One of my favourite shows of all time is The West Wing... in the penultimate season, the show covered the primary season, with various people vying for nomination of their party for President. One of the main contenders, and presumptive nominee, is the then-Vice President, Bob Russell. He had a favourite way of starting his speeches, with a joke about the Vice Presidential Seal, saying that his favourite thing about the VP Seal was that "if you turn your head... and squint just so... and look really carefully... it almost looks like... President of the United States..." (cheap applause and polite laughter). In an aside, his campaign manager, Will Bailey, is discussing with a senior aide, Donnatella Moss. She asks him if he's ever "squinted, looked from the side..", and he responds that "I'm ashamed to admit it, but, yes." "And, does it?" she asked... "No."

Sean, Kacem, and others, are squinting and looking from the side, hoping to see what they want, rather than opening their eyes and looking directly as what it is... speaking of...



For one thing, we should teach you how to quote... click on the "add quote" button... makes it much easier to do this.

Right, let's get to it. I've asked for numerous examples... you want just one? Okay... how would you define the body structural difference between, let's say, Koto Ryu and Kukishinden Ryu? We'll keep it simple... describe the difference between their two Seigan no Kamae... how it's adopted, how the body is structured (hip orientation, weight distribution)... but, more importantly, what does that imply for the school?

This is leaving off concepts such as the reiho, ri-ai, mindset, and so on that would really identify ryu-ha transmission... if we're lucky, we'll get there... or, really, we'll get to conversing about it, as they don't really feature beyond some minor (largely superficial, really... we'll get to that) physical variations from one "ryu" to the next.



Please. If it takes a lifetime to study and learn them, how did Hatsumi do it in less than 15 years of (at times) intermittent weekends? Unless you're agreeing that that would be impossible, so he didn't actually do anything of the kind? Realistically, though, for most koryu, anywhere from 10-20 years would be what I would consider "standard" for achieving Menkyo Kaiden (or it's equivalent). Today, that often gets stretched out to perhaps 25-30 years, but I'd also attribute that to the modern training approaches compared to back in the day (even back in the 70's and 80's, really)... but it's not historically accurate to say anything like that.

Now, I'm not saying that these arts aren't lifetime studies... they certainly can be, and are for many people. But that's not the same as how long it takes to learn them in the first place. As for your timeline, frankly, the terms you're describing are quite vague and meaningless here... your idea of "learning distancing" might be very different to mine... after all, learning it can be done quickly... developing a sense and understanding is another matter entirely... of course, it's also a bit telling that you focus on these as "the basics of general combat movement", as that's exactly what the Bujinkan is, and exactly why it's not a study of the ryu-ha... which is, again, not a criticism, it's a description of it's design... which is exactly the way Hatsumi wants it, and is the best approach for the skills he wants to impart.



Well, not really, if it's not taught (and therefore not an option) for them in the first place... and, again, I'm only saying the Bujinkan's approach to the material is "wrong" from the perspective of the ryu... it's perfectly correct when looked at with the ideal of using the material to explore Budo Taijutsu... which is the reality. Look, you can get as deep as you want into the kata the way the Bujinkan do them, but the homogenisation to a Budo Taijutsu approach (body structure, attacking methods, incredibly similar kamae, blocking and receiving methods, methods of applying locks and throws, and so on) will remove them from the context of the ryu itself. Believe me, I've done that for two and a half decades (although, to be frank, I've understood that there was this major separation between the Bujinkan's approach and the actual ryu-ha for the last 15 years at least... I'm just now really in a position to start putting together what I feel is a more accurate representation... not saying it's "right", as I think the possibility of saying that is well past, just that it's something I feel is closer). One more thing... this isn't restricted to the Bujinkan either... the Jinenkan does the same thing, as does the Genbukan... there is a basic, underlying approach each group uses, and that is how they filter and express the waza of the various schools... at the end, I'll show a bit of what I'm talking about.



Not passive-aggressive, genuinely asking. Your English is good, but you seem to not follow what is being said a number of times... misrepresenting Dunc's statements and intent, missing Tony's background, stating you "can look for" something regarding myself, despite it being literally two sentences prior in your own post... so I was curious, as that might have explained it. If not... then maybe read a bit closer?

And, yes, my money is on "never". To begin with, you have the three "hidden" schools, one which was not given in any way other than on paper (with no techniques), one being a set of principles, and one mysteriously appearing a couple of years after Takamatsu's death... then you have the time-frame, and the size of some of these schools... then you have the lack of any indication of ryu-ha methodologies, the disdain shown towards the traits and common practices of koryu, as well as Hatsumi's own lack of interest in such things.. I mean... it'd be incredible if, after all that, against his own values, interests, desires, intents, and preferences, he was actually teaching and transmitting the ryu themselves... it just doesn't make sense, and the idea that the ryu are studied as the ryu themselves, separate and distinct from Budo Taijutsu methodologies, simply has no evidence or support. And that's okay... because that's how the Bujinkan is meant to be.

By the way, I wouldn't class myself as an "expert", but the expertise you're looking for is someone being an expert in koryu and ryu-ha transmission... and those who are such all agree with my take on it (Meik Skoss, Wayne Muromoto, Steve Delaney...). This is why I said my take is more from my study of koryu than from my study with Wayne Roy, both in and out of the Bujinkan.



70's, dude. Again, read a bit closer.

Still, you want definitive? Okay.

Oh, look, Hatsumi in the 70's... and no Togakure Ryu techniques or methods at all (some Kukishin based staff work, the rest is more a set of concepts, with some escape methods from Shinden Fudo Ryu.. but no Togakure Ryu).

More? Okay, have you read Andrew Adams' "Ninja: The Invisible Assassins"? Written in the late 60's, with some quite interesting research covering Hatsumi, Nawa Yumio (last head of Masaki Ryu Kusarijutsu... Hatsumi studied with him for a while), Okuse Heishichiro, former Mayor of Iga-Ueno and "ninja historian", some focus on Fujita Seiko, and even a third, unnamed "secret" ninja who claimed to still be operating... when dealing with Hatsumi (still known as Yoshiaki, if you want to date this), said this (page 166, if you want to check):

"Yoshiaki Hatsumi estimates that it takes least 10 years, the length of time he studied under Takamatsu, to master all the different weapons and techniques. Fudo-ryu includes jujitsu (sic) and iainuki, or fast sword-drawing techniques. Takagi Yoshin-ryu takes in jutaijutsu. The third class, or school of techniques, Gyokko-ryu, includes yubi methods (use of the thumb and fingers) and Togakure-ryu, a 700-year-old school emphasising original ninja techniques.Koto-ryu is centred around a technique called koppo, or bone breaking. The final school, Kuki Shin-ryu, is based on bisento, a type of fighting using a wide-bladed spear with a blade similar to that of a scimitar."

This book was first published (in English, to the West) in 1970, and features Hatsumi and some students (a younger Ishizuka among them) demonstrating techniques... and, what would you know, there's little Togakure Ryu kata there. You can easily recognise a bunch from Koto Ryu (Hissaku, Ransetsu, and others), and Gyokko Ryu (Koku, Ketsu Myaku, and others)... so... er... oh, and you'll notice that there is no mention of Gyokushin, Gikan, or Kumogakure... funny, that...



Hmm... Hayes' first book was "The Ninja And Their Secret Fighting Art", first published in 1981, detailing the lessons he received in Japan... starting when he first arrived there... in 1975... are you sure you're right there? For the record, the 1967 art they're talking about is his karate training, not Bujinkan... he started his first karate dojo in 73, and left it to go to Japan two years later... oh, and Doron Navon had been there for a few years, and got Shidoshi status before Hayes did... as I said, consummate marketer... of course, none of that states that Togakure Ryu was the only thing they did, just that it was the main title used to spread the art... you know, as I've been saying... as well as giving the reasons for it... I mean... in the book, he even does a similar description of the various schools to the one in Adams' book, albeit with some different descriptions (stating that Fudo Ryu specialises in shuriken, for example)...

EDIT: Okay, found the one you're talking about... it's basically a short manual that got published when Hayes had just started training in Japan... and the point is?



Dude... they were using the name as a single title to describe everything taught... it does not, and you really need to get this, it does NOT mean that everything they did was only Togakure Ryu. I could go on, but... you get it, right?



The Ten Chi Jin dates from at least a decade at least before that, gotta tell you... Hatsumi gave Hayes a copy in 82 in the first big seminar tour of the US... Charles Daniel was training from it in 84, and starting to spread it around in 85... Wayne Roy, for the record, received a copy from Nagato just before he left Japan at the end of 1980, so, yeah, kinda familiar with the contents... and, let's be clear again, there are kata drawn from Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu (not the Jutaijutsu), Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Kukishin Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, and Togakure Ryu, as well as a number that were created specifically for the book, and did not come from any school... no Gikan, Gyokushin, or Kumogakure... funny, that...



There were a number of structured syllabus' back in the day... there was one that had kyoketsu shoge as a kyu-grade weapon, for example...



That's a couple of superficial aspects... give me the ri-ai behind them, and tell me about how the body structure, power generation, and so forth differ... after all, two different names for cross-stepping isn't going to cut it much...



No, it was a (semi) anonymous character assassination from a disgruntled, angry man with no evidence, support, or backup... and, one might add, pretty much entirely incorrect, as has been demonstrated.



Kid, I've known the man for close to 30 years, have been a student of his through the whole "leaving the Bujinkan" thing, and I'm telling you, despite the wishes and intent of some, Wayne Roy was never kicked out of the Bujinkan. You're wrong, and, frankly, have nothing to support this statement.



Some will... all? Nope. Gillian Booth and I had some good chats about the "good old days" when she was with our schools (she was one of the first female black belts in Australia under us, as well as being a champion judoka in her own right)... nor will Craig Guest... haven't heard anything negative from Duncan Stewart either... some vocal people online, yep. But everyone? Nope. You know how I know? Cause I'm in Australia, and I talk to a number of these people.



No, he wasn't.



No, he wasn't.



No, he doesn't. Really, do you have the first clue what you're talking about, or who you're talking to?



I remained with my teacher, yep. "Disgraced"? Hardly. Universally loved, not at all. But here's a secret for you... even Nagato was happy to talk about Wayne Roy in a respectful manner...



As does every Bujinkan school, mate.



Wow, you just won't let things go, will you? And what makes you think I was "largely self taught"?!? I still had a teacher... you pointed that out yourself above... do you even know how to follow your own argument?



Same with any school, kid. Try giving your Bujinkan rank at a BJJ gym, see if they'll accept it... hell, go to the Genbukan, and you'll start at 9th kyu...



I don't think you get how licences work, really... do you think a Godan in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is a licence to teach Gyokko Ryu? Oh, and for the record, the title is Shidoshi-ho, which means I'm authorised to teach (and rank) up to a point, should I decide to go full-Bujinkan...



You really hide it well... considering he has only a passing relevance to this conversation (honestly, pretty much no relevance, but hey, you seem a bit obsessed...)



Please, try to read what's being said.



Ha!!! And, pray tell, what "proof" have you offered? That the primary name the early Bujinkan went under was Togakure Ryu? Yeah... that's not really something that was debated.. you seem to think that means that only Togakure Ryu itself was taught... that's... just wrong. As I've demonstrated. Again, and again, and again...



Or, and bear with me here... it never happened, and was just another case of Ed slurring Wayne's name. Again. By lying. As he did multiple times in the same rant.

Oh, and for this to have gotten to this stage, there would need to have been something lodged by the solicitor in the first place, so.... no. Additionally, this isn't what Ed described... he described a civil case (suing for libel), so there'd be records. Really, try using some logic here, you're missing a lot of the details...



And, so you're suggesting that a non-court case is used as an example in universities regarding case law....?



No. For the last time, he was not. People may have wanted to, but that's immaterial to your claim. Even Ed hasn't stated he was "booted", and no-one else has suggested it. Stop.



Are you kidding? I think I know the rank of my own teacher well enough. He was awarded Rokudan in 1990, and was not promoted afterwards... but by the same token, there was never a demotion either (in fact, I can't think of any case where that has happened in the Bujinkan at all...)



And using said rank to run him down publicly. You know, the thing I said happened. Oh, and it's one letter, basically requesting a show of support from Japan, which included a request to be promoted to Judan (not for the rank, mainly to shut up the others). The request was ignored, so we left. Simple. By the way, the letter itself was considered a private correspondence between Wayne and Hatsumi, who then gave it out to a number of Wayne's detractors in Japan to spread it around... something that we were rather unimpressed with, to say the least, but, again, this is 20 years ago, so it's not something I am interested in dredging up.

Can you actually get back to the topic, or do you have nothing to offer in that regard? You claim that the Bujinkan teaches 9 ryu... back that up. You claim there is ryu-ha study (genuine, koryu-style). Back that up. Attempting to attack myself by attacking my former teacher just shows you have no real argument at all. Ball's in your court, kid.
We're back to calling people "kid?" :rolleyes:
 

Chris Parker

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We can do the same with the Genbukan, for the record, so this is not a Bujinkan only thing... recently, Michael Coleman of the Genbukan has started a series showing a number of the ryu-ha practiced there, including ones he has licensing in from Tanemura... but, again, the sequences are the biggest differences... the body structure, power generation, striking format, and so on are all pretty much the same across the board... again, if you want a consistent skill that can be applied in myriad forms, this is what you should be doing... so it's not a criticism (I think I've said that a dozen times now!)... just an observation.

Genbukan Takagi Yoshin Ryu

Genbukan Kukishin (Kijin Chosui Ryu Kukishinden)

Genbukan demo featuring Gyokko, Koto, Takagi, Shinden Fudo, Asayama Ichiden, and a few more... without knowing the kata, could you tell which was which?
 

Chris Parker

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For contrast, here are some other lines of these schools... see how what is seen in Bujinkan training.

Takagi Ryu Jujutsu, Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu (Takagi mainline)

Ueno-den Koto Ryu (Ueno Takashi received Koto Ryu from Takamatsu before Hatsumi started training with him, for the record)

Kukishin Ryu bojutsu (mainline Kukamishin Ryu)

Kijin Chosui Ryu (Kukishin Ryu Dakentaijutsu in the Bujinkan), starting at around 43 seconds in.

And, for the record, this is Kukishin (Kukamishin) Ryu mainline Taijutsu...

As you can see, there's a lot of difference in the way the arts are done outside of the Bujinkan, and inside of it... and, one more time, I'm not saying one is "better" than the other, just that they're different...
 

dunc

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For contrast, here are some other lines of these schools... see how what is seen in Bujinkan training.

Takagi Ryu Jujutsu, Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu (Takagi mainline)

Ueno-den Koto Ryu (Ueno Takashi received Koto Ryu from Takamatsu before Hatsumi started training with him, for the record)

Kukishin Ryu bojutsu (mainline Kukamishin Ryu)

Kijin Chosui Ryu (Kukishin Ryu Dakentaijutsu in the Bujinkan), starting at around 43 seconds in.

And, for the record, this is Kukishin (Kukamishin) Ryu mainline Taijutsu...

As you can see, there's a lot of difference in the way the arts are done outside of the Bujinkan, and inside of it... and, one more time, I'm not saying one is "better" than the other, just that they're different...
There are technical differences between the arts as they are trained in different lines
This is quite normal I think and not exclusive to Xkan vs Koryu

Apologies for repeating myself, but if you want to go deep into the unique characteristics of any of the ryuha then you can. There are (or were) teachers who show you these things and whether you had a relationship with them that was conducive to this
It would depend somewhat on what period you were training in

In my view folks training in the Bujinkan should go through various phases of their development:
1) master the basic building blocks of taijutsu (think the TCJ)
2) master the forms from the ryuha (& their unique insights, movements, tactics etc)
3) learn to apply the broader principles embodied in the ryuha more generally
Each of these takes quite a long time and a lot of effort and its not really a linear progression in practice
 

BrendanF

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In my view folks training in the Bujinkan should go through various phases of their development:
1) master the basic building blocks of taijutsu (think the TCJ)
2) master the forms from the ryuha (& their unique insights, movements, tactics etc)
3) learn to apply the broader principles embodied in the ryuha more generally
Each of these takes quite a long time and a lot of effort and its not really a linear progression in practice

This is literally exactly what has been said - this is not the same as the process of studying koryu; it is the process followed when learning Budo Taijutsu. Koryu training is not the same.
 

dunc

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This is literally exactly what has been said - this is not the same as the process of studying koryu; it is the process followed when learning Budo Taijutsu. Koryu training is not the same.
Not quite.
Chris said that you couldnt learn the ryuha within the Buj
 

BrendanF

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And the process you described - as I mentioned - is not 'learning the ryuha'. It's learning Budo Taijutsu. So he's not wrong.
 

dunc

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Hi @BrendanF
Apologies - I rushed my response
The process i described is absolutely the one to learn Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, in my view that is
Having said that you can learn the Ryuha within the Bujinkan if you want
There are (were) teachers with traditional licenses & there are teachers in the Bujinkan who teach the ryu as distinct arts. Ie with different body movements and tactics
Even foundations like the punching and blocking methods are quite different from one ryu to the next
General training (eg at the Hombu) doesnt really go into this much (a bit but not much) which is why I think @Chris Parker is understandably making his assertion
Personally I have enjoyed going deep into the distinctive characteristics and methods of the different ryu. I feel Ive benefited from spending time (probably 20 years or so) going deep into this, but I appreciate that its not for everyone and its probably not necessary to achieve the goal outlined above
having said that in my view there are some key movements that unless you understand where they come from dont make sense and I feel any people are missing out because they havent been taught these things
Hope that makes sense?
 

dunc

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Of course we could debate forever whether going deep into the Bujinkans ryuha and learning their distinctive characteristics and methods constitutes learning the ryuha in the traditional sense
There is a distinction between devoting all your training time to one ryu / method (very traditional approach) and training in several discrete ryuha
Im defining learning the ryuha as the latter not the former, but there is a spectrum between:
a) doing forms from different schools without changing your underlying taijutsu
b) learning the schools as discrete entities and differentiating between their methods, tactics etc (my definition of learning the ryuha), and
c) devoting yourself to one ryuha / method (or perhaps a couple that have come together over time) which is the more traditional approach / definition
 

jergar

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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 Im 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. Ive 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 Rogue, I studied with a friend of mine for two years who was a ninja trained in Japan, he had the paper work to prove it. We exchanged techniques Im a student of Kung fu. What I can tell you is Ninjitsu is very similar to kung fu . Its not a linear art it is based on circles and triangles . Theres not a lot of blocking mostly move the body out of line of the strike and attack at the same time. There are sub arts , one for knife fighting, hand to hand, short sword, pinching, stealth, clawing with the metal hand claws, juijitsu, throwing, phycology instill fear in your opponent etc. they all come together to form one art . Sorry I couldnt go into more detail but its been a few years . Hope this helps you out. Salute and Peace !
 

Steve

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Hi Rogue, I studied with a friend of mine for two years who was a ninja trained in Japan, he had the paper work to prove it. We exchanged techniques Im a student of Kung fu. What I can tell you is Ninjitsu is very similar to kung fu . Its not a linear art it is based on circles and triangles . Theres not a lot of blocking mostly move the body out of line of the strike and attack at the same time. There are sub arts , one for knife fighting, hand to hand, short sword, pinching, stealth, clawing with the metal hand claws, juijitsu, throwing, phycology instill fear in your opponent etc. they all come together to form one art . Sorry I couldnt go into more detail but its been a few years . Hope this helps you out. Salute and Peace !
Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you dusted off your account and joined the discussion. :)
 

BrendanF

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Of course we could debate forever whether going deep into the Bujinkans ryuha and learning their distinctive characteristics and methods constitutes learning the ryuha in the traditional sense
There is a distinction between devoting all your training time to one ryu / method (very traditional approach) and training in several discrete ryuha
Im defining learning the ryuha as the latter not the former, but there is a spectrum between:
a) doing forms from different schools without changing your underlying taijutsu
b) learning the schools as discrete entities and differentiating between their methods, tactics etc (my definition of learning the ryuha), and
c) devoting yourself to one ryuha / method (or perhaps a couple that have come together over time) which is the more traditional approach / definition

Thanks for the follow up Dunc. I certainly agree, it seems we could go back and forth on this indefinitely, these being subjective issues. I also agree with your categorisations, and I guess the point I've tried to make is that the Bujinkan methodology seems to fall solidly into (a). As a result, I feel like it would be virtually impossible to actually learn the schools per your (b) category; as Chris has mentioned, the kata and associated methods and tactics are not the ryuha, and learning to perform those physical techniques as discrete entities does not in my view constitute joining and studying the ryuha proper. This seems to be the overwhelmingly consistent view of those koryu practitioners I've talked to. As I said earlier though I've never been an X-kan student, so speak only from observation and discussion with those who are.

The two koryu I study are so distinctly different that I can't really imagine trying to learn multiple that are alike, at the same time. I'd trained in one for about a decade before starting another, and have been pleasantly surprised that, due to the drastic difference in approaches I don't feel like I struggle to keep the Shinto ryu from contaminating my study of Sosuishiryu. As a slow-learning student in any event, I can't imagine trying to learn Sosuishi ryu together with Takenouchi ryu and/or a few others from the same family. My head would pop.
 

dunc

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Thanks for the follow up Dunc. I certainly agree, it seems we could go back and forth on this indefinitely, these being subjective issues. I also agree with your categorisations, and I guess the point I've tried to make is that the Bujinkan methodology seems to fall solidly into (a). As a result, I feel like it would be virtually impossible to actually learn the schools per your (b) category; as Chris has mentioned, the kata and associated methods and tactics are not the ryuha, and learning to perform those physical techniques as discrete entities does not in my view constitute joining and studying the ryuha proper. This seems to be the overwhelmingly consistent view of those koryu practitioners I've talked to. As I said earlier though I've never been an X-kan student, so speak only from observation and discussion with those who are.

The two koryu I study are so distinctly different that I can't really imagine trying to learn multiple that are alike, at the same time. I'd trained in one for about a decade before starting another, and have been pleasantly surprised that, due to the drastic difference in approaches I don't feel like I struggle to keep the Shinto ryu from contaminating my study of Sosuishiryu. As a slow-learning student in any event, I can't imagine trying to learn Sosuishi ryu together with Takenouchi ryu and/or a few others from the same family. My head would pop.
Hi
Thanks for this and I tend to agree that going deep into a sophisticated ryu with a very broad curriculum would require a long time and many hours on the mat
Using my categorisation a) is the mainstream Bujinkan approach, b) is possible in the Bujinkan, and c) is probably not possible in todays Bujinkan for westerners (maybe in the future some of the new soke will change things who knows)
 

angelariz

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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 Im 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. Ive 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.
I trained at a "ninjutsu" school in the early 90s. It was a Bujutsu, Shotokan, and JJJ blend. From my experience most Ninja schools you find will be of the same type. Karate, jujitsu, and bujutsu mixed. There is no ninjutsu that dates back to feudal Japan.
 

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Hi @dunc ,

Some things to clear up.

There are technical differences between the arts as they are trained in different lines
This is quite normal I think and not exclusive to Xkan vs Koryu

This is absolutely true. One look at, for example, the differences between the Kawasaki and Chiba lines for Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu is an example of that... you can also see distinctions between various groups for Shindo Muso Ryu, most notable between the Kyushu and Tokyo groups... different groups of Muso Shinden Ryu or Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu have variations in noto, reigi, syllabus content (some have some small additional areas, for example)... however, I would suggest you're missing a few key points.

Firstly, even with these technical differences, each art is still recognisable as that art... to use Shinto Ryu as an example, the Chiba line tend to be more "forward" with the direction of their weapons, whereas the Kawasaki are a bit more focused on large circles... but they are still using pretty much the same mechanical ideas. The same grips, postures, power generation, ri-ai, and applications of weapons... Shinto Ryu is Shinto Ryu, regardless of these more superficial changes. The way Shinto Ryu uses a bo is very much Shinto Ryu... pulling the staff back to get a secure grip on the base-third of the weapon before swinging the far end to the target is very much the Shinto Ryu method of using a bo... it's not the way it's used in Kukishin Ryu, or Chikubujima Ryu, or Takenouchi Ryu, or Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu... it's not the same staff methodology employed in Shindo Muso Ryu either, despite that coming from Shinto Ryu...

The point there is that, for example, if you were in a school that taught Shinto Ryu, and taught another art with bojutsu as part of it's skill-set, if both bo systems look the same, or similar, then at least one of them is incorrect, as it's no longer that school... even if the "order of strikes" is the same. So, when you get a collection of supposedly disparate systems, and they all end up using the same or similar movement concepts, kamae structures, footwork, fists, and so on, then you're not actually training in the ryu themselves... you're training using their kata to explore something different.

The next thing to recognise is just how close these various lines are, in regard to how changes would be implemented. The alternate forms for Kukishin (Kijin Chosui Ryu Kukishinden) Ryu and Koto Ryu are pretty much equivalent generations as Hatsumi/Bujinkan... both are the generation following Takamatsu. However, I'm sure you have seen just how very different the movement, kamae, and more are between the way, say, Koto Ryu is done in the linked video, and how it's performed in the Bujinkan... yet, the version shown is the version received from Takamatsu to Ueno Takashi (then passed onto Kaminaga Shigemi), a short number of years before Hatsumi started training with Takamatsu... so why are they so different?

Really, there are three possibilities... number one, Ueno Takashi changed the way it was performed drastically. However it doesn't really match the way other ryu were done by Ueno. Number two, Takamatsu changed the way the school was done in the few intervening years between teaching/giving the school to Ueno, and teaching/giving the school to Hatsumi. But if the idea is this is an old school, why would it be changed so drastically? Unless Takamatsu created the school, and changed his mind in how it was done in the intervening years....

The third possibility is that the school is done differently in the Bujinkan, in a way that matches the way Hatsumi had learnt to move, by applying such movement concepts to the order of techniques... which would match more of the Togakure Ryu and Gyokko Ryu concepts (as you look at them... really, Togakure Ryu more than anything else, as, and this might surprise you, it's the only one with a weight-back kamae concept... with Gyokko to give shape to the blocks, strikes, and so on... remember, these were the first two that Hatsumi actually got rank in). The natural extension of this, though, is, as we saw with Shinto Ryu bo above, once you take away all the concepts of that ryu, and leave only the sequence of movements, it's just no longer that ryu. It's only a set of actions.

I know, the standard response is "but these schools have been closely related for centuries!"... leaving off the highly doubtful reality of that statement, let's use a few more examples to show how that, really, isn't a major factor, and certainly isn't an explanation for what's seen in the way the kata are done in Bujinkan training.

Gyokko, Koto, and Togakure are all said to be from the same "family"... the founder of Koto Ryu is said to be Sakagami Taro Kunishige, 12th soke of Gyokko Ryu... and Togakure Ryu has been linked with Gyokko for a long time as well (being based in Hakuun Ryu, and Gyokko Ryu being founded by Hakuunsei Tozawa), however it's interesting to note that the soke lists only line up with the Toda family, after "4 missing generations) in the Gyokko list (the previous named head is Momochi Sandayu, likely positioned due to his "fame" than anything historically valid), so the argument that Togakure Ryu has been a part of Gyokko Ryu since inception is a bit of a stretch... more importantly, that then leaves Kukishin, Takagi, and Shinden Fudo being separate (historically... Shinden Fudo was said to be the school taught officially by Toda Shinryuken, however there isn't a historical connection before that). Kukishin and Takagi have a solid connection, sure... but they're not related to the others, according to the histories provided, so it makes little sense that they'd share much in the way of mechanics, kamae ideas, fists, naming concepts, and so on... but they do... in the Bujinkan (and the Genbukan, and Jinenkan, for the record... this isn't a "Bujinkan is wrong" thing).

So, let's look at something commensurate... Takenouchi Ryu is similarly linked with Takagi Ryu, Sosuishi Ryu, and others... and, while there are certain similarities in some content and structure, the actual methodology of the schools have grown well and truly apart. However, when you get schools that are taught together, then end up not being separate schools, but different parts of the one... you could look at the Eishin Ryu Iai schools (Tosa-Iai), with the Eishin Ryu itself being developed by the 7th generation head of the Hayashizaki lineage, and the Omori Ryu from a senior of the same generation... over the last couple of centuries, while the different sections of the schools have their own contexts, the mechanics are largely shared across the school, making a single ryu (either Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, or Muso Shinden Ryu in the main). Schools such as Shinmuso Hayashizaki Ryu, though, although from a shared source, are massively different in methodology, context, weaponry used, and more. Shindo Muso Ryu also has a range of fuzoku ryu-ha (assimilated schools), the Isshin Ryu (Kusarigama), Ittatsu Ryu (Hojo), Kasumi Shinto Ryu (Ken), Ikkaku Ryu (Jutte/Tessen), and Uchida Ryu (Tanjo)... all of which are taught, and trained, as part of the Shindo Muso Ryu, and share the mechanics and principles of the "main" school.

What this means, really, is that the shared history of some schools doesn't mean that they should necessarily all be so similar... even some of the shared ones shouldn't necessarily be expected to be so similar either.

Oh, and while we're looking at Kukishin (now Kukamishin) Ryu and Takagi Ryu, and their separation from the forms taught in the Bujinkan etc, the separation is again only a generation or two... Ishitani taught both schools to Takamatsu, as well as teaching Kakuno Hachiheita, whose students would form the mainline for Takagi Ryu Jujutsu (Tsutsui Tomotaro) and Hontai Yoshin Ryu (Minaki Saburoji). These teachers would then be contemporary of Hatsumi... and, as there is very much shared mechanical approaches, ri-ai, and so on between those two lines that are entirely absent from the Bujinkan (or Genbukan, for that matter) approaches, again, the question would be if Takamatsu changed them (to suit the other schools), or if they have been altered in performance in the current generation. As for Kukishin, well, Takamatsu was a shihan of the school, he was instrumental in re-constructing and restructuring the naginata, rewriting the Amatsu Tatara scrolls, and so on... so we're again only a generation or two removed from the mainline (even after Takamatsu split from them around 1934, some senior members of the ryu were still coming to him for additional training). So why does Bujinkan bojutsu not feature the same mechanics and methods of performance and transmission as the "actual" Kukishin (Kukamishin) Ryu? Again, the most likely is that the kata (sequences) were taught, but built not on Takagi Ryu (or Kukishin Ryu) concepts and principles, instead being basically built on the established movement that Hatsumi had... either realising that the basis of Togakure/Gyokko was going to "work", or that it would take too long to start each school from scratch, or that it would be just too problematic to do each in turn properly (all of which are valid reasons).

What's interesting is that, specifically in the bojutsu, the Genbukan are a lot more "Kukishin" than the Bujinkan approach... which I feel comes down to Sato Kinbei. He trained a lot longer with Takamatsu, from when he was still with the Kuki family, so likely learnt it more "correctly"... when Tanemura went to study with him, that got drilled more, which explains how that has then influenced everything the Genbukan does (again, there's little separation of the ryu there, as can be seen in the videos from Michael Coleman, or by looking at any Genbukan demo).

Apologies for repeating myself, but if you want to go deep into the unique characteristics of any of the ryuha then you can.

And, apologies for repeating myself, but that just isn't seen in any evidence that has ever been seen or presented. Deep into the kata as taught in the Bujinkan? Absolutely, and no argument at all. I just don't see any evidence that there's actual ryu-ha transmission... so you're getting deep study into something else. And, before we get the wrong idea again, that's not a criticism, it's an observation. If you want one system (with a variety of "flavours", but still the same dish, as it were), with consistency of principles, concepts, and so on, then that approach is exactly what should be done... if you want the actual ryu, though, this is never going to give that to you, as the ryu themselves are, by necessity, no longer there.

There are (or were) teachers who show you these things and whether you had a relationship with them that was conducive to this

Again, I've heard this over and over. And, yet, there has been no definitive example, nor any evidence of such happening. And, to be clear, if you are studying and training in a particular ryu-ha, and doing it properly, then it will be expressed in all movement... and, even up to Hatsumi, including all the senior Japanese, and so on, I have seen exactly zero examples of such. They all express Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu movement, regardless of the "school" they're showing... if they'd been trained in the individual schools, it would show when they did them. Additionally, even if there was someone who had genuinely learnt the schools in this manner, could embody them in the way that would be expected, the fact that that's not the way they're taught in 99+% of cases makes it kinda moot, regarding if the ryu are taught in the Bujinkan, doesn't it?

It would depend somewhat on what period you were training in

How so? Has Hatsumi forgotten the movement of the schools? Has Noguchi? Ishizuka? Nagato? I ask about them specifically, as they have been named as the new soke for Koto, Gyokko, and Shinden Fudo Ryu respectively... and, other than personal differences, there isn't a ryu-ha difference in their movement or technique.

Look, again, I get the old claim of "well, when there weren't so many people, you could have done this, but we weren't there...", and, honestly, it's not a real argument. even in footage from "back in the day", there's no evidence of anything like it... despite certain ranks and licences being awarded.

In my view folks training in the Bujinkan should go through various phases of their development:
1) master the basic building blocks of taijutsu (think the TCJ)
2) master the forms from the ryuha (& their unique insights, movements, tactics etc)
3) learn to apply the broader principles embodied in the ryuha more generally
Each of these takes quite a long time and a lot of effort and its not really a linear progression in practice

That's pretty close to the actual idealised approach, and I'd agree... except to say that your third point is where it falls down. Yes, begin by building a structural base (concepts of kamae, defence, movement, and so on), and the Ten Chi Jin is fantastic for that. Yep, next you go through the kata from the ryu-ha... and that's precisely what you'd be doing. You'd be using the basic structure (attained by studying the TCJ diligently), and then you'd do the sequences (the kata), through the filter of that single basic structure... in other words, you're not doing the ryu-ha, you're doing sequences (kata) from the ryu-ha... which is a big difference. Without that, once you got through the TCJ, what you'd need to do is literally start learning everything all over again... new postural concepts, new ri-ai, new striking and receiving methods, new distances, new ways of organising your body, new ways of thinking, and far more...

But, as I said, it's the last part that fails... "learn(ing) to apply the broader principles embodied in the ryu-ha more generally". Now, if it was "learning to apply the various principles found in the various kata in a broader sense", that would be fine... there's this complete misunderstanding of classical arts in the Bujinkan, stating things like "all the kata can be used against all different attacks, and can be adapted to any situation" (as well as ideas that all schools also cover all aspects, all weapons, and so on... no, they don't. They just don't. The same way not every book tells every story. They simply can't). Ryu-ha are cultural and contextual studies as much as anything else. The kata are defined, really. Can they be expressed in different ways? Yes... within context. Can the concepts be applied in a broader sense? Yes, but not by doing the kata in different contexts... they're no longer the kata then. In fact, the idea of taking these ideas, and applying them in a variety of contexts, against a variety of attacks, is very much a modern art thing... and very much a Bujinkan one, at that. It's kinda the antithesis of ryu-ha study, in many ways. Yes, the ryu should be something that informs your way of dealing with the world in all ways... but the danger in constantly changing the context is that you're more and more likely to not be true to the school anymore... again, this is exactly how the Bujinkan is designed... where keeping true to the school isn't a factor, because, well, the schools aren't taught.

Not quite.
Chris said that you couldnt learn the ryuha within the Buj

Yep. And you described specifically not learning the ryu-ha... but taking from them to inform something else (Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu). Again, this is what all the evidence points to.

Hi @BrendanF
Apologies - I rushed my response
The process i described is absolutely the one to learn Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, in my view that is

Agreed.

Having said that you can learn the Ryuha within the Bujinkan if you want

Without any evidence to support that, I continue to be skeptical. Bluntly, the number of Bujinkan members who have the first idea of what ryu-ha training would actually constitute I could probably count on one hand... I think three come to mind straight away, and that's about it... and none of them are Japanese, for the record.

There are (were) teachers with traditional licenses

Yeah... I've covered the issues with relying on that majorly asterix'd detail, though. The thing is, qualification is one thing, what is actually done with the qualification is quite another. I might have a Masters degree in Classical Music Study, but it means nothing when I'm teaching someone how to play blues guitar... you're not learning classical from me. In other words, the licence only matters if that's what's being taught... and there is no evidence to suggest that's the case.

& there are teachers in the Bujinkan who teach the ryu as distinct arts. Ie with different body movements and tactics

How are you defining "different body movements and tactics"? The tactics should be dictated largely by the kata, which itself is dictated by the context, so even in a single ryu you get a range of tactics... the "different body movements" is where it gets to it, though... are we talking about variations of an underlying physical structure and body organisation (which, again, is the only thing I've ever seen, in any format, from anyone in the Bujinkan).

I'll give an example from Ellis Amdur, which will hopefully illustrate the change I'm talking about. Ellis Amdur is a senior practitioner of two classical ryu-ha, Araki Ryu Torite Kogusoku, and Toda-ha Buko Ryu Naginatajutsu. Within Araki Ryu, there are techniques for kusarigama, and within Toda-ha Buko Ryu, there used to also be techniques and teachings for the weapon. In fact, the design of the weapons is rather similar, so Ellis was given the opportunity to try to reconstruct the older kusarigama teachings within Buko Ryu. He got together with a few others, and began deciphering the written descriptions of the kata that had been handed down... but, as they hadn't been practiced in a couple of generations, although they had the written (sequence) kata, the movement had not been transmitted... so they didn't teach them. But, with Ellis' understanding of the weapon from his Araki Ryu study, he was granted the chance to change that.

Ellis and his colleagues worked hard on it, and, at the end of their efforts, presented the techniques to Nitta Suzuyo-sensei for her approval. The techniques followed the sequences as written, but Nitta-sensei was not happy with them... they weren't "Buko Ryu". Ellis had allowed aspects of his Araki Ryu to influence the way he was using the weapon. He went back to his work, and, without changing the kata, changed the way the kata were done... using Buko Ryu body structure and organisation. Nitta-sensei was pleased with this version, and had Ellis and his training partner demonstrate them at the next major embu. Today, they are part of the Betsuden (additional teachings) of Toda-ha Buko Ryu... which would not have happened if all Ellis had done was do the sequence.

In a similar fashion, my biggest struggle right now is keeping my body structure and organisation separate for my different schools... Shindo Muso Ryu proving quite an interesting challenge! Now, I can do SMR kata as if it's Katori Shinto Ryu, but then it's not SMR... or I can do them like Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, but, again, that's not SMR. Or I can do them like Kukishin.... or like Budo Taijutsu... but again, not SMR. By the same token, if I do any of those schools like SMR, I'm not doing any of those either... just a sequence. In fact, I often say that Katori Shinto Ryu and Niten Ichi Ryu, despite both being sword arts, are almost exactly opposite to each other... the body organisation is different, the range is different, the cutting mechanics are different, the grip is different, even the way of stepping is completely opposite to each other. And the only way to do them any justice is to only do them... I need to keep them completely segmented. Otherwise, I'm just doing movements, not the ryu... and I'm interested in the ryu.

Even foundations like the punching and blocking methods are quite different from one ryu to the next

I've seen variation being taught, but nothing that I would say is "quite different"... additionally, I don't think even these variations are accurate... say, here's a sample, as a striking attack, how would you describe the difference between the attacking strikes of Gyokko and Koto Ryu? As well as their blocking methods? I know how I was taught the "difference", but, when it comes down to it, they're variations, more than differences... I'm curious as to your experience there.

General training (eg at the Hombu) doesnt really go into this much (a bit but not much) which is why I think @Chris Parker is understandably making his assertion

If I was limiting my observations to just that, then I'd be agreeing... I'm including, not just hombu, or Hatsumi's classes, but, well, everything. Daikomyosai (that were ostensibly specifically about particular ryu-ha), old Manaka seminars that were specifically about the schools, I would suggest thousands of hours of video of practitioners of all levels from all across the world teaching "specific ryu-ha", as well as more general Budo Taijutsu, and, at the end of the day, I have not seen a single frame from anyone, at all, that come close to implying actual ryu-ha transmission and training. Ever. From anyone.

Personally I have enjoyed going deep into the distinctive characteristics and methods of the different ryu. I feel Ive benefited from spending time (probably 20 years or so) going deep into this,

To be honest, and this is also from watching your own videos, I would again suggest that you're going "deep" into the kata from the schools as taught and trained as a facet of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu... ryu-ha study is simply not seen there. Good videos, sure... but not ryu-ha accurate... or, rather, not ryu-ha distinct.

but I appreciate that its not for everyone and its probably not necessary to achieve the goal outlined above

Which is, really, one of the strengths of the Bujinkan for people who are looking for that. The freedom to explore your own path, to a level you want to. In a ryu, that's not so much the option... you're expected to go as deep as possible into the ryu. and there's not so much picking and choosing what you're interested in (there used to be, but that's a completely different discussion).

having said that in my view there are some key movements that unless you understand where they come from dont make sense and I feel any people are missing out because they havent been taught these things

Can you give an example of something where the ryu-ha context is something not found in the Budo Taijutsu exploration of a kata? As I said, the kata are context-specific in the first place... looking at it from a Bujinkan or ryu-ha perspective will change that in large or small ways, but can be seen as quite close... in fact, looking at them from the perspective of a Bujinkan context may give you different answers than looking at them from a ryu-ha perspective... check the examples of Takagi Ryu to see what I mean... the mainline has a feeling of "opening" up and extending the attacking limb, often taking a number of steps back away from an attack (after walking towards the attacker first)... I have never seen anything like that in the Bujinkan approach to the school... so what context is the important one? Well, it depends on where you're learning it... if you're in the Bujinkan, then the context implied there is the more valid one... if you're looking for the ryu-ha, though, well... it's a bit different.

Hope that makes sense?

It does.

Of course we could debate forever whether going deep into the Bujinkans ryuha and learning their distinctive characteristics and methods constitutes learning the ryuha in the traditional sense

We could, but we could also short-circuit it and say no, no it doesn't. And we could point out that anyone with experience in studying a ryu-ha in a traditional sense says the same thing, and the ones who say it does are almost exclusively (I use the qualifier "almost" to allow for someone outside, but can't think of a single example) Bujinkan members with no actual experience or, bluntly, understanding of what ryu-ha study actually entails and involves.

There is a distinction between devoting all your training time to one ryu / method (very traditional approach) and training in several discrete ryuha

Well, yeah... however, training in multiple ryu-ha was actually not that uncommon historically... something that gets missed a lot these days.

Im defining learning the ryuha as the latter not the former,

To be honest, I'm not sure entirely what you're meaning there. You are defining "learning the ryu-ha" as "training in several discrete ryu-ha"? I'm presuming you are specifically saying that "learning the ryu-ha in the Bujinkan" is what you're defining?

but there is a spectrum between:
a) doing forms from different schools without changing your underlying taijutsu
b) learning the schools as discrete entities and differentiating between their methods, tactics etc (my definition of learning the ryuha), and
c) devoting yourself to one ryuha / method (or perhaps a couple that have come together over time) which is the more traditional approach / definition

Ah... cool. So, from your spectrum list there, I would suggest that b) is not anywhere near as discrete as you may imagine... again, that is a quite accurate description of exactly how I have gone through them for 25 years... the thing is, without the inherent body structure unique to that ryu, all you're doing (and all I was doing, let's be clear) is going through variations from the schools, and applying your underlying taijutsu/body mechanics/organisation to such. Again, without getting into a ryu, and studying how they operate from the inside, it's not an easy thing to see... but, once you do, it's absolutely obvious.

The majority of the Bujinkan, really, are probably a lot closer to a), and feel they are b)... when it comes to c), that's something that, really, has never been a part of the Bujinkan. Frankly, the Bujinkan is far less "traditional" (and, really, far less "Japanese") than most practitioners realise... but, again, that's another discussion entirely...

Hi
Thanks for this and I tend to agree that going deep into a sophisticated ryu with a very broad curriculum would require a long time and many hours on the mat

Let's take Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu as an example, then... there are 12 long sword kata, 7 short sword, 5 two sword, some 20 bojutsu, a bit of jutte, and some yawara... I don't know that I'd suggest it's a broad curriculum (Deep, yes! Broad? Not compared to others... it may even be a stretch to call it "sophisticated" in many ways, honestly... I mean, the first kata is pretty much walk up to the opponent, when they cut, evade to the side and stab them in the throat... not much sophistication to that idea!). Despite that, to truly inhabit the school, to embody it in your thought and action, yes, that takes a lot of dedication. And that's with all the aspects to the ryu that are absent from Bujinkan practice that allow you to get to the heart of the ryu... it's even harder with the way the Bujinkan teaches...

Using my categorisation a) is the mainstream Bujinkan approach, b) is possible in the Bujinkan, and c) is probably not possible in todays Bujinkan for westerners (maybe in the future some of the new soke will change things who knows)

I agree with everything except the last part... it would rely on the new soke having actually been transmitted the ryu in the first place... as I think I've expressed, I don't think that's happened... from Hatsumi onwards. The new soke, realistically, aren't soke of anything other than a name... which is a shame... what the Bujinkan actually needed was a defined successor... splitting up titles to schools never taught or transmitted lessens the Bujinkan as a whole, and has no actual benefit. I mean, Nagato isn't teaching Nagato-ha Shinden Fudo Ryu, and no longer doing, say, Ganseki Nage, or Sanshin, or the Kihon Happo... nor is he no longer teaching hanbo, or sword, or bo, or the myriad other weapons. In fact, each of the "new soke" that I've seen comments from have stated that they're going to simply continue teaching as they have been... which means (Bujinkan) Budo Taijutsu... so what's the point of them being soke of anything? There's also people saying, "yeah, these guys are the new soke, but Hatsumi is still the soke, so he's still in charge"... which denies the reality of them being soke in their own right...

It's really kinda simple. If the ryu are split up, then there's no longer a Bujinkan... if the Bujinkan is continuing, then the ryu aren't a factor, so the new soke don't matter... this, on top of the announcement at the end of 2017 that there are no more Bujinkan Hombu membership cards, or kyu certificates, and that the various Dai-Shihan are to look after their own membership requirements/fees/cards etc, kinda means that, realistically, there is no such thing as the Bujinkan anymore... other than in people's perception. It's an interesting situation...
 

Chris Parker

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Hi Rogue, I studied with a friend of mine for two years who was a ninja trained in Japan, he had the paper work to prove it. We exchanged techniques Im a student of Kung fu. What I can tell you is Ninjitsu is very similar to kung fu . Its not a linear art it is based on circles and triangles . Theres not a lot of blocking mostly move the body out of line of the strike and attack at the same time. There are sub arts , one for knife fighting, hand to hand, short sword, pinching, stealth, clawing with the metal hand claws, juijitsu, throwing, phycology instill fear in your opponent etc. they all come together to form one art . Sorry I couldnt go into more detail but its been a few years . Hope this helps you out. Salute and Peace !

I trained at a "ninjutsu" school in the early 90s. It was a Bujutsu, Shotokan, and JJJ blend. From my experience most Ninja schools you find will be of the same type. Karate, jujitsu, and bujutsu mixed. There is no ninjutsu that dates back to feudal Japan.

To be honest, neither of these sound like anything close to what would be considered authentic (from the perspective of the Takamatsuden arts)... more people making stuff up, most likely baselessly to a fair degree... so I wouldn't count either as valid exposure to the arts.
 

Chris Parker

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This is literally exactly what has been said - this is not the same as the process of studying koryu; it is the process followed when learning Budo Taijutsu. Koryu training is not the same.

Oh, and just because it's been quite remiss of me... hey, Brendan! I was hoping to get over by the end of the year, but it's looking like that's not happening... say hi to everyone for me!
 

BrendanF

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Oh, and just because it's been quite remiss of me... hey, Brendan! I was hoping to get over by the end of the year, but it's looking like that's not happening... say hi to everyone for me!

Hey mate - of course, shall do. Hopefully we'll get on top of this thing pretty soon and things can get back to some semblance of normality.
 

dunc

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Hi

@Chris Parker : Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful reply. I always feel like I don't have enough time to respond to all the points you make. So please accept my apologies for summarising (& therefore potentially missing points) in my posts

@BrendanF & @Chris Parker : I think we can all agree that training in the Bujinkan is very different from training in koryu, and as a result will produce different outcomes. I also think we can agree that that's by design and "each to their own"

@Chris Parker : I think your central point is that you believe that Hatsumi sensei has never taught the ryuha in a detailed and distinct way. As a result no one in the Bujinkan, including those with traditional licences and the new soke, know these things. I believe you base this assertion on your experience of the Bujinkan under Wayne Roy in the early 90s, the videos out there and some more recent training in Japan (I'm not sure how much training you had in Japan, when you were there and for how long and whether you visited the shihan's home dojos)
Presumably you feel that you've gained detailed instruction in the ryuha from other sources (I'd be interested in understanding your perspective on this) and as you've learnt these things you've concluded that there is a marked difference in approach

I'm stating that from my direct personal experience the long term shihan do know these things and will teach them if the conditions are right. For example: you ask and they know and like you, it's in their home dojo where class sizes are much smaller, perhaps Hatsumi sensei has asked them to teach the ryuha (which happened from time to time) etc
Seno sensei would teach Koto ryu his dojo on request or other ryu during the theme years (although as more people started coming to his dojo he moved away from doing this, I think because so few people could do the foundational movements of Koto ryu). Same for Oguri sensei and Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Ishizuka sensei with Kukishinden or Gyokko Ryu and so on
Another example was Manaka sensei, when still in the Bujinkan, who went through a phase of showing how various techniques would change if you applied the methods from different schools to them. This was before the hombu was set up, but he did this in his regular well attended classes so probably there are many long term Bujinkan folk who remember those lessons and can back up my claims

I found this training interesting and actively sought it out during a phase of my development. However, I have always been and remain a visitor to Japan so could only go so deep into it

Other than my experience with the older shihan I don't know what training the new soke have had in the various ryuha they've inherited. It certainly seems like Sakasai Sensei at least knows Gikan ryu kamae because there's an article kicking around (in Japanese) with him showing them, to my knowledge they haven't really been taught publicly and they match the way I was taught by one of the older shihan back in the day

I appreciate that you only really have my word for this, but it's not like I have a dog in this fight. I don't have any interest in marketing myself or differentiating myself vs other folk in the Bujinkan or Koryu worlds by claiming some unique knowledge to get folk to attend my seminars (never done a seminar in my life). I have a regular job that pays the rent and just run my dojo my way and do my thing for the love of the art and to better myself as a martial artist

Secondarily you're making a point that because there are several new soke of different ryuha rather than one single soke of the Bujinkan then the Bujinkan no longer exists
On this I'd say it's early days and I doubt anyone will change things while Hatsumi sensei is still alive, but who knows what will happen in the future. Probably a lot of change...
 
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