Reliability of Genbukan official store?

Benevolentbob

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I spotted that Ninja Supplies thread above so I assumed this was the right forum to post this under. So after some research I came to the understanding that along with Masaaki Hatsumi's and Stephen Hayes' books that Shoto Tanemura's Ninpo Secrets is supposed to be one of the best books on Ninpo Taijutsu. After some looking around I found that the best price was direcctly from the Genbukan store and ordered it. Roughly a week later now I have received no confirmation e-mail from them and have no idea if they have even seen the order let alone shipped it. The money has been taken out of my account via Pay-pal and Pay-pal sent me the e-mail receipt but I've received no further information on what's going on with the package. So to those of you who have bought from the shop before, is this typical? Do they often just not contact you and then one day the package arrives on your door? If so how long does this typically take? I had the option between air shipping and sea shipping, went with air if that helps. Any help would be appreciated.
 

Bruno@MT

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I was told this is normal. I've heard similar stories. If the paypal transaction happened, it takes a couple of weeks and the item will get to your door.
 
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Benevolentbob

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Thanks Bruno, it's good to know that other people have bought from there and it's just kind of how it works.
 

Bruno@MT

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No problem. Genbukan members normally buy through their (chief) dojo cho. This is done to take some load off the hombu dojo, which otherwise would have to deal with hundreds or thousands of individual buyers.
But I've heard from non members buying through the Genbukan site that there is indeed no follow up communication, and that it takes a couple of weeks for mail to arrive. If you haven't received anything in 3 weeks or so you might send an email to ask about your order.
 

newtothe dark

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I have order 3 things directly from the site and took 2.5 weeks for all three times. They are reliable just not really in the book and video business.
 

asuki

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time frame seems just about right for media mail.
 

ScholarsInk

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This has usually been the case for me with orders from Japan as well. There's no reason to worry.

I would, however, not put Hayes' books on the same level as Hatsumi-sensei's books or Ninpo Secrets. I used to read them avidly as a 12-year-old but have since learned that much of the historical material therein is made up (such as the romantic Marxist/First French Republic-style reading of Iga and Koga that made Iga and Koga some resistance movement against the government and the samurai. There's definitely good stuff in the Hayes books, but be wary of the "Ninja used 11th century straight swords throughout all of their history" or, for that matter, the idea that ninja and samurai were mutually exclusive categories (the former being a job, the latter a social class) I'm told that Hayes corrected his history claims in later books, but I don't know if this is true, given that he continues to refer to ninja as a 'resistance movement' on his website.

Point being, they're not the worst books, but your money is much better spent on Ninpo Secrets, Way of the Ninja, Essence of Ninjutsu et cetera.
 
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Benevolentbob

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Thanks for the replies guys, the reinstalled my confidence that I will actually get the book :). ScholarsInk, thanks for the heads up. I haven't read any of Stephen Hayes' books yet but some of them were on my list to possibly get in the future. Do you know of any of his that are particularly bad or vice-versa?
 

ScholarsInk

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Thanks for the replies guys, the reinstalled my confidence that I will actually get the book :). ScholarsInk, thanks for the heads up. I haven't read any of Stephen Hayes' books yet but some of them were on my list to possibly get in the future. Do you know of any of his that are particularly bad or vice-versa?
I know that all of them that I own contain that weird history, but I can't speak for the others. I'd suggest we come to this after you finish Tanemura-sensei and Hatsumi-sensei's writing. Hatsumi-sensei's older books in English are by American publishers, so they cost the same as the Hayes books. Also, I'd suggest getting some books about Japanese warrior culture in general, such as one of Thomas Cleary's introductory works.
 
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Benevolentbob

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Thanks I'll look into that. From Hatsumi I've already read Ninjutsu History and Tradition, Ninja Secrets From The Grandmaster, and The Grandmaster's Book of Ninja Training. I enjoyed the interview format from the last two. Is there any particular order I should go about his other books?
 

ScholarsInk

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Thanks I'll look into that. From Hatsumi I've already read Ninjutsu History and Tradition, Ninja Secrets From The Grandmaster, and The Grandmaster's Book of Ninja Training. I enjoyed the interview format from the last two. Is there any particular order I should go about his other books?
History & Tradition was actually written by Stephen Hayes, so you do have a Stephen Hayes book. Essence of Ninjutsu is a great read- you can get it on Amazon for about ten dollars.

I recently got Unarmed Fighting Techniques but I find it's geared for a more experienced audience than the likes of me as it's basically a kata listing and collection of great photographs, but to a beginner the the listing makes no sense of course.
 

Chris Parker

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Most of Hatsumi's recent books are like that (Unarmed Fighting Techniques), such as Advanced Stick Fighting and Japanese Sword Fighting. Really, it will depend on what you are after from these books.

If you are after techniques, I would go more for Hatsumi Sensei's DVDs, they are a lot easier to follow, or try to find some of the older books (occasionally translated into English if you don't read Japanese... but even then they are filled with pictures, so you can probably get something out of them). They are more based on weaponry, including one on Bojutsu, another on Sojutsu, and one on Hanbo, Tessen and Jutte.

If you're after philosophy, go with Essence as previously mentioned, or, if you can find it, Ninpo: Wisdom for Life which is a very interesting read.

If it's history, honestly, Hatsumi isn't really your best bet. He doens't have the same interest in the history that a number of practitioners do, it seems, being far more interested in the teachings of the arts he inherited than knowing all the names and dates. Not saying he doesn't know or have them, just that it's really not his focus. For history, a great first book is Paul Richardson's History of the Schools of the Bujinkan. My advice is to avoid writings by people such as Stephen Turnbull.... really not a recommendation.

As there is fairly sparce historical writings out there, I recommend looking to historical writings of contemporary systems and society, which help flesh out your understanding, such as Koryu Books three volume series Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan, Sword and Spirit, and Keiko Shokon, as well as Dr Karl Friday's Legacy of the Sword, Katori Shinto Ryu Warrior Tradition by Otake Risuke (from Koryu Books as well).

That should get you started!
 

Cryozombie

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Of the ones I own, I still say that "Stick Fighting" is one of my favorite books by Hatsumi.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Paul Richardsons history book is great as is Cryozombie mentioning the book on "Stick Fighting" By Hatsumi Sensei and Quinton Chambers is fantastic!
 
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Benevolentbob

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Thanks for all of the helpful replies. I actually already own a copy of Essence of Ninjutsu it's just sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I'll definitley keep in mind that the some of the Hatsumi books were meant for more advanced students. For the record, at this point in time I'm more interested in the background/history of the art, the philosophy or spirituality of it that Hatsumi often refers to, and authentic points of view from the inside such as Hatsumi or Tanemura. I may get some DVDs from Hatsumi down the road but I really feel that the training would be done best with an actual instructor.

ScholarsInk, I had heard rumors that History and Tradition was "ghostwritten" by Hayes which I find to be interesting. Unfortunately nobody has told me how this rumor got started nor shown me evidence related to it. I enjoyed the book regardless of who wrote it but I still find it interesting.

Chris, thank you for the very informative post. Reading it I think Ninpo: Wisdom for Life is probably the next book I'll pick up. I'll definitely give History of the Schools of the Bujinkan a look too along with the koryu books you mentioned.

Thank you all again!
 
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Benevolentbob

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For anyone curious the package arrived today. So for anyone not wanting to pay the third party price gougers on a site like Amazon (nothing against Amazon, just some of the independent sellers) just go straight to the source. Still not a cheap book by any means but much more reasonable.
 

ElfTengu

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Of the ones I own, I still say that "Stick Fighting" is one of my favorite books by Hatsumi.

Yes, I'd forgotten Stick fighting even though I have two copies, although for written text, I honestly believe Understand Good Play is the only thing worth owning if you are looking for practical accessible guidance in text form, rather than bizarre pseudo-oriental philosophy translated once into English by an SME, and then back into Japanese and back into English by the publishers and then have to read for decades on forums about how many mistakes there are and that some of these mistakes are actually (allegedly) deliberate (even in the original Japanese versions).

I have loved and trained in this art for over two decades on and off, and I'm afraid I just find most of the recent glossy books on the subject to be utter mumbo jumbo to my evidently unintelligent mind. Life is just too short for mystery when my aim is to be able to stop bad people hurting me or my loved ones via the medium of martial arts untainted by sport or aesthetics. If I am trusted, I should be taught without deliberate bewilderment. As it is, my own teacher is at such a high level that I often don't know what is going on in the practical lessons anyway, and I don't really want to repeat the experience by poring over musings that don't help me progress when I get home.

I may recant all this when I am 90 and can do nothing but read due to physical frailty and when I can spend my days finally making sense of it all, but for someone wanting to achieve kickass fighting ability whilst my body is still willing, I recommend looking at books for the photos only (even Stephen Hayes's photo sequences aren't all without merit), or as someone else suggested, forget books and buy DVDs instead. You are lucky to be have access to video footage nowadays. Some of us went many years without seeing Soke or the Shihanke in action apart from at taikai events, if at all, and I'm sure many of us would be much better at what we do if we had the range of material that is available nowadays back in the 80s and early to mid 90s.

Apparently Kacem Zoughari has written what may one of the best books on ninjutsu so far, but even that (and the man himself) has its critics.
 

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