Should I Train in the Bujinkan, Genbukan, or Jinenkan?

goldwarrior

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I used to train in the Bujinkan for several years. I stopped for awhile, for various reasons. I was going to start training again in the Bujinkan, but then found a Jinenkan instructor that was close to my house. I trained for about 2 years.... and found I wasn't learning much.

Now here is my dilemma! There is actually a Genbukan school about 20 minutes from me. However the instructors there from what I understand aren't that good. I thought of going back to the Bujinkan, because the instructor I had was very good. I felt when I attended his classes I was always learning a lot. However I live 45-50 minutes from this teacher now. I'd like to go train and learn from him again, it's just far.

What do people think I should do? Should I train with the instructors who are closer, but not as good? Go train with the better instructor that is farther away?
 

jks9199

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The three arts are very closely related. Personally, I'd almost certainly go to the core or original art -- but if there is a significant difference in instructor quality, that could easily trump that. But, there's one more detail worth considering... There's some bad blood of sorts between them, and training in one might block the others out in the future.
 

Blindside

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I don't know a thing about ninjutsu, that said....

Instructor, Instructor, Instructor. :D
 

xJOHNx

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As JKS said, there is really bad blood between them. Don't know if genbukan of jinenkan have bad blood, never heard of it.

All I know is I joined up on Jinenkan, because bujinkan was not intense enough for me. This is politics aside, because I don't give flying spaghetti about what went down with whom and where.

Never been able to do Genbukan as there is noone teaching it around my area.
 
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Chris Parker

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Training in one WILL rule out the others, unless you leave the first one. Of course, you can then apply to another organisation, however I have heard of people being denied due to prior organisation membership.

If you search around, you will find a number of threads/posts about the differences (I think quite a few by me, actually....), but to go through this briefly....

Bujinkan: Headed by Hatsumi Sensei, direct successor of Takamatsu Sensei, the Bujinkan is made up of nine seperate classical systems (Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu, Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, Kukishinden Ryu Happo Bikenjutsu, Gyokushin Ryu Ninjutsu, Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu, and Gikan Ryu Koppotaijutsu), the essence of which are combined to create an overall method of teaching, focused on the principles gleaned by Hatsumi Sensei from the various lineages (as well as a number of others he has trained in, such as Asayama Ichiden Ryu and Bokuden Ryu). The focus in the Bujinkan is on development of skills and flow, and more modern methods and weapons are more common here than in the other organisations. However, due to a lack of structured curriculum, there is a greater variance between the main teachers of the Bujinkan, you may get someone fantastic, or you may get the other end of the spectrum. Check the school out first.

The Genbukan: This was formed by Tanemura Sensei, former Vice President of the Bujinkan, and at the time it's highest ranked member at 8th Dan. Due to reasons that are of little importance here, Tanemura left the Bujinkan (and his cousin, Hatsumi Sensei) in March 1984, and in November formally founded the Genbukan. He spent a great deal of time furthering his studies with many former students of Takamatsu Sensei, gaining Menkyo Kaiden (full mastership) and Soke-ship (Head of system/family) for a number of systems. In the early 90's Tanemura Sensei established the Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei (KJJR) to teach the "samurai" Jujutsu systems seperately from the Ninpo-related systems. Most Genbukan schools offer both, but some only offer Ninpo. The focus in the Genbukan is on the correct transmission of the traditional schools, leading to a higher level of standards enforced than those found in the Bujinkan. There is also a very strict rule-set enforced in the Genbukan. It's teachings include the systems of the Bujinkan (from Hatsumi Sensei), as well as alternate lines for a number of the Ryu, such as Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu (Ishitani line, rather than Hatsumi's Mizuta lineage Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu), a different line of Koto Ryu, and more. He also has other systems, such as Asayama Ichiden Ryu, Bokuden Ryu, Araki Shin Ryu, many more branches of Kukishin Ryu, Yagyu Shingan Ryu, and more. A very traditional, solidly trained organisation. Again, though, as not every school is for everyone, check out the school first.

The Jinenkan: Formed by Manaka Sensei, Hatsumi Sensei's earliest student, in 1996, this is made up of the six primarily taught systems from the Bujinkan (Togakure Ryu, Koto Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Kukishinden Ryu, and Shinden Fudo Ryu), as well as the Jinen Ryu, founded by Manaka Sensei, and focused on sword and jutte. The emphasis of the Jinenkan is the correct teaching of the schools the way they appear in the scrolls, in the correct order. Again, the standards are kept high, and the feeling is very traditional. The Jinenkan schools are less common than the other major organisations, and again one of the biggest factors will be the individual instructor. Some, such as Adam Mitchell (who posts here on occasion) explore other areas not covered in the formal scrolls (there's a great thread with a link to a clip on his approach to ne-waza, or ground fighting here), giving a bit more freedom, others will stick very strictly to the scrolls themselves. Once more, check out the school first.

Hope that helps, a look around will give a little more detail, any questions just ask.
 

Bruno@MT

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I don't know of any bad blood between Genbukan and Jinenkan either. However you really should try to stick with 1 organization. Hopping from one to the other is really frowned upon.

I like Genbukan for the intensity of the training and the aim for correct transmission of techniques, as well as the strictness of the organization.

What Chris mentioned about the set of rules is indeed correct as well. Etiquette and following the rules is important in Genbukan. I think our rulebook is currently at 100 pages or something to that effect. Personally I think this is the right approach. Chris already made a great outline of the differences. I just thought I'd emphasize the previous point. From what I've heard, Bujinkan is a much freer organization. If that is something that you liked, then Genbukan might not be the best choice for you.

Honestly, I think you should focus on the instructors. But 45 minutes is honestly not THAT much. Sure, it is more than the 5 minutes that I currently have to travel to my dojo, but if you really felt at home with that Bujinkan sensei, I think that would be the best approach. And you can't keep switching between the X kans just because of the practicality, because you'll burn your bridges.
 

xJOHNx

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And you can't keep switching between the X kans just because of the practicality, because you'll burn your bridges.
And mess up the way the techniques are done in each!
 
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goldwarrior

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You can't keep switching between the X kans just because of the practicality, because you'll burn your bridges.

You'd be surprised! A lot of people will switch back and forth! Mainly because a certain school isn't available in the area they move to. Most teachers will accept any who wants to learn. If you already have experience, than your a lot more likely to come to class!

I'm not considering practicality I'm considering better instruction.
 

Chris Parker

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Better instruction? I think that really is your answer there then. If one particular teacher is "speaking" to you more than others, then that's the organisation you'll end up with.
 

Xue Sheng

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a Jinenkan instructor that was close to my house. I trained for about 2 years.... and found I wasn't learning much….

ally a Genbukan school about 20 minutes from me. However the instructors there from what I understand aren't that good…..

I thought of going back to the Bujinkan, because the instructor I had was very good. I felt when I attended his classes I was always learning a lot….

:hmm:

I'm not considering practicality I'm considering better instruction.


You just answered your own question ;)
 

Bruno@MT

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You'd be surprised! A lot of people will switch back and forth! Mainly because a certain school isn't available in the area they move to. Most teachers will accept any who wants to learn. If you already have experience, than your a lot more likely to come to class!

Really? I mean a lot?

I cannot speak for Bujinkan and Jinenkan, but I would be surprised if Genbukan allows this. Once or twice, maybe, if you have a good reason. Upon coming back you have to start over from white again if you were not a blackbelt. And even if you were a blackbelt, you'd have to retake ALL checktests.

I don't say it doesn't happen, but I bet it's not a lot. And it's even less likely for blackbelts imo.

Mind you, this is just based on my observations and experiences in Genbukan over the last year and a half. I am obviously not omniscient nor anywhere high up in the hierarchy, but I'd want to see something that backs up your statement that it happens a lot.
 

Inazuma

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I don't think that this is really a question of organization, but of individual dojo.

My reccommendation is to pick the training that is most fulfulling to you. It sounds like the Bujinkan dojo met your needs and expectations. You need to ask yourself if it is worth the 45 minute drive to have your needs met. No one can answer this but you, really.
 

Katsujin-ken

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I used to train in the Bujinkan for several years. I stopped for awhile, for various reasons. I was going to start training again in the Bujinkan, but then found a Jinenkan instructor that was close to my house. I trained for about 2 years.... and found I wasn't learning much.

Now here is my dilemma! There is actually a Genbukan school about 20 minutes from me. However the instructors there from what I understand aren't that good. I thought of going back to the Bujinkan, because the instructor I had was very good. I felt when I attended his classes I was always learning a lot. However I live 45-50 minutes from this teacher now. I'd like to go train and learn from him again, it's just far.

What do people think I should do? Should I train with the instructors who are closer, but not as good? Go train with the better instructor that is farther away?

Greetings,

As a Genbukan member, I just wanted to ask this: you said you understand your area Genbukan instructors aren't that good. Is this something you have personally observed or witnessed by attending or watching a class or two, or have you heard this from others? If this is based on hearsay, I would suggest visiting the dojo personally and checking them out, as well as speaking with the instructors. You may yet be surprised, in a positive way.

At the same time, however, if your heart is with the Bujinkan and your teacher, and you find that his training best resonates with you, a 45 min. drive is not that much of a sacrifice. There are students at the dojo I train in that travel close to that same time, and some have come from farther. Ultimately, you will make sacrifices for that which you value most, so make sure whatever path you pursue is worth the investment.

Best wishes in your Budo, hope all goes well.
 

WesternCiv

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Not much to add - there's been some very good advice already given.

Go with the instructor - and by extension dojo and fellow students - you feel the most comfortable with. In my opinion (which is undoubtedly formed by what I am looking to get out of my training) the "spirit" of the school and the instruction can be more important than the actual technical expertise.

Good luck.
 

ElfTengu

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I used to train in the Bujinkan for several years. I stopped for awhile, for various reasons. I was going to start training again in the Bujinkan, but then found a Jinenkan instructor that was close to my house. I trained for about 2 years.... and found I wasn't learning much.

Now here is my dilemma! There is actually a Genbukan school about 20 minutes from me. However the instructors there from what I understand aren't that good. I thought of going back to the Bujinkan, because the instructor I had was very good. I felt when I attended his classes I was always learning a lot. However I live 45-50 minutes from this teacher now. I'd like to go train and learn from him again, it's just far.

What do people think I should do? Should I train with the instructors who are closer, but not as good? Go train with the better instructor that is farther away?

Pick the one that will give you a black belt first, then you won't have to worry about it.

Then swallow your pride and go for the one which is hardest to train in. You will always have the black belt in your wardrobe to wrap around your ego, but can go back to being a white belt to learn formal accurate technique and humility.

Now where's my tongue? Oh yes there it is......in my cheek! :D
 
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goldwarrior

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I don't say it doesn't happen, but I bet it's not a lot. And it's even less likely for blackbelts imo.

It happens more than you think! Like you said you've only been in the G-Kan for a short while. When I went to Jinenkan seminars a lot of the people there used to train in the Bujinkan, G-kan. They tend to move up a lot faster than normal students. I meet a few people in the Bujinkan who switched. If you are confident in your skills... wearing your old belts shouldn't matter.
 
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goldwarrior

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When Manaka Unsui was in Maryland, from what I know many people joined the Jinenkan to train with him. People drove from very long distances, and came from the Bujinkan and Genbukan. Several high ranking people switched over to the Jinenkan during that period.

Would you pass up the chance to train with a Japanese Grandmaster because he has his own school?
 

Bruno@MT

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Would you pass up the chance to train with a Japanese Grandmaster because he has his own school?

Genbukan students are specifically barred from training with other ninjutsu organizations. It's in our rules. And I have heard enough tales of people getting expelled from Genbukan and switching to Bujinkan, and no tales of any high level practicioner coming back.

As I said, I can't speak for other organizations. But in the case of Genbukan, training with other orgs is forbidden. Word would probably reach Tanemura soke if you did overtly (as in attend a taikai) and I don't think it would go over well.

So to answer your question: yes I would have to pass up the opportunity, as would any Genbukan member who would like to remain a member.
 
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xJOHNx

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That's harsh.
It realy is, but then again I somehow understand it.
 

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