When Hatsumi Soke passes

yorkshirelad

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I was scanning through RVD's Ninjutsu.com and noticed that he claims Menkyo Kaiden and Jugodan (Judan Kugyo Happo Biken) in the Bujinkan (I know that jugodan is just a rung of the judan ladder). I have a few questions about this.

1)Does this mean that he is Menkyo Kaiden in the Bujinkan and therefore Menkyo Kaiden in each of the nine ryuha?

2)Is Jugodan in the Bujinkan cosidered Menkyo Kaiden itself, or is a separate certificate presented.

3)Without seeming too macabre Hatsumi will be 78 on his next birthday. When he passes and the next Soke is chosen to replace him, as therwe are numerous jugodan (who may also claim Menkyo Kaiden) do you think there will be a huge exodus from the Bujinkan when this happens? Do you think there will be more and more systems an orgs like Toshindo, Genbukan and Jinenkan?

I swear I'm not trolling, I just believe that due to the huge number of Shihan/Shidoshi in the Bujinkan, there is a good chance of upheaval in the next few years.
 
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Omar B

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Fistly, wow! title shocked me till I saw the "when."

I would hope that when he dies there's a smooth transition, but we all have seen what has happened in the past. Lets just hope it looks dignified rather than rats leaving a ship. There are enough good instructors around now (mixed with the bad) that there's little chance of it loosing ground.
 

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1)Does this mean that he is Menkyo Kaiden in the Bujinkan and therefore Menkyo Kaiden in each of the nine ryuha?

To my knowledge, Mr. Van Donk does not have menkyo kaiden in any of the individual ryu-ha. If he has a menkyo kaiden, then it is only in Budo Taijutsu. I believe only a few of the Japanese shihan have ranking in any of the individual ryu-ha. For instance, Mr. Manaka of the Jinenkan, and Tanemura Soke of the Genbukan, received menkyo kaiden in 6 of the 9 ryu-ha from Mr. Hatsumi. There were others in that original group, but since I'm not part of the Bujinkan then I'm not sure of their names, or if they still teach and train.
 
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yorkshirelad

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Fistly, wow! title shocked me till I saw the "when."

I would hope that when he dies there's a smooth transition, but we all have seen what has happened in the past. Lets just hope it looks dignified rather than rats leaving a ship. There are enough good instructors around now (mixed with the bad) that there's little chance of it loosing ground.
I actually whinced at the title when I began the thread, thinking people would think it distateful. I should've called it "Questions about the Bujinkan". I think that there will be plenty of splinter groups, but hopefully they will be cordial.
 
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yorkshirelad

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To my knowledge, Mr. Van Donk does not have menkyo kaiden in any of the individual ryu-ha. If he has a menkyo kaiden, then it is only in Budo Taijutsu. I believe only a few of the Japanese shihan have ranking in any of the individual ryu-ha. For instance, Mr. Manaka of the Jinenkan, and Tanemura Soke of the Genbukan, received menkyo kaiden in 6 of the 9 ryu-ha from Mr. Hatsumi. There were others in that original group, but since I'm not part of the Bujinkan then I'm not sure of their names, or if they still teach and train.
If this is the case and his Menkyo Kaiden is in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu then surely each atr i being somewhat lost in the amalgamation. If this is the case then surely Tanemura Sensei has got it right in teaching the individual ryuha along with the Genbukan and KJJR syllabi.

I don't know how things are done in the Jinenkan, so I'd prefer not to comment.
 

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Hi,

Yeah, I got a bit worried when I saw the title as well, it is considered rather distasteful and rude to discuss such matters as who takes over or what happens while Hatsumi Sensei is still very much with us. But I'm glad to see that the focus is on organisational matters here.

As to Menkyo Kaiden ranking in the various ryu-ha themselves, my knowledge and understanding matches that of Eric, but I would say that most likely Seno, Noguchi, and a few others most likely have Menkyo Kaiden in one or more systems, but can't swear to it. RVD has probably not recieved Menkyo Kaiden in particular lineages, in fact I think the mention of Menkyo Kaiden is a title he has conferred upon himself, deciding, as you put it, that because Jugodan is the highest "rank", then that is the same as Menkyo Kaiden. I haven't heard of anyone else claiming that their Jugodan ranking is Menkyo Kaiden...

A few years ago or so Arnaud Cousergue of France was awarded Menkyo Kaiden in Tachi Waza (specifically centering around use of sword, but having many other meanings as well), which is one of the only Menkyo Kaiden certificates I have heard of being awarded in relatively recent times. But this was a "created" Menkyo Kaiden in a specific skill set, created by Hatsumi Sensei to reward Arnaud for his dedication to understanding the use of Tachi, not a ryu itself.

Now to the question of whether or not Jugodan is the same as Menkyo Kaiden, well, no. They are different systems of ranking, and typically are not really related to each other. I see the Menkyo system as being related to the depth of your immersion in a particular specialised art (individual Ryu-ha, say, Shinden Fudo Ryu Jutaijutsu for instance), whereas the Kyu/Dan ranking system is based more on technical ability (at least in the early stages, up to early Dan ranks). As the Bujinkan doesn't really teach individual Ryu-ha as such, rather teaching a variety of skills and principles gleaned from the various sources that make up it's curriculum, then the Dan ranking system is far more appropriate. Remember, Menkyo Kaiden is far more than just knowing all the techniques, and being a member of a classical system is far more than just getting the movements. This teaching approach is the main reason the Bujinkan methodology is classed as a Gendai Budo rather than Koryu.

So, to answer your question in particular:

1) No, Menkyo Kaiden in the Bujinkan is not Menkyo Kaiden in the individual Ryu, that would be separate again, it would just be Menkyo Kaiden in the teaching methods of the Bujinkan. And as stated, I don't really know that the term Menkyo Kaiden really applies, regardless of what RVD has on his website, unless there is a separate certificate stating Menkyo Kaiden from Hatsumi Sensei.

2) As far as I know, Jugodan in the Bujinkan is Judan in the Bujinkan, at the highest awarded level, nothing to do with a Menkyo system of ranking. So no, Jugodan is not the same as Menkyo Kaiden in the Bujinkan, that would require separate ranking certificates and a separate ranking system.

3) There have been major exodus' from the Bujinkan before, and there will be more in the future. Different people have different values. As for what will, or may, happen, well that is unknown. It will depend on a number of things, including if Hatsumi Sensei even leaves a designated heir, and in all likelihood we may see a situation similar to Kyokushinkai after Oyama Sensei passed. There was a splintering into different organisations, each following the person they chose. This is not uncommon in martial arts, so I don't see much of a problem. But that's enough on that.

As for whether things are lost in the amalgamation of the various lineages, I would say yes, they are. But they are lost for a specific reason, to create a seamless collection of applied principles. The individual subtleties of the particular ryu may be missed, but they would typically go against the rest, so they are best left out. Think of things like the footwork of Gikan Ryu's postures, and how different they are to the rest of the Ryu-ha kamae to get what I mean by that.

But the Genbukan and Jinenkan doing better? By and large, the bulk of the training in these organisations are similar to the Bujinkan, taking from each of the various sources to develop and establish skill sets, and only looking to individual Ryu-ha after years of training (in the Genbukan's case, you only start training and studying a specific single Ryu after 3rd Dan). The Jinenkan trains each of their systems (Togakure Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, Kukishin Ryu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Koto Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, and Jinen Ryu [Manaka Sensei's creation]) according to the scrolls, keeping the techniques in the exact methods and order as written. These methods are indeed better if what you are after is centered around the individual schools themselves, most likely from a historical/academic perspective. So it is up to the individual which is a better match for them, really. But both approaches (Bujinkan or Genbukan/Jinenkan) are right, just from different perspectives.
 

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Well according to the laws of tradition, all members of the bujinkan are to commit ritual suicide and all those incapable slaughtered, to make for a huge communal grave with all animals and weapons included... wherein we can all continue on in the afterlife. kidding...

i just always wonder how many people will pass before that...greet everyday with thanks because 30 year olds and even kids die daily as do people that are over 90 or 100.

I suppose that it's a legit question in a way, but i would hope that there things are very controlled and not as chaotically unstable as described. Probably, knowing ninjas, there is no need to worry much.

I cannot help to wonder about or feel for the man that has given his life to bujinkan as well as received much from bujinkan. But for me, Hatsumisensei is more than just the position of Soke or menkyo or whatever, he is the soul, that carrier of primordial ninja wisdom that was passed onto him from takamatsu. Therefore, it the titles are meaningless without the guidance of said spirit. Furthermore, imho, having all the schools hunt and peck away at the scrolls and make up new innovative material, will have and end someday. The only way to keep it going is to come back after having released everything, after the pain called mastery, and then illuminate the teachings with knowledge and experience of the world as well as transfer the divine luminocity of the spiritual or more secretive aspects.


j




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arnisador

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It'll splinter in all directions--like Aikido, Shotokan, Jeet Kune Do, Kenpo, Modern Arnis...every art with a charismatic founder seems to go that way. The main exception is Judo--its sport status has kept the splintering to a minimum.
 
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yorkshirelad

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Hi,

Yeah, I got a bit worried when I saw the title as well, it is considered rather distasteful and rude to discuss such matters as who takes over or what happens while Hatsumi Sensei is still very much with us.
I've always been rather inquisitive and have asked questions that others wouldn't dare so please forgive me. Maybe in this instance it's a Japanes thing as I've asked the same question to certain western 'masters' in other arts and they didn't seem the least bit bothered by it.
Then again, when speaking with my WW2 vet grandfather years ago, he found it distasteful and rude that the Japanese would use POW's necks for Tameshigiri pracise. So if it is a cultural thing, I'll call it quits.
 

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I've always been rather inquisitive and have asked questions that others wouldn't dare so please forgive me. Maybe in this instance it's a Japanes thing as I've asked the same question to certain western 'masters' in other arts and they didn't seem the least bit bothered by it.

That could be because it makes those western 'masters' feel more important. 'Founder of a lineage'.

Then again, when speaking with my WW2 vet grandfather years ago, he found it distasteful and rude that the Japanese would use POW's necks for Tameshigiri pracise. So if it is a cultural thing, I'll call it quits.

What does that have to do with anything? Someone who is no longer alive did something to someone else, 70 years ago, and that absolves you from having to show manners in all matters dealing with an entire race of which the other guy was a member?

In western Europe we have a saying: 'your grandfather stole my grandfathers bicycle in the war. (give it back)'. Usually the butt of the joke is a german, though the joke is usually only made in jest, if at all.
Apart from the literal translation, the joke signifies that among the generation of today, there are no hard feelings towards the Germans. Everybody understands that the Germans of today are not the ones of 70 years ago, and the Germans are just people like us. No better or worse.

You'll find shame and disgrace in the past of every nation. The US, Germany, Japan, China, ... even the Belgians
There is no point in clinging to old wrongs. We shouldn't forget them, but neither should we use them to condone our own behavior.
 
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yorkshirelad

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What does that have to do with anything? Someone who is no longer alive did something to someone else, 70 years ago, and that absolves you from having to show manners in all matters dealing with an entire race of which the other guy was a member?

.
You're missing my point. If it's considered bad manners and distasteful by Hatsumi and his followers to ask questions about the future leadership of the Bujinkan then fair enough. He considers it bad manners, I don't. As I stated before, I've asked the same question to other leaders in the martial arts community and they don't have a problem with it. I consider the question valid as if I choose to be a member, I would like to know where the association is being lead. It's really kind of mute with me and the Bujinkan, I wanted to find a study group for a while, but the lack of quality control is disturbing, so I'll pass.

If it's considered bad manners and distasteful in Japanese culture to ask such questions then again it doesn't really concern me because the Japanese have done awful things in the past that their culture has deemed proper. That was my point. What maybe bad manners to the Japanese, isn't necessarily bad manners to a lad like me and vice versa.
 

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Hi Yorkshirelad,

While I understand your point, you do seem to be a bit lacking when it comes to cultural awareness here. Looking at the past transgretions of a particular culture as an excuse to ignore what is considered proper behaviour just isn't very cool. But to get a bit more into detail here:

Western cultures (American, Australian, etc) are based on a concept of guilt to keep control, whereas Eastern cultures (particularly the Japanese) don't have this aspect. Instead, the big influence on behaviour is shame. In other words, Westerners internalise the way the are percieved (I did a bad thing, people will find out about me), and Easterners look to how it reflects on others.

In the West you can ask such questions because the people in those situations are thinking about themselves, how they will be remembered, and how their influence will continue. The only way that guilt will come into this is if the person is not legit, and feels guilty about passing bogus information on. Unfortunately, most Westerners are a little ego-driven to feel guilt about this, or else they wouldn't do it in the first place... but that's another discussion.

In the East, the rule is shame. Here the question is looked upon poorly, because it is asking about a personal issue (very private matter in Japan) in a public place, hence bringing shame on the group. The focus is not on such personal matters, so you could perhaps recognise that if you are asking something about the Japanese arts, and a Japanese organisation, some understanding and respect for a Japanese cultural consideration should be a part of it.

As to past cultural transgretions, every culture has them. But to give some explanation here, in the Japanese (warrior) culture, the worst possible shame was to be captured, and if you were captured, you would expect to have the worst possible treatment (to match the shame). So they really followed the Golden Rule to the letter, treating prisoners teh way they would expect to be treated... it just may not be the way you would want to be treated. But really, the US is the only nation in history to utilise atomic weaponry against another nations civilian population, so throwing stones isn't your best tactic. That said, knowing the way the Japanese were conducting themselves at the end of the war, I'm not sure I would have done anything different.

But hopefully this has given you a bit more insight into why it is not considered polite conversation. But I would ask why it would be important to you if you found the "lack of quality control... disturbing" in the Bujinkan? I am very interested in a large number of groups, but unless I am personally involved, the head and it's future after their time is up is rather moot for me.
 
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yorkshirelad

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Hi Yorkshirelad,

While I understand your point, you do seem to be a bit lacking when it comes to cultural awareness here. Looking at the past transgretions of a particular culture as an excuse to ignore what is considered proper behaviour just isn't very cool. But to get a bit more into detail here:

Western cultures (American, Australian, etc) are based on a concept of guilt to keep control, whereas Eastern cultures (particularly the Japanese) don't have this aspect. Instead, the big influence on behaviour is shame. In other words, Westerners internalise the way the are percieved (I did a bad thing, people will find out about me), and Easterners look to how it reflects on others.

In the West you can ask such questions because the people in those situations are thinking about themselves, how they will be remembered, and how their influence will continue. The only way that guilt will come into this is if the person is not legit, and feels guilty about passing bogus information on. Unfortunately, most Westerners are a little ego-driven to feel guilt about this, or else they wouldn't do it in the first place... but that's another discussion.

In the East, the rule is shame. Here the question is looked upon poorly, because it is asking about a personal issue (very private matter in Japan) in a public place, hence bringing shame on the group. The focus is not on such personal matters, so you could perhaps recognise that if you are asking something about the Japanese arts, and a Japanese organisation, some understanding and respect for a Japanese cultural consideration should be a part of it.

As to past cultural transgretions, every culture has them. But to give some explanation here, in the Japanese (warrior) culture, the worst possible shame was to be captured, and if you were captured, you would expect to have the worst possible treatment (to match the shame). So they really followed the Golden Rule to the letter, treating prisoners teh way they would expect to be treated... it just may not be the way you would want to be treated. But really, the US is the only nation in history to utilise atomic weaponry against another nations civilian population, so throwing stones isn't your best tactic. That said, knowing the way the Japanese were conducting themselves at the end of the war, I'm not sure I would have done anything different.

But hopefully this has given you a bit more insight into why it is not considered polite conversation. But I would ask why it would be important to you if you found the "lack of quality control... disturbing" in the Bujinkan? I am very interested in a large number of groups, but unless I am personally involved, the head and it's future after their time is up is rather moot for me.
All rather good point, but again I'm not Japanese and therefore don't play by Japanese rules, as I'm sure Hatsumi and the Japanese Shihan don't play by my culture's rules.

As for the future of an association being a moot point, I have to say that for years I have been interested in being a part in the Bujinkan, but recently I've chosen to stay clear. For anyone who is considering joining any organization it is wise to know where the org is heading. It seems that neither guilt nor shame has been used to control the Bujinkan, but rather ego and inflated rank. I remember all the nonsense that happened when Brian McCarthy was ranked to 5th Dan after only one training session with SKH and 3 training sessions with Hatsumi (one of which was the Dublin Tai Kai), then within months 4 or 5 disenfranchized black belts from other systems popped up in the Bujinkan as high ranking shidoshi. Within 7 years Brian McCarthy was 8th Dan and a few other Europeans, like Bo Munthe and Peter King were ranked 9th Dan.

Hatsumi and Tanemura are driven by the same desires as western practitioners who run organizations, money and power. It's just a fact. It's just like "The Wizard of Oz" Look at the Ninja, the Grandmaster, the Soke, not the man behind the curtain.

At the end of the day a question like "Who will take over when Hatsumi passes/retires?" is not at all offensive in my cultural surroundings and most of the people on this forum are of western origin, including you. So why should anyone here be offended?
 

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Yeah, I understand where you are coming from, but remember you may not be Japanese, but the organisation is. This is probably why you are not getting answers from many Bujinkan members here, it's just not the done thing. And that has nothing to do with if you are Japanese or not, it is more to do with the Bujinkan being Japanese.

As for controlling the Bujinkan, no neither guilt nor shame are used, because there is little "control" in place. That was all more about understanding the cultural differences we were discussing. The ranking issue seems more like something that you have an issue with in the Bujinkan, rather than who takes over, but to return to the topic, that could very easily change under new leadership.

Oh, and not offended, by the way. Just pointing out why it isn't considered polite conversation in public, that's all. But as you said, we aren't Japanese, so conversations here can be quite different. I just thought you might benefit from knowing why most Bujinkan members probably won't join this particular conversation.
 

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Hatsumi and Tanemura are driven by the same desires as western practitioners who run organizations, money and power. It's just a fact. It's just like "The Wizard of Oz" Look at the Ninja, the Grandmaster, the Soke, not the man behind the curtain.

I can only talk for Genbukan, and I think that is not the case.
Membership fees are very reasonable (downright cheap actually). And while there is a fee involved with grading, it is very low, and just about enough to cover shipping to and from Japan of the grading certificate, the ink, and the paper it is written on.

Dan grades are a bit more expensive, but then again, there are precious few people with high level dan grades, and at the highest level, it takes a very long time and a huge amount of determination to make it to the next grade. The highest level practisioner in Genbukan has 8th dan and has been with Tanemura sensei from the beginning, 30 or so years ago. Even if I keep up my pace and train hard, it will take me about 7-10 years to reach 1st dan. So he is really not milking Genbukan for cash.

Then the power aspect: high level practisioners can receive menkyo kaiden in individual ryuha if they choose to pursue that area. It is even a requirement for advancement past 6th dan. With the licensure in individual ryuha, he purposely diminshes his power and hold on those ryuha and the practisioners. Because with those menkyo kaiden, people can legitimately walk away from him and start their own legit lineage branch. Yet afaik, noone has yet done so.

From everything I have seen so far, Tanemura sensei has dedicated his life to the mastery and preservation of traditional Japanese martial arts.
 

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Membership fees are very reasonable (downright cheap actually). And while there is a fee involved with grading, it is very low, and just about enough to cover shipping to and from Japan of the grading certificate, the ink, and the paper it is written on.
I think its $30 membership fee then a certification fee which is $30 and up then a test fee which is $20 so we are looking at $50. Cost to ship paper to Japan $2 cost to ship paper from Japan 200yen($2.00) Ink-50 cents or so per use(not that expensive) Paper $100 yen($1 not that expensive) so you are looking at about $5 material cost for every $50 which profits $45.
Take 9 9th kyu your profit is $405. Add an additional 9 3rd kyu at $55 profit you are looking at 495+$405=$900 profit this is very easy to achieve and we are not even going into the Dan levels yet.

Dan grades are a bit more expensive, but then again, there are precious few people with high level dan grades, and at the highest level, it takes a very long time and a huge amount of determination to make it to the next grade. The highest level practisioner in Genbukan has 8th dan and has been with Tanemura sensei from the beginning, 30 or so years ago. Even if I keep up my pace and train hard, it will take me about 7-10 years to reach 1st dan. So he is really not milking Genbukan for cash.
Are you talking about his son Kotaro? The Genbukan makes quite alot of money. I have been to Tanemura house it is big and he drives a nice car so lets not play like he is not making money. On the site plenty of merchandise to buy plenty of money to be made.


As for the question about Hatsumi passing. It is considered rude in Japanese etiquette to inquire when someone is going to die and what will happen to his fortune. In America it can be seen just as rude asking about that question as well depending on the context and how much your mouth is drooling(think inheritance)
 

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No one is asking Dr. Hatsumi this question, though. It's being asked on a martial arts discussion board. I don't see any rudeness. I agree that asking this of him to his face would generally be inappropriate--yet, seeing what's happened to so many other arts, asking about advance planning is also quite sensible. There's a difference between asking your parents if they have a will and asking your co-worker if he has a will. If your parents don't have a will, the resulting mess can affect you. That's the case here: If there isn't a well-publicized post-Hatsumi plan for his art and org., experience shows a good chance of it dissolving into a dozen other, smaller groups. If he wants that, that's fine...but people investing a lot of time and money in studying his art do, in my mind, have a good reason to ask what'll come of it. If you're 20 years old studying the art identified with a man in his late 70s, wouldn't you wonder what state your art will be in when you're 40 and still wanting to do it?
 

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I think its $30 membership fee then a certification fee which is $30 and up then a test fee which is $20 so we are looking at $50. Cost to ship paper to Japan $2 cost to ship paper from Japan 200yen($2.00) Ink-50 cents or so per use(not that expensive) Paper $100 yen($1 not that expensive) so you are looking at about $5 material cost for every $50 which profits $45.
Take 9 9th kyu your profit is $405. Add an additional 9 3rd kyu at $55 profit you are looking at 495+$405=$900 profit this is very easy to achieve and we are not even going into the Dan levels yet.

Are you talking about his son Kotaro? The Genbukan makes quite alot of money. I have been to Tanemura house it is big and he drives a nice car so lets not play like he is not making money. On the site plenty of merchandise to buy plenty of money to be made.

I just knew I'd hear from you :)

economy of scale will probably mean that Tanemura sensei can make a good living out of it. And why not? My point was that that does not mean at all that he is making overly much money out of it.

50$ a year per person is not much to pay. He could easily double it and people would still pay. He could allow people to test for dan grade every year, and perhaps create 20 of them, to get even more. Instead, the membership + test fees are modest, and there are requirements to prevent a rush for dan grades.

And the merchandising... people are free to buy itor not. Many people outside Japan are grateful for the books and DVDs (many of which cannot be bought unless the buyer has a specific grade).
 

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I just knew I'd hear from you :)

economy of scale will probably mean that Tanemura sensei can make a good living out of it. And why not? My point was that that does not mean at all that he is making overly much money out of it.

50$ a year per person is not much to pay. He could easily double it and people would still pay. He could allow people to test for dan grade every year, and perhaps create 20 of them, to get even more. Instead, the membership + test fees are modest, and there are requirements to prevent a rush for dan grades.

And the merchandising... people are free to buy itor not. Many people outside Japan are grateful for the books and DVDs (many of which cannot be bought unless the buyer has a specific grade).
The way your post came it sounded as if he is not really making a profit when in fact he is making a huge profit which as Yorkshirelad said money and power. I did not say $50 a year I said $50 per a test. The rules state you have to wait 30 classes after a kyu so roughly 3 months between ranks meaning you can go up 4 times a year so Shodan would take about 2 years and not 7-10 yrs as you stated before but your teacher miles will vary. Also looking at the rules there is new fees for new ranks you can test in so again plenty of money making opportunities present. So again Mr.Tanemura makes quite alot of money and we are not talking about driving a cheap Toyota more like a luxury car think Lexus or Benz and you get the idea. As for merchadising I just got back from Disney world and the stuff they sell in Epcot Japan looks alot like what Tanemura is selling. I am sure the higher up Genbukan people will come here and post on the subject because everytime a thread pops up about Mr.Tanemura they come rushing over kinda of like Scientologists.

As for asking about Hatsumi passing it is consider rude by Japanese standards to ask Senpai(those who hold higher ranks then you) in the Bujinkan what happens to the Soke when he dies when the Soke is still alive. Maybe on a Western disscussion board and in a Western mind set it is seemd not rude but recall many people train in Japan regularly or their teacher does so asking them that question is in bad taste.
 

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