What is Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu?

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu/Ninjutsu is a Japanese martial art system, which has within it, nine schools in the styles of jujutsu, various weapons arts and ninjutsu. The grandmaster, or Soke of Bujinkan is Masaaki Hatsumi, inheritor of these 9 schools from his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu. These schools became available to westerners only in Hatsumi Soke's lifetime. Western interest formed during the 1970's and at that time there were very few students, all of whom had to travel to Japan to receive teaching from Hatsumi Sensei.

Photo by Sheila Haddad

These Nine Schools are:

- Togakure Ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken - 34th Grandmaster
- Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu Happo Hiken - 28th Grandmaster
- Koto Ryu Koppojutsu Happo Hiken - 18th Grandmaster
- Shinden Fudo Ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken - 26th Grandmaster
- Kukishin Ryu Taijutsu Happo Hiken - 28th Grandmaster
- Takagiyoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu Happo Hiken - 17th Grandmaster
- Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken - 14th Grandmaster
- Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken - 21st Grandmaster
- Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu Happo Hiken - 15th Grandmaster

The ninja history dates back for many centuries, as long as man operated in groups, there was a need for "behind the scene forces." They would have developed a variety of arts using stones, sticks, vines and whatever nature provided. Legends say that the use of Shinobi (ninjas) was used as early as the 6th century.

Essence of a Ninja

Soke Hatsumi writes in "The Way of the Ninja"... "A Ninja was someone whose very existence expressed the spirit of Budo. He would protect himself with techniques not of assassination but rather of sensation and awareness. He would avoid unnecessary conflict, and even if armed with a blade, would find a way to win without staining it. These are the true techniques of Ninjutsu. This is the art in which Ninja trained, persistently, throughout their lives. ...the secret of happiness is not to fight at all."

"Ninja aspire to merge their spirit and techniques into one, and become 'uncommon' common people. Some people did try to become 'superhuman' through their training in Ninpo, but they did not achieve great success as Ninja. It is quite easy to become a superman; Ninjutsu makes one more aware of just how difficult it is to become a 'normal' human being."

Photo by Sheila Haddad

The Training and Philosophy of Ninpo

According to Hatsumi Soke in "The Way of the Ninja", he says, 'The first step in Ninpo training is that of physical endurance. The important thing here is to polish your techniques, use your spirit, and endure physical forces until you reach a critical state where everything is on the line.

The second step is that of mental and emotional endurance." He further states..."that we have to understand harmony, and in understanding harmony, through understanding nature itself and our own nature we come to know that everything in the universe is connected, everything in nature, all the seasons, love and hate, good and evil-all are interconnected aspects of a fundamental unity.

Photo by Sheila Haddad

The third step is the endurance of knowledge... [the student] can see clearly in all four directions, gaining in the same way a comprehensive, balanced understanding of nature's cycles and that this perspective frees you from fear. While mental and emotional endurance can be an active process of setting your mind to endure, enduring knowledge goes beyond both physical and mental endurance to a level where you develop the power to understand everything without conscious thought. This means not just responding to things that have already happened, but sensing things that are about the happen and handling them naturally. In other words, enduring knowledge is connected with having a rich education, while also practicing endurance with respect to one's own sixth sense and subconscious mind."