Oxford Shadow Warrior Bujinkan
Long time lurker, joined today to post this as I saw the Oxford Booj listing on Daily Info.
Seems they have a website now. I travelled down to Oxford a couple of times: (http://www.oxfordshadowwarrior.co.uk) for a couple of lessons about a year, a year and half ago.
I have 15 years experience in Muay Thai so I just wanted to see if the Booj is as ridiculous as everyone on here says it is. I kept this to myself and pretended I had no experience.
So, to start:
1: No sparring/contact, performance demonstration/forms only.
2-3: Compliant partner drills, board breaking, point sparring
It's either of these two really. With my background I found the training laughable. No sparring whatsoever, no pressure testing, only overly-compliant 2/3 man drills. Seemingly typical Booj ridiculous stances and overly long punches.
2-4: Bring your own.
As the Booj uses "traditional" Japanese weapons like the sword along with the authentic "ninjer" weapons like the claws and sand (?), it seems everyone buys their own wooden equipment and brings it with them.
5: We train at the park
They train at South Parks in Oxford on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I think this is because in the dark you can't see just how ridiculous a technique is. They claim it is because "in the street, a real fight won't have even ground like in a hall" and "you need to be used to uneven ground". It is the first time I have trained outside, and while it is nice to be in the fresh air, I felt so dumb rolling around in the grass with a load of overweight middle aged men/similarly overweight younger weaboos when I could be training something useful.
8-9: Smaller classes, instructor or highly qualified (master level) assistant instructors in small groups.
There are 2 instructors, one is a huge german guy who has some useful skills. I think he had trained some other arts before the booj though. The other instructor doesn't seem to have as much skill, but tries to cover that up with using unnecessary force on unresisting opponents. As it is the booj I think they are both highly ranked, though that means nothing.
8-10: Open, supportive but challenging, bizarro hippy ass-beating love fest.
They are nice guys, it's just a shame they believe their own hype. They hero worship their headmaster, Hasumi, and make all new students do "research" on the background of the "art".
After training has finished everyone sits down and talks about their experiences. I thought this was very creepy. Everyone says what they learned from the class, sucks up to the teacher a bit and talks about what elements (?!) they felt the class had. I.e., "this wrist lock felt like wind"
1-3: No striking.
This was ridiculous. As they do not spar, they do not practice punching. They do the stupid Booj wind up and lunge punch, and we spent some time punching a tree once. When it comes to actual techniques they tend to take advantage of an overly compliant partner and hit them without resistance. This seems to make them think they are badass, but against a resistant opponent their punches are worthless.
4-5: Limited single sub-range (standing, clinch, ground only).
I am reluctant to call it grappling. Again, the over-compliant drills, a few thows here and there, but no groundwork, only a few arm/wrist locks which wouldn't work on a struggling opponent. I resisted a bit and they were unable to get the locks on me. Would be destroyed in a ring.
2-3: Compliant partner drills and preset encounters
Pointless and redundant training. Overly complicated techniques and compliance.
In conclusion, this stuff will get their students killed or at least severely injured. They don't realise it because they drank all the kool-aid, but they belive hasumi's hype and believe they will be able to defend themselves on "the streets". The sense of smugness/confidence they have in their art is misplaced.
I don't know whether all Booj is like this, this was the closest club to me.