And you're right, my apologies, it was vaquero who implied old school buj was somehow decent. I will now commit seppuku.
Does it matter if a guy headbutted a rock until his head bled, or if he just made it appear that way? Either way the guy's pretty stupid.
You mean as training or a martial art in general?
It seems as though it evolved from a harder, more in-your-face system, to a more aikido-like, softer system. The instructor I started with has been going to Japan two to three times a year for thirty years. He's very much up on the current training there.
A couple of years ago, I trained for two weeks with another instructor. He hasn't been training in Japan anywhere near as much. He showed me what they were doing, which was much more power oriented. Throwing hard blocks, trying to generate hip and shoulder power. More like karate, at least the karate I trained in. At some point he popped me in the mouth with a bo. Hard enough to leave bruising for several weeks.
Do I think it's the best martial art ever? Hard to say. The lack of regular sparring is a problem. The technique is good, it works, but if you had no experience before that? There's a good chance you're going to get schooled out on the street. The joint locks work, and work very well, but if you struggle to put locks on you will get clocked or stabbed. It very much depends on the instructor. A person who has no experience other than the Buj, I would steer away from.
Back during my brief stint in the booj these AKBAN guys were considered pretty hardcore in their training. They seemed to put a lot more emphasis on being fit than your average bujinkan dojo.
The problem with a lack of sparring is it allows these inefficient tequniques to perpetuate.
bringing it back to these Akban guys, it seems like they would have higher quality sparring sessions if they dropped the ninja training and just stuck with boxing, Muay Thai, and judo. I don't really see anything that looks like classic buj in their sparring anyway.