Response to "Bujinkan Video Clips"
I've been away from the boards for a while, but I thought I'd start posting again.
I was thinking about reading the entire post, but I saw that it was 16 pages long and I wasn't really that impressed with the first 5 pages of it. I was also going to put this under that post, but while typing my response, I noticed that the last couple of pages were pictures of Hulk Hogan. The conversation had obviously taken a turn downhill (or uphill if you're a Hulkamaniac)
A little background for those of you that don't know me. I'm currently an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. I've been training under the Bujinkan system for the past 7 years and hold a 3rd Dan, I'm certified to teach Army combatives, I'm currently training in Krav Maga, and I'm a graduate of US Army Ranger School.
As far as always training at fast pace, and punching each other, that's one person's theory. Guess what. Most of the time, it sucks. I'll give you a few military examples. At the end of the month, my unit will be deploying to Afghanistan for a year. No one would argue about whether or not you would consider this "real" combat. However, when we train, sometimes we crawl, sometimes we run. Somedays (like at 0100 in the morning about a week and a half ago), I'll have a 16 lb ballistic vest, 7 magazines, kneepads, polypro, gloves, ballistic goggles, a kevlar ballistic helmet, AN-PVS 14night vision goggles, 3 quarts of water, an assault pack, M-4 rifle with the advanced combat optical gunsight (ACOG), PEQ-2 infrared targeting laser, surefire light, and backup iron sights attached to it. We practiced performed a knock and search on a city, which culminated in a raid on a building (which had limited OPFOR in it), and we did it at full speed.
There were no real bullets, but we took a "casualty" who was "hit" in the shoulder. We went at full speed, through calling in a 9-line medivac request, after securing the building, and performed first aid.
After we were done, I later took my platoon back to the sight, so we could to an after actions review (AAR), and I needed to point out one or two things that were done incorrectly (a small section of the outside of building technically wasn't secured, because it was a blind spot due to positioning and angles), or needed to be improved. I also ran them through two different methods of securing the outside of the building before approaching it.
The thing is, the second time we did it, it was without all of that crap that I mentioned earlier. Guys were not in the prone, so they could see what was being done. We were also doing it during the daylight, and not in darkness as we had originally done it. Years ago, when these same people (most of whom are combat veterans of last year's deployment to Iraq) were first learning the techniques, they did them in this same manner.
What I'm saying is that just because you see a few videos here and there that show a technique being done slowly doesn't mean that we always do it like that. I've done the hard and fast training in both ninjutsu, krav maga, and some grappling that the army had taught (which basically comes from the BJJ. It started with the Ranger Regiment training with Gracie and spread from there). In my early days as a white belt, there was a brown belt named Jonathan who I frequently partner up with (upper belts would come to the lower belt class to help with the training and continue to practice the basics). He emphasized training with precision in his striking, and certaing other key points that you wouldn't really catch unless you actually trained in the art for a while. We started slow, and things would pick up in speed after a while. At one point, I threw a full force hook at him, and he countered with a strike similar to the first one in this video (http://www.daytonbujinkan.com/pictures-m-koyoku.html) except that his stance wasn't as wide, his movement wasn't as big, and he generated the power from his hips. His knuckles landed in the center of my bicep, and his strike knocked me off balance while at the same time knumbing everything from my bicep to my fingertips and causing me to drop to one knee. It didn't fully regain feeling for a couple of minutes.
After some classes, I trained with a buddy of mine named Greg (I think we were green and brown belts during this time). Greg was a marine. Some days, we went hard. Not every day. Hell, not every week at that. I've done my share to him, but here's what I've gotten on the receiving end. Punched in the grain, kicked in the groin, both lips split, choked, suffocated, two fingers down the throat, spit in my eyes, sharp pain in my back, bruised hip, probably a mild concussion or two, hyper extended fingers, and the occasional bruise. That's not everything, but it's a long enough list. I've also given most of that back, but remove the bruised hip and back pains, and add a slightly broken nose. You can go full speed and always hard if you like. I didn't alwas do it there. I didn't always do it when I began boxing. We don't always do it in Krav Maga. And we don't always do it training for actual combat.
As far as grappling. I'll be the first to admit that we didn't focus on it AS MUCH before grappling became big as we did after it became huge. THere was one reason for that, though. A lot of people in the world started grappling. You CANNOT cast a blind eye to this. You train for what you are likely to see. Before grappling became huge, you weren't likely to see a lot of grappling. Most people performed stand up fighting. Even before we started grappling more, we did perform some ground arm bars, but they were more as finishing techniques and controls. Once grappling became big, most of whet we did was work on escapes from the mount and guard, and some very simple ground submissions. There was not 3-5 minutes of grappling. From what we taught, you never want to fight like that for very long, because whoever you're fighting may have buddies. Even the military's grappling was originally taught with the scenario of "you're entering a room, when your weapon is grapped and/or you're takeen to the ground. You gain control, to hold your attacker, while your buddy (we enter rooms in stacks of 3-4 men) comes up and shoots the guy in the head." It's a little hard to grapple in full gear. Unfortunately, the military has begun teaching outright grappling, and unfortunalty, they don't teach it with you starting from standing, or with your gear on.
If you want another example of things people didn't always train on but suddenly "jumped on the bandwagon" as you call it, look at the military's training focus since 1989. A lot of Jungle and woodland training back then. Hell, we still do it now. Ranger School doesn't even have a desert phase (any more). But now, everyone is fighting in the desert and in city environments. The military did very little of that years ago. Now we do a lot of it. Does this mean that the military never really did city fighting? Not really. They had doctrine for it, but it just didn't happen enough since most of our fighting was in Panama, Grenada, South America, and (we were preparing for) Korea. It just means that we had to adapt to be ready for the type of fighting that we are more likely to see. Guess what? Grappling's popular. You're going to see a lot of it. Might as well be a little prepared.
Like I said, I'm a 3rd Dan under the Bujinkan. If I were to begin teaching ninjutsu (or Budo taijutsu if you perfer to call it that), I'm pretty sure that a lot of what I would teach would not fall the Bujinkan curriculum in the traditional sense of what you normally see. Sure, you'd still see ichimonji no kamae, but (even though there were a few, and I mean FEW, instances where I learned to use knee and elbow strikes in ninjutsu) I would also add the elbow and knee strikes that I learned in Krav Maga. The argument of what is actually in the Bujinkan, especially when it encompasses 9 ryu consisting of weapons, throws, grappling, and striking, as well as 2 "ninjutsu" ryu is hard to do unless you go to Japan and study the scrolls in detail, and say that certain things aren't there. I'm sure you'll find a roundhouse kick and some grappling. I'm pretty sure you won't find a guide for capoera style music and maneuvers.
That's my two cents. Take it as you want.