Bujinkan from 10 year Practitioner
Mad monkey, you are right on the surface - you need a base to understand the technique, however, once you understand the basic technique, then you have to expand it to develop a deeper understanding.
I spent close to 10 years studying bujinkan; mid 90’s until a couple years ago. I had the luxury of training under a guy that started training in the early 80’s. He trained much the way many describe as “the old days”. When you got hit or thrown it was for real – or as close as could be done without losing a training partner. For the first 3-4 years we were a small group 6 to 8 was a big class. Out of this there was typically 3 black belts plus the instructor. We also got together outside of class and trained that much harder because, we had no liability to worry about. Eventually the class died down to me, another guy and the instructor for about 2 years. In the mid 90’s when I’d only been training a year or a bit less I went to my first seminar. My regular training partner and I were quickly chastised by several (some being black belts) of the people we trained with as “being too hard”. We both were doing just what we were taught.
My point to all this is that I’ve only seen a hand full of people within the bujinkan with any real skill. Too many people are doing nothing more than dancing and calling it fighting. I even saw the change in my teacher, when about 4 years or so in for me he started going back to Japan. When I started he had not been to Japan for several years – his last trip maybe late 80’s. He eventually started making yearly trips and the training became more theoretical. More about balance, controlling a non resisting partner, and almost none of the previous hard core training. The more I got out into other training groups, it was to the point of ridiculous. I went to so many seminars where there was more bowing and tea drinking and instructor ass kissing than training.
In short I got to peer in the door of the old school and compare it to the new stuff if you will. What I took away from this was interesting, and very uniformly spread out in the bujinkan ranks. The only people I saw that had real skill had black belt level skills in other arts. I saw very few students of these good artists that became instructors with any skill.
My take on that is they (the instructor – those from the “old school”) had good foundations to start with and were layering icing on top via bujinkan. I also saw it as bujinkan has very little substance (especially in the softer flowery way it’s taught now), so without some type of base – you suck as a fighter. The analogy mentioned earlier of piecing together parts from different cars and calling it a classic is very apt. I see that bujinkan – to use another analogy – is like teaching someone multiplication tables and telling them they are a mathematician. I think that there is a lot of core missing from what is/has been taught simply because it – to use the analogy - touted as being graduate level math but all you are learning is long division, fraction etc – drills taught to elementary school level. I think as mentioned since Takamatsu and later Hatsumi made it up as they went along, there was never a core foundation. Takematsu may have back handedly figured a lot of things out, but could not tech it in a way that was re-producible. Hatsumi may have had enough background in other arts that he could figure the majority out, just like the early foreigners almost all had other martial art skills. They could eventually figure the gist of it out, but not in a manor one could teach someone without a background in something. So many people don’t realize that this is what they are doing, and worse go on to re-teach the same crap once they his shodan and think they are ready to teach.
By doing the techniques slowly, there is a lot of crap that will work that can never be done at full speed. There was always the “people will get hurt” or “you can’t do it perfectly slow how can you do it fast” argument. Anyone who ever questioned the validity of a technique was more than not given a rash or crap and moved to the bad list.This is no different than what the BJJ guys do. They take out eye gouges, groin strikes for example with the idea that if we can both do them removing it makes things still even, but safer. That is a load of crap because you are now free to do techniques you could do if your nads or eyes were exposed. Just like bujinkan, a lot of it works only when done slow. Do it at speed and it simply will not work.
Another very common thing I witnessed was how the greed filtered down. Instructors started charging more for seminars, and simply repackaging the same material from the previous. I started watching the ego’s among the “elite” grow as well. There always seemed to be an air of “here I am, come kiss my ass”. I am not mentioning names – good or bad, but I only know of 1 instructor I saw as immune to all this. In the end, I see bujinkan suffering from its success. It has spiraled into a group of petty bickering among its self, lost any substance it had to commercialism.
"The fact is, every art was "made up" at some point. No one is saying BJK is koryu, and thank god it is not"
Actually, the lineage of the Bujinkan was thrown all over as going back 1000 years when in fact it probably only goes back to Takematsu.
Yes all arts have a starting point. I think the issue is not that people are questioning whether or not Bujinkan is or is not Koryu, but that in essence - Takematsu and Hatsumi are either lying or are not. That is what everyone wants to get to the bottom of.
My point - if it's valid, why the deception, thell it like it is, that they made the **** up as they went along.
For those interested, do a search on the net of Dr. GYI. I met the guy, did a little training with him. He was on a great MA, up there with Hatsumi. Only problem, he made a few little embellishments to make things look better. He was supposedly a ghurka during WW11, was in vietnam, blah blah blah. Problem was he was only 10 or so during WW11 and you can read the rest of the equally rediculous lies.
This is Hatsumi's problem with credibility. There were too many inconsistancies so now people question it all - especially since most of it doesn't work for crap. If the art predates Takematsu who supposedly used them in life and death conflicts many times over, if the art is "valid" and not some made up crap then why is it crap now?
Great post. A lot of good observations.
I agree very perceptive post.
I am sick of people that say that in the old days there was hard training. What hard training are you talking about? Striking rocks with your head and scratching trees with your nails? Or standing still and enduring the pain while your instructor hits you in the ribs with Boshikens? This is stupid, not hard.
Where are the videos of the "old" bujinkan (Japanese shihans and the supposed hard dojos of the west) that show some sparring? There is none of it. And when I say sparring I mean sparring, real, unpredictable , full speed and almost full power. I am just asking for ONE video of it. Some people make the same shitty moves we see in TAI KAIs today, they leave their hands extended for a wrist lock, take a fall and just because their partner throws them hard and fast on the ground, they say "real, HARD training". Bullshit. Bujinkan was as crap in the old days as it is now. Nothing changed except the speed of the executed (complied, non-resistant) movements. There is not even today, with the huge extension of information through the Internet, a single video of people sparring with taijutsu techniques. Yes, there are videos of people claiming to train in taijutsu that spar, but spar with guillotines, double legs ,boxing punches etc, not gyakus and lunge punches.
And cross- training means **** as well, if the second art is combined with taijutsu.
You cross-train to close the gaps of your art in aspects of fighting that your original art does not cover, not to replace it in the domain that is supposed to be good!
You do taijutsu and cross train in BJJ? Fine! You know what this means? That you can fight on the ground...only.
Unlike Muay Thai for example, which in my opinion is the perfect stand up art.
It lacks ground grappling and that is why you need to cross train in judo or bjj. But you don't need to cross-train in another stand up striking art to make MT work in the striking/clinch distance for ****'s sake!
Some Bujinakers say "my dojo does not discourage me to cross-train" Really? Good then, start cross-training in MT for striking, Judo for throws, BJJ for the ground and dog brothers for sticks...and then lets see what type of techniques you will use in each aspect of fighting when you spar. But don't come afterwards and tell me that Bujinkan works if you cross train "a little".
:ninja7:Bujinkan budo is the only true martial art for everyone who understand what true martial art means.All of you who split from bjk are lost souls when you talk bad about your
past cause spending time in something you should'nt is stupid.We don't need anyone who think that his training in Budo will make him better person,or magician,or powerful
fighter.True Budo is not inside Budo as a form,as you see it.It's so hard for you to explain simlpy becouse you can't understand.Budo lives inside all who dedicated their life
searching for truth,and the truth is that mankind is surviving since always,survival is life itself in its purest form.So,Bujinkan is just a perfect example how to handle every
situation,at least for me.Remember it's not the style but the man who practice.It's not good for everyone to be ninja or samurai or streetfighter,cause it can't be real.It's good to
be what you want to be,or if you prefer,what Bujin choose you to be,who lives inside you.It's wrong to teach silent walking to a terrorist,so we keep it for private lessons,and
you must not trust videos or books or a bad teachers cause they are trying to teach what it can't be teachen.We are for real cause life is for real.And it's wrong to attack others,so
we fight in selfdefence only,as in this forum.Just show how good you are in your own art and you are making progress in real budo giving people choise.But it's ok if you hate us
and it's ok for bad people to trust you in this forums and it's awesome that they will never be part of us so they can join you.I'll be happy even if i am alone on this forum,but i'm not!:evil7:
Last edited by shinobi08; 8/06/2008 2:09pm at .
I don't look down on the Bujinkan like most of the people on this forum, but then I read crap like the above and I wonder why...
"Where are the videos of the "old" bujinkan (Japanese shihans and the supposed hard dojos of the west) that show some sparring? There is none of it. "
Because little if any of it was taped. I am talking 83ish back. Few people owned video cameras then. The training was far harder as reported by the likes of Daron, Charles Danial et al., however by 83 (this according to Daron when he went back after an 8 year absence from Japan) the training then had slacked off from what it was. Why? I suspect this is when Hatsumi saw the commercial potential and knew that he couldn't build a big base - very few people are willing to train to that level.
As to cross training, I was never discoureged, and in fact we all did, including my instructor. However, I think we as a group had a much better level of skill compared to the rest of what I saw in bujinkan. Looking back, I'd have to say, I'd attribute that to the fact that my teacher was from the tail end of the "old days" and the fact that we did incorporate outside skills. Hell I trained with charles half dozen or so times and learned more from that than any of the bujinkan seminars. Of course, most of what Charles was teaching was not bujinkan so go figure.
"Bujinkan budo is the only true martial art "
Really? What about chen Tai chi, pa qua, xing i to name a few?
"for everyone who understand what true martial art means"
Do you? Enlighten us.
Reading the rest of his post, god did he OD on the bujinkan corporate kool-aid. I am so glad I got out before I started sounding like that.
ppl who judge bjk good or bad and are not involved in training are the story for themselfs.No comment on them.
Originally Posted by Raging Monkey