About Page

What is Bujinkan Ninjutsu?
What to Expect
What is Training Like?
What Weapons are Trained?
What Gear and Equipment is Needed?
What are Guidelines for Bujinkan?
History/Heritage of the Bujinkan
Additional Considerations

What is Bujinkan Ninjutsu?

File:Bujin.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bujin.jpg
We are a traditional martial arts school. The word Bujin uses two Japanese kanji: 武 Bu – warrior, and 神 Kami (sometimes pronounced Shin or Jin in this case) divine or enlightened. 館 Kan means a castle or hall. So, the Bujinkan means the Hall of the Enlightened Warrior, or Hall of the Divine Warrior. Ninjutsu means the art or skills of the Ninja, it is composed of 忍 Nin - to endure or persevere, and 者 Ja - person. So, the meaning of the word ninja is a person who endures/perseveres.

The name of our art is Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, which refers to the physical and spiritual techniques required for studying this martial art. We examine and train in both Ninja and Samurai arts as both are part of our system's heritage (The truth of Ninjutsu is quite different from the way it is portrayed in movies. The truth is actually more interesting than fiction and is studied as part of our curriculum. For more information on this, read this article, and also this page here).
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Bujinkan, Meridian Martial Arts

According to the head of our art, Hatsumi Soke, right now is the best period for those studying Ninjutsu, because a person can evolve and perfect their skills to such an extent that was not possible before. The Bujinkan Dojo is today the only school teaching true Ninjutsu in the original manner (many other so-called ninjutsu schools teach a pieced together system of other martial arts they picked up from different teachers and call it ninjutsu, or several are dissenters from the Bujikan that have started their own schools and are break-offs from the original). Furthermore this is the only ninja school and one of the few samurai traditions taught today that has endured a strict, uninterrupted line of Soke (patriarch over a school or grandmaster).

The Bujinkan Dojo consists of nine total Koryu (ancient martial arts schools that existed before the Meiji period which began during the 1800s). Several of the Bujinkan's schools date back to the 1100s with the "youngest" school dating back to the 1600s. These were passed down through an unbroken line through their various Soke until they ultimately were all passed on from the previous heads of the schools to one man, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, to passed them to his pupil, Dr. Hatsumi. The title of Soke (the patriarch, head of the family; Bujinkan is considered a big family), was passed to Dr. Hatsumi so that these martial arts could evolve and live on. Hatsumi Soke organized the Bujinkan as a system for teaching these nine ancient schools. The majority being Ninpo (Ninpo is the highest art of the ninja) schools or schools having ties to ninpo, the remainder being samurai schools (see the History section below for more information). 

The Bujinkan is known worldwide and has official dojos in more than 40 countries and is one of the marital arts that the Marine Corp Martial Arts Program was built on, thanks to Shihan Jack Hoban who is still a Special Instructor for the program. Hatsumi Soke has been given special honors by the Emperor of Japan, all U.S. military branches, FBI and CIA, U.S. Homeland Security, and is even the first martial artist in history to receive an Apostolic Blessing by the Vatican.

These next few sections are intended to give you and idea of what to expect from a typical class and typical training equipment/gear so there are no surprises. Contact the dojo using the contact form on the right, email dojo@living-warrior.com, or telephone (208) 991-2382 to contact the instructor and to receive more information.

A student in our school starts by learning a core set of basics from all of the schools that provide a strong and effective foundation from which to build. Each year we also focus on learning the Waza (techniques) from the densho (ancient scrolls) of one of the individual schools.

In our dojo we train to accept and receive attacks from opponents (Uke Negashi) in a realistic manner with the least amount of energy and strength possible. It is like surfing in the ocean. A force of nature, a large wave, rises up from the ocean and with great force and intensity will smash into anyone caught in its way. Surfers learn how to accept the motion of the wave so they can ride it. Distance, balance, and timing all come into play so that a surfer can peacefully ride a wave into the shallows where the wave breaks itself upon the shore. In the Bujinkan we use distance, balance, and timing in our training to develop skill sets that allow us to interact with an opponent in much the same way, allowing them to cause their own destruction.

The basic disciplines of unarmed fighting are divided into Dakentaijutsu (punching and kicking techniques, [Karate]), Koshijutsu (attacking muscles and organs techniques), Koppojutsu (attacking bones and bone structure techniques), and Jutaijutsu (controlling [Jujutsu/Jiujutsu/Jiujitsu] and throwing [Judo] techniques). While we do train in some very devastating combat methods, our philosophy holds that these are unnecessary except in the most dire of circumstances. We should love and pity anyone so out of balance that they would attack another human being and not cause them harm if it isn't necessary. If it should be necessary, however, then we are armed with the skills and knowledge for such an encounter. We train in the set techniques (Waza) of the ancient schools (Koryu) we study and learn to adapt them using the secret teachings (Gokui) for any situation. Free training (Randori) simulates the realities of an altercation and also helps students learn to deal with stress and pressure from real attacks.

Kenjutsu (sword techniques) and Bukijutsu (various combat weapons) are studied at all levels, you don't have to wait for a certain rank level to start using weapons. We train in both ancient traditional weapons and modern weapons. There are several of every training weapon available to borrow in the dojo. Many students prefer to own and train with their weapons. Training weapons at each level can be very affordable and range up to expensive versions for those who want something unique or higher quality. Here is a list of some of the weapons we train with.

Swords: Katana, Dai-Katana, Wakizashi, Tachi, Kodachi, Nodachi, Tsurugi Ken, Shinobi Katana, Nagamaki
Bo: Roku Shaku Bo, Jo, Hanbo
Tanto: knives
Juu: guns
Yari: spears
Naginata: large pole arm weapons
Shuriken: thrown weapons such as Shakken (stars) and Bo Shuriken (darts)
Kyoketsu Shoge: bladed weapon with weighted rope or chain attached.
Nawa: rope for restraining opponent
Kusari Fundo: weighted chain weapon
And more

Gear and Equipment:
Training is done wearing traditional all black uniforms called keikogi, dogi, or simply gi. There are many different styles available at various prices. You do not have to buy a gi through the dojo to participate, you may find one that suits you best or wear a black one you already own.

In Japan, Bujinkan teachers and practitioners wear tabi during training. These are split toed socks common in Japanese traditional clothing. In our dojo many students wear tabi as well, but regular socks are fine to wear also. Often enough the Japanese wear western style socks for training also so it's not an issue to not wear tabi.

1.  The Bujinkan shall be open to only those who agree with and uphold the guidelines of the Bujinkan Dojo. Those not doing so shall not be allowed to join. Specifically: Only those who have read and agreed with these guidelines shall be allowed to participate.
2.  Only those able to exercise true patience, self-control, and dedication shall be allowed to participate. A physician's examination report shall be required. Specifically, individuals with mental illness, drug addiction, or mentally instability shall be barred from joining. The necessity of such a report concerns individuals who may present a danger to others, for example, those with infectious diseases or illnesses, individuals with clinically abnormal personalities or physiology, and individuals lacking self-control.
3.  Individuals with criminal records shall be turned away. Trouble makers, those who commit crimes, and those living in Japan who break domestic laws shall be turned away.
4.  Those not upholding the guidelines of the Bujinkan, either as practitioners or as members of society, by committing disgraceful or reproachable acts shall be expelled. Until now, the Bujinkan was open to large numbers of people who came to Japan. Among them, unfortunately, were those committing violent drunken acts, the mentally ill, and trouble makers who thought only of themselves and failed to see how their actions might adversely affect others. Through their actions, such people were discarding the traditional righteous heart of the Bujinkan. From this day forward, all such people shall be expelled.
5.  Regarding accidents occurring during training (both inside and outside the dojo), one should not cause trouble to the Bujinkan. This is an extremely important point. Those unwilling to take personal responsibility for accidents occurring during Bujinkan training shall not be admitted. Reiterating for clarity, the Bujinkan shall not take responsibility for any accidents happening in the course of training, regardless of the location.
6.  All those joining the Bujinkan must get an annual member's card. This card not only preserves the honor of the Bujinkan members, it indicates you are part of a larger whole - one whose members come together with warrior hearts to better themselves through training and friendship. It evinces the glory of warrior virtue, and embodies both loyalty and brotherly love.
7.  The tradition of the Bujinkan recognizes nature and the universality of all human life, and is aware of that which flows naturally between the two parts:

"The secret principle of Taijutsu is to know the foundations of peace."

"To study is the path to the immovable heart (fudoshin)."

Recently, the Bujinkan has become truly international. Just as there are various time zones, so exist various taboos among the world's peoples and nations. We must respect each other, striving to avoid such taboos. We must put the heart of the warrior first, working together for self-improvement and for the betterment of the Bujinkan.
Those not upholding the above-mentioned guidelines shall be forced out of the Bujinkan.

Masaaki Hatsumi - Soke 

History of the Bujinkan:
The heritage of the Bujinkan goes back over 900 years. Because the history of the Bujinkan is so deep, this is just a brief overview. More of the complete history is available to learn in the dojo or through history books. The Bujinkan is a world wide Japanese martial arts organization headed by Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi. Dr. Hatsumi is the Soke (Grandmaster/head of family) of nine different schools of martial arts, both samurai and ninja. Here is a short documentary video about Toshitsugu Takamatsu Soke, the late teacher to our current Grandmaster, Hatsumi Soke. This video helps put into perspective the nature of our training and the history it is steeped in.

The Bujinkan is comprised of nine ancient martial arts schools that were passed down from generation to generation until they are all passed on to Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi.  Hatsumi Soke has been given special honors by the Emperor of Japan, all U.S. military branches, FBI and CIA, U.S. Homeland Security, and is even the first martial artist in history to receive an Apostolic Blessing by the Vatican.

Below is a list of the nine schools of the Bujinkan and the generation number that Dr. Hatsumi is the Soke of. Also included is the meaning of each school's name, their specialty, and the year they were founded.

Togakure Ryu Ninpo 
34th Grandmaster
Hidden Door School, Ninja school, founded in 1161 AD.

Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu 
28th Grandmaster
Jeweled Tiger School, soft tissue and organ attacks, founded officially in 1156 AD, though it's origins date back hundreds of years earlier to Tang Dynasty China, 618-907 AD.

Koto Ryu Koppojutsu 
18th Grandmaster
Knocking Down Tiger School, bone breaking, founded in 1532 AD.

Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu/Jutaijutsu 
26th Grandmaster
Immovable Heart School, striking and grappling, founded 1113 AD.

Kukishin Ryu Taijutsu 
28th Grandmaster
Nine Demon-Gods School, samurai school specializing in naval warfare, long battlefield weapons, and unarmed fighting, founded during the 1330s AD.

Takagiyoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu 
17th Grandmaster
High Tree Raised Heart School, samurai grappling school, founded in 1632.

Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo 
14th Grandmaster
Hiding in the Clouds School, Ninja school, founded in the Tenmon Era 1532-1554.

Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo 
21st Grandmaster
Jeweled Heart School, Ninja school, because of historical record discrepancies, it is not know exactly when this school was founded. It was founded before 1600 AD.

Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu 
15th Grandmaster
Truth, Loyalty, and Justice School, bone breaking school, founded in the Eiroku Era, 1558-1570.

The Bujinkan is an organization through which these nine different schools can be taught. A student in our school starts by learning a core set of basics from all of the schools that provide a strong and lethal foundation from which to build. Each year we also focus on learning the Waza (techniques) from the densho (ancient scrolls) of one of the individual schools.

This is just a brief overview of the Bujinkan's history. Its history is very deep and each of the nine schools has its own history, dating back nearly one thousand years in some cases. Participants have the opportunity to learn it all.

Additional Considerations:
Choosing a martial art is a very personal thing and there are many forms to choose from. Our priority is to keep the art alive through training in authentic traditional forms and adapting them to modern day situations. We are only open to those students interested in the training and are willing to dedicate to a solid training experience. We don't try to inflate membership numbers by simplifying the training for the lowest common denominator. We don't train as if it were a military boot camp either and you are never forced to do anything you don't feel comfortable with, while at the same time pushing through your comfort zones to achieve more than you thought possible. If you are interested in traditional Japanese martial arts training (koryu training), we would love to have you as part of our dojo family.

Caution, I'm going to do a little ranting:
First Rant: Be aware, there are a lot of other dojos that claim to be authentic Ninjutsu, but they are in reality break away schools from the Bujinkan and have severed their ties to Soke (Head of Family, or Grandmaster) Masaaki Hatsumi, and thus also from the lineage of the Nine Schools (see History page). They often will mention the Nine Schools, or will say that their teacher was a student of Masaaki Hatsumi, but they are not Bujinkan schools and have no direct connection to the lineage of the Nine Schools. Sometimes they will try to make it seem they are still training under Hatsumi Soke, when the reality is they are not. The Bujinkan is the only organization name that Soke teaches through (not some other school whose head teachers left the Bujinkan or were thrown out and then proclaimed themselves as grandmasters and started their own schools). If you want to learn the authentic martial arts and receive ranking certificates from Japan, signed by Masaaki Hatsumi Soke, you need to train under a teacher licensed in the Bujinkan. They will be registered with the Bujinkan as a member of the Shidoshi-Kai and will have a certificate in Japanese authorizing them to teach. Our dojo's Sensei (instructor) regularly trains in Japan under Hatsumi Soke and the Japanese Shihan (master instructors). But don't just take our word for it, come in and experience the training and you'll understand the difference.

Sorry, but it is disappointing to see students misled by schools claiming one thing when the reality is something else and a little research will uncover the misrepresentations. There, rant over.

Second Rant: Occasionally someone comes across misinformation regarding what Ninjutsu is or isn't. They read something on the internet or in a book that doesn't connect with historical truth about Ninjutsu. Not everything on the internet or even in books is truth. Historical facts must corroborate what and author is claiming, and too often this isn't the case. However, there is also a wealth of factual historical information available on Ninjutsu, with more being uncovered a from old documents all the time. One such claim, Ninjutsu isn't a martial art. This has partial truth to it because some ninja clans didn't have their own martial art system. However, there are clans who did. Also, many of the clans that didn't have their own system used another fighting system to train their operatives. So, to make a blanket statement: Ninjutsu is not a martial art, is foolish because that statement can only be applied to some Ninja clans, not all of them.

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Bujinkan: Living-Warrior Dojo, your school in the Treasure Valley for traditional Bujinkan Ninjutsu martial arts. Japanese martial arts training for Meridian, Boise, Eagle, Kuna, Star, Nampa and surrounding communities. Martial Art School Meridian, Idaho. If you are looking for Jujutsu, JuijitsuKarate, Taekwondo, KendoJudo, or Aikido in Meridian, ID or Boise, ID this may actually be the school you were hoping to find.