Bujinkan – “Divine Warrior Training Hall”
The Bujinkan (lit. “Divine Warrior Training Hall”) is the name of the world-wide organization under the direction of Masaaki Hatsumi. Soke Hatsumi chose the name Bujinkan to honor his teach Takamatsu Toshitsugu who passed on to him the nine martial traditions that we continue to study to this day.
The Bujinkan and Ninjutsu Training is comprised of 9 Martial Art Traditions. The nine traditions that Takamatsu O’ Sensei passed down to Soke Masaaki Hatsumi to form the Bujinkan are:
Togakure-ryū Ninpō Taijutsu (戸隠流忍法体術) “Hidden Door School”
Gyokko ryū Kosshi jutsu (玉虎流骨指術) “Jeweled Tiger School”
Kuki Shinden Ryū Happō Bikenjutsu (九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術) “Nine Demon God School”
Koto Ryū Koppō jutsu (虎倒流骨法術) “Knocking Down Tiger School”
Shinden Fudo Ryū Dakentai jutsu (神伝不動流打拳体術) “Immovable Heart School”
Takagi Yoshin Ryū Jūtai jutsu (高木揚心流柔体術) “High Tree, Raised Heart School
Gikan Ryū Koppō jutsu (義鑑流骨法術) “Truth, Loyalty, and Justice School”
Gyokushin-ryū Ryū Ninpō (玉心流忍法) “Jeweled Heart School”
Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō (雲隠流忍法) ” Hiding in the Clouds School”
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi continues to teach these traditions to students from all over the world, at the Hombu Dojo in Noda City, Japan. He focuses training on “feeling”, as in “the feeling of being attacked”. The Bujinkan also has yearly themes to guide practitioners to continue to build their proficiency in this Martial Art.
Todai Bujinkan Dojo continues to spread Soke Masaaki Hatsumi’s teachings to the Southern California area. Our instructors frequently travel to train in Japan under Soke Masaaki Hatsumi and the other Japanese Shihan/Sensei.
O’ Sensei Takamatsu Toshitsugu (10 March 1889 – 2 April 1972)
Takamatsu (Chosui) Toshitsugu was a well-known Martial Artist. He traveled to parts of China teaching Martial Art and engaged in numerous life and death battles. This earned him the name of Moko no Tora (Mongolian Tiger). He even lost an eye in a fight, and has said that – in his view – the two most dangerous fighters were Shorinji Kenpo and Shaolin Kung-Fu practitioners.
Takamatsu O’ Sensei had nine martial art traditions that he bestowed unto his successor, Masaaki Hatsumi. These nine traditions are both Ninja and Samurai in origin, and form the foundation for our training today.
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi
Masaaki Hatsumi studied many different Martial Arts before finding Takamatsu O’Sensei, including Karate, Aikido, Judo and western boxing. After achieving 4th degree Black Belt he was asked to teach Judo at an American Army Base. He found that the larger Americans had a distinct advantage in training.
While studying kobudo (traditional weapons techniques) he heard about Takamatsu O’Sensei, and sought out to become his student. The young Hatsumi, 26 years old at the time, met Takamatsu who at the time was well into his 60′s. The two engaged in a match that Hatsumi would later describe:
The pain of his technique was different from any pain I had ever suffered before. I had only felt a cold, momentary pain, while with Sensei I was exposed to a hot, burning pain. It was as if something would explode, if my blood would be sucked up and I would die right away. He didn’t just apply one GYAKU but four or five. I immediately knew this is what I was looking for. I asked to be his student.
Hatsumi would dedicate the next 15+ years to training under Takamatsu O’Sensei’s supervision. And when Takamatsu passed away in 1972, Masaaki Hatsumi became heir to the 9 traditions. He founded the Bujinkan to continue the nine traditions and grow the art to the world.
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi would become a well-known Martial Artist and practitioner of Ninjutsu. He was the Martial Arts advisor to many films, such as the Japanese film “Shinobi-no-Mono” and the James Bond film “You only Live Twice”. He is also an accomplished writer and artist.
With his reputation growing, western Martial Artists began traveling to Japan to inquire about his Martial Art – the most well-known of these being Stephen K. Hayes. Possibly influenced by his earlier experience teaching Judo to Americans, Hatsumi decided to train the larger westerns to determine if the art is effective on larger opponents. And unlike Judo, Ninjutsu proved to be effective regardless of opponent size.
The Bujinkan utilizes a more traditional Japanese ranking structure, and curriculum of the 9 traditions is spread across ranks according to the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki (Heaven, Earth, Man Scrolls) developed by Soke Hatsumi. Curriculum is associated with a particular element – a metaphor for both the movement and concept behind techniques.Typically a student should spend at least 3 months studying a particular “Kyu”, and several years progressively for each “Dan”. Unique to the Bujinkan is there are 5 additional levels of Judan – 10th Degree.
A Bujinkan practitioner is allowed to teach without direct supervision once they reach 5th Degree “Godan”, which they are then considered a “Shidoshi” (Teacher of Warrior Ways). Once a practitioner attains 10th Degree “Judan”, they are referred to as a “Shihan” or Master.
Students typically begin at “Mukyu” or “Without Rank” – signified by the white belt. Ranking then proceeds as follows:
“Kyu” Ranks | Belt Color: Green
9th Kyu “Kyukyu”
8th Kyu “Hakyu”
7th Kyu “Nanakyu”
6th Kyu “Rokyu”
5th Kyu “Gokyu”
4th Kyu “Yonkyu”
3rd Kyu “Sankyu”
2nd Kyu “Nikyu”
1st Kyu “Ikkyu”
“Dan” Ranks | Belt Color: Black
1st Degree “Shodan”
2nd Degree “Nidan”
3rd Degree “Sandan”
4th Degree “Yondan”
5th Degree “Godan, Shidoshi”
6th Degree “Rokudan”
7th Degree “Shichidan”
8th Degree “Hachidan”
9th Degree “Kudan”
10th Degree “Judan”