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Bujinkan Ninjutsu, Japanese Martial Arts & Self Defense

Explore articles and insights on Japanese Martial Arts, Self Defense and more in these articles.

What is (and isn’t) Bujinkan

There was an interesting topic in a Bujinkan Facebook Group that someone posted: "What exactly constitutes what is part of Bujinkan?" What is the Bujinkan really? The Bujinkan is usually defined as the collection of nine ryuha that connect to the Iga and surrounding...

The Shape of Happo

The Shape of Happo

m always obsessed with understanding the name of a gata. I believe the name can often provide insight into the intention of the form, or describe the proper movement.

In some cases (and ryuha) it’s pretty straight forward. Take Takagi Yoshin Ryu for example; many of the techniques simply describe what you’re trying to do. The clearest example is Ude Ori, or arm break. Not surprisingly, the forms discuss various methods of breaking the arm.

But some names can be quite esoteric.

Ninja: 9 Myths and facts

Ninja: 9 Myths and facts

Few groups in history are as iconic as the Ninja of Japan. The word itself conjures images of black clad silent assassins that seem capable of impossible feats. Their mystery adds to their intrigue, even 500 years later.

Understanding the Sanshin

I have to confess: I haven’t been the best teacher. I rarely do the Sanshin in class. I figured it was super simple, and takes away the precious time we have in class from the “real training” where techniques are applied. Frankly, I thought it was a little boring and a bit redundant. Then I started noticing Hatsumi Sensei putting a lot of emphasis on the Sanshin, and saying how important it was for training. So I decided to take a second look.

The Progression of Bujinkan Training

As we mention in our article Shuhari, there is a Japanese philosophy to studying a craft. However, this philosophy describes the process of learning, but not necessarily gives direction. In this article we are going to tackle our opinion on progressing through...

Understanding the Righteous Heart

Understanding the Righteous Heart

A student in class recently asked why I don't say the entire Tadashi Kokoro no Kaisetsu. The answer was simple: I didn't know it by heart. I also explained that I would be uncomfortable saying the phrase without knowing what it means. So I decided to find out what the...

Masaaki Hatsumi: Teach only 50%

I heard a quote of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi saying "teach only 50% of what you know." Without context, this might be viewed in a negative, as if something is being withheld to the detriment of the student. However, the reality is that in Japanese culture, it is to the...

The Martial Arts Intructors of Japan

The Martial Arts Intructors of Japan

Nothing can replicate training in Japan; the immersion in the Japanese culture, the amount of training one squeezes into a trip, the practitioners your surrounded by - a few days changes your movement forever. The most important part of training in Japan is the...

Passing the Godan

Few events are as a mind blowing, mystical, and life changing in Ninjutsu training as when the time comes for a student to pass the Sakki test to achieve Godan. It’s a rite of passage that culminates after a decade of studying our art. I came to a realization about the science about such a meta-physical type of event after passing mine in September of 2012.

But what is the Sakki test, and how does it work?

Shikin Haramitsu Daikoumiyo

Shikin Haramitsu Daikoumiyo

If you’ve ever taken a Martial Arts class at a Bujinkan Dojo, you’ve heard those three somewhat difficult Japanese words shouted at the beginning and end of class: Shiken Haramitsu Daikoumyo. These words have profound significance – but only if you understand what they mean (much less say them). Here we’re going to translate this Buddhist mantra, and the meaning behind one of the most often used phrases in Bujinkan training.

Finding the Kukan

If you have ever trained in Japan, you have heard Soke talk quite a bit about the Kukan. Kukan roughly means “space” or “opening”. This can (and is) often be interpreted in a number of different ways. I find it easiest to think about it as “an opening where your opponent is vulnerable”. As simple as that sounds, it can be difficult to find that opening since it is so fluid.