The Bujinkan Dojo was formed in the 1970′s by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi following inheriting 9 martial traditions from his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu. Dr. Hatsumi had trained intensively with Takamatsu Sensei prior to this, and initially the Bujinkan Dojo was a small training group made up of a handful of individuals. During the 1970′s people from the west started to hear about the Bujinkan, and a few people started to make the trip to Japan to study with Hatsumi Sensei. In the years that followed, the Dojo has grown into an international organisation, but still very much focused on Japan.
Within the Bujinkan we approach martial arts in with the mindset of self protection, and the protection of others and society more widely. Training is not focused on competition or sport as the 9 traditions passed onto Hatsumi Sensei developed from military applications, and hence it is a martial art in it’s truest sense, not a martial sport.
The traditions passed down to Hatsumi Sensei are as follows:
- Togakure-ryū Ninpō Taijutsu (戸隠流忍法体術)
- Gyokko ryū Kosshi jutsu (玉虎流骨指術)
- Kuki Shinden Ryū Happō Bikenjutsu (九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術)
- Koto Ryū Koppō jutsu (虎倒流骨法術)
- Shinden Fudo Ryū Dakentai jutsu (神伝不動流打拳体術)
- Takagi Yoshin Ryū Jūtai jutsu (高木揚心流柔体術)
- Gikan Ryū Koppō jutsu (義鑑流骨法術)
- Gyokushin-ryū Ryū Ninpō (玉心流忍法)
- Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō (雲隠流忍法)
Each could stand on its own as a complete martial system. Within the Bujinkan, the training focuses on 6 of these ‘Ryu’ or schools – Togakure, Kukishinden, Koto, Shinden, Takagi and Gyokko Ryu. Each of these methods share similarities to one another, but at the same time they have contextual differences related to when they evolved and what weapons and equipment people were using at that time.
At Bujinkan Reading we focus on key principles that bind these schools together – namely looking at distancing, timing and angling. Our approach to training is led by a pragmatic view on self protection and effectiveness. This we train for using a range of drills that enable participants to learn movements and develop skills that can help them work on dealing with a range of scenarios using a core series of principles.
Within the training we examine rolling, breakfalling, striking, throwing, locking, balance taking, the use of and defence against weapons, multiple opponents, how to use your surroundings, etc. – all in all, the Bujinkan promotes a comprehensive and holistic viewpoint on self protection. As the Bujinkan focuses on natural principles and biomechanics, it is applicable and useful to a huge range of people.
One aspect of training that we work on and are keen to promote is the use of drills that enable participants to get used to dealing with stress, pressure and the unpredictable nature of violent confrontations. This we do through exercises that build on one another to help those working through them to be able to respond appropriately and employ their skills at realistic speeds.