The Bujinkan is the banner head of the Martial Art Heritage headed by Soke MasaakiHatsumi. The ‘Bujinkan’ literally means ‘Warrior God Training Hall.’ The name was derived from the late Grandmaster’s Takamatsu Sensei’s Chinese nickname Wusen or the God of War.
The Bujinkan banner boastsof 9 Ryuha or schools. The oldest tradition is Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu and is over a 1000 years old. The schools are listed as follows.
Togakure Ryu Ninpo TaiJutsu
Kukishinden Ryu DakentaiJutsu
Gyokko Ryu KosshiJutsu
Shinden Fudo Ryu Taihen Jutsu
Koto Ryu KoppoJutsu
Gikan Ryu KoppoJutsu
Takagi Yoshin Ryu JutaiJutsu
Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo
Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo
The 20 year period between 1973 -1993 was the Ninjutsu period which dealt with laying the foundation of the art.
The fundamentals of Ninjutsu was imparted through the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku No Maki which is an amalgamation of all the fore mentioned schools integrating all core fundamentals, principles, concepts and technical proficiencies.
The Ten Ryaku No Maki deals with all the principles and technical ability of developing the very special footwork used in The Bujinkan.
The Chi Ryaku No Maki deals with the actual technical ability in combat. It covers escapes, throws, locks, chokes, holds, suppression techniques and various kicking concepts. The Chi Ryaku No Maki addresses within this framework the biomechanical aspects of combat.
The Jin Ryaku No Maki combines in a flow the Ten and the Chi and has specific techniques from the various schools to illustrate key concepts.
The essential idea of the Ten Chi Jin Ryaku No Maki is to help the Budo practitioner unlock his own natural movement. The Ten Chi Jin also prepares the diligent practitioner in being able to grasp the next echelon in the Bujinkan’s evolution; NinpoTaijutsu.
The period between 1993-1997 covered the use of weapons:
- Bô jutsu – 6 feet staff (1993),
- Yari jutsu – spear (1994),
- Naginata jutsu – halberd (1995),
- Biken jutsu – sword (1996),
- Jo jutsu – 3 feet staff (1997)
Soke often calls the Bujinkan the Martial Arts of Distance and this period is testament to that fact. The weapons were used to understand the footwork and the specific spheres of fighting distances represented by each weapon.
The study of the weapons instill in the Budoka an inherent sense of distance for short, medium and long distance combat depending on the stature of the weapon. It also allows for adaptability to any other type of weapon of the same sphere.
BudoTaijutsuI laid the ground for the next five years of the fighting principles of BudoTaijutsu II.
The period between 1998-2002 : Instead of studying the Ryu we focused on the expression of the fighting principle carried out in the school:
- Taihen jutsu – Shinden fudô ryû (1998),
- Daken taijutsu - Kukishinden ryû (1999),
- Koppô Jutsu – Kotô ryû (2000),
- Kosshi Jutsu – Gyokko ryû (2001),
- Jûtaijutsu – Takagi yôshin ryû (2002)
These schools encompass the five pillars of the BujinkanTaijutsu to offer a comprehensive fighting system. In a sense each school had thematic specializations and attitudes that were explored to culminate in the composite whole that is the Bujinkan today.
BudoTaijutsuI & II unveiled the era of JuppoSessho which can be considered the highest level of the art. As Hatsumi Sensei put it: “those 10 years of BudoTaijutsu allowed us to go to the next level, without this understanding the new level would not be reachable.”
Jupposessho was often the highest level of the traditional fighting schools and literally embodies the essence of strategies and tactics of the art. JuppoSessho can be translated as negotiation or incident in ten directions. This period lasted from 2003 – 2007 and embodied yearly themes that dealt with advanced martial conceptualization and strategies integrating all the aspects trained in the former years.
- The themes were as follows
- Sanjigen no sekai – The world of the third dimension – Kunai & Shotô (2003)
- Roppo Kuji no Biken - Conscious in ultra consciousness in all directions -Kukishin sword (2004)
- Kasumi no hô – The all encompassing mist – Gyokko bô (2005),
- Shizen – Natural – Shinden fudô ryû (2006),
- Kuki taisho – The 9th smiling demo – Sword and Yoroi (2007).
Defines the present age and deals with natural connectivity and the magnetism of super conscious movement.
- Menkyo kaiden – destroy the thinking process (2008),
- Sainô kon ki or sainô tamashii utsuwa – ability, spirit, container(2009)
- Rokkon shôjô – happiness is the essence of life (2010)
- Kihon Happô – 8 Fundamental Ways (2011)
- Kaname – Essential Points (2012)
- Tsurugi: Mutô Dori (2013)
- Shin Gin Budo (2014)
- Nagamaki – Go Ko Go Shin (2015)