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  1. #1
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    Default Bujinkan Taijutsu & Ninpo Philosophy

    Does anyone else here study Bujinkan? I have trained for slightly over 10 years off and on as money and time permits. It is a true martial art, bred from war and combat, nothing sporting about it. Started off with a small group that met in the basement of the instructors church. Hes a great pastor, and I miss training with him when his years were up at that Methodist Church. When I cannot train, I try and read as much of the philosophy as possible. I think there is much of it that many of you would find interesting, and hopefully useful in your day to day lives.

    I would like to start a philosophical discussion of sorts. Starting with a few quotes we can discuss real life examples of, whether from training or real life experience.

    "When properly applied, the kamae reflects the ninja's heart.
    This means that our physical nature conforms to our intentions,
    and there is no division between our interior and exterior
    aspects. This state of integrated mind and body action is
    totally natural, and can be observed readily in the movements
    of animals as they interact with their environment. Only human
    beings seem to develop the need to be trained in natural body
    motion."
    “Nature is your friend; it helps you to win. Your enemy will have unnatural movement, therefore you will be able to know what he is going to do before he does it.”
    -Masaaki Hatsumi

    By remaining observant, you can see someones true intentions before they ever act upon them. This applies to benign acts as much as people planning offensive action against you. It is every bit as useful when walking in a parking lot to protect you from being run over, as it is to notice the stick up man preying on people for their money, goods or worse. I have 2 examples of this to share with you all.

    The first example, I was walking through the parking lot of the grocery store to get breakfast and a cold beverage to enjoy at home after a long night of 3rd shift. Watching carefully the people around me, I noticed a driver with the engine running about to reverse out of a parking spot I was about to pass, but the familiar glow of a smart phone on the drivers face. I anticipated their actions correctly, that they were more focused on their phone than safely exiting the parking lot. Took a wide side step to my left just as they quickly reversed out of the spot where I was standing not a moment before, with the driver oblivious until I loudly yet politely reminded them to be more careful.

    The second example, brings me back to my college dorm when I was paired up with a random roommate. This roommate was quite a bit larger than me, and wrestled on scholarship for the school. He was also an alcoholic. We got along more or less fine for a bit, until my girlfriend at the time, and her brother came over one weekend to stay, as the dorm was apartment style with multiple rooms. Now my roommate was under the drinking age, and had to resort to going to other people to get his drug of choice. He had already talked one of his teammates into supplying him with some alcohol previously that night, and was under its effects noticeably. My girlfriend, her brother and I were sharing a bottle of vodka slowly through out the evening while watching some Hockey. Roommate comes and starts asking for some shots, which we refused. Roommate starts getting pushy and starts almost begging for alcohol. We tell him no again, and I noticed his muscles start to tense up. The owner of the bottle having had enough, decides to show an ever increasingly aggressive drunk that we did not need alcohol to have a good time, and neither did he by pouring the bottle down the sink. Bad idea.

    Roommate was not happy to see this, and took it as some kind of personal insult. I had already started moving between him and my girlfriend when he started to try to rip the bottle out of her brothers hands, and in doing so would have hit my girlfriend with the bottle on accident had I not moved between them. Enraged, he then started to bring up a fist to strike her brother, where he was promptly taken to the ground from a stomp kick to the rear of his knee joint and put in and arm/neck lock until the campus police arrived to take him to the drunk tank. The total time from his muscles tensing up, to being taken down was maybe 15 seconds at the most. Even when relaxing, always remain vigilant to the subtle clues those around you provide of their intentions.

    That is all for now, the morning rush is starting. Next post I will speak about the home invasion experience I had, and how training impacted its outcome.

  2. #2
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    I have. There are a few others who've also trained in it extensively but I haven't seen them here lately.
    "Why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away. An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as the king can." Benjamin Martin, The Patriot

  3. #3
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    I like that Tasmanian Tiger channel on YouTube.

  4. #4
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    Tasmanian Tiger?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Hey.. Why not join the Army? It's free!!

  5. #5
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    This may prove unpopular, but I'll risk it. Moderators, please remove it if it offends.

    "Ninjutsu" is not what most people think it is. I won't elaborate because I'm nowhere near an expert and I sure as heck am not gonna change anybody's mind. But like anything else, the subject requires scrutiny if it's to be discussed with any seriousness.

    Some forty years I was a ninpo fanboy -- I even attended seminars under Bud Malmstrom back in the mid-eighties. He was a fine martial artist and instructor, and actually more pragmatic in his approach to fighting than his mentor, Stephen Hayes (aka, Masaaki Hatsumi's protoge and representative in the land of the gaijin). No handstands or flips were performed during his classes, guaranteed. There were some lessons on shuriken, though as I remember they were of the simple metal spike design rather than throwing stars. A lot of what I learned under Bud was repeated decades later when I trained in traditional Okinawa kempo. I mentioned this to my soke at the time and he responded with a smile and a wink.

    I'm not saying that ninja instructors aren't sincere or that a person can't learn useful techniques from the art, but the "history" and mysticism should be taken with a block of salt, black gis and tabi shoes notwithstanding.

    Here's an interesting discussion on the matter: The Art of Manliness: Everything You Know About Ninjas Is Wrong. The discussion centers around an interesting book, True Path of the Ninja: The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki (The Authentic Ninja Training Manual). Based on historical research taken from authenticated scrolls, the author describes the role of ninja as special forces assets in a time of war, working with samurai as gatherers of intelligence, saboteurs, etc. while eschewing much of the pop culture nonsense that came out of the 1970s. He also contends there are no direct descendants of the ninpo bloodline. Ninja was a position one trained for, much like a SPECOPS operator today, not a member of a mystical family or society.

    Oddly, much of what is described in the book is reminiscent of discussions here on Warriortalk regarding undercover work and the greyman concepts. Indeed, an interested student of the craft can gain a lot about fighting and operating in dangerous environments on this very forum from some very experienced people, experts with real world credentials, simply by using the search function, reading, watching and learning.

    Again, this is not meant as an attack on the art as a whole, but a caveat emptor on the pop culture nonsense that dilutes it. As a former fanboy, I felt obliged to post this.

    Last edited by Redneck Zen; 10-25-2018 at 09:34 PM. Reason: font madness
    Redneck Zen
    "Be careful what you get good at."

  6. #6
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    Don Roley has some pretty good information debunking Cummings. Basically Cummings isn't qualified as a translator.

    There are also other translations of the Shoninki, I read the one available in bookstores. It is basically something of a field guide of various tips, sort of like the "Ranger Rick" books, which assume the reader is already trained. Cummings sees it as a comprehensive Bible and anything not listed is not part of ninjutsu.

    There really is also not much in these books that was not available in the 1980s or even 1970s since the authors at the time used them as sources.

    Hayes' books were his own opinion and now we know much of his history is wrong, especially the class struggle part taken from manga written by a communist. lol

    There are some things to watch out for in the Bujinkan, and my previous posts on the topic cover them. I may have been a bit too critical when writing those posts because I've since talked to people in other arts who told me the same problems occur in their systems as well, but all that means is that people should look out for those things no matter what they train in.
    "Why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away. An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as the king can." Benjamin Martin, The Patriot

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Liu View Post
    Don Roley has some pretty good information debunking Cummings. Basically Cummings isn't qualified as a translator.

    There are also other translations of the Shoninki, I read the one available in bookstores. It is basically something of a field guide of various tips, sort of like the "Ranger Rick" books, which assume the reader is already trained. Cummings sees it as a comprehensive Bible and anything not listed is not part of ninjutsu.

    There really is also not much in these books that was not available in the 1980s or even 1970s since the authors at the time used them as sources.

    Hayes' books were his own opinion and now we know much of his history is wrong, especially the class struggle part taken from manga written by a communist. lol

    There are some things to watch out for in the Bujinkan, and my previous posts on the topic cover them. I may have been a bit too critical when writing those posts because I've since talked to people in other arts who told me the same problems occur in their systems as well, but all that means is that people should look out for those things no matter what they train in.
    Interesting. Thanks for this. I'll look up the Don Roley critiques. Not losing any sleep over it, but I do like looking at both sides.

    Ranger Rick ... Haha! Another great reference. I get that totally.

    I've a friend who visits Japan annually to school up on Kikushin-Ryu, if I remember right. Anyway, one time he went to visit Hatsumi, who had died his hair purple and was into some peculiar spiritualism stuff. My friend came away more than a little disappointed.

    Anyway, the bottom line, methinks, is keep what works, discard the rest. That goes for hands, knives, guns, who works on my car, the doctor I see, my financial adviser, everything.
    Redneck Zen
    "Be careful what you get good at."

  8. #8
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    Bud Malmstrom was a great teacher. Trained with him off and on in the 80's, along with Roger Stebelton and Dan Johnson. All great instructors. Larry Beaver from Florida was another favorite back then. His "pain seminars" were the stuff of legend. Oh, I remember those well!

    But training with Soke Hatsumi and the shihan (especially Nagato) was the highlight of those training years. Nagato was brutal!
    "Let him cut your skin, and you cut his flesh. Let him cut your flesh, and you cut his bones. Let him cut your bones, and you cut off his life."
    - Toshitsugo Takamatsu

  9. #9
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    Redneck,
    That is really awesome that you got to train with Bud! His writings were always top notch and very informative. I wrote to him many years ago when I was trying to join USMC OCS in college (could not join, I have severe myopia limiting my eyesight) and he was a class act through and through. I believe he was actually consulted by the Marine Corps to help create their martial arts program, and his teachings are still in use today in their combative program. I actually do not live far from where Hayes schools are, but his dojo's are now a different system all his own, with inspiration from Bujinkan, I forget the reason for his separation. I have never trained under Hayes however, so I cannot comment of the quality of his schools. My training group was a Cincinnati off-shoot of the Dayton Bujinkan Dojo. We would go to the larger dojo for training seminars on occasion. We actually trained in the basement of a Methodist church, the lead instructor was the pastor of. I always wondered what the congregation thought of the small Buddhist shrine we kept for tradition.

    Alot of the "mysticism" of the art, was the result of deliberate misinformation in a very superstitious society. Some of it was done to cover up the operatives identities and capabilities, and some was to make the enemy believe they were fighting supernatural "demonic" entities.

    Like any art, who is teaching will determine the quality of the material, and the mindset of the student during training will play a factor. We had a few Active and Retired LEO's in the course as well, that shared their real world experience. In our training group, we tried to keep the applications of techniques updated to modern day situations. One of my favorite training regiments was done with airsoft and the blunt trainer knives that resemble the real folders/fixed knives. Many of the techniques are highly effective at disarming an attacker/mugger in close to you, taking control of their weapon. I strongly suggest watching some of Moshe Kastiel's videos demonstrating these types of techniques, his videos are great quality, and he demonstrates a level of effective brutality I have never seen in martial arts videos.

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