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Author Topic: A question on the Bujinkan  (Read 15477 times)

gematriot

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A question on the Bujinkan
« on: February 22, 2008, 04:28:08 AM »

Not wanting to take the following article without a "pinch of salt" I would welcome some feedback. Is the Bujinkan really that corrupt?
http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35175&page=1&pp=15
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whitewolf

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 06:05:35 AM »

Sir-I tried to  read the whole article and to be very  frank it confused the crap out of  me-
I wont say if the style is good or  bad but what is the point? I am in the city of kuwait foot and mobile patrol and interceeding between problem people and settling stupid differences in the areas of drugs/alcohol/domestic violence etc etc etc-maybe if i was in the US or some country where I could study this i would feel a  little better-for  now i am practising Hocks /Perkins/Geoff Thompson/M Depasquale Jr/Gary Alexander/BJJ/Muy Ti/Vale Tudo etc etc and hope if ever needed i  wont get a smack in the head- ;D-good luck on some of the answers through-keep on smilling sir- whitewolf..
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grlaun

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 08:33:16 AM »

Yep and sooooo many of us buy it at face value because 'the man's an Asian or Indonesian or Thai -he MUST be legit' if a non-Asian opens a school of the same ilk his skill level must be inferior to that of the Asian 'master'....it'd be nice if we adhered to the Who's song & "don't get fooled again...." but the one thing about history is many don't learn anything from it....

I have a friend who is going through just that - as I did 12 years ago... I'm still singing that Who song in the back of my head as I watch the new Krav Maga dvd ad...
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whitewolf

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 09:57:56 AM »

Grlaun/Hock-i agree-over the years i  have run into "eastern" teachers who looked good on the outside but inside????Their is a instructor here in Kuwait who teaches the traditional art and tells his students they are invincible-terrible terrible terrible-i watched some of the training and ill stick to what i am studying.-anyhow back to the forum-whitewolf
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grlaun

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 10:29:53 AM »

Only the Black Knight is invincible!
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Wardog

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2008, 10:49:13 AM »

 Did you see Monty Python's Holy Grail? The Black Knight only thinks he is invincible.

 
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Benjamin Liu

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2008, 11:17:18 PM »

Dojos vary a great deal.  Some dojos are good, others are not.  Some are corrupt and some are not.  There are instructors, some of them skilled martial artists and others not, who promote their friends to high ranks and keep good students back.  The bad martial artists in turn promote others equally unskilled.  Some instructors have high standards and promote people based on merit.  Unfortunately it is hard to tell who is who, and asking questions on a forum isn't a good way to do it since people will defend their friends.  Don't assume that a high rank means high skill, or that a low rank is less skilled than a higher rank.  It takes experience to tell a good dojo from a bad one, and that goes for every art I've studied.

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michael

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2008, 07:55:45 PM »

This original link to the first post was very interesting to me. I spent about 5 years in the Bujinkan, and trained with Hatsumi and several of his Shihan's several times, including Noguchi, Daron Navon, Phil Legere and others. The quality of the training was brutal at my school, and seemed to be much better than most of the other schools that I saw. Hatsumi could do some amazing things, and his skills are very real, as are those of his Shihan.

That said, I also saw the ugly business side of the Bujinakn, and it left little doubt in my mind that the whole purpose of training was to tithe to the instuctor, and ultimately, Hatsumi. He always got his piece of the pie, which I don't have a real problem with, but if that is the purpose, then say so. I have no problem with anyone making money off training. After all, most would not do it otherwise, and as long as everyone is honest about it, no harm, no foul.  A lot of the inner workings of the Bujinkan that I saw I did not like, and they were big on treating Hatsumi as Royalty. Give me a break, he is a man just like everyone else. My old instructor used to talk about him being a "National Treasure" in Japan, blah, blah, blah. ::)

Myself and many of the other students I trained with eventually left because we grew tired of the money grabbing and all the esoteric Bravo Sierra that surrounded it. They lost a lot of very good students---and instructors over the years. I agree with most of the article, and it appears to be spot-on with what I have seen in the Booj.
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Benjamin Liu

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2008, 12:04:39 AM »

I've not seen much of a "business side" to the Bujinkan as far as individual dojos are concerned, I'm not talking about people selling videos or weapons.  Most of the bad schools have very poor management, marketing, student retention, and are usually much cheaper than typical martial arts schools.  They make a big deal out of being "non-commercial" and how it lets them select quality students, but from what I've seen cheap or free classes usually gets students who are worth a little or nothing.  Sure, there were still good students, but also lots of idiots who would not have trained if they had to pay more.

One big problem is that some of the things Hayes wrote about in his books attracted some New Age flakes (I'm not blaming Hayes for this, just the flakes) who became instructors and then promoted other idiots who became still more unskilled instructors.  Basically we got a bunch of hippies in the dojo.  These idiots multiplied and somehow became somewhat dominant in the US, sending people who like to train hard "underground."  These are some of the idiots who tell people only to train with people of a certain rank, even if there is a lower ranked black belt who is actually more skilled than a higer ranked flake.

Personally I see nothing wrong with commerical martial arts schools and IMO they probably do a lot to counter the guru problem.  There is also nothing wrong with having a free or cheap school, but the anti-business attitude I've seen is pretty stupid.

A lot of the inner workings of the Bujinkan that I saw I did not like, and they were big on treating Hatsumi as Royalty. Give me a break, he is a man just like everyone else.

For that matter, actual royalty are just people like the rest of us.  That is, except to people who believe writers like David Icke . :D 
 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2008, 12:07:26 AM by Benjamin Liu »
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michael

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2008, 07:51:29 AM »

I don't have a problem with schools making money or not making money, just be honest up front about what you are doing. My old instructor was not part of Hayes' group, and generally did not like the direction Hayes was taking. I couldn't care less about either point of view, and I grew tired of all the politics. I went to train, not to become involved in political wrangling over who was right, or who was legitimate, etc. I trained with several of Hayes' students at the Tai Kai's I attended, and was pretty unimpressed with them. As a rule, they did not move well and lacked the skill of many students of other teachers like Phil Legare's or some of the others.
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**To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.** Carlos Castaneda

Benjamin Liu

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2008, 03:38:10 PM »

The big problem is not money, money is just a popular thing to attack in this culture.  The big problem is people who promoted people they liked or knew/thought they could control to high ranks even though they were unskilled, and these people in turn promoting even more unskilled people.  When these unskilled "teachers" happen to outrank people with actual skill, they make stupid statments on internet boards about how people should only train with people of X rank.  If they were actually good they wouldn't be concerned with competition from a lower rank, students can go to both schools and see for themselves who is better.  I personally know one Yondan who has a 7th kyu skill level, and that is being generous, and he was just promoted because a Shihan liked him.  I know several Shidoshi and Shihan who are less skilled than some lower Dan level people I know.  Rank is based far more on who you know and your relationship with them than it is on skill or experience. 

Most of instructors I've seen, good and bad, are lucky to have 10 students in class at any one time (5 is more the norm,) so it can't be about money unless they are into making money but VERY bad at marketing and management.  If any of the bad instructors are even learning basic business skills, it would be reading books like "How to Lose Friends and Anger People."

There is another problem, though it only infects a few dojos, and that is the strange "Warrior" cults who mix Tom Brown type teachings, Jedi training from "Star Wars," "Da Vinci Code" nonsense,  and standard cult brainwashing techniques.  A lot of info on this group has come out in the past year, and it is worse than I thought it was.  I know a guy who was into it.  I've seen a Karate/Jujutsu school with a similar program, so that isn't unique to strange Bujinkan dojos. 
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michael

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2008, 09:01:33 AM »

Benjamin, you've hit on some other very important points. I've seen the same things you are talking about regarding instructors who were not skilled. My former instructor was very good----much better, in fact, than most of the others I observed at Tai Kai. I have also seen some very high level Shihan who were terrible, and some lower Dan ranking students who were much better. One of my friends was eventually promoted to Yondan, though he is in fact much better than most of those I saw who were 10th Dan and above. Our instructor would not promote him further for fear of losing students to him, while he promoted another in the class to his level who had only a modicum of skill. She was a long time friend of his, and would be in real trouble if she were ever attacked by even an unskilled person. There seemed to be no commonality in how promotions were done, and it was all about who you knew and how you could benefit the instructor.

My former teacher went to a Tom Brown seminar for a week and tried to get all of us to pay him for  a weekend seminar that he did after his return. I did not partake in that, but many did, even though he really didn't have the requisite skills to be teaching outdoor survival skills. Of course, Tom Brown is another debate entirely, and he is either loved or hated it seems. We were fortunate in that he did not try to bring in all the other esoteric garbage.

The varying skill levels for ranks were one of my biggest complaints against the Booj at the time, and many of us left because we felt the Dan rankings had become meaningless.
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**To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.** Carlos Castaneda

whitewolf

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2008, 08:45:01 AM »

Grlaun- sir- please explain the purple shirt program-i am trying to figure it out but as you can see here it ant making sense-sorry-is it a program for the strong the mighty the warrior in us or is it for the weak the frail the humble the dorks ???? heheheh
i jus love it when this comes out of  my brain housing group-must be the new tatoo i  got in Athens the other day. waiting to hear about your explanation-(oh yea-no blinking )
whitewolf (el lobo blanco)
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Benjamin Liu

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2008, 01:50:35 PM »

My former teacher went to a Tom Brown seminar for a week and tried to get all of us to pay him for  a weekend seminar that he did after his return. I did not partake in that, but many did, even though he really didn't have the requisite skills to be teaching outdoor survival skills. Of course, Tom Brown is another debate entirely, and he is either loved or hated it seems. We were fortunate in that he did not try to bring in all the other esoteric garbage.


The group I'm talking about is more the opposite, taking out the survival info and doing the esorteric things like praying to sticks that they build their sweat lodge out of, getting warrior names when they graduate and become "adults," seeing auras, and some even stranger things.  Supposedly people are just boys and girls until they go to their training to become men and women.  Many of the guys into this including the leader were military or ex-military, LEOs or feds, so that doesn't work as a criteria for weeding out flakes like some suggest.   

Going to a seminar and then holding your own seminar on what you learned at that seminar is pretty funny, in a lame sort of way.


The varying skill levels for ranks were one of my biggest complaints against the Booj at the time, and many of us left because we felt the Dan rankings had become meaningless.

That is still a probmen, especially now that people keep saying to only train with people of certain ranks, even if their Taijutsu skills and/or teaching ability and/or ethics are pathetic, and choose such a person as a teacher over someone who is very skilled, a good teacher, and has good ethics but a lower rank.
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michael

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2008, 03:53:15 PM »

I know who the folks are you are referring to, and they have gotten into all kinds of totally unrelated things under the guise of making ninjutsu "modern". Several are even bringing American Indian traditions into it. I enjoyed my time there and learned quite a bit, but am no longer involved with the Bujinkan at all.
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**To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.** Carlos Castaneda

Martin25

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2008, 02:22:15 AM »

Some of these guys are hard fighters and I have had "friendly" matches with them.
I just don't get the "15th dan" thing whats that all about ?
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Bryant

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2008, 02:58:22 PM »

speaking of "ninjas", has anybody read this?

http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.asp?bookid=38459
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Benjamin Liu

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2008, 04:09:48 PM »

I just don't get the "15th dan" thing whats that all about ?

I'm not sure if anyone really knows what it is about.  What I can say is that there are no ranking requirements after 5th Dan.  IMO they can be looked at as honorary rank.  Technically they are real rank because they are official, but there are no skill or ability requirements to get them.  Ranking is based far more on who you know than what you can do.  Until recently most of the better practitioners I've trained with were stuck at 2nd or 3rd Dan, or even at kyu ranks, and their skill was better than the higher ranks I've trained with.

IMO the last skill-based rank is Sandan or 4th Dan, though some instructors like to keep people at 2nd or 3rd Dan since a 4th Dan can qualify to test for 5th Dan and become a fully licenced instructor if he goes to Japan, and these types don't want competition.  Some even refuse to promote better students to 1st Dan yet promote idiots up to 4th Dan. 

It is not because they don't want business competition, most of these types have only a handful of students in their dojo or each of their branch dojos if they have branches, it is more that they like to be the "king" of their own little worlds and see anyone else as a threat to their power.  I know one guy who tries to sabotage other schools he sees as threats even if they are too far away for the typical person to see them as competition.  Most people will train at a school that is close, not drive 45 minutes to go to a class.

The bottom line is that just as rank means nothing in a fight, in some groups it doesn't even have much to do with proficiency in the skills they are supposed to learn.  Pay attention to an instructor's technical skill and teaching ability, not his rank.  In fact, if someone tells me he is a 2nd or 3rd Dan and trained for 10 years, I'd be far more inclined to believe he worked his rank than if someone told me he was a 10th or 15th Dan with 10 years of training.
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Snowball

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2008, 05:09:21 PM »

Our Tang Soo Do system has 9th as highest. 10th is supposed to signify perfection so it cannot be had. Our GM is 8th. He originally declined to take the 9th promotion because his instructor was still alive. He still hasn't taken it and his teacher passed back in 2000.
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Benjamin Liu

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2008, 05:42:31 PM »

There are in a way two ranking systems in the Bujinkan.  One is the kyu-dan ranking system and the other is technically not in the Bujinkan itself but in the individual ryu that the Bujinkan is a composit of.  This is a more traditional system which is giving menkyo certificates for mastering individual ryu, and it is very strict.  AFAIK only a handful of Japanese instructors have recieved menkyo in the traditional ryu.
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WTAC

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2008, 01:49:07 AM »

Good god, you were able to read that whole thing. It was like a letter you find on a 5150.
 ???  :o
Aaron
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cltech9

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2009, 06:18:15 AM »

Well I don't mind saying, I also trained in the Bujinkan for a few years, I never become a member. I got tired of someone showing me Iado over and over again, the problem was he didn't truly know how to use it. It look good, but in a real world application, it just want work. They need more weapons training, most of what I have seen will not work in modern combatives. I dos look good. I remember one 10th dan showing me some knife work, every time he lunged, I deflected it and returned a direct stab to the groin area. I don't mind saying they don't like cross training at all........... I think most of these guys would have a rude awaking if they ever come to the Philippines. Of course we did use wooden knives.

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michael

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2009, 09:45:38 AM »

My old instructor is one of the "15th dans" that Hatsumi has promoted, though his skill level really has not changed. He did deserve it as he puts in the time and effort, including traveling to Japan at least once every year, which he has been doing for at least  15 years. My friend the yondan keeps plodding along with his own class, just not under the auspices of the Bujinkan.
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**To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.** Carlos Castaneda

Bryant

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2009, 04:32:58 PM »

on the topic of rank...
I think these guys are the most traditional/old school I have ever seen
http://www.tenshinsho-den-katori-shinto-ryu.org/
-B.
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Canuk

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2009, 07:04:20 PM »

isnt the concept of a ranked belt system a recent thing? I thought it was invented by Kano for Judo and westners...or somthing like that.  If my information is correct then we are looking at what, a little over/under a hundred years? hardly reaching back into antiquity. I pretty sure that "back in the day" the mark of a skilled person was based on t he fact that you were alive.
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noload

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2009, 08:26:23 PM »

From what I remember the belt system didn't take hold on Okinawa until sometime after WWII, though belts were used sporadically on Okinawa. I remember seeing a picture of Okinawan karateka in dogi and belts, but it seems they had just grabbed whatever belt caught their fancy as the rankings were wrong.



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Bryant

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Re: A question on the Bujinkan
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2009, 09:28:22 PM »

here is something else to consider in regards to Japanese MA ranking systems
http://www.judoinfo.com/ranks.htm
-B.
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