Taihenjutsu

Ninpo Taijutsu involves techniques of using the feet and Body, Taihenjutsu (体変術) body changing arts which includes, Kaiten(回転) rolling, Ukemi (受身) taking a fall, Hoko Jutsu (歩行術)method of walking, Senko Jutsu (潜行術)concealing arts and Hicho Jutsu (飛鳥術)leaping arts. It important is to develop a nimble and flexible body. 

The art of Hanbo Jutsu (short staff)

 Hanbojutsu 半棒術 is also called Sanjaku-Bojutsu. Depending on the Ryu the length may vary from “Sanjaku” (90.09 cm) to 100 cm. The diameter is “Hachibu” to “Issun” (2.4 cm to 3.3 cm). It is made from red oak, as red oak was considered the Shogun’s tree. In Kukishin Ryu the length of the Hanbo is the same as a sword from tip to tip. Therefore Bikenjutsu and Hanbojutsu have a close relationship. There are 2 related stories of how Hanbo techniques were born. Below is one of them.

 In January of 1338, Ashikaga Takauji forces attacked the Emperor Godaigo’s forces at Kyoto. The Emperor’s top fighter fought using a long spear with the top fighter of Ashikaga’s who used a long sword. At one point the spear was cut in half. Ohkuni suddenly jumped and hit down on Yashiro head with the remaining shaft. He then realized the value of the remaining shaft and added his knoweldge to the system. Over time the hanbo evolved into a comprehensive system. There are many techniques with the ultimate level being the iron fan.

“As with Bojutsu it is the same with all of life. When you fight with an enemy etiquette requires strictness, technique requires preciseness, power requires suppleness, and the spirit requires an attitude of Hisho (must win), and necessity requires only one thing: concentration.” – Amatsu Tatara Kangi No Den

below are some practice tips for basic hand movement and strikes.

The Autobiography of Takamatsu Toshitsugu 高松 寿嗣

The Autobiography of Takamatsu Toshitsugu 高松 寿嗣

March 10, 1889 –  April 2, 1972

My age will be 68, this year the 4lst year of Showa (1955). Until two or three years ago I had no idea of what my age was. This is simply because I did not want to know, however I do know that I was born in the 23rd year (note: possibly 22nd year) of Meiji (1889). I am bewildered by the appearance of my face as it looks now but the reason for this is: I have not looked at myself in the mirror in some thirty years. Even with this bedraggled look I am still what most people would consider an energetic man. If most people were to go for a walk for an hour they would usually cover about four miles – I usually cover that in about half of one hour. I like to walk and do so naturally with my dogs. We walk together everyday. I am very bad for time, but every day I am punctually in bed at 9 o’clock with my pet cat whom I have appointed the name of Jiro. I awake at half past six in the morning and take a cold friction wash. This is something that I have not missed in the past forty years and is why I have never been sick in bed; this is not to say cold washes alone stop you from being sick.

I enjoy painting very much and even now I continue painting as a form of play. I am not very skilful but I enjoy it, for me it’s a pleasure. No one possesses the knowledge concerning the events of tomorrow; this means we do not know when our life will cease. Due to the impetuousness of youth I made lots of errors regarding my life; this was until the age of forty. I learned my mistakes and now take my cold washes and go for a walk with my dog every morning. After this I dedicate some time to writing and painting, as this is also balance. Exercise, rest, study and pleasure.

Those who are evil-minded would always do bad things, even the bad intentioned ninja would be banished. This is applicable to any martial system, not just ninjutsu. My teacher of the Koto Ryu koppojutsu and the Togakure Ryu ninjutsu was TODA SHINRYKEN MASAMITSU SENSEI. Toda sensei began teaching me first koshijutsu when I was nine years old. Whilst I was young I had a few too many fights. These, I have to say, were in my own protection. When I was 15 I had a fight with two masters of the Musashi Ryu during which my eardrum was ruptured. This later stopped me from joining the army. When I was seventeen my family had a match factory. During this time an elderly man by the name of Ishitani called by the factory using a bokken as a walking stick. He was a famous martial artist, but as with all other martial artists he could not earn a living from it during this period. So my family employed him as a guard at the factory. Together with another person we made a dojo at the factory and Ishitani Sensei began teaching us Kuki Happo Biken no Jutsu as well as other arts including a variety of weapons such as swords, bo shuriken etc. Above all he trained

in the art of ninjutsu. He was already a very old man and after two years died upon my lap forever.

I trained in koppojutsu and this training is very difficult. At first you should train fingers and toes using sand. Next you use small pebbles and then a rock, at first your nails and fingertips will flow with blood; it will be very painful and difficult to persevere. I developed very strong fingers and toes from this practice, however this sort of training is useless nowadays and just a little makiwara training is sufficient. I say this because it is very easy to damage the joint causing problems in later life. I started my ninjutsu training when I was thirteen years of age. I began by using a plank of wood 3″ thick by 4m in length. I started with the plank at 45 degrees, gradually increased it to 60, then 70 and until I could run up it at 90 degrees. Ninjutsu is not only the art of invisibility. The wide ranged of techniques were only named after a long time had passed. The origin goes back to the pre-history period of the gods. The exact formation is very difficult, as I was not alive then.

The Kuki family kept registers of this period under the title of Kukishin Ryu Happo Biken Jutsu and they are part of the most advanced teachings of the Yagyu Ryu. Within the Iga Ryu it is also possible to find the Happo Biken Jutsu. It is the essence of the Ninjutsu. These are the Happo Biken Jutsu:

Taijutsu-Hichyo jutsu-Nawa nage

Karatejutsu, koppojutsu, jutaijutsu

So jutsu-Naginata jutsu

Bo jutsu-jo jutsu – hanbo jutsu

Senban Nage jutsu- Ken nage jutsu

Ka jutsu-Sui Jutsu

Chikujo Gunryakuheiho

Onshin Jutsu

Biken is the designation for the group comprising of kenjutsu, kodachijutsu and juttejutsu. The juttejutsu is the highest of the sword techniques. The offensive and defensive use of the tessen and the jutte are found in this category. There is also Toako no Jutsu which enables you to overcome an opponent from a distance. There are secret scrolls and books with explanations about this skill but they are hardly intelligible. There are three Kiai used, these are:

“A” – Which produces a breaking effect of the opponents Ki

“Ka” – Which produces the same effect in his technique

“Ei” – Which breaks body movement

Anyway, the most important thing is to keep the essence of a true heart. In the martial arts there is no need to concentrate only on the aspect of winning when fighting. However, not to commit one’s self to the fight is not a “martial art” – it is simply violence and such a person does not have an honest heart and is anti-humanist. Nowadays, there is a sport of Judo which concentrates upon the pleasure of fighting and the building up of their bodies. They only want to win and because of this they bend at their waist when fighting rather than maintaining their bodies upright. When I think of this judo sport, since its birth from real martial arts, I feel ashamed and it gives me a chilling sensation. A true martial artist wins by using the natural movements of the highest quality techniques and if one moves the body according to this theory then one will of course win. In martial arts you need three points; these are:

Body power

The learning of technique

The spirit power

    With these you can truly win.

After I had finished helping my father in his match factory I attended an English school by the name of George Bundow School. I also attended a Chinese culture school. After this I would train with Ishitani sensei in the art of Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu, as well as other arts. Seven generations before, his family had been the advisor to the famous Hattori Ninja Army.

When I had been training for some time I decided that I wanted to know more about ninjutsu, and myself so I went to a mountain known as Maya-san in Kobe prefecture. At the mountain I lived by a waterfall called Kamenotaki for a period of one year. I stayed in a cottage the size of two tatami mats and lived on beans with no boiled rice. My training partners were the rocks around my cottage. Sometimes I would exercise my finger tips by hitting the rocks. I would jump up on the rocks with my Kiai and then jump off. During this time I developed a special sense.

For instance: I could stand at the top of the mountain and know how many people were coming up, I could tell if they were men or women or otherwise. I became known as the “sennin” or “tengu” of the mountain.

I went to China during the Chin era and traveled through Mongolia and northern China for a period of about 10 years. During this period I met a Shorinji Boxer named Choshiro. We had a fight and I beat him. We became very close friends, like brothers. This is how I was introduced to the president of the Sino-Japanese Martial arts Association.

My memories of these times are a little bit confused, especially the exact dates and times but I do recall that I once decapitated someone. On one occasion I faced and fought a group of mountain bandits, which happened to be members of the local army division. I used ninjutsu on many occasions and was once tried for murder but proved my innocence (self-defence). I recall that one time I was walking through an area known as Santo-sho. It was pitch black and suddenly I could feel something coming at me from behind. I turned to look and saw a huge dog running straight at me. Before I could move he had lunged at me and his head was next to my left ear. He growled viciously but I did not move a muscle because I knew that if I did he would attack me. After a while he stopped, maybe because he knew that this human was not against him. At that instant I hit him right between the eyes with my right fist using my koppojutsu technique. He yelped for a second and then fell to the ground not moving at all.

This experience can also be applied against a human attacker. Always be ready for when your attacker drops his guard and then counter attack, without giving any warning or opportunity for a second chance. This is the way I handle this type of situation. I wait for my opponent to attack me and then I just wait for him to drop his guard or make him relax. This is an important point. The sak-ki, or intent to kill, is felt through a system comparable to radar. One who is not able to receive these transmissions will not be able to reach a state of higher quality martial artist.

This is what I can guarantee through my experiences, for so many times I have stepped over the line that separates life from death. This, with your techniques, is the line. I once fought a man who was very skilled in many techniques and after I had beaten him we sat down and talked. He indeed knew many techniques and many ways to stop techniques and I have to say that the names alone I would have easily forgotten. Truly he had a large amount of knowledge but this knowledge was wasted in the direction in which it was used. This is an important point when we talk of techniques. We are not talking about moving the body in an exact direction. There is a phrase in the Chinese book of strategy ‘UTSU RYU SHI’ that says how the victorious soldier is like water. This is because the water is both weak and soft and yet there can be a strong influence on it like a hill – even the hill can be decimated. On the surface it appears like the soft cannot win and yet soft can be stronger. This is like individual techniques; they are strong on the outside but weak within. If you know the name of a bird then you know nothing because this tells you nothing about the bird. The Kito Ryu in the early part of the Edo era was under Fuku No Shichiro Uemon Masakatsu (Yuzen) and Ibaragi Mata Zaimon Sensei (Toshifusa Sozen). Together they founded the Ryoi Shinto Ryu. This was the beginning of the Kito Ryu, then later Ibaragi sensei changed the name to the Ryoi Shinto Ryu. From the fourth generation, Master Takino had a very famous student called Kuki Nagato. This school eventually became known as Kuki Shin Ryu.

When I returned home from China my father had taken his 10th wife, so I went back to China where I became very ill(tapeworm?) and returned home to Japan. I then went to the Maya mountains. During that time I trained both karate and ninjutsu using my own theories. An old man of whom I know nothing, not even his name or who he was, taught me many things. He made the “to-in” sign together with a kiai and then said after two or three days the tapeworm will be gone. Within ten days he had me walking again. He taught me many things about myself and nature. After that year I thought back and realized that to do anything I needed money and therefore once again returned to China. In China I earned my living by teaching at the English school. I had over 100 students of the martial arts and during this time I taught many people the arts of war, but also taught them the arts of peace. I had many matches against very highly ranked martial artists and of these I did not lose once (although some were called to a draw). I left China having made a lot of money. I later became a monk but have to say that not all religions are good, the people within them become corrupted and then the religion itself becomes corrupted.

Sometimes when a crime was committed within my region the police would seek my help in solving the mystery. I was always able to do this and never once failed. Because of my knowledge and practical experience I have often done work for the government. This has only been in cases where it was for the good of my country and our people. Sometimes the work was very hard and dangerous.

With the period of change, I was asked to help form the Minoku Seinen Botoku-kai (present day Budokan). There were many masters on the organization mostly from old schools of martial arts. I was elected as president of the association. My official recognition was as a master of jutaijutsu and bojutsu. I have also helped on movie productions and at the theatre I have worked as a technical officer.

There are many who try to copy our skill and they do this badly. There are schools of the short stick (jojutsu) but they do not understand what I will tell you. Just as a man (ninja) can and does disguise himself so does the art of the stick. Since the jo is for travellers on the road, it is a means of self-defence. It is not nor has it ever been a weapon or tool of the battlefield. It is disguised as an aid in moving but is for self-defence. Jo-do is not for self-defence, it is for doing movements with the stick! They are too big and glamorous for self-defence; they have no taijutsu.

When I was president of the Seinen Botoku, many martial arts people would ask me if the “Do” was also a method of hiding the true techniques. I have always been honest and had to tell them that the “Do” is very different to “Jutsu” and not of any use save that of learning the dance of the Kabuki theatre. Sometimes you cannot find a master of the true arts and then whatever teacher you find will have to do. There are some people who give themselves a certificate of menkyo or higher but it is not the scroll that gives ability; it is one’s knowledge of past knowledge. These people surround themselves with government senators and high ranking people of authentic arts to make their own arts seem better. This is wrong. Often they use strength or say they have special powers to win but they lose anyway where it is more important – in their heart.

I have had many fights with these so-called masters not only with the body but with words. Two of them even swapped techniques to try and make their own styles but when I pointed out the error of this they denied any such thing. To train you must do so at any time in any condition. I remember my grandfather’s training hall was lit by candles and you had to use all of your senses to know who had entered and if they were friends or not.

Sometimes we would get ready for training and he would take us outside(in the winter). If you did not have your outside clothes on you would die from the cold so you had to know before. This also teaches bravery and courage. Use all your senses all of the time. You must train like fire because this is how the sword is made. If you sweat, this is like the cooling effect of the forging process. You must keep your vision broad even after practicing a skill for a long time. If you fail to see anything else then your vision will become narrow. If, when training, you think you are not learning then wait ten years and this will change.

On injuries; I have had too many to remember them all. If you truly have to fight for your life then this is bound to happen. Old scrolls talk of “katsu” or life giving powers. My teacher Ishitani (Kuki Shin Yo Ryu) became very ill and died in my arms. These skills could not help him as no one has such power. If you hurt your foot or your hands (limbs) then you must use water at different heat. Then you rub into the skin herbs from sweet plants. For the back you can roll on the floor to soften the joints between the bones. Sometimes it is good to have someone rub and push these joints. If you have lots of pain then you must dream about this because your body has the answer on its own. This is the eyes and ears of god.

You must drink plenty of water and still train even if you are in great pain. If you cannot leave your bed then train in the mind this is called “sankakujutsu”. Some people talk of breathing but I tell you that if you want to control your breathing then it will never become real (natural). When you eat, it is the same with breathing. You do not have to remember to stop breathing when you drink from a cup. Breath is the life force of the body I have heard people refer to it as the power of their technique. If so, I am very pleased for them! If they ever have to fight for three hours it would be nice to see them controlling how they use their air. Too much air will blur the eyes and mind so take care! 

The eight gates of the ninja are the way to train. I have trained in these for over 70 years and this is the true way.

Kokyuho 呼吸法

Kokyuho  呼吸法 are methods of various breathing practices in which the conscious control of breathing is said to influence a person’s mental, emotional or physical state, with therapeutic effect. 

In Ninpo Kokyuho is part of the internal training methods used to transcend the physical barriers of martial arts training. Therefore giving our practice a deeper meaning and developing our skills to a more sublime level. It’s important not confuse Kokyuho with Zen meditation.

Kokyu ho is also used for developing strong kiai. Through Kokyu ho, one learns how to let ki energy in the body circulate freely. When ki energy is in harmonization with physical action, kiai is usually manifested in a powerful yell. 

one example is to inhale all the air possible through the nose, then hold the air while putting pressure in the hara. Then exhale slowly through the mouth but still keep the pressure in the lower abdomen. This exercise is repeated numerous times for a couple of minutes.

Takamatsu Sensei stated the following:

“The primary point of being healthy is that the spine (背骨) and legs are strong/sturdy. In order to maintain this, the Bugeisha 武云者 (practitioner of the martial arts) had been acquainted with Hichibuku Goshinjutsu 秘致武九護身術. Saiminjutsu 催眠術 (hypnotism) techniques, Seishin Ryōhō 精神療法 (psychotherapy), and Kokyūhō 呼吸法 (breathing methods).“

Chugoku Kenpo 中国拳法

At Heiho Canada students are exposed to elements of the Chinese fighting and healing arts. Chinese arts have influenced the way Ninpo Bugei has evolved over the centuries. Tales regarding the Chinese master Chen who settled in Iga several hundred years ago and taught Quan Fa (Chinese Boxing) and military strategies. It is important to investigate such influences in order to understand the roots of Ninpo Bugei through cultural and historical changes.

Taiji Quan – Taijiquan is one of the major divisions of wushu. It consists of basic barehand exercises, exercises with long and short weapons, tuishou (push-hand) and sanshou (free hand) exercises. A whole set of theories has been built up for it. Facts have shown that regular practice helps to prevent and cure chronic diseases. The practice of Taiji also improves motor skills and develops awareness between body mind and limbs.

24-form tai chi chuan

The form was the result of an effort by the Chinese Sports Committee, which, in 1956, brought together four Taiji teachers – Chu GuitingCai LongyunFu Zhongwen, and Zhang Yu – to create a simplified form of Taiji as exercise for the masses. Some sources suggests that the form was structured in 1956 by master Li Tian Ji . The creators truncated the traditional family style Taiji forms to 24 postures; taking about six minutes to perform and to give the beginner an introduction to the essential elements of Taijiquan, yet retain the traditional flavor of traditional longer hand forms (in general, 88-108 postures). Henceforth, this form was avidly promoted by the People’s Republic of China for general exercise, and was also taught to internees in Communist “re-education” camps. Due to this official promotion, the 24-form is most likely the Taiji form with the most practitioners in China and the world over (though no surveys have been performed).

48-form tai chi chuan

The 48-form is traditionally taught divided into six sections, so you may focus on adding a small number of movements to your overall form gradually. 

The first section stresses basic hand and foot movements and the essential Peng, Lu, Ji, An (Ward Off, Rollback, Press, and Push). The second involves flexible changes in movements of body and legs with Turn Body to Thrust Palm as the focus. The third section has the first climax with many rises and falls and body turns with Slap Foot and Tame the Tiger as the focus. 

The fourth section centers around the challenging Right Heel Kick movement. The fifth focuses on Fair Lady Shuttles on both the left and right, requiring balance, suppleness, and coordination. The sixth section contains a great variety of hand forms, stances, and body movements such as Turn Body and Sweep Lotus, and the final climax of the form.

A Student’s perspective

1) Difference between Taijutsu and Goshin Jutsu.
Sensei Eduard invited the class to actively think about the class they had signed up for by asking them to express what they believed was the difference between Taijutsu and Goshin Jutsu. Why specifically study both? A few students offered their response. Sensei explained:

(Paraphrasing my understanding of the response): Taijutsu and Goshin Jutsu guide the student toward the same destination – the ability to defend oneself without thinking after having internalized the movements thousands of times. Taijutsu teaches us the principles of the movements through foundational movements and kata. We begin with “big” or exaggerated movements to learn the fundamentals such as balance, timing, and distancing. Over time, movements are shortened and applied in more practical terms for true fighting situations. Once Goshin Jutsu is mastered, these movements are no longer part of kata, they become a part of self. The body begins to respond automatically to situations of danger.

2) Winning by not fighting.

Sensei stressed the importance of one’s mindset and heart when learning Goshin Jutsu. Paradoxically, the objective of learning to fight is to never have to fight at all unless it becomes an absolute necessity. It’s best to avoid situations of conflict by being aware of one’s surroundings, changes in the emotions of those around us, and other potentially dangerous or harmful situations. Sensei also mentioned in passing that the principle of “avoiding” (avoiding danger and I suspect avoiding with movements) is central to the philosophy of Gyoko Ryu.

3) Protection of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Through training, a student learns more than mere (physical) self-defence. They are taught a complete system of protection. Protection of body, mind, and spirit. First, training teaches the protection of the body through waza and kata. Through ongoing training the student then learns to strengthen their mind in order to avoid being manipulated or tricked. Finally, the student learns to protect and strengthen their spirit. An ability that lets one see into the hearts of people with what Sensei calls “The eyes of God”.

4) Awareness of the Law.

Sensei also stressed the importance of the legal system in situation of physical violence. In this country, the police may protect the guilty as readily as they will protect the innocent. Younger teens are also more aware of their “rights” and it doesn’t take much to find oneself in trouble with the law. Police don’t do this because they intend to do harm to society, but they do want to uphold the law. It’s important to be aware of such things. Should a situation such as this arise, it may be better to contact the police first and let them know what transpired in order to better guide the legal outcome.

5) Always Remain Calm.

Confrontational situations often create feelings of fear, anxiety, and distress. It’s important to calm one’s mind (and spirit). Breathing is an important tool. Training teaches the student to deal with such situations gradually through increasingly dangerous, aggressive, and intense situations.

6) Use the unexpected to your advantage.

Throughout class Sensei demonstrated the advantage one can achieve through attacking from places the opponent cannot see. (Sensei demonstrated a number of examples throughout class which demonstrated this point).

7) Heaven and Hell.

Sensei shared a kuden (paraphrasing): “Above the blade there is hell. Under the blade there is heaven”. This statement was illustrated with techniques against an armed attacker. The uke (myself) would strike down towards Sensei and Sensei, instead of moving away, would move into my space eliminating all power while at the same time unbalancing my mind and my spirit. We must be brave and let go of fear to achieve such techniques.

8 ) The Line Between Right and Wrong.

Sensei explained that it’s important to truly understand the difference between right and wrong. It’s important not to lie to ourselves about what is right and what is wrong. And we should live accordingly. This makes me think of another class where Sensei talked about the challenges we face with the temptations of everyday life. We must learn to behave correctly despite not being sheltered from temptation as (for example) the monks in the mountains who train in peace and without distraction.

9) Mind Control.

Sensei demonstrated techniques that I dare call “mind control”. He could stop an attacker in the middle of an attack with a kiai, a feeling, an intention. I can only report what I saw. It’s difficult to discuss what actually happened here…

10) Tying it all Together.

After all of this, Sensei finished class by tying the class together. Now that the students had an opportunity to “taste” Goshin Jutsu, he once again discussed the concept of “no mind” and that this was where the path to Taijutsu led: a place where we could defend oneself without thinking and without fear. In the end Sensei concluded by stressing the importance of training in the fundamentals and to keep going.

Learning Ninjutsu and Budo in the 21st century?

This article was written with the hope to inspire and motivate those who do not have the opportunity to visit a traditional Dojo near them but are interested to undertake the study of Budo and realize on its many benefits of life enhancing journey.

Everybody knows that technological innovation is reshaping the world faster than ever before. The proof is in our devices which hold something close to the sum of humanity’s knowledge.

The biggest commodity in today’s world is “data” and “time”. With an exponential growth in technology and Information becoming hard to keep up with this means we are trying to keep up with information and lifestyle by managing our time. For everything we choose to do, there is an opportunity cost. In other words, doing one thing will require the sacrifice or neglecting of another.

So how do we find a balance between work and lifestyle where part of that lifestyle is our passion and commitment to learning Budo? 

2019 is the year of the Metal Rat. Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life so it happens that the characteristics the Rat aligns with that of our current lifestyles and aspirations. 

The key to keeping up with the rate of change is to prioritize, remain engaged, connected and network. It is our Masters wish that we foster and build on a community of friendship he created into the future. In order to do so members of this community need maintain basic human principles of respect, collaborate and sharing of information and knowledge. While maintaining all that we need to make sure we train the next generation of enthusiast.

For the longest time Budo was transmitted directly from master to disciple. This was the only way during turbulent times. Even now there are things that can not be transmitted publicly. However there is no longer a reason to hide everything. With the world population nearing 8 Billion there are many sincere individuals around the world eager to learn Japanese Budo and culture that do not have the means or access to a physical dojo near them. 

The beauty of technology today is that it allows those individuals the opportunity to study   directly and in real time with qualified teacher. It’s common knowledge that you can not learn everything online however you can get individuals to a level where they are self motivated to explore and dig deeper beyond the confined of their screens. History is full of tales of disciples discovering a master and taking tutelage only for the master to move on shortly after. So no 2 students of old were created equally. The same can be said to modern times.  I have seen several honest and eager students that were able to grow and develop through online training much better then local students training at the Dojo. These individuals are contributing positively to their communities.

It may not be the most perfect and preferred approach but its a way for more individuals to get engaged. If you are interested in a such a program please reach us through our website or our various social media platforms.

NINJUTSU HIKETU-BUN 忍術秘訣文

The original translation is very deep and spiritual and may be tough for the general public to understand. I therefore provide a modern approach translation while still maintaining the essence so everyone can enjoy regardless of experience.

Through martial arts strategy the skills of self protection can be used to protect oneself ( Body/mind). However the highest level of defence can be reached through Ninjutsu ( spirit). It is important to establish good ethical background. If do not maintain the correct attitude (spirit) in the martial way you are likely to cause yourself or others injury or death. If we use medicine as an analogy it’s primary function is to aid in healing however if one develop dependencies beyond the prescribed use, it can lead to imbalance causing harm. The same with food… We need food to sustain life. However excessive use through overeating or eating unhealthy will destroy our body. Politicians have the responsibility to serve and protect their citizens. However if a politician is consumed with too much desire and greed or lack of wisdom it will cause imbalance within its constituents and country. The same is true for religion; if a religion is true and sincere, then it can aid people to achieve balanced living and help society prosper. If a master of the martial arts is to truly study Ninjutsu he must learn the  secret of Kanjin Kaname and develop the foresight of Shinshin Shingan. Through attaining this wisdom and character one can walk in the path righteousness. For man this is called having faith and follow natural laws. 

The use of the five elements of Moku / Ka / Do / Kin / Sui (Wood / Fire / Earth / Metal / Water) gives insight to the dependencies of existence. With nature the seasons come into existence. If any of the seasons contain imbalance then nature will need to find a way to correct itself. When human beings follow a righteous, sincere and correct life then they can be in harmony with nature and the divine. Understanding these Universal Laws one can live with harmony with all living beings.This is having the wisdom of foresight to see things for what they really are.

It is a prerequisite for a Ninja to be righteous and have this understanding. To be able to study Ninjutsu one must be able have this wisdom of foresight and tell the difference between right or wrong. It is said that Ninjutsu  originated through Cho Busho and Cho Gyokko. Though these founders many theories came about. It is said they brought with them and transmitted the knowledge of Karate Hicho Jutsu, Koppo Jutsu, Senban Nage Jutsu and other skills. These later formed the foundation of Ninjutsu.

Those who followed their teachings were able to attain this wisdom and foresight through rigorous training and meditation. There is a a reference to a place where famous masters obtained enlightenment. This place still exist to this day. In the past this place was called Tojin Iwa.

One of the many skills they developed was to use their willpower to subdue their opponent. This development took place in the Iga area and through warriors from Fujiwara, Minamoto, and Taira Clans who sought refuge in the mountains of Iga the art naturally evolved to what its known today,  The formation of Happo Biken Jutsu was transmitted through generations.  It is said that martial art which uses the number 9 and has 9 methods or ways makes for absolute victory.


Bujinkan Dojo Guidelines

First of all, only those persons who consent to this Bujinkan Dojo agreement and are resolved to adhere to it will be allowed to join. Persons who think they cannot adhere to it will not be allowed to join. Accordingly,

  1. Only persons who have carefully read this Bujinkan Dojo agreement and agree to it will be allowed to join.
  2. Only persons who are able to show the determined consistency of true persevering self-control as martial artists will be allowed to join.
  3. A physician’s medical report is required. In particular, persons who are mentally
    unhealthy, persons addicted to drugs, and those who are mentally abnormal will not be allowed to join. The “requirement of a physician’s medical report” includes, for example, persons having illnesses which risk the prevention of the pursuit of martial arts, and the kind of abnormal personalities, abnormal physical constitutions, etc. which the person cannot personally control.
  4. Persons having a past criminal record will not be admitted. Additionally, persons who behave in a delinquent fashion, persons who commit crimes, and persons who cannot keep the law in Japan will also not be permitted to join.
  5. Persons who do not keep the rules of the Bujinkan, who, as both students and members of society, commit shameful acts will be expelled. For example, there are many persons who, in the past, came to Japan and knocked at the gate of the Bujinkan, but were drunken brawlers, mentally abnormal, those who by their delinquent behavior put their own thoughts first and did not think about the trouble they were causing for others, those who pursued evil desires and committed acts contrary to the traditionally righteous attitude of the Bujinkan. All such people will be subject to expulsion.
  6. With regard to any accidents incurred during training, either in the dojo or another location, only persons who can avoid causing trouble for the Bujinkan will be allowed to join. This is an important matter. Accidents are inseparable from the pursuit of martial arts, and persons who cannot resolve these matters themselves will absolutely not be admitted. To clarify a second time, the Bujinkan Dojo will assume absolutely no responsibility for accidents arising during the course of training, no matter what the location.
  7. Persons who have joined the Bujinkan must be sure to have the membership card which is issued every year. This is to preserve the honor of Bujinkan members and, as nobility with the peace of the martial heart, to show that warriors of friendship protect the great way of the Bujinkan Dojo by the gathering of comrades who have the heart of the martial artist. The power of warrior virtue, the proven reason for the loyalty, filial piety and love of friends in the martial arts.
  8. The tradition of the Bujinkan is something which shows the universality of nature and the life of the human race, and is that pursuit of martial arts which enlightens the natural mysteries that exist in them.
    “Know that the secret of taijutsu is the foundation of peace If you study this, you can walk the path of the immovable heart (fudoshin).”   Dojo Instruction:
    1. Know that perseverance is, first of all, for but a brief period of time.
    2. Know that the path of man is justice.
    3. Forget the heart of greed, comfort, and discrimination (reliance).
    4. Consider sorrow and bitterness to be natural laws, and simply take advantage of the enlightenment of the immovable heart.
    5. With a steady heart, do not stray from the path of loyalty and filial piety, aspire deeply to the ways of both literary and martial arts.
    The rule of the Dojo is to keep the above 5 laws. Meid?i 23 (1890) First Day of Spring, Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu
    Showa 33 (1958) A Lucky Day in March, Takamatsu Toshitsugu Uou
    Hatsumi Masaaki Byakuryuu
  9. After joining, beginning with Taijutsu,
    • Kyu grades: Beginner
    • 1st dan through 5th dan: Heaven
    • 6th dan through 10th dan: Earth
    • 11th dan through 15th dan: Man
    • Ranks from 11th dan through 15th dan of the “Man” level will be divided into 5 levels: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void, and will be the highest ranks in Bujinkan Dojo Happo Biken.
    • The 5th dan examination is of a spiritual nature and is something which is done by Soke. A 15th dan will be considered to be a true shihan.

Currently, the Bujinkan Dojo has become worldwide in nature. Just as the Earth has time zones, taboos also exist according to each country and race. Buyu should hold each other in respect, working together as Buyu who do not commit taboos, putting the heart of the martial artist first, placing importance on the pursuit of the martial arts, and strive to become a virtuous person. The person who cannot hold to the above will be expelled.

Bujinkan Dojo
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi
(Martial Name: Hisamune)

Togakure Ryu Ninpo Happo Biken 34th Head
Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu Happo Biken 28th Head
Koto Ryu Koppojutsu Happo Biken 18th Head
Shindenfudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu Happo Biken 26th Head
Kukishin Ryu Taijutsu Happo Biken 28th Head
Takagiyoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu Happo Biken 17th Head
Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo Happo Biken 14th Head
Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo Happo Biken 21st Head
Gikan Ryu Koppo Happo Biken 15th Head

The Spirit of Yamato in the world of modern Budo

The Spirit of Yamato in the world of modern Budo
Japanese paper (washi 和紙) is one of the several symbols of Japanese culture and spirit. It is made using fibers from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub (Edgeworthia papyrifera), or the paper mulberry. Washi comes from wa which refers to Japanese and shi meaning paper. The process is very precise and requires skills and knowledge held by a handful of families throughout Japan. However, due to the “modernization” of society and technology, the lengthy process, and declining interest/appreciation by younger generation is slowly causing the tradition to erode. It was during a discussion about this subject with my Shodo (calligraphy) teacher that I was reminded once again about the importance of Yamato Damashi and subsequently sparked the interest to write this article. Sensei mentioned that although Japanese paper can be made by a more “cost efficient ways” and may look like Japanese paper it cannot be called one. The reason for this is that the traditional way of producing paper is done with the “correct spirit”. This “spirit” cannot be achieved with technology but rather through passing knowledge from teacher to student by word of mouth. This “spirit/attitude” is connected to any action in ones daily life and is especially prevalent in the world of Budo.
Yamato-damashii 大和魂 (“the Japanese spirit”) is a historical and cultural, developed in the Heian period which set the premises of describing Japanese spirit and attitude achieved by following the ‘way’ of the people. This term is often contrasted with the knowledge and scholarship imported into Japan from China. It can be also understood as ‘The Soul of Old Japan’. ‘For this national type of moral character was invented the name Yamato-damashi
Yamato-damashii refers to “Japan or Japanese”. The characters for Yamato (大和) translates as great harmony. Wa (倭 or 和) is Japan’s oldest endonym and derives from the Han Dynasty Chinese exonym Wō 倭 “Japan, Japanese”. This character 倭, which graphically combines the 亻 “human, person” radical and a wěi 委 “bend” Japanese scribes replaced the Chinese character 倭 for Wa “Japan” with Wa 和 “harmony; peace”.
Soke has also mentioned “Tamashii”. Most commonly translated as “soul”, we may also acknowledge that in order to understand the duty of fudoumyo, we must accept fully the teachings to understand the soul of bushido
Developing the soul of budo is the aim of the true budoka. This is far more important to me than continually learning new skill sets. While training, we will inevitably learn new waza. However, if there is no soul or heart to the movement, there is ultimately nothing, only an empty shell. This is part of the reason we recite the Ninja Seishin and a special verse every class.
Damashi or Tamashi is closely related to the theme of the year, Sai no Kon Ki. In this theme Utsuwa also can imply a person of high calibre or capacity. A person may have Saino & Tamashii, 魂but must have the caliber to understand, unify, and use these together in harmony to their full potential.
This type of ‘spirit’ is of extreme importance in the world Budo and Ninpo. In essence if you do this type of Budo without this type of attitude you may not be doing Japanese Budo but rather your own interpretation of it. It’s not something that can be seen necessarily or even understood. It is more like being able to absorb it with the whole body over time. To further explain what it is that is being referred to let’s look at air. It cannot be seen, touched or felt yet everyone knows it exists and we need it to sustain life. Another analogy would be that one cannot cook any kind of ethnic food without being able to fully absorb the process, flavour, taste and customs associated. There is a story about an individual moved to Japan to study Japanese paper making and was asked about the subject after training for several years. His reply was that although I have been learning how to make paper for quite some time I have yet to achieve the required spirit associated with it and as such cannot call the paper I am making Japanese. it would probably require additional time to acquire this essence. In Ninpo, when you perform a waza without this type of spirit it in essence loses its flavour and authenticity. Many of the modern Budo and sport martial arts may seem attractive to many but are truly deviating from the source.
This is not an easy concept to understand especially for a person who was not born and educated with this type of mentality. It also easy to ignore this type of attitude as it requires in some cases an adjustment to ones perspective and conduct. The truth is not always easy to accept but as practitioners of Ninpo we strive to polish our spirit through training and follow the righteous heart. I encourage you to dig deep and discover the true essence and spirit of our Budo.