Our organization is called the Bujinkan Dojo. According to our traditions, it is comprised of nine schools of combat arts that developed and evolved during the Heian, Kamakura, and Muromachi periods in Japan [c.800-1560 AD]. According to our traditions, these schools became the foundation of the warrior techniques and strategies of the ninja clans that operated primarily out of the mountains and valleys of south central Japan prior to the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The Bujinkan Dojo is an international organization with members worldwide in more than 30 countries, with skilled teachers and practitioners in Japan, North America, Canada, Latin America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Israel. Our Grandmaster is Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, PhD. He was born in 1931, and for many years earned his living as a bone doctor, or osteopath. According to our traditions, he is the 34th Grandmaster in an unbroken succession of masters dating back to the 11th century.
Dr. Hatsumi is the Soke or Head of the Family of these nine traditional Japanese schools or styles. These schools include Shindenfudo Ryu, Togakure Ryu Ninpo, Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo, Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, and Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo. According to our traditions, these schools were entrusted to the Toda family some time after the end of the Warring States period in the middle of the 17th century. This "Warring States PeriodÓ in Japan [c. 1467 to 1568] was one of the periods during which the ninja clans were extremely active. The schools of Kukishinden Ryu Happo Bikenjutsu, Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu, and Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu were also inherited by Takamatsu Sensei, Dr. Hatsumi's teacher and mentor, and were passed on to him before Takamatsu Sensei died in 1972. Each of these nine schools has its own specific ideas, techniques, and tools for approaching a given situation. They contain enormous amounts of information, ideas, and strategies that were developed as part of their unique history.
By the time a student has trained for a few years, they will be exposed to a wide variety of principles and skills. Each level of training will have a general focus and will include specific tools to be learned at that level. The focus of our beginner level is defense and basic survival. We will learn various ways of standing, moving, walking, jumping, getting out of the way, rolling, tumbling, various punches and kicks, and the use of basic weapons. It will therefore include learning these basic skills:
Stretching and flexibility,
How to move correctly in order to get out of the way.
Punching, kicking, basic postures,
Basic throws, chokes, and joint locks.
Ground hitting or tumbling skills
We will learn to receive the opponent's attack without being injured or inhibiting our ability to escape and survive the attack. We will also include training in the short and long staff, basic knife defenses, and other weapons.
Our beginning training will seek to develop quality footwork and correct, stable posture, the ability to sense timing, and the capacity to evaluate and use proper distance. With this new set of skills, we will be able to counter-attack or flee the encounter or crisis. There are many forms of danger other than someone simply trying to punch at you. Our goal is to recognize danger in all forms, be it physical, moral, or spiritual; and to defend ourselves, with survival as the main goal.
Dr. Hatsumi has told us that the goal of our training is more than self-defense; it is the development of a benevolent heart. We are not interested in training people that want to be bullies. We are interested in developing people with good hearts and a spirit confident enough to willingly walk away from a potential fight. Dr. Hatsumi has directed us on many occasions to not teach people with bad hearts.
Although we study a Japanese art, we do not participate in any Buddhist, Confucian, or Shintoist practices, which are an integral part of the Japanese culture. Dr. Hatsumi has told us that we should respect the taboos and points of view of various cultures.