"You may not be able to understand things if you only see them in a video or a book. Only with training will you come to understand the key points and the essence".
Soke Masaaki Hatsumi
The Bujinkan is an international martial arts organization based in Japan and headed by Masaaki Hatsumi. The combat system taught comprises nine separate ryūha, or schools, which are collectively referred to as Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu. Masaaki Hatsumi uses the term Budo (meaning martial way) as he says the ryūha are descended from historical samurai schools that teach samurai martial tactics and ninjutsu schools that teach ninja tactics
The nine warrior school of the Bujinkan are:
- Togakure Ryu Ninpo
- Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu
- Shinden Fudo Ryu Daken-taijutsu
- Kukashinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu
- Takagiyoshin Ryu Ju-taijutsu
- Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo
- Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo
- Gikan Ryu koppojutsu
- Koto Ryu Koppo Jutsu
Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu training has as its primary objective self-preservation. It does not include participation in competitions or contests, as the training aims to develop the ability to protect oneself and others using techniques that focus on disabling an attacker (and/or removing their desire/ability to continue) as quickly and efficiently as possible having a constant awareness of weapons that could be used by attackers. The range of weapons practiced covers pretty much the entire range of traditional martial arts weapons utilising techniques that have been passed down through the generations from the feudal era of Japan.
This training is conducted in a manner in which there are predefined "attackers" (tori) and "receivers" (uke) similar to drills in judo (gokyo) or traditional Japanese martial arts. However, the Bujinkan differs from many traditional martial arts in that the training progresses through the following stages:
Predefined sets of movements (kata) and physical conditioning
Variations to the fixed drills (henka), responding to changes in the attacker's movements or situation
Free form training (randori) consisting mostly of spur-of-the-moment, dynamic techniques during which the defender hits, locks, chokes or throws the attacker in a controlled and safe manner
More advanced training consists of controlling the attacker's mind using various techniques such as pain compliance, confusion and deception.
Training is done in a manner that safeguards against the risk of permanent injury, whilst keeping the objective of preservation of the self and family clearly at the fore.
The Bujinkan does not adhere to any official guideline or set of rules to limit actions or techniques used during training. The approach used in the Bujinkan includes gaining compliance through pain and utilising potentially damaging techniques in order to survive dangerous situations rather than focusing on winning a competition or evenly matched duel. As a result, many of the staple responses of a Bujinkan student would not be allowed in most competitions. Bujinkan techniques and principals are widely practiced and utilized by law enforcement, government agencies, military and military contractors, and those in private security.