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The Ninjutsu Connection

October 9, 2013

The Bujinkan is well-known for ninjutsu, and because I wanted that I joined the Bujinkan. But where is the ninjutsu in the Bujinkan?

Officially, the Bujinkan is made up of 9 ryu-ha (schools, traditions), but only 6 have been taught to a great degree. And out of the 6, Togakure-Ryu is a ninjutsu school. As far as I know, Togakure-Ryu techniques only come out in the last section of the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki (the official syllabus of the Bujinkan). This tells me:

1)      They are an important part of the Bujinkan. Many teachers use that syllabus as a requirement for black belt. Which means that a shodan (first-dan black belt) should be familiar with those techniques.

2)      They are challenging, as they come at the very end of the syllabus. They require a student to have good kamae as well as a decent grasp of the gyaku waza (locks) and te hodoki (hand/grab escapes). This suggests that a student needs to have other skills in place before attempting to learn these.

So do we find the traces of ninja in the Bujinkan, other than in Togakure-Ryu? We find them in Gyokko-Ryu and Koto-Ryu.

If you examine the lineage (list of Soke) for both of these schools, before they passed to the Toda family (which also held Togakure-Ryu) you will see that they were held by the Momochi family, a famous ninja clan from the Iga region of Japan. This tells me that they trained in those two schools and found them useful in their training and preparation for active deployment.

That is why over the course of this year I have been working with you all on the basics from Gyokko-Ryu as a foundation for our taijutsu.

What does this mean for us?

During my classes, you know that I almost never referred to ninja or ninjutsu in my teaching. I never felt I could do it justice. But after my Japan trip, I believe I am better prepared to work with you people on the Togakure-Ryu material now.

So that is what we will be working on for the rest of the year. I can’t tell how it will work out, because I don’t know how you people will take to the material. But it will be OK. Let’s go for it and let the chips fall where they may.

Let’s go ninja-style!

 

Junjie
俊傑 (Shunketsu)
Singapore

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