Monday, 8 May 2017

Introduction to Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu

Bujinkan Grandmaster Hatsumi Masaaki
   Previously, I had given you a short introduction to Bujinkan in my post Introduction: Bujinkan at the start of my blog. Indeed that was just for a total beginner or novice to let him/her understand what Bujinkan is and it was also my intention to define the purpose of this blog. Now going more towards the actual business, I am going to post in detail about the structure of the system of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu i.e its fields, levels, ranks and training methods.
   'Bujinkan' consists of three sub-words: 'Bu' meaning 'warrior'; 'Jin' meaning 'Godly/divine' and 'Kan' meaning 'hall', hence it gives the complete meaning roughly as 'Divine Warriors' Hall'. Similarly in 'Budō', 'Bu' means warrior while 'dō' means 'way', hence, Budō simply means 'way of warrior' or 'martial way'; and in 'Taijutsu', 'Tai' roughly means 'free body' while 'Jutsu' means 'technique', hence, Taijutsu means 'free body techniques'. Now going further into the details, 'Bujinkan' is the name of the system or organization that has collected the arts of ninpō and bujutsu into one curriculum; 'Budō' is the name of martial system(s) in general, while, 'Taijutsu' is a branch or part of it which deals mostly with unarmed combat.
   So Bujinkan as a combination of arts from three ninpō ryū-ha and six bujutsu ryu-ha consists of 9 sub-systems, each from the specific ryū-ha. These are:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Top 5 Fake Ninja Grandmasters

   "I see the problem with all these fakes is that they do not want to be just ninjas, they want to be called the ninja grandmasters because they want the money and fame associated with it and they want it quick and easy".
   I have put earlier in my post 'The Story of A Pakistani Ninja', the case of F.A. Shah and his disciples claiming to be teaching ninjutsu and disproved their claims. I have also published earlier 'The 12 Misconceptions About Ninja & Ninjutsu' to point out the twelve greatest misconceptions people have about ninja and ninjutsu. There you will see that I stated important points especially in the section 'Ninjutsu is a martial art.' where I have said, "many fake ninjutsu masters or teachers take advantage of the fame of ninja and Bujinkan ninjutsu so as to fool young minds, by teaching them a combination of martial arts they know and call it ninjutsu" and I have also said that the most famous of these fake masters live in U.S and Japan. Thus, as I had said that I will discuss this in a separate post, today I have brought the list of five of those fake masters claiming to be teaching traditional or true form of ninjutsu.
But before that let me list three of those main reasons or misconceptions due to which people fall into the trap of such fakes. These are: 1. Thinking that ninjutsu is a martial art; 2. Wearing the black gi, performing entertaining acts with body or weapons, and 3. Claiming a lineage linking back to Japan or Korea. I would also like to list the three questions that you can simply ask these self-proclaimed grandmasters of ninjutsu to refute their claims; these are:

Friday, 21 October 2016

Ninjutsu and Islam

Dervish Warrior
   Ninjutsu made its origin earlier than Islam and is heavily influenced by the teachings from Bhuddism, Taoism and Confucianism. Islam is a Way of Virtue (and not only a religion) just like Bushido and it contains rulings on the proper behavior of the people who follow this way while ninjutsu is a set of deceptive techniques, from a general look. Thus it seems natural for analysts to assume that it (ninpō) may contain such teachings which are against the Shari'ah of Islam and thus practicing or performing ninjutsu may be Haraam (Unlawful) in Islam, especially when it contains such elements as Spying, Deception, Assassinations, Fighting, Spirituality aimed at gaining supernatural powers, Magic, Divination, Astronomy and Astrology. On the other hand, some ignorant will say that Islam allows everything in war. Both Islam and ninjutsu are heavily misunderstood not only by the 'outsiders' but also by the 'insiders' of them. Some of the misconceptions commonly found about ninjutsu have been already discussed in the post The 12 Misconceptions About Ninja & Ninjutsu. Clearing misconceptions about Islam and Jihad are out of the scope of this site.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Iga vs Koga Shinobi

Iga vs Koka Shinobi

   Shinobi existed throughout Japan but these two villages of Iga and Koka (now called Koga) became the breeding centers for the history's most furious ninja including Hattori Hanzō, Fujibayashi Nagato, Momochi Sandayu, Fuma Kotaro and Natori Masatake. The reason for this is that the two regions were independent of the shogunate rule and didn't have a shugo (governor appointed by Shogun) to oversee them (if existed then only by name). Hence in these villages, respective clans formed alliance to have free rein and appoint their own leader by mutual consultation. Thus they were independent to form their own armies and strong fortresses as per way they wished.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Rokugu- The 6 Basic Shinobi Tools

A Good Example of the Use of Shinobi Tools
   Rokugu (lit. six tools) are the six basic Shinobi tools that are essential to the gear of ninja/shinobi. These are the tools that a shinobi must always carry on all of his/her missions, all of them. These tools help in many of the common situations a ninja faces. Although there exists variations and types between the tools of each school in their shape, color, material or extent, the basic form and use of them had been the same through all the schools and regions of shinobi like Iga, Koka, Togakure-ryu.
   Unfortunately, none of the weapons or tools, which are famously portrayed to be the essential gear of the ninja like ninja sword, shuriken, blow pipe, shinobi shozoku, smoke bombs e.t.c, makes it to this list of six essential shinobi tools other than the Kaginawa (hooked rope).

   The six basic shinobi tools (Rokugu) are:

1. Amigasa -straw hat: The amigasa is a straw hat used to cover face or to change appearance. Through it you can see other people but they can not see your face. When not using it, you can carry it on your back, however, it is more advisable to carry it on your chest.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Gokan- The 5 Types of Spies (Shinobi)


   Go (Jap.) means 'five', kan (Chin.) means 'spy' -Gokan: five (types of) spies, also called Tókan or Wujián. These are the five types of spies discussed by Sun Tzu in the 13th Chapter of his book Bingfa- Art of War and are supposedly defined so since the time of Huángdi -Yellow Emperor of China. Master Natori Masatake also describes these five types of spies in his book Shoninki.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Seishin- The Correct Mind

   Sei means 'Right'/'Correct'/'True' while Shin means 'inside'/'heart'/'mind'/'spirit'/'god'/'divine'. Thus it means 'Correct Spirit', 'Correct Heart' or 'Correct Mind' for its complete meaning in our context. It's the first and the most important principle of ninjutsu and hence the first step towards becoming a ninja is to develop 'Seishin' before you can go further.
   If you lack 'seishin', you differ no other than common people who can do similar tasks. All your techniques are useless if you don't have developed the 'Seishin' and you are not worthy of being called a ninja because all your techniques will then be for your personal purposes, desires and freewill.
   As Momochi Sandayu says, "Ninjutsu is not something which should be used for personal desires. It is something which should be used when no other choice is available, for the sake of one's country, for the sake of one's lord, or to escape personal danger.  If one deliberately uses it for the sake of personal desires, the techniques will indeed fail totally".

   Even if it's about escaping personal danger to save your life, you should do it so only because saving your own life may help you save ten more. If you save your own life at the cost of leaving ten more in danger then that is not some thing worth of a true shinobi, and a samurai.
   The practice of Seishin helps you be decisive and flexible in the most difficult times so you wouldn't have to think more on the situation. If you haven't kept your heart under the blade then you haven't fulfilled the true meaning of shinobi, which can be achieved by the use of Seishin and that's why it's so important. Not only in Shinobi traditions but the practice of Seishin first is the part of some Samurai Traditions too.