Biography of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, Founder of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

If you’re a martial arts fan in the true sense and not just from Hollywood, you may recognize the name of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. If not, that means he has done a great job of hiding in the shadows. Dr. Hatsumi is well known ninja grandmaster and of many other martial art forms. He is also well known for other aspects in life and around the world. He was the President of the Writers Guild of Japan. He has been known to play guitar and ukulele. He is a well accomplished singer and musician. According to the Bujinkan Kuki Taisho Dojo, “he holds black belts in several arts, including judo, karate, kendo, aikido and jojustsu and studied boxing”

The Birth of Masaaki Hatsumi and Break from martial arts

Born on December 2,1931 in Noda City, Yoshiaki Hatsumi would go to Meiji University in Tokyo and graduate with a major in theater studies and as a bone doctor. He would change his name to Masaaki. At the tender age of seven, “Hatsumi would grab his father’s sword and took up martial arts. It was a Bokken training blade, crafted from the biwa word” according to

He became passionate about martial arts, he studied everything that he could. He studied Judo, Kendo, Karate, Aikido, Okinawan Karate and others. He would reach 4th degree black belt in Judo and in the 50’s this was a very rare achievement for a student that was barely 20. Proving that he could dedicate himself to task and persevere through some hard conditions. He started to work with US Soldiers, he felt he needed to re look at the value of traditional martial arts, because of the larger and stronger Americans.

This was due to the techniques they learned under his command. He went on a search for a modern arts training program, in which warrior art skills were more important than age, size and strength. A decade past studying other arts from Yashiro Sensei of Shinden Ryu School. He also studied Shido Tenshin Ryu as well with Takashi Ueno. Takashi Ueno recommended Hatsumi to Toshitsugu Takamatsu.

The Path of the Ninja Grandmaster

After meeting Master Takamatsu, Dr. Hatsumi would study under him for the last 15 years of Takamatsu’s life. He learned the Nine secret traditions passed onto him as a blood born heir. According to the Saint Louis Bujinkan Dojo “Takamatsu and Masaaki were in a room, Takamatsu instructed Hatsumi to close his eyes before he left the room and to have them remain that way. Masaaki listened to him leave the room, go downstairs but couldn’t hear Takamatsu re entered the sitting area.

Takamatsu onrush Hatsumi from behind with a live short sword using , one vertical and one horizontal cut. Hatsumi said that he kept his eyes closed, knew something was incorrect and moved to the right. Then for no reason rolled ahead. Takamatsu instructed Hatsumi that he had sakki and gifted the sword to Hatsumi. Takamatsu presented Hatsumi the Menkyo Kaiden.” Later on in life he founded the Bujinkan Dojo.