Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu – Japanese Martial Arts Explained

Bujinka Budo Taijutsu, or Warrior God Training Hall, is a form of martial art that is often referred to as Ninjutsu in western world. However, they are not the one and the same, although Bujinka’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Japanese martial arts of Ninjutsu. There are similaries between the two, such as both being combat martial arts with heavy emphasis on using various weaponry to defend oneself.

Main thing to understand is that Ninjutsu as a whole is a term used to encompass all disciplines that ancient Ninjas trained and mastered in, including horsemanship and disguising. Bujinka Budo Taijutsu, on the other hand, focuses on unarmed and weaponry training.

practitioners of Bujinkan sparringMany practitioners first become interested in Bujinkan because of the allure of training in combat like the Ninjas. Founder of this martial arts dojo is Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the 34th Grandmaster of the Togakure Ryu, who have pioneered series of techniques and combat skills work to form a modern version of the ancient arts. Hatsumi sensei intended Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu to be a fully functioning and practical form of Ninjutsu, stripping away all the tactics and strategy that are relevant in today’s world.

With emphasis on teaching how to respond in combat situations in real world scenario, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is one of few martial arts that can be used as a legitimate self-defense. However, the ultimate goal as a Budo practitioners in this ancient martial art is to master yourself and hone self-discipline that can be applicable to everyday life.

Despite what the popular cultures may stereotype martial arts as mystical ancient combat arts, its core purpose has always been self-improvement. Any long-term practitioners of martial arts will be the first to volunteer to state that the they will show the greatest restraint in participating in any combat activity. True strength comes from ability to resist striking an aggressor and simply leave the scene in a safe and respectful way.

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu became popularized in United States when Sensei Hatsumi introduced and spread his martial arts in the 80s. This has no doubtable has had a significant interest of general American public in not only martial arts but the art of Ninjutsu. Today, Bujinkan dojos can be found all around the world and has a vibrant community of teachers and students alike practicing this ancient martial art.

grandmaster masaaki hatsumi holding a combat poleThe code of the Bujinkan reads like not something you’d expect out of a martial arts discipline, but a guideline for life as well. It reads:

  1. To know that patience comes first
  2. To know that the path of Man comes from justice
  3. To renounce avarice, indolence, and obstinacy
  4. To recognize sadness and worry as natural, and to seek the immovable heart.
  5. To not stray from the path of loyalty and brotherly love, and to delve always deeper into the heart of Budo

The full guideline of Bujinkan, written by Masaaki Hatsumi, can be found here on the official website.

Like many other martial arts, there are hierarchical progression levels to Bujinkan, with distinctions of Kyu and Dan. How they are given out and progressed is dependent on the dojo and the instructor. Traditionally in the discipline, there are three primary Gi: white, green and black.