Ετυμολογία & Φιλοσοφία
Sometimes used interchangeably with the modern term ninpō (忍法), is the strategy and tactics of unconventional warfare, guerrilla warfare and espionage purportedly practiced by the ninja. Ninjutsu was a separate discipline in some traditional Japanese schools, which integrated study of more conventional martial arts (taijutsu) along with shurikenjutsu, kenjutsu, sōjutsu, bōjutsu and others.
While there is an international martial arts organization representing several modern styles of ninjutsu, the historical lineage of these styles is disputed. Some schools claim to be the only legitimate heir of the art, but ninjutsu is not centralized like modernized martial arts such as judo or karate. Iga Ryu claims to be the oldest recorded form of ninjutsu, and claims to have survived past the 16th century.
Spying in Japan dates as far back as Prince Shōtoku (572–622). According to Shōninki, the first open usage of ninjutsu during a military campaign was in the Genpei War, when Minamoto no Kuro Yoshitsune chose warriors to serve as shinobi during a battle. This manuscript goes on to say that during the Kenmu era, Kusunoki Masashige frequently used ninjutsu. According to footnotes in this manuscript, the Genpei War lasted from 1180 to 1185, and the Kenmu Restoration occurred between 1333 and 1336. Ninjutsu was developed by the samurai of the Nanboku-cho period, and further refined by groups of samurai mainly from Kōka and the Iga Province of Japan in later periods.
Throughout history, the shinobi were assassins, scouts, and spies who were hired mostly by territorial lords known as daimyō. Despite being able to assassinate in stealth, the primary role was as spies and scouts. Shinobi are mainly noted for their use of stealth, and deception. They would use this to avoid direct confrontation if possible, which enabled them to escape large groups of opposition.
Many different schools (ryū) have taught their unique versions of ninjutsu.
An example of these is the Togakure-ryū, which claims to have been developed after a defeated samurai warrior called Daisuke Togakure escaped to the region of Iga. He later came in contact with the warrior-monk Kain Doshi, who taught him a new way of viewing life and the means of survival (ninjutsu).
Ninjutsu was developed as a collection of fundamental survivalist techniques in the warring state of feudal Japan. The ninja used their art to ensure their survival in a time of violent political turmoil. Ninjutsu included methods of gathering information and techniques of non-detection, avoidance, and misdirection. Ninjutsu involved training in free running, disguise, escape, concealment, archery, and medicine. Skills relating to espionage and assassination were highly useful to warring factions in feudal Japan. At some point, the skills of espionage became known collectively as ninjutsu, and the people who specialized in these tasks were called shinobi no mono.
Almost all of the martial arts/ryuha in the Bujinkan are listed with their historical lineages in the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten (Encyclopedia of Martial Art Schools, researched by Watatani Kiyoshi and Yamada Tadashi and first published in 1963). From 1968 on (4 years before Takamatsu's death), the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten has had entries for Hatsumi below Takamatsu.
Several Bujinkan ryūha were mentioned in the Kakutogi no Rekishi (History of Fighting Arts). Although details are omitted, it states, "there are several schools that are well-known for being 'effective arts' (jitsuryoku ha)". Among the schools listed in this section are Gyokko Ryū, Gikan-ryū Koppō jutsu, Gyokushin-ryū Ninpō, Kukishin-ryū, Takagi Yōshin-ryū Jūtai jutsu and Asayama Ichiden-ryū (which is not part of the Bujinkan's nine schools but was studied by Hatsumi Sensei via Ueno Takashi Sensei).
Several of the samurai systems taught by Hatsumi such as Kuki Shinden Ryū Happō Bikenjutsu and Takagi Yoshin Ryū Jūtai jutsu have well documented lineages with different branches of these arts surviving under their own Soke.
In the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten the researchers list the full lineage for Togakure-ryū stating the following: "The succession is an oral tradition from Toda Shinryūken. Toda Shinryūken Masamitsu died in 1908 at the age of 90 years. According to the lineage, Ikai originated the school, and in the Yōwa period (1181-1182), it separated from Hakuun Dōshi of Hakuun-ryū and became the Kōga and Iga schools of ninjutsu. The lineage passed through Momochi Sandayū and entered into the Natori-ryū of Kishū domain. From the time of Toda Nobutsuna, the tradition was passed on to the Toda family. This genealogy refers to dates and kuden (orally transmitted stories/lessons) about people implying that these people were older than written records would suggest.
The entry regarding Gyokko Ryu is as follows: "Receiving the tradition of Gyokko ryu Shitojutsu from Sakagami Taro Kunishige of the Tenbun era, Toda Sakyo Ishinsai established Gyokko ryu Koshijutsu as well as Koto ryu Koppojutsu, passing them on to Momochi Sandayu, bringing them within the traditions of Iga ryu Ninjutsu of Toda Shinryuken who lived during the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate (ended 1868). It is said that Toda Shinryuken died in the 14th year of the Meiji Emperor (1881) at the age of 90 years."
The entry regarding Koto Ryu is as follows: "The genesis of koppoujutsu is said to have been in ancient China. Koto ryu was brought to our country by a Chan Bushou* of Korea, after this it was brought within the traditions of Iga ryu Ninjutsu, and it’s revitalization in the Tenbun era is said to have been from Momochi Sandayu inheriting the tradition from Toda Sakyo Ishinsai (oral tradition from Toda Shinryuken)."
The Bujinkan organization incorporates the teachings of the martial arts lineages (ryūha) that Masaaki Hatsumi learned from Takamatsu Toshitsugu under the banner of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu These are:
- Togakure-ryū Ninpō Taijutsu 戸隠流忍法体術
- Gyokushin-ryū Ryū Ninpō 玉心流忍法
- Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō 雲隠流忍法
- Koto Ryū Koppō jutsu 虎倒流骨法術
- Gyokko-ryū Kosshi jutsu 玉虎流骨指術
- Kuki Shinden Happō Bikenjutsu 九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術
- Shinden Fudo Ryū Dakentai jutsu 神伝不動流打拳体術
- Takagi Yoshin Ryū Jūtai jutsu 高木揚心流柔体術
- Gikan Ryū Koppō jutsu 義鑑流骨法術
Since 1988, Hatsumi's teaching has focused on a particular theme, or focus, each year. This typically means that a specific ryū, or a certain set of techniques from specific ryū, will be taught. Hatsumi announces the year's theme each year at the Daikomyosai.
Depending on what years a student has studied in Japan, they may find that their focus reflects the themes or schools taught during their time. This is one reason why there are often noticeable differences in the techniques of different teachers in the Bujinkan. Although Ninpo Taijutsu is an overall theme of the Bujinkan, 2008 marked the first time that a Ninpo Taijutsu Ryū was the focus of the year. Prior to founding the Bujinkan organization and teaching the nine Ryū collectively (with particular yearly focus), Hatsumi awarded his students rank certificates in individual Ryū. The themes so far have been:
- 2018 - Muto Dori Continued
- 2017 - Muto Dori
- 2015 - Nagamaki
- 2014 – 神韻武導 Shin In Bu Dou / 神 SHIN, JIN god, deity; mind, soul / 韻 IN rhyme; elegance; tone / 武 BU, MU martial, military arts, chivalry. Bu or Mu refers to the warrior, Bushi or Musha / 導 DŌ leading, guiding.
- 2013 – Ken Engetsu no Kagami ("mirror of the fullmoon sword")/ Tachi Hôken ("divine treasure sword")— Ken, Tachi, and Katana/ Naginata and Yari
- 2012 – Jin Ryo Yo Go - Kaname, Sword and Rokushakubo, separately and with one in each hand
- 2011 – Kihon Happo
- 2010 – Rokkon Shoujou
- 2009 – 才能 魂 器 ”saino konki”/ Talent, Heart, Capacity / Talent, Soul, Capacity
- 2008 – Togakure-ryū Ninpō Taijutsu
- 2007 – Kukishin Ryu
- 2006 – Shinden Fudo Ryu
- 2005 – Gyokko-ryū Kosshi jutsu (Bo and Tachi)
- 2004 – Daishou Juutai jutsu (Roppo-Kuji-no Biken)
- 2003 – Juppo Sessho
- 2002 – Jutai jutsu (Takagi Yoshin Ryu)
- 2001 – Kosshi jutsu (Gyokko Ryu)
- 2000 – Koppo jutsu (Koto Ryu)
- 1999 – Kukishinden Ryu
- 1998 – Shinden Fudo Ryu
- 1997 – Jojutsu
- 1996 – Bokken / Sword
- 1995 – Naginata
- 1994 – Yari & Shoto
- 1993 – Rokushakubojutsu
- 1992 – Taijutsu Power
- 1991 – Sword and Jutte
- 1990 – Hanbo
- 1989 – Taijutsu and Weapons
- 1988 – Taijutsu
No focus was announced for 2009, though Hatsumi talked about three things that are important for a martial artist, which may be loosely considered to be the yearly theme. He said that these things would become a bit of a theme for next year.
- Sainou (Ability/talent)
- Kokoro (Heart)
- Utsuwa (Capacity)
Soon after this theme as was announced, Hatsumi proposed that the second aspect, Kokoro (Heart), be replaced by Tamashii (Soul), reasoning that the heart is constantly changing, whereas the soul is permanent and unchanging and therefore "essential to the person"
- Opening and Closing Ceremonies
At the start of the lesson the class kneels in grade order and faces the front of the dojo (or kamiza if there is one) and the class instructor does the same. The palms are raised above the head and the instructor says Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo which is then repeated by the class. The whole class then claps their hands twice and bows. Coming up, the hands are raised once again and clapped (though only once this time) and the bow repeated. The instructor then turns to face the class and everyone bows repeating the phrase “Onegaishimasu”. Any special instructions for the day are then given and the class starts. The same is repeated for the end of the class except that the final phrase is changed to Domo Arigato Gozaimasu. This means thank you.Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo has no exact english translation though the general meaning is as follows:
Shikin - A greeting, sensation of harmony, perceived by the heart.
Haramitsu - Wisdom from courage and effort fosters sincerity, loyalty and faithfulness.
Daikomyo: Bring respect and reliance, illumination from the inside to the outside.
Unlike other systems, these ceremonies have no religious connotations.
The training is generally referred to as taijutsu (body arts), and is composed of both armed and unarmed methods of fighting. Bujinkan training incorporates bikenjutsu, bōjutsu, sojutsu, naginatajutsu, tantojutsu, tessenjutsu, juttejutsu, kusarigama, the use of modern firearms and more. Much of the basic taijutsu taught to beginners comes from six primary lineages in the Bujinkan compendium, namely Kotō-ryū, Gyokko-ryū, Shinden Fudō-ryū, Takagi Yōshin-ryū, Kuki Shinden-ryū, and Togakure-ryū.
- Roles of the Uke and the Tori
Much like Aikido, training is based primarily on two partners practicing pre-arranged forms (waza) rather than freestyle practice. The basic pattern is for the receiver of the technique (uke) to initiate an attack against the person who applies the technique - the 取り tori
- Ukemi and Balance
Bujinkan Taijitsu seeks to use body movement and positioning over strength in order to defeat the opponent. All techniques in Bujinkan Taijustsu revolve around getting the opponent off balance while maintaining your own balance. This is achieved by moving the opponent perpendicular to his or her weak line, the imaginary line drawn between the opponents heels.
Uke continuously seeks to regain balance and cover vulnerabilities (e.g., an exposed side), while Tori uses position and timing to keep uke off-balance and vulnerable. In more advanced training, uke will sometimes apply reversal techniques (返し技 kaeshi-waza?) to regain balance diable the Tori.
Ukemi (受身?) refers to the act of receiving a technique. Good ukemi involves a roll or breakfall that is used to avoid pain or injury, such as joint dislocations or throws. Thus learning to roll and break fall effectively is key to safely training in Taijutsu. Before receiving the 9th kyu, the first rank, a student must demonstrate the ability to smoothly roll in a variety of directions without exposing the neck to injury.
A large variety of weapons are taught, including swords such as daitō, wakizashi and tantō, bamboo shinai, wooden bokken, mogito (a flexible aluminum replica sword that holds no edge), or swords made by soft modern materials are employed for safety such as fukuro shinai, staves of varying lengths (bō, jō), short staves called (hanbō, hanjō), nawa (rope), kusari-fundo (weighted chain), kusarigama (scythe with chain), yari (spear), kamayari (spear with curved scythe-like blades crossing the principal head), kagiyari (spear with 2 rearward hooks), bisento (known in Mandarin as 'kwandao'), kyoketsu shoge (similar to a kama except it has a dagger point and a rope of several feet attached to an iron ring), jutte (sword trapping truncheon), tessen (iron fan), naginata (Japanese glaive), kunai (a blunt digging tool), as well various form of shuriken including bo-shuriken and senban shuriken. In training, students are encouraged to always use any available weapons, including the environment. In some dojos, students will practice hiding training weapons in their uwagi or somewhere on the mat, and surprise their uke (training partner) during technique. While in many other oriental martial arts this is seen as dishonorable, the emphasis Bujinkan places on stealth and deception makes it a valuable exercise when practicing awareness.
- Physical conditioning
Junan taiso is a method by which the Bujinkan practitioner may develop and maintain good physical condition and well being. The yoga-like stretching and breathing exercises form a core part of all training sessions.
- Self Protection
This martial art is largely based on combat, it is used to protect oneself from attack and not for competition purposes. Because of its nature, if any of the techniques are executed correctly, permanent and major injuries or even death can occur as a result. Safety and care is always taken seriously during training sessions; when practicing techniques, one must be careful to not injure their Uke (practice partner).
- Uniforms and Rankings
The Bujinkan Dōjō has a series of kyū (grades) below the level of shodan. The new student starts at mukyu ("without grade") and progresses from kukyu (9-kyu), the lowest rank, to ikkyu (1-kyu), the highest. Unranked (mukyū) practitioners wear white belts, kyu grade practitioners wear green belts (men) or red belts (women), and those with ranks of shōdan and above wear black belts. In some dojos kyu-level practitioners – especially in children's classes – wear colored belts, though the actual color of the belt varies from place to place. In Japan it was once customary for kyu-level men to wear green belts over a black ninjutsugi and women to wear red belts over a purple ninjutsugi, but this practice has largely been abandoned. Currently, both male and female Bujinkan practitioners now wear green belts over a black ninjutsugi and on the feet they wear tabi (soft-sole tabi for indoor training and jika-tabi for outdoor training) at most dojos.
There are fifteen dan grades in the Bujinkan, although only ten are formally recognised (10th dan has five levels within it). With the exception of fifth dan (see below) there are no fixed criteria for attaining each grade. Different dojos have their own approaches based on the cultural environment and the instructor's preference.
Typically the study of tenchijin ryaku no maki (scrolls of heaven, earth and man) guides progression from 9-kyu to shodan (1st dan) and comprises all the fundamental techniques required for advanced study thereafter. Until 4th dan the student is expected to focus on developing strong foundations and to perfect their form. At 5th dan the training focus changes to becoming more responsive and responding naturally in dynamic & increasingly challenging situations.
In order to attain fifth dan (godan), fourth dan practitioners must submit to a sakki (or godan) test before the sōke to establish that they are able to sense the presence of danger and evade it, which is considered a fundamental survival skill. After passing this test, a practitioner is considered to be under the protection of the Bujin, or Guiding Spirits, and is entitled to apply for a teaching license (shidōshi menkyo). A shidōshi (士道師) is entitled to open their own Bujinkan dōjō and grade students up to fourth dan.
A practitioner between first dan and fourth dan may become a licensed assistant teacher (shidōshi-ho) 士道師補 if backed by and acting under the supervision of a shidōshi. In the Bujinkan, a person ranked tenth dan or higher is often referred to as a shihan.
The practitioner's level is displayed by the color of the art's emblem, called wappen (ワッペン) inscribed with the kanji "bu"(武) and "jin" (神). There are four kinds of wappen (9 to 1 kyū, 1 to 4 dan, 5 to 9 dan, and 10 to 15 dan), sometimes augmented with up to four silver, gold or white stars (called hoshi) above or around the emblem, representing the individual ranks.
In addition to the kyu/dan system, a few practitioners have earned menkyo kaiden "licenses of complete transmission" in individual schools. These establish that the master practitioner has learned all that there is to learn about the particular lineage. Whereas the kyu/dan ranks are often made public, those who have earned menkyo kaiden rarely divulge their status, sometimes even being reluctant to recognize their actual dan ranking to outsiders.