The Begining


bossboss_kujiThe following is a short writing by Takamatsu Sensei, the previous Soke (grand master) of Togakure Ryu, and Hatsumi Sensei’s teacher. Hatsumi Sensei (left) and Takamatsu Sensei. This photo was probably taken in the 1950’s. The essence of all martial arts and military strategies is self-protection and the prevention of danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes the fullest concept of self-protection of not only the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. The way of the ninja is the way of enduring, surviving, and prevailing over all that would destroy one. More than merely delivering strikes and slashes, and deeper in significance than the simple out-witting of an enemy; ninjutsu is the way of attaining that which we need while making the world a better place. The skill of the ninja is the art of winning.

Additionak information
In the beginning study of any combative martial art, proper motivation is crucial. Without the proper frame of mind, continuous exposure to fighting techniques can lead to ruin instead of self-development. But this fact is not different from any other beneficial practice in life carried to extremes. Medical science is dedicated to the betterment of health and the relief of suffering, and yet the misuse of drugs and the exultation of the physician’s skills can lead people to a state where an individual’s health is no longer within his or her personal control. A nutritious well-balanced diet works to keep a person alive, vital, and healthy, but grossly over-eating, over-drinking, or taking in too many chemicals is a sure way to poison the body.

Governments are established to oversee the harmonious interworking of all parts of society, but when the rulers become greedy, hungry for power, or lacking in wisdom, the country is subjected to needless wars, disorder, or civil and economic chaos. A religion, when based on faith developed through experience, a broad and questing mind, and an unflagging pursuit of universal understanding, is of inspiration and comfort to people. Once a religion loses its original focus, however, it becomes a deadly thing with which to deceive, control, and tax the people through the manipulation of their beliefs and fears. It is the same with the martial arts. The skills of self-protection, which should provide a feeling of inner peace and security for the marial artist, so often develop without a balance in the personality and lead the lesser martial artist into warped realms of unceasing conflict and competition which eventually consume him.

If an expert in the fighting arts sincerely pursues the essence of ninjutsu, devoid of the influence of the ego’s desires, the student will progressively come to realize the ultimate secret for becoming invincible – the attainment of the ‘mind and eyes of the divine.’ The combatant who would win must be in harmony with the scheme of totality, and must be guided by an intuitive knowledge of the playing out of fate. In tune with the providence of heaven and the impartial justice of nature, and following a clear and pure heart full of trust in the inevitable, the ninja captures the insight that will guide him successfully into battle when he must conquer and conceal himself protectively from hostility when he must acquiesce. The vast universe, beautiful in its coldly impersonal totality, contains all that we call good and bad, all the answers for all the paradoxes we see around us. By opening his eyes and his mind, the ninja can responsively follow the subtle seasons and reasons of heaven, changing just as change is necessary, adapting always, so that in the end there is no such thing as surprise for the ninja.

Ninjutsu Hiketsu Bun
by Toshitsugu Takamatsu


As it is taught todaroady, Budo Taijutsu is a martial art containing several older systems, which have come togeather through the past several centuries. Martial arts schools are called “Ryu” in Japanese, which also means “River”. The schools flow down through time, one teacher to the next, occasionally merging togeather or breaking apart. The schools of the Bujinkan are this way as well. All nine did not come togeather at once, but rather two at time, then three, then merging with two others that had already come together, and so on.

The Bujinkan schools that are taught today were first all nine together in the lifetime of Toshitsugu Takamatsu, who then passed them on to Hatsumi Sensei.  These schools became available to westerners only in Hatsumi Sensei’s lifetime, and to Americans only as recently as the seventies. At that time there were only very few students, all of whom traveled to Japan to receive teaching from Hatsumi Sensei. Today there are just over one thousand people worldwide who hold the rank of Shidoshi, and are recognized as able to teach the art without supervision of some other higher instructor. Of the nine schools, some are more focused in striking related skills, some are more focused in grappling related skills, most contain weapons, and some contain other skills as well. Recently Hatsumi Sensei has been focusing on one of the schools at a time on a yearly basis in his dojo in Japan. Other schools worldwide follow what he is teaching in his dojo, and also focus on that material until the year is out.

At a beginning level the schools which are most emphasized are usually Gyokko Ryu and Koto Ryu. The former is Koshijutsu (striking focused on vital points and targets) and the latter is Koppojutsu (striking focused on the breaking of bones or skeletal structures). Both contain grappling skills as well. Shindenfudo Ryu and Takagi Yoshin Ryu also are typically found in training below black belt level, and these schools contain more grappling techniques as well.