The training style of the Bujinkan is relatively informal compared to many martial arts today. Students work together to learn the art collaboratively rather than competitively. The nine schools of the Bujinkan focus primarily on methods of overcoming conflict generally, and individual or group opponents as a special and specific case of these general principles.

Because Bujinkan Budotaijutsu is a Koryu (old style) martial art, it is designed for application in dangerous, and life threatening situations. Many students new to the art come expecting that the training will be difficult, painful, or even brutal because of the real-world thinking which lies at the heart of the training. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth of the training. Students are expected (required!) to train with the utmost care and respect for the health and well-being of one another, and themselves.

New students’ training primarily focuses on Ukemi, which means “receiving”. In this context, Ukemi means the skills necessary to “receive” a technique being practiced by one’s partner. Ukemi includes skills such as falling without being hurt, rolling when one falls so as to regain one’s balance and footing, and the ability to be thrown or taken down without being injured. Once these skills are learner, a student can begin learning how to take down or throw an opponent.

chainThe character of Budotaijutsu training is highly varied from class to class, owing to the nine different schools which comprise the historical origins of Budotaijutsu Training. Each of the schools has a certain style and flavor, as well as movements and techniques unique to that school. Grappling, and throwing, joint locks, and techniques to control an opponent (what might generally be termed Jujutsu, though we use the term Jutaijutsu) are the core of some of the schools, while others focus primarily on striking (what we call Dakentaijutsu, but what might be thought of by the American public as being more like Karate or Kenpo). Yet other schools are primarily weapons schools (Katana – sword, Yari – spear, Bo – staff, and many others), and some of those teach also how to wear armor (Yaroi).

Throughout all of this, the focus of our training is on application to the real world. This might at first seem paradoxical, that one would learn to fight with a sword or spear, or how to fight in armor designed for the 15th century, but in fact lessons from this ancient lineage continue to be of great value in informing and protecting students of Budotaijutsu in the modern age. Many students of Budotaijutsu are current or former police and military, and as such wear body armor not so dissimilar to Yaroi. The same lessons arise again and again, and this is precisely the value of these ancient schools.