At the start of the lesson we sit in sieza according to rank from left to right and say the following phrase. “Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo“. This is followed by two claps and a bow then followed by one clap and a bow. The teacher will then turn to the class and say: “Onegi Shimasu“. The class repeats this. At the end of the class we bow out in the same manner instead of saying Onegi shimasu we say “Domo Arigato Gozaimashta” this means thank you very much. “Onegi shimasu” in one translation means will you help me learn. “Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo” has many translations, in light of this I will just pick a few of my favorites. ”SHI-KIN HARA-MITSU DAI-KO-MYO” – This phrase cannot be translated directly into English. One interpretation is: “A moment of true interaction between mind and spirit may lead to enlightenment.” Another is: “The sound of the words in our reach for enlightenment creates the divine cosmic light.” Basically, every encounter experience has the potential to be that one thing that brings you to enlightenment. You could also look at it as saying that every experience is a learning experience (well, sort of). There are many other translations.
Junan Taiso offers a scientific and tried method that focuses on the following:
This is fundamental to life and being able to breathe correctly and effectively allows for a keener focus as well as an ability to be more resilient.
The ability to direct attention to a single objective is one of the fundamentals in doing the forms correctly. Students will be able to use the same principals in day-to-day life.
Students through movement are able to strengthen their core, which assists students with balance as well as their focus abilities. Balance is also a focal point in terms of a feeling of well-being.
The ability to reproduce the exercise with as few errors, better alignment as well as greater balance allowing the student to exercise the technique with less effort and tension.
This allows the ability to focus on one specific muscle group and to get the most out of the exercise.
Our students experience flow when they are immersed in the movement, the success of the technique and the full involvement, allows for a feeling of being energized.
Bujinkan Budo taijutsu comprises of nine different lineages dating back to at least the 12th century. Each school denotes a particular set of techniques such as the ability to effectively defend one’s self through distance, angling and timing.
Students are taught how to understand how to use subtle but effective techniques to be able to defend and protect themselves. The techniques are strategic but are also fun. The atmosphere is positive, supportive and builds a sense of comradery as well as confidence.
The techniques are effective in honing the ability to understand the bodies place in space as well as honing core muscle strength and mental agility. The techniques also teach students on how to use momentum to their advantage, grappling and natural movement to overcome a larger or stronger adversary.
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is the name decided to express the nine schools that comprise the arts we practice. This name was decided By Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi in the early 90s to dispel some of the misconceptions that are drawn upon from the term ninjutsu. The arts we practice are not all ninjutsu; some are comprised of samurai arts and other old esoteric forms of martial arts.
The philosophies and perspectives are what make these arts ninjutsu not necessarily the how’s. Anyone can practice the forms of these arts. Without the proper understanding the schools would be left, flat and leave any person without the proper instruction, an insufficient warrior at best.
Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi heads the Bujinkan Organization. Born in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, on Dec 2nd 1931. Dr. Hatsumi graduated from Mieji University of medicine in Tokyo Japan as an Orthopedic Doctor. He is respected as an accomplished artist, author, actor, musician, as well as a martial arts pioneer. He became Soke (Grandmaster) of the nine schools of the Bujinkan at the age of 27.
Passed down to him from Toshitsugu Takamatsu, 33rd Grandmaster Togakure Ryu Ninpo. Dr. Hatsumi has received countless awards and commendations for his works and accomplishments. He currently does not teach outside of Japan anymore but practitioners can still travel to Japan to train with Hatsumi Sensei.
The Bujinkan is now truly an international organization stretching the reaches of the globe. So we must all be diligent to work together and respect others customs as they may be different from our own.
The nine schools of the Bujinkan are:
- Togakure Ryu Ninpo, 34th Soke, Hidden Door School
- Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, 28th Soke, Jeweled Tiger School
- Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, 18th Soke, Tiger Knocking Down School
- Shinden Fudo Ryu Jutaijutsu Dakentaijutsu, 26th Soke, Immovable Heart School
- Kukishinden Ryu Taijutsu, 28th Soke, Nine Demons School
- Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, 17th Soke, High Tree, Raised Heart School
- Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo, 14th Soke, Hiding In The Clouds School
- Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo, 21st Soke, Jeweled Heart School
- Gikan Ryu Ninjutsu, 15th Soke, Truth Loyalty and Justice School
Mushin is achieved when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego during combat or everyday life. There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent without hesitation and without disturbance from such thoughts.
At this point, a person relies not on what they think should be the next move, but what is their trained natural reaction (or instinct) or what is felt intuitively. It is not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness, however. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intention, plan or direction.
Some masters believe that mushin is the state where a person finally understands the uselessness of techniques and becomes truly free to move. In fact, those people will no longer even consider themselves as “fighters” but merely living beings moving through space.
The legendary Zen master Takuan Sōhō said: The mind must always be in the state of ‘flowing,’ for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-being of the mind. In the case of the swordsman, it means death.
When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not to think of the opponent, nor of himself, nor of his enemy’s sword movements. He just stands there with his sword, which, forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious. The man has effaced himself as the wielder of the sword. When he strikes, it is not the man but the sword in the hand of the man’s subconscious that strikes.
Through meditation and mindfulness techniques that our students will learn, they will be able to navigate successfully through normal day-to-day stressors and has been clinically proven to assist students in attaining higher levels of concentration as well as have a better-rounded demeanor.
Life coaching focuses on the personal aspects of the individual’s life. It connects the head and the heart.
The focus is setting and achieving personal and professional goals in order to achieve the life they really want.
We understand and work from the premise that everyone is whole and all that is required is to challenge out dated beliefs about one’s self that do not align with the goals and life the individual wants to achieve.
The following aspects are covered, but are by no means exclusive:
- Assertiveness, self-esteem and self-worth
- Interpersonal relationships (family, friends etc.)
- Personal growth and self-mastery
- Work-Life balance
- Starting or growing your own business
- Self-love and self-care
- Change management – grief, loss, burnout, depression or change
- Stress and anxiety management
- Changing of behaviors, out dated beliefs and managing emotions
- Setting and achieving goals
- Mindfulness coaching
We reward our students with a certificate, which is based on attendance, mastery of technique as well as overall fitness level. A grading is held every 4 weeks and supports the understanding of the theme for that four-week program.
Bujinkan South Africa Dojo’s
One must pay for their Bujinkan membership annually to be eligible for ranking. This is set out in the Bujinkan rules set forth by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi and upholds the integrity of the organization.
The ranking system in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu varies slightly from most other Japanese martial systems as it does not use multi colored belts to denote rank, but instead uses Wappan (patch) to denote what rank a student or practitioner is.
The student ranks are divided into TEN kyu (levels) and consisting of TWO obi (belt) colors.
A beginning student is called Mu Kyu No Level. The beginning student starts with traditional obi-shiro (white belt) with no Wappan.
Upon their advancement to ku-kyu (9th level), they are awarded the obi-midori (green belt) and white-on-red student Wappan.
- Ku kyu 9th kyu 9th level red & white wappan
- Hatchi kyu 8th Level
- Nana-Kyu 7th Level
- Roku-Kyu 6th Level
- Go-Kyu 5th Level
- Yon-Kyu 4th Level
- San-Kyu 3rd Level
- Ni-Kyu 2nd Level
- Ik-Kyu 1st Level
After 1st kyu upon advancement to shodan (1st degree) the practitioner level black-on-red Wappan replaces the student Wappan and the obi-midori is replaced with the obi-kuroi (black belt).
At this point with proper sponsorship, the practitioner levels can be awarded the position of shidoshi-ho (apprentice instructor). A shidoshi ho is considered a Jr teacher and to be certified must be sponsored by a certified Bujinkan instructor and apply for an annual shidoshi kai membership which in essence is a Jr teacher’s license.
The practitioner ranks are divided into ten dan’s (grades/degrees):
- Shodan 1st Degree Black belt and res & black wappan
- Nidan 2nd Degree
- Sandan 3rd Degree
- Yondan 4th Degree
After yondan (4th degree), the next step is Godan 5th Degree black belt. The rank of godan is earned by passing the sakki giri (killing intent sword cut).
This test can only be performed by (or under the supervision of) the Soke (family head) of the Bujinkan, Hatsumi Sensei. Upon passing the sakki giri, the practitioner is then awarded the title of shidoshi (certified instructor) and replaces the practitioner Wappan with the black-with white piping-on-red instructor wappan.
Following Godan lays out as follows:
- Rokudan 6th Degree
- Nanadan 7th Degree
- Hatchidan 8th Degree
- Kudan 9th Degree
- Judan 10th Degree Black Belt
When the rank of judan (10th degree) has been attained the instructor Wappan is replaced with the blue-on-orange Wappan.
Once a judan one is now given the title of Shihan (master teacher) …
After reaching Juda/10th level black belt one is considered a Master teacher.
One should not be too caught up in this idea of master and should have a child’s mind. It is largely a title and does not suggest your training is done. The only true master is Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi and it is important to remember he still trains as well. A real martial artist’s work is never done and this attitude learned early on will allow you to progress and save you a lot of heartache.
A martial artist’s life is one of pain and enduring, as well as love and loss. Never take ownership of things to tightly for you are already attached to everything so do not be afraid to let go.
There are 5 honorary ranks that can only be received from Hatumi Sensei after reaching Judan (10th level black belt).
These levels are also directly correlated with a theme of the five elements and let out as followed:
- 11th dan – Chi Earth
- 12th dan – Sui Water
- 13th dan – Ka Fire
- 14th dan – Fu Wind
- 15th dan – Ku Void or ethereal
Only Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the Soke (Family Head) of the International Bujinkan Dojo, wears the gold-on-red Wappan.
Dr. Hatsumi holds the positon of Soke of the following nine ryu-ha that make up the system known as Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu:
- 34th Soke of Gyokko ryu Koshijutsu
- 18th Soke of Koto ryu Koppojutsu
- 15th Soke of Gikan ryu Koppojutsu
- 26th Soke of Kukishinden ryu Happo Hikenjutsu
- 26th Soke of Shiden Fudo ryu Dakentaijutsu/Jutaijutsu
- 19th Soke of Takagi Yoshin ryu Jutaijutsu
- 14th Soke of Kumogakure ryu Ninjutsu
- 20th Soke of Gyokushin ryu Ninpo Taijutsu
- 34th Soke of Togakure ryu Ninpo Taijutsu
The martial science focuses on individual growth and empowerment in a positive environment that liberates the very best in our students.
The martial science addresses issues such as low muscle tone and weak core muscles with balancing techniques, fitness drills and engaging alternate muscle groups to enhance concentration and focus abilities. Fitness activities turns on the brains attention networks and also increase the hormones dopamine and norepinephrine, the two chemicals linked to attention.
All our students are taught that respect is a fundamental value in life and as such, they are respected and are taught to show respect for their instructors as well as their peers. Students support each other in an environment that is always positive.
Our students must subscribe to clear rules when in the dojo, pertaining to fellow students, conduct in the dojo as well as out in the world. There are clear expectations, which reinforces stability and a clear path to success.
Martial science gives our students a safe outlet for excess energy as well as instilling in our students a sense of value and respect, coupling that to all round fun, comradery and a positive environment that fosters growth and confidence.