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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
Kutaki Postmaster
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When it comes to this topic of which Ryu-Ha should one study, I find myself wondering how well does the Bujinkan world understand what has been in motion now for at least three generations???

In the Bujinkan there is no studying the individual Ryu-Ha and there is no need to do so. It is fine to do this out of interest but what I think is important is; for everyone to understand that we do not study any of these Ryu. We practice a new Ryu called the Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.

Soke has given a few people the chance to read, copy and even receive menkyo kaiden in some of the Bujinkan Ryu but.... Soke has stressed that he never really taught anyone any of the Ryu yet. He has gone through the kata with us but he has not trained any individual in any particular skill sets of any of the individual Ryu. We simply learn the lineage and the kata. That's all.

What we do study in the Bujinkan began as early as Toda Soke if not earlier, with the condensation of our 9 Ryu into the Kihon Happo and the development of the Ten Chi Jin no Maki.

Since Soke was not actively teaching the individual Ryu, in order to do so I had to go to other dojo to study. Each Ryu Ha can seriously be a whole life's study if you let it, so anytime I had questions with something I learned at the other schools I would discuss it with Hatsumi Soke at his home, on our walks or over a nice bottle of Sake. This was enough for me.

Soke often drilled it in to me though that I was beyond the study of a Ryu and Kata but as many of you I was keenly interested in what made a Ryu a Ryu. So I pursued it anyway.

Now, as I have matured a bit and look back, it was not a waste of time but it did not improve my Taijutsu any.

This is why in the Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo we use the terms Momochi Den Ninpo Taijutsu and Amatsu Tatara Budo.
When working on a skill set such as the development of proper distance and timing needed to effectively use ken-kudaki against a full speed punch, we are essentially practicing the concept of Koku the kata. Therefore rather than teach individual Ryu Ha we generally practice what I call Momochi Den.

Why??? because this concept of Koku is not limited to just the Gyokko Ryu. It is a skill, not a form, that must be developed. Not memorized. This is part of a skill set that is characteristically Gyokko Ryu but not limited to it. So in a sense we really study two arts. The essence of Ninpo (Momochi Den)and the essence of Budo (Amatsu Tatara). The In and Yo of Budo.

I too still find interest in the individual schools but my advice is to make sure you do not become a kata collector. Unless this is what pleases you. Remember an artist only needs to know a few basic principles of painting to create a work of art to last through the ages.

The feeling and flow are far more important than forms.

Develop your skill sets. Such as Ukemi, Uke nagashi, Atemi, Kansetsuwaza, Osae, Koshi, Koppo, Bojutsu, Kenjutsu, kyojitsu, etc.

Learn to use the arts we study. This is the only true way that we can properly honor our arts. We do not need kata collectors. We have video cameras and DVDs now. They record far than a person.

As our Bujinkan pioneer Stephen K. Hayes once wrote in his book "Ninja Village of the Cold Moon" ;

For the Ninja,
being powerful was the most loving thing he could do.

I think Mr. Hayes understands some things very well.

Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
www.onimenkai.org




Posted on: 2005/8/23 5:09
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Sean Askew
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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Sean shihan,
What a wonderful analogy !

Thanks for the nice and well put words about Hayes shihan too.

ralph severe, kamiyama

Posted on: 2005/8/23 8:03
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
Kutaki Postmaster
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Hey Sensei!

Thanks for the comment.

Yes. I do think Mr. Hayes is very misunderstood.
We have met on several occasions for personal reasons since my return from Japan.

In regards to Budo he is doing what he wants to do and doing it very well.
All due respect to him. It is his art.
Comments have been made about how much time he spent in Japan but you have to remember that he lived with a few different Shihan at different times and was given a lot of training in a short period of time. He was on the receiving end when Soke was just starting to explore the Ten Chi Jin No Maki idea.
When Hayes was in Japan it was all about skill sets and developing them. This is why the Japanese Shihan that have been around since then are so good. Such as Nagato Shihan, Noguchi Shihan, Etc.
They worked on the material without worrying about what Ryu things came from. They were all considered Togakure Ryu.

Besides if it were not for him I would not have been the crazy 18 year old kid knocking on Soke's door every other day like I was back in the early 90's.

It will be interesting to see what Mr. Hayes does from here out.

Best Regards Ralph!

Sean


Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
www.onimenkai.org

Posted on: 2005/8/23 9:14
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Sean Askew
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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Besides "Kudos" to Sean, reading this reminds me of something I learned almost a decade ago from a member of this board:

You can't learn one lineage at a time; It's physically impossible.


It started with a single posting on what was then "Ninpo-L": every time you train in Gyokko Ryu you are also training in Koto Ryu. That kind of shocked me. Sepearate lineages are supposed to be, well, seperate right?

Apparently not.

I have neither the time, inclination, nor the expertise to go into detail but it turns out that we only have three "core" lineages (Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, Kukishin IIRC), and that they have a lot in common. Everthing else is a variation of or builds on one or more of those.

BTW -- I didn't learn this soley from the net, I tried it out. Turns out the original poster was right.

Just don't tell him that I said that ...

Posted on: 2005/8/24 5:37
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John C. Price
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
Kutaki Postmaster
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Sean shihan is a very good source of Bujinkan information.. much Like Hayes shihan, Manaka shihan, etc...

Taken into consideration what we have been told about past training Takamatsu sensei and his teachers as well as Hatsumi sensei training with Takamatsu sensei.. learning a ryu doesn’t take very long. From what I have seen and heard from Hatsumi sensei writings and chats it really took only him 10 to 12 years to get his soke-ship.. meaning he learned the 9 ryuha in just a very short time span.
I personally don’t fine training in or understanding the ryuha to be that big of a deal. They are simple and very easy in terms of information and historical skill reenactment.

ralph severe, kamiyama

Posted on: 2005/8/24 8:12
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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..........

Posted on: 2005/8/24 10:19
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Dustin Alexander
Kingsburg/Fresno Bujinkan Dojo
"But I didn't even do anything?"
"Then you just did it right"
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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From what little I have seen and come to understand of the different schools of the bujinkan I agree that it is not that important for some people to spend much time learning the different ryuha. Some people do find this to be a big focus however. I really like the term “historical skill reenactment”. For some people this is what the Bujinkan has become.

In my own training I have spent a lot of time learning to be able to identify the different ryu and foster the feelings and attitudes associated with each. I like to compare them with a mantra, or a sutra, or a prayer. In certain religions different feelings and attitudes are developed while doing different types of prayer or meditation. This is how I view the ryuha of the Bujinkan. They are different “locations” that someone can go to when appropriate. They become something visceral inside of ourselves that a person can develop instead of something external. I think this is why we see them being “merged” into one school. So that we can become complete human beings, under a complete art, not just different pieces scattered around the world. If you can understand this wholeness it makes more sense why “this ryu is this ryu and not that one” or “why is this part of the kihon and not this”. I believe they are all part of an internal balance that mirrors the universe itself.

It has been hard work, but I have managed not to memorize a single kata from any of our schools! Before I die I will write down some physical descriptions of what I have thought of as the different ryu, then someone can compare them to the densho and you can decide if my life was wasted or not!

Posted on: 2005/8/24 23:56
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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tough question...kukishin seems to have a little of everything. gyokko is the foundation for creation and very fun, but i love koto, oh hell i can't pick just one or two...

Posted on: 2005/11/30 15:27
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adam harris
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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While I find Askew-Shihan's posting thoroughly insightful and in agreement with my own experience. I find myself unable to resist joining in this "Cyber Campfire" conversation purely for the fun and the joy of it.

That being said, I am completely enthralled by the many lessons of the Gyokko Ryu. With emphasis on the Kyusho. I also find myself having a great amount of affinity for the Shinden Fudo Ryu, for it's natural yet almost accident-like lucky movements.

But I guess that's kinda like asking which part of the apple pie I like the most. The part I'm eating right now of course, becuase it's all good! Gambatte!

Posted on: 2006/1/21 16:41
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Re: Question: Selecting A Ryu
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I'm going to go with Gyokko Ryu and Shinden Fudo Ryu. I trained extensively in Gyokko Ryu back in 2000, MOF that was my 5th year of training, and when I focused on it my training began to open up and make more sense to me.

As for Shinden Fudo Ryu it fits me well as I sometimes, or a lot of times...lol...end up in close. And I like the fact it teaches you to keep a hand free at all times, usually the right.

Randy Engle
Middle TN
Bujinkan Manchester Dojo
bujinbudoka@hotmail.com

Posted on: 2006/1/23 5:17
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Randy Engle, Shodan
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