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Re: Bujinkan Reputation
Just Passing Through
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Hello everyone, I came to kutaki because I'm somewhat of a message board surfer and was interested in learning a bit more about the Bujinkan. I came across this thread last night (my first time browsing this forum) and thought I might chime in. To be very clear, I am not a member, nor have ever been, of the Bujinkan. I have a meagre 5 years experience training in jujutsu and judo, but being on the outside, and reading this thread about reputation, I thought I might be able to offer a useful opinion.

Where to begin? There are a few things that I and others I know see/have seen that cause the Bujinkan its bad reputation. Firstly, yes, the ranking system cops alot of flak. I'm reluctant to bring it up, because it is in Dr Hatsumi's control and there is not much anyone else can do about it. Having said that, however, I will paraphrase one of the previous posts and say that if the kyu ranking system was somewhat standardised it would possibly iron out alot of problems. I believe I saw someone post that after 7 years they were still only a shodan. No matter what art you go to, when people hear that you have worked hard to earn a rank, regardless of what it is, they have respect for both the practitioner and the system because its obvious it wasn't handed out and the student really had to work for it.

The second point is the elitist attitude of many Bujinkan posters in a variety of forums. Competition is not for everybody, granted, but it is a wonderful way to test yourself, and I believe you would be hard pressed to find someone who has competed to say that it wasn't worthwhile. Yet I continually see Bujinkan practitioners pass off people who compete as "braggarts", "needing to satisfy their ego", or the worst one of all, saying what they do is "unrealistic". I even saw that in a few posts on this thread. Does anyone see the flawed logic in saying these things? I respect anyone who gets into a ring, because they are willingly putting themselves in harms way in order to test themselves. What I don't respect is people denouncing those who compete, and saying "well that's ok for the ring, but we train for the street", as though what the Bujinkan has is so much higher and worthwhile than anything else. It is even more insulting because these people haven't competed, haven't been willing to have a go, yet are experts on what it takes to win on the street and the fact that "sports MA" (don't even get me started on that one) aren't good enough, or even worse, that they aren't "budo".
I saw someone earlier in this thread saying that their training was different to karate, and no, not in a good way. Why do you automatically elevate yourself above a karate practitioner? Granted, we are all different, and we like or dislike different things. Some martial arts are indeed more complete than others. The bottom line is though, that if I know someone who does whatever art, and they bleed and sweat and work hard at it, who am I to put myself above them? We are both striving for the same thing......

Lastly, and most importantly, is what I picked up on in this thread. I believe it can be summed up in the opening paragrah of the thread by Sean Askew:

"It has been a long time since I have made any posts on the internet. Even now I do it with a sense of caution. Everyone seems to be an authority or an expert on-line. Debates can be a never ending string of empty statements from people claiming to understand "this" or know "that".

To be fair, most of the posters in this thread have agreed with Sean and have obviously high standards, which impressed me. However, there were more than a few posts which reflect the above quote. Now, forgive me for being blunt, but to me it makes sense that if one of the Soke's inner circle says something, anything, about the Bujinkan, it might be an idea to shut up and listen. My jaw almost dropped to the ground when someone retorted Sean's post with "how do you know, have you been to every dojo in America?" Not only is it immature, it reflects poorly on you and your instructor. Even worse, when you respond in that manner to someone such as Sean, who judging by everyone's posts, is not only highly skilled, but highly knowledgable and respected, they won't even bother argueing. They'll just cross you off the list and not pay any more attention to you. And why shouldn't they? If you are discussing the Bujinkan, they are the ones in a position of knowledge, not you. If you have an opinion, sit on it, listen to what they have to say, and go home (or leave the computer) and think about it. I'm only 25, but I've already realised from past experience that you learn alot more by listening and thinking than always sharing your opinion.
To make my point a bit clearer, I refer to the e-budo forum. There are a number of high level koryu practitioners there, such as the Skoss's, Ellis Amdur, Karl Friday, and Colin Hyakutake-Watkin. When they post, people listen. Is it because we are in awe of them, or because we think they know everything? Not at all. What people realise is that they have far more experience, training in the heartland of their respective ryuha and thus have much knowledge and advice to impart. Hence we treat them with respect and dignity because we are priviledged to hear what they have to say. We don't stand up and say "well, I think you're wrong" or whatever, because the simple fact is, eventually they will just say "I dont need this" and walk away, and we will be worse off for it. It doesn't mean they need to be treated like gods, but respected for their position and experience, and not questioned by people who really don't know what they are talking about.

I apologise for the length of this post, but as I said earlier, I thought I might be able to contribute something. I hope the fact that I'm an outsider gives a bit of perspective rather than putting you guys on the defensive, because that isn't my intention.

Posted on: 2005/6/8 11:17
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Re: Bujinkan Reputation
Kutaki Postmaster
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If your not a member of the Bujinkan and only just reading this thread how do you know who is senior or more experienced than who? How about the opinion of people who have trained and competed in "sports martial arts" and still say that they are not budo?

Posted on: 2005/6/8 12:51
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Re: Bujinkan Reputation ----- Yawn
Kutaki Postmaster
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2004/1/11 15:11
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I cannot believe that this is still going on. I know it is the Internet but....... how about a little self discipline. My Jewish Grandma always said "Don't air your dirty linen in public." Trust me she would put us all in our place.

Can we improve our training -- Of course and every instructor should be continually learning, striving and giving their best to their students. Go to Japan and seminars as much as you can afford.

Rank --ok we have a strange rank structure. As I told one correspondent I just try to teach what I can the best I can, in keeping with what I have been taught. If you have an issue with the Bujinkan's rank structure go to Japan and ask Hatsumi Soke or one of the Shihan.

Competition -- An individual choice. Surely, it will test your skills under pressure. In our class any student who wishes to attack me with any, not pre-conceived, attack that is ok. If get I get hit or hurt it is my fault not there's. But as one Deputy Sheriff said to me on a call it all happens in 20 seconds where life or death is the challenge.

Discourse - Why not. Challenge everything as long as you can and you might see the truth.

Are there duds -- Here as in any art. Maybe me?? Ask my students and teachers as I sure as heck don't know. I can always grow and improve and there will always be someone who can best me (or anyone).

Reputation - Do we train for our own satisfaction, our duty to our students and betters or for ego? It seems that reputation is only important for issues of ego or getting more students.

Mr. Askew -- No clue but he seems to be person genuinely concerned with quality and tradition and sharing his knowledge and concerns. Who can fault that.

The three most significant things learned in the last 15 years.

Hatsumi Soke - Hide your heart, hide your body and hide your mind.
Dale Seago -- Move without intent and non-specifically.
Mike Simien -- Less yacking and more smacking.

Cheers and good training.
No cheer well
Bad training.................

Posted on: 2005/6/8 13:31
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"All who wander are not lost and all that glitters is not gold."

Alan Witty...
www.warriorwindma.com
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Re: Bujinkan Reputation ----- Yawn
Occasional Visitor
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2003/2/4 11:15
From Ohio, USA
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Ok, here's a question....why should/do we care about what anyone else says? If you're speanding all that time and energy getting worked up about this, you're wasting time you could be using to train!
And what difference does it make if someone says bad stuff about the Bujinkan? Is it really that important in the great scheme of things?- only if you give it credance! We've been blessed to have this training available to us, just take advantage of it and forget about the others....after all, are you training for them, or yourself?

Posted on: 2005/6/8 13:52
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Scott Reisinger
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Re: Bujinkan Reputation ----- Yawn
Frequent Visitor
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2004/9/29 14:45
From Colorado
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Greetings all.
I am not much of a poster on this forum, but I do read it on a fairly regular basis. I have been in the Bujinkan since 1995 with a short period of time between then and now (mid 1999 - late 2000) when I didn't actively train in a Dojo. I have watched this particular thread with interest, and, unfortunately, some trepidation.

The only thing I wish to say is, like any organization, we have highly talanted and respected individuals, but also we have our share of others on the other end of the spectrum. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our reputation and actions as individuals, good or bad, talanted or not, and how the rest of the community (however you wish to define it) percieves us.

As Mr. Witty said (via his Grandmother) "Don't air your dirty linen in public." Unfortunately it appears (especially to an outsider) that has become alot of what this particular thread has developed into.

I am a proud member of the Bujinkan and I get great satisfaction in my training and being a member of the Bujinkan. I am not the best, I know my flaws and I work to improve them. I don't go out and advertize them.

The Bujinkan is a great orgainzation with some truely wonderful individuals. The "airing of our dirty laundry" does nothing to help the Bujinkan. Everyone has flaws, every organization has them as well. Some we can help fix, some are out of our control. It doesn't mean we have to advertize them, we just have to acknowledge they exist. We either accept and live with them, or do what we can as individuals to mitigate them as best as possible when they affect our own life.

I wish everyone well in their training goals whatever they may be.

Sincerely,
John Hutchings

Posted on: 2005/6/8 15:33
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John Hutchings
Northern Colorado Bujinkan
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Re: Bujinkan Reputation ----- Yawn
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If it makes anyone feel any better, every non-bujinkan dojo I have been to has an attitude of “Bujinwhat?” when asked about the Bujinkan. Most had never heard of it. A few said things like: “Oh that’s a lot like judo isn’t it?” or “Isn’t that some Chinese sword school?” etc. A few perked up when I mentioned budo/ninpo taijutsu and said they had heard of it but knew absolutely NOTHING about it. Several other budoka I know personally outside of the Bujinkan had never heard anything about it outside of what I had shared with them either. There is our Bujinkan reputation! I feel that this is a good thing. Whenever someone says “Yeah, that’s like some kind of Thai boxing right?” I just nod my head and smile.

-Addam Tribble

Posted on: 2005/6/9 3:18
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