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Questions And Guidance Please
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Ok before I get started with my question(s) I would just like to state that I have been interested in Ninjutsu since I was five years old (born in 81 in the midst of the ninja boom). Over that time I've researched and studied from many sources of materials. I went away from it for awhile to pursue Jun Fan Gun Fu Jeet Kune Do studies (on my own as well). About 4 years ago I came back to looking into authentic Ninjutsu training. In that time I have accumulated many books, dvds, articles, training supplies from the Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan and Quest Centers as well as answers about training from many people involved in those organizations. I am beyond ready to be involved physically in a dojo or training group and cannot make up my mind to which I want to join.

As I said I've studied all these organizations and I originally was just going to join the Bujinkan due to the fact that Hatsumi is Soke of Takamatsu traditions. I also really like his writings and DVD's he seems like a really great person and shares many artistic qualities that I have.
HOWEVER, I recently started to toy with the idea of joining the Genbukan. The reason for this is because I see how Traditional and strict they seem to be about training.
I want to learn both spiritual and physical aspects of the Ninja. Not just physical self protections skills..in my experience there are so many in the Bujinkan (especially here in America) that argue and debate so many things with one another, not too mention almost everything I've purchased from the Bujinkan organization has been absurdly expensive. I am not bad mouthing this organization I have great respect for Hatsumi, he has nothing to do with the students of his who are unable to agree and who feel they need to market the art instead of making sure their students are learning quality stuff.

In this recent decision I feel as though I'm .."betraying" Hatsumi by doing this? I'm not sure. I don't know the man personally but since majority of my material is by him and students of his I guess I kind of feel like he is my Sensei already. The thing is I want to know that I'm going to learn everything. I get the whole feeling thing..I really do. A lot of people say you can't understand it through explanation etc but I understand quite well what he is trying to communicate. Perhaps it's just the way I view the world in general or the way I view martial arts in general.
But I have been able to grasp the concepts he is trying to explain.

The thing that is missing in all of this for me is the fact that I am highly spiritual (not religious, I despise organized religion) and I have a great interest in things like Kuji-In, Kuji-Kiri, Meditation (ninpo versions), etc. I know there is great confusion and secrecy about these things in the Bujinkan it's one of the most argued/confusing topics ever, I THINK that the higher ups 10th dan and above have learned these things (some of them) I'm not so sure I am comfortable waiting till I am about 40 years + to study these things; spiritual development to me is equally as important to physical development and I do develop my spirit by other means but my interst is in the traditional ninpo spiritual methods. What if I die one day and I am only shodan...or worse what if I'm walking down the street one day and someone shoots me in the back of the head for a dollar...how then will higher ranks help me with my knowledge of the spiritual side of ninjutsu? I people have said there is something about understanding taijutsu to understand the kuji. So I accept that fact. I research kuji info on my own from other traditions and hope that it will help me when I reach the ninpo version but am still uncertain if it is even taught. No one likes to talk about it..this makes me question many things. Stephen Hayes seemed to be a good source for this information but again politics and arguments..no one agrees that he even knows what he's talking about. Most say he does not, a lot say he is Hamon from Bujinkan...everything gets so confusing.

Now for my Physical concerns, I've heard many traditional things are no longer taught in the Bujinkan. Such as shoten no jutsu...a useful skill for survival. I also have noticed many instructors do not hold their Kihon like Soke or any of the Japanese shihan or like Manaka, Tanemura, or Hayes..this disturbs me. An yes I know in combat Kamae changes to adapt to the situation, it can be very little or very big or hidden to where you do not recognize a Kamae at all. BUT in the KIHON, in the fundamental development of people like myself who are still very much starting out WE NEED THIS STRUCTURE (at least I do). I've noticed a lot of people can't keep their balance...I own the blackbelt home study course by Richard Van Donk..the student of his on the 3rd Kyu DVD looked as though he we're going to fall while trying to teach aruki methods. I never see this on Hatsumi's videos, Manaka's, Tanemura's, or even Hayes...why can't the american bujinkan members do these techniques with good balance, kamae, and structure. Cetainly when you learn a kata it should be performed exactly the same by everyone to obtain the lessons hidden within them...am I wrong? Maybe I am which is why I am coming here to seek knowledge.

This is getting long. So here is what I know or think I know:

The Bujinkan is filled with many talented people, sadly most are in Japan or live states away from me. I am poor I cannot afford to travel to these places to obtain quality training. It is also filled with many confusing people (mainly here in america) whose taijutsu seems very bad and who also argue and bring politics into every discussion.
He said, She said, Soke said, no your wrong Soke said this...blah blah blah blah. Nonsense. I desire to train in this organization but hesitate to spend money doing so as I don't want to end up broke trying to learn everything. I also wish to learn the 36 Juhakkei if it is not taught then I will be wasting my time in this org.

The Jinenkan is teaching only some of the Ryu that Hatsumi teaches but issue menkyo kaiden in specific ryuha. Their basic skills are all identical because a lot of emphasis is placed on this so everyone learns the correct fundamentals.

The Genbukan is claiming traditional teaching that includes every aspect of traditional ninpo. Sadly it is widely known or speculated that Hatsumi and Tanemura have a grudge. I know that it is forbidden to cross train in either org which makes my decision even harder. I respect Hatsumi highly and so I hesitate to train in this organization though at present it seems to be the most appealing to me because of the issues stated above. I also respect Tanemura and Manaka. However Tanemura for me outweighs Manaka because to my understanding the Jinenkan are not teaching much Ninja spiritual aspects if any at all. The biggest positive aspect about this org. aside from not having to question what they are teaching and how they are teaching it is the fact that they like the Jinenkan place a big emphasis on proper technique so whoever teaches it will teach it exactly as it is taught by Tanemura.

The Quest center...I can't stand To Shin Do...it might be great for some but it's just doesn't do it for me. The stop it thing is highly annoying and the way they teach even though they do explain traditional methods with the teachings seems as though everything is more for marketing than anything else. The traditional Ninja methods taught by Hayes from what I understand range to the thousands of dollars for one lesson with him...so that automatically goes out the window if there is any truth to this. I have also heard that Mr.Hayes is not involved in the Bujinkan and that he was also Hamon by Hatusmi Sensei..I do not know this for fact only from heresay.

So with all of this information out there I've tried my best to include the many things I have considered and questioned...CAN ANYONE HELP POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? Is any of this information correct or have I been mislead by profiting ninja wanna be's and greedy budo practitioners?

Above all is the Genbukan a good alternative to the Bujinkan and if after mastering the Genbukan syllabus is it possible to then join the Bujinkan? Or is this forbidden?

Please Help!

Posted on: 2008/9/11 14:25
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
Village Old Timer
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Quote:

Angel wrote:
. . .if after mastering the Genbukan syllabus is it possible to then join the Bujinkan?


No.

Quote:
Or is this forbidden?


Yes.

Posted on: 2008/9/11 15:56
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Dale Seago
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Quote:

Angel wrote: . . .if after mastering the Genbukan syllabus is it possible to then join the Bujinkan?
Quote:
Dseago wrote: No.



Angel wrote: Or is this forbidden?
Quote:
Dseago wrote: Yes.



Yes, it possible. Some people in those organizations may not like it but it is possible. If you decide to leave the Genbukan organization and you don't violate any of the other rules then you may join the Bujinkan. You can't be a member of both organizations at the sametime. You also should not be training with both organizations at the sametime. You can leave one and join another. I have personally never heard or seen a person be rejected from one of the X-kans simply because of their previous training experience. Checkout the official Bujinkan website or just email Mr.George Ohashi.

Read this:

http://www.bujinkan.com/guidelines.htm

Posted on: 2008/9/11 17:06
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Quote:

jwills79 wrote:
Checkout the official Bujinkan website or just email Mr.George Ohashi.


I don't think George will appreciate this advice.

He provides his website, time and assistance in his own time as a service. If his time is wasted then he can just as easily withdraw from this role and everyone will be poorer for it.

I would recommend only contacting him on important issues regarding the information on his website.

As for the original question ... I recommend spending time trying each dojo in your area and training with the one you think is best.

Posted on: 2008/9/11 17:22
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Duncan Mitchell
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Yeah, I understand he may not like being asked questions all the time. Isn't this part of his job? Is he not the official administrator of the Bujinkan. Isn't that what his forum and announcement board is used for. If the guy has a question then instead of getting conflicting answers on an online forum then he should ask the person who has been given the authority to respond. He could also write directly to Hatsumi sensei. The mailing address is on the Bujinkan website.

Posted on: 2008/9/11 17:38
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Quote:
Duncan Mitchell: He provides his website, time and assistance in his own time as a service. If his time is wasted then he can just as easily withdraw from this role and everyone will be poorer for it.



So...he is a really busy person? Is that why he wears a pager or cellphone on his Gi at training?



Quote:
Duncan Mitchell wrote: As for the original question ... I recommend spending time trying each dojo in your area and training with the one you think is best.


I agree

Quote:
Duncan Mitchell: I would recommend only contacting him on important issues regarding the information on his website.



He is not asking how would a Ninja Grandmaster use sakki to defeat a sniper with an infrared sight at night. He is asking whether it is OK to train in both organizations or leave one to join another. If these were not important then both Grandmasters would not have made it a point in the past to address both of them. He should not be faulted for his lack knowing about the history of the two groups.

Posted on: 2008/9/11 18:07
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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I do not wish to bother the hombu dojo about this matter. Not to mention my Japanese is very much preschool/kindergarden level. Which was another reason I was looking into Genbukan since Tanemura speaks both Japanese and English.

However I'm still very torn between Bujinkan and Genbukan and I don't want to make the wrong decision.

Can anyone help with the following questions.

Was Tanemura given Menkyo Kaiden in any Ryu before leaving?

If not what dan rank was he when he left?

He claims he has studied some Kumogakure Ryu, is this verifiable?

Was Stephen Hayes deemed Hamon by Hatsumi Sensei?

Does Hatsumi sensei still teach spiritual aspects?

Does he still teach all weapons? Such as Yumi and Ya? I have heard this is no longer taught.

Also is their a full Junan Taiso routine available anywhere? Every kan seems to only show some or half of this routine..was it ever a full routine? Seems like it was at one time.

Posted on: 2008/9/11 20:53
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Angel, I'm not going to address all of your questions but will point out some facts. I will not say here what happened between Sensei and his cousin Tanemura, but if you pm me I will. Tanemura learned his ninjutsu from Dr Hatsumi and left under very offensive circumstances while Sensei is still teaching and teaching new things, which Tanemura never learned. This is so because in our art one continues to learn and improve as long as they continue on. Just why would anyone want to go learn from the "student" as long as the "master" is still teaching? It is the expenditure of your limited and valuable resources of time, energy, and money that are involved here. You do get the result of those choices. Since this is a very "individual" art and each person in different, not everyone can fit into a strict discipline, it must be adapted to fit the person. I won't discipline those who train with me, the only discipline that has any value is "self" discipline! If you want that approach join the military, they are good at it. I do respect your difficulty in getting information but this art can't be learned from a book or a video course. Those can only be aids AFTER you have begun learning. Here's another thought for you, the Kihon is not the basics, it is the method for LEARNING the basics. Neither is the sanshin the basics, it is for LEARNING the basics --- in this instance the use of your skeletal structure for power. Be careful of your choice as that will determine what you get. I know a person who changed back and forth between the Bujinkan and Genbukan three complete times and today he is gone from both and learned nothing. Not all instructors/students/people are equal in there abilities, you must find what fits you. In my area the Bujinkan costs are very low and reasonable.

Posted on: 2008/9/11 21:38
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Ed Martin aka Papa-san
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Quote:

jwills79 wrote:
Quote:

Angel wrote: . . .if after mastering the Genbukan syllabus is it possible to then join the Bujinkan?
Quote:
Dseago wrote: No.



Angel wrote: Or is this forbidden?
Quote:
Dseago wrote: Yes.



Yes, it possible. Some people in those organizations may not like it but it is possible. If you decide to leave the Genbukan organization and you don't violate any of the other rules then you may join the Bujinkan.


What I said was imprecise, I'm afraid. A year or two ago a Genbukan instructor who had originally been in the Bujinkan wanted to leave the Genbukan and rejoin the Bujinkan, and he asked me to intercede directly with Hatsumi sensei on his behalf. I did so, and the response was a definite and unequivocal "no" where former Bujinkan members who had joined the Genbukan are concerned.

The question of a Genbukan member, with experience in only the Genbukan, leaving it to join the Bujinkan is a different issue -- I don't have an answer to that one, it might be possible.

Posted on: 2008/9/12 3:04
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Dale Seago
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Re: Questions And Guidance Please
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Justin,

you composed a very good respectful and precise post that touches so many issues. You deserve some answers. You got some already. I recognize the questions and "theme groups" because I formed the same. I am in the Bujinkan and I feel I am on the path to finding answers to most of them....

let me help you a bit with one

Quote:

Angel wrote:
(...)
What if I die one day and I am only shodan...


do not worry about it. You will read it again in few years and you will see how funny this sentence sounds. And this is one of the things I learned din the bujinkan. Understanding this through training on the deep level beats most of the kuji shapes and chants that I can make (maybe except one ).

Quote:

or worse what if I'm walking down the street one day and someone shoots me in the back of the head for a dollar...how then will higher ranks help me with my knowledge of the spiritual side of ninjutsu?


see the above. The higher rank will not help you, the skills that you can learn form real teachers will (see Papa-san's answer, and analyze it in detail).

Quote:

Please Help!


here comes the ultimate help (disclaimer: these are my SUBJECTIVE suggestions):
- forget about ranking, everyday focus on becoming a better human being than you were yesterday. our progress is the only reference point; do not compare yourself to others to rank yourself - this is a trap (that you can learn to use against your enemies but not against yourself).
- get good education, good job and you will have resources for lifetime of budo,
- show patience; life can last 120 years or more: it is a lot of cool time top have!
- if you are really motivated (seems yo are): learn Japanese as fast as you can, you will be able to go deeper into the subjects that you mention without relying on middle-man,
- join the bujinkan, find a good teacher even if it takes several hours to commute!

Posted on: 2008/9/12 4:28
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peace,
Mariusz
San Francisco Bujinkan Dojo
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