The Bujinkan (武神館 ) is an international martial arts organization based in Japan by Masaaki Hatsumi. The combat system taught by this organization comprises nine separate ryūha, or schools, which are collectively referred to as Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu. Due to the ninja boom the Bujinkan has been commonly associated with ninjutsu, however it also offers traditional samurai martial arts.
Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu
The lineage dates back over 900 years of rich traditions, it is based on 9 schools are made up of 3 ninja (shinobi) schools and the other 6 traditions are made up of samurai (bushi) traditions. Each school consist of its own philosophies, strategies and methodologies.
Before Takamatsu sensei died in the early 1970’s he passed his lineage and traditions to Hatsumi sensei making him heir to the 9 different lineages. Hatsumi sensei is the current grandmaster of the bujinkan.
The 9 Schools of Bujinkan
1. Togakure-Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu (Ninjutsu) – (the hidden door school)
This Ryu-ha was founded by Togakure Daisuke, and Hatsumi is the 34th Soke of this Ryu. Togakure Daisuke was originally known as Nishina Daisuke, but changed his name to stop being captured in the 1180’s. there is a school of thought that say most of the Iga Ninjutsu is in some way connected to Togakure Ryu. Due to the ninja boom last century, the other eight bujinkan schools have all been placed under it’s name, for general use. This is no longer the case. This school comes from Iga prefecture.
2. Gyokko-Ryu Kosshijutsu (Specialising in the muscular system) Founded in the Hogen-era (1156-1159) by 戸沢白雲斎 Tozawa Hakûnsai. This school has a major influence of the unarmed basics in Bujinkan. Striking with the fingers and toes and muscular destruction is very characteristic of this style of fighting.- Hatsumi sôke is the 28’th generation SOKE
3. Koto-Ryu Koppojutsu (Specialising in the skeletal structure) Founded in the Tenbun-era (1532) by 坂上太郎国重 Sakagami Taro Kunishige. This school’s specialty is the art of manipulating the bone structure. The foot work is also quite unique by cross stepping, shares similarity to hard chinese styles. Also the use of the sword in this school is quite unorthodox e.g using it with the left hand instead of the right. – Hatsumi sôke is the 18th generation SOKE
4. Shindenfudo-Ryu Dakentaijutsu (Specialising in natural movements) Founded in the Yeikyu-era (1113 a.d.) by 出雲冠者義照 Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru. The school is characterized as a style that emphasizes natural movements, and the study of nature is important.- Hatsumi sôke is the 26’th generation SOKE
5. Gyokushin-Ryu Ninpo Happo Biken (Ninjutsu) Founded in the Tenbun-era (1532) by 佐々木 Sasaki Goeman Teruyoshi. This school has not been taught much. – Hatsumi sôke is the 21’st generation SOKE
6. Kukishinden-Ryu Dakentaijutsu Happo Bikken (Samurai school) Founded at the end of the Kamakura-era (1336) by 出雲冠者義照 Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru. The school is one of the most famous in traditional Japanese budo and in the Bujinkan. The school has many weapons techniques such as sword, spear, halberd and staffs of various lengths. – Hatsumi sôke is the 28’th generation SOKE
7. Gikan-Ryu Koppo Taijutsu (Specialising in the skeletal structure – 18th Generation) Founded in the Yeiroku-era (1558-1570) by 瓜生判官義鑑房 Uryu Hangan Gikanbo. This school has not been taught other than some henkas – Hatsumi sôke is the 15’th generation SOKE
8. Takagiyoshin-Ryu Jutaijutsu (Samurai style jujutsu) Foundend in the Yeiroku-era (1625-1711) by 高木折右衛門重俊 Takagi Oriemon Shigenobu. The school is another very popular traditional Japanese Buso school specializing in self defence, both Jûjutsu and mûtô-dori unarmed against sword attacks. – Hatsumi sôke is the 26’th generation SOKE
9. Kumogakure-Ryu Ninpo Happo Bikken (Ninjutsu) Founded in the Tenmon-era (1532-1554) by 伊賀平内左衛門家長 Iga Heinaizaemon Ienaga This school has not been taught. –Hatsumi sôke is the 15’th generation SOKE