I am amidst a discussion at my club about the definition of genuine ninjutsu. You see, the bujinkan teaches a very well-defined, kata driven style or taijutsu that has by soke's own admission survived eventually unchanged since the eighteenth century. My club trains on a very modern style of taijutsu that looks a lot like a contemporary MMA match that broke out at a gymnastics meet. The reasoning for my club is that no one wears armor or throws lunge punches, so why train on them?

Well, I like that philosophy, so I train with my school, not the bujinkan school down the road. Why? Because I would rather get my history in books and be able to defend myself in a fight, than get my history in training and get my ass kicked. This is exactly how I see it too.
The bujinkan is trying - at least on the surface - to keep a historical art alive, and more power to them. Here's hoping that the history of the ninja is never lost. If it takes the bujinkan to keep it alive, so be it. Something has to.

However, the spirit of the ninja is to persevere. When a new threat emerges, it must be dealt with in its turn. When guns were introduced to Japan, the ninja embraced them. Today, people fight differently - heavily influenced by western boxing and easily carried knives. The ninja embraces these changes.

As such, we train for the new challenges, and allow the old ways to die. When we train metsubushi, we use pepper spray. Our intonjutsu looks a lot like parkour - embracing something that works. We have a ground game in our taijutsu because fighting occurs on the ground - honor is out the window, these days.

Are we less ninjutsu than the bujinkan schools? It could be said that we are more. I understand their point, though - there is a historical precedent and we are tromping on it. I firmly believe that we have a good reason, however, and I would put our curriculum up against any one's. I am glad I am studying this way - and I would like the bujinkan to see this for what it is and be pleased that the art continues to grow.

Comments are closed