OC Bujinkan

Presented by Kuroyama Budo OC Shibu

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.s)

What is Bujinkan Ninpo/Budo Taijutsu?

Simply, it's a collection of 9 specific arts, representing a method of learning the body skills required of a warrior.

Why am I seeing weird characters on the Bujinkan page?

This site uses UTF-8 encoding and may require a Japanese language pack on Windows based computers.

Is Bujinkan Ninpo/Budo Taijutsu right for me?

Maybe. It'll depend on two very important factors: you, and the instructor. I've put together a guide on how to decide what, if any, martial art is right for you.

Why does the Bujinkan have 15 Dan Ranks?

There are tons of ways to answer this: Money, Differentiation, and that it doesn't.

Technically, the truth is that it has 10 Dan ranks, the last of which is divided into 5 sub ranks (or licenses, menkyo), one for each element (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Void). As for why it's done that way? Because Soke decided to.

Dan ranks don't have a specific number to them. Most arts use between 1 and 10 Dan ranks, but they weren't even invented for martial arts. The earliest use of the dan ranking system is attributed to Honinbo Dosaku, a professional Go player in the Edo period. Before it was ever adopted for martial arts by Jigoro Kano, it was used in athletics departments in the Japanese school system to rank athletes, most notably swimmers.

What should I wear to my first class?

T-Shirt and sweat pants. If you're worried about your t-shirt being ripped, an inexpensive sweatshirt is recommended. Shoes will likely not be worn indoors, but this can depend on where you're training.

Do I need to own any equipment?

Once you've determined you'll be training, a uniform should be purchased, usually consisting of a black gi, a white belt, and a t-shirt to be worn underneath the jacket. Optional other uniform items include tabi (a split-toed sock made of cotton or leather. Jika-tabi, a rubber-soled outdoor variety may be acceptable in some dojo, but should be confirmed with the instructor). Typically, instructors have some spare equipment to train with. As you progress, you may be expected to provide certain items, typically a training knife made of wood, rubber, or blunted metal; a bokken (a wooden sword) or shinai (a sword made of bamboo slats); a hanbo (a 3-foot staff); and a rokushaku bo (a 6-foot staff). Additional equipment may be required, and may be able to be ordered through the instructor. 

Can't I just borrow equipment?

Generally this is considered a bad practice, and you certainly should never borrow without asking permission of the owner first. Equipment comes in extremely varying grades, and you would be expected at least to replace anything that breaks with something of equal or greater value. Further, if everyone is borrowing, there will never be enough equipment for everyone.

I want to sign my 8-year-old kid up for a martial arts class. Is this art right for him?

I don't feel so, and thus I don't teach children. There are other schools though, and many in Orange County, that teach children's self-defense. I believe that children today don't need the sort of training they needed hundreds of years ago. Childhood is a luxury they can afford, and while I believe discipline is a great thing, I'm not willing to water down my art to make it family friendly. For me, 16 is as young as I'll teach -- old enough to be responsible in its application.

Is this ninjutsu?

There is some ninjutsu in our art.

Is this jujutsu?

There is some jujutsu in our art.

Does it require a lot of strength?

No. In fact, it's beneficial to not think of the art as relying on strength, but on proper application of body mechanics. Strength is the ability to apply change through force. Taijutsu works to manipulate the direction of force, and, in some cases, meet it head on to stop it. Often, the stronger or more forceful the opponent, the better taijutsu will work.

Am I too old/weak/disabled/etc. to start this art?

This art depends on your frame of mind -- if you're too focused on what you are over simply that you still are, you're not in the right place for this art, or any art. Lose your doubts, then contact us. There are, of course, individual instructors specialties and limitations (For instance, I don't train anyone under 16), and some instructors may not be able to accommodate your specific needs the way others can. It's up to you to question and sample from different instructors to find the best fit for you.

There are some exercises that are particularly useful, in my opinion, for the average practitioner, which you will learn in depth from a qualified instructor.

I want to learn ground-fighting/sword-work/staff-work/striking/kicking/etc. Is this the art for me?

The overall art has methods in striking, grappling, and weapon use; and work from prone to standing. Will we make you a top-skilled grappler or swordsman? No. We do not focus on one aspect, instead teaching you first to become proficient in moving your body, then methods to cheat against the attacks that others focus on. The idea isn't to be a master of everything, but proficient in everything to survive the attack by the person who is a master, but of only one thing.

What is a typical class like?

This is a complicated question since different instructors have different requirements and different schedules. For my classes, you are expected to stretch and warm up prior so we don't have to waste a lot of class time. We start by performing our bow in ceremony (Kneel in line, face the kamidana, close eyes, clasp hands, clear your mind, recite "Shikin haramitsu daikomyo", clap twice, bow, clap once, bow. Teacher turns around and bows to the class saying "Onegai shimasu", the class bows and repeats. Any announcements are made). This is followed by tumbling and breakfalls (taihenjutsu ukemi), then, depending on the level of the class, this may be followed with kata (10 count, 5 on each side of the sanshin no kata, for those who know). Afterward, I generally have some focus in my mind of a basic idea, and we'll explore it from a variety of angles for the class. I like to take a break about an hour in to grab water and discuss peoples feelings on how they understand what's being worked on. Bow out in a similar fashion at the end of class. Hopefully have some fun in the interim.

I've seen Youtube videos that are horrible/say it's a cult/can teach me ninjutsu for free! Why should I join you?

First, we get a lot of grief about our methods in general – "They're too slow to be effective", etc. We tend to train slow, yes, at about 60% power/speed. Then slower. The uke (person receiving the technique) has the job of learning to receive the ground (ukemi), and learning to take the pain, as well as help tori (the person executing the technique) to find the right pain and lock points. Moving slow gives you the chance to find the locks and perform them accurately. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Being able to perform a basic wrist lock is one thing. Using the same motion to lock out the whole body is quite another.

There's a lot of videos (especially from Bullshido) that like to demonstrate our bowing procedure as cult behavior. The question below can answer this, but to suffice – All actions are voluntary, but please do not interrupt others if you'll not be participating.

Finally, some people on Youtube claim to teach "ninjutsu" via video. This is extremely dangerous. Videos can not correct you when you do something wrong, they can not show you the fine points that experienced instructors will make you feel. Please, if you feel that you can learn from those videos alone, come take the free introductory class, and train with me. I'll see if I can recognize what you've learned, and show you why instructors tell you you can't learn from videos alone. I would rather do this in a safe setting than have you be injured because you thought you could use those techniques to protect yourself.

Are there any rituals in this art? Is it a religion?

At the beginning and end of each class, there is a bowing ritual. Is it religious? Some people make it so -- It does have ties to Shinto and Buddhist traditions in Japan, but it only has the meaning you give to it. If you feel that it would be improper for you, you're free not to participate in it, but should respect those who wish to participate. Please keep in mind that your actions only have the significance you give to them or allow others to give to them. At the very least, you should take the time to sit quietly, clear your mind, and prepare yourself for the training ahead.


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