The Bujinkan Dōjō is an international association of students of the martial art of Budō Taijutsu, founded in the 1970’s by Masaaki Hatsumi. The first Bujinkan Dōjō outside Japan was founded in Isreal by Doron Navon in 1974, with dōjō opening up in the United States, across Europe and beyond soon after, with Bujinkan coming to Ireland in the 1980’s.
Today the Bujinkan Dōjō is a truly international organization, with hundreds of thousands of active members and hundreds of dōjō found in dozens of countries the world over. Its headquarters is in Noda city in Chiba Prefecture, north of Tokyō, Japan. Translated into English, Bujinkan means “hall of the warrior spirit”, while Dōjō translates as “place of the way”.
武神館武道體術 Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu
Masaaki Hatsumi, who leads the Bujinkan, is the head or ‘Sōke’ of an array of Japanese martial arts schools, most notably those he inherited from his teacher Toshitsugu Takamatsu, including:
- Togakure Ryū Ninpō
- Kotō Ryū Koppōjutsu
- Gyokko Ryū Kosshijutsu
- Kukishinden Ryū Bujutsu
- Takagi Yoshin Ryū Jūtaijutsu
- Shinden Fudō Ryū Dakentaijutsu
- Gyokushin Ryū Ninpō
- Gikan Ryū Koppōjutsu
- Kumogakure Ryū Ninpō
The martial art of Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu is principally drawn from these schools, which are sometimes referred to as kobudō (old martial way), kobujutsu (old martial technique) or koryū (old school). It includes unarmed fighting, traditional weapons, along with other areas such as martial strategy, tactics and philosophy. These include:
- Taijutsu -Older term than jūjutsu, meaning unarmed combat and tactics, including dakentaijutsu (striking), jūtaijutsu (grappling), koppōjutsu (correct use of structural alignment) and kosshijutsu (attacking vital points).
- Kenjutsu – Use of the Japanese sword, including katana, tachi and the older Ken. Also examined are o-dachi (large swords), wakizashi & kodachi (short sword), nitōjutsu (use of two swords), battōjutsu (sword drawing, sometimes called iaijutsu) and tameshigiri (test cutting with live swords).
- Bōjutsu – Art of using stick weaponry, including rokushakubō (6 foot staff), jōjutsu (4 foot staff) and hanbōjutsu (three foot staff).
- Sōjutsu & Naginatajutsu – Method for using Japanese spears (yari) and glaives (naginata), and their relationship with other weapons.
- Shurikenjutsu – Art of thrown weapons, such as bōshuriken (hand thrown darts)
- Ninjutsu – Classical Japanese martial art of espionage, including diverse areas such as disguise and evasion techniques, to sword methods and specialized unarmed combat techniques (sometimes misspelt as ‘ninjitsu’).
- Other areas of study include juttejutsu (use of Japanese truncheon), nawajutsu (rope techniques) and joseigoshinjutsu (women’s self defence).
Bujinkan instructors can directly issue licenses in Budō Taijutsu from junior kyū ranks (9th-1st) and senior dan ranks (1st to 4th), while more senior ranks can be recommended by a senior instructor. Very rarely traditional licenses of full transmission or menkyo kaiden (免許皆伝) are granted in either one of the nine schools or a specific area of study by Masaaki Hatsumi Sōke.