Monday, June 10, 2024

Bujinkan Home Study Course

Can you learn the Bujinkan martial arts (budo taijutsu) through a home study course or without a teacher? What about following books and videos, or with the emergence of remote learning, a live zoom session or seminar?

There are some complex challenges in learning the martial arts in general, but especially the feeling of Bujinkan unless it is directly experienced, and I do recognize in asking the question and searching for it, the enthusiasm of the student in wanting to learn Bujinkan.

That enthusiasm and excitement for Soke’s art is something we want to build on.

Certainly the martial arts are physical movements, and one can mimic and gain some proficiency in those physical movements, but being martial arts, there are some inherent dangers in going at it alone without a teacher.

The consequences of mistakes.

As one trains in the movements and learns the art mistakes are made, the mistakes over time are corrected by a teacher, the movement is refined, and that feedback of pointing out what is correct movement and what is not correct movement can often times be very hard to see.

Taijutsu (our art) is about using distance, using physical space, if the space is not correct, the movement is not correct, and this is one example of the movement which is very hard if not impossible to see or correct just by yourself. Over time many mistakes in the movement will appear and the student won’t even be aware of it. A teacher in the art is there to help you correct mistakes and at various points introduce new movement ideas.

There is also the understanding of feeling, Bujinkan, taijutsu is a way of moving and doing things, it is not a series of waza, kata, or collection of things, it needs to be experienced person-to-person (isshi soden), and one needs a teacher for that.

A teacher is also important for opportunity, your long term opportunity in the art. A good teacher will want you to be better at the movement compared to them. A good teacher will want you to eventually surpass them, and they will do everything they can to help push you there and get you heading in that direction. A good teacher will have contact in the Bujinkan, and the Bujinkan community to introduce you to people when it is time, a home learning course student can’t get that opportunity.

But, I do understand the enthusiasm in wanting to train in this amazing art and that not everybody has a Bujinkan dojo next door.

How far can one travel to a dojo?

Given the distance, if one can’t make it every week, can you travel every two weeks?

What about attending Bujinkan seminars or workshops, especially ones that focus on the kihon happo?

Are there any changes that can be made to start learning in person?

Given the most extreme case, if there are no Bujinkan dojo in the area, what about working on pre-training fundamentals such as stretching (junan taiso), walking, health methods, so when one is able to connect with a Bujinkan dojo they are ready to go.  

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The aim of the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo (school of the life giving sword) is to understand nature and the movement of being zero through taijutsu- martial ways of using the body. The school exists to create and transmit this feeling and method through the experience of isshi soden.

Located in Westchester New York, the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo is a martial arts training group founded in 2005 with the aim of coming together as martial arts friends to study the Japanese martial arts of Masaaki Hatsumi through the movement lessons of the Bujinkan Dojo.

Training is supervised by Fred Feddeck who has been studying Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu since 1993.

Classes are held on Saturday Mornings from 9-11 AM at a local park in Yonkers New York easily accessible by car, train, and bus. Additional training times are held for workshops and seminars each quarter.

Questions, feedback, and inquiries may be directed to the group here:

Those interested in finding more about our training are invited to join our meetup and event mailing list below.

This mailing list is used to provide updates regarding upcoming seminars and workshops, along with meeting times for our once a month martial arts meetup to discuss and explore various topics in our training.

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