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  1. What are the 9 schools of the Bujinkan?
  2. What is training in the Bujinkan like?
  3. Are there tournaments or competitions in the Bujinkan?

  1. What are the 9 schools of the Bujinkan?

    The nine ryu (traditions or schools) are what Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu are based on. Three of these ryu are Ninjutsu schools. The other six are  from the Samurai traditions (although most of them has Ninpo elements in them).

    Some can be applied with many varieties of weapons and while others focus in on unarmed combat. These days the training is more focused more on the combative techniques rather than Ninjutsu. That is why Hatsumi Soke prefers to call our art Budo Taijutsu.

    The 9 Bujinkan schools are:

    1. Togakure-ryu Ninpo Happo Biken
      Founded in the late 1100's by Daisuke Nishina. The second oldest Ryu in Masaaki Hatsumi's Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu system. This school is most famous in Bujinkan for the different Ninjutsu weapons as the Shuko, Shinodake, Shuriken, etc.
    2. Gyokko-ryu Kosshijutsu Happo Biken
      Founded in the mid 1100's by Tozawa Hakuunsai. The oldest Ryu in Masaaki Hatsumi's Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu system. Most famous for the Kihon Happo, Sanshin no kata, and Muto Taihenjutsu which are considered as the basics in the Bujinkan system.
    3. Kukishin-ryu Taijutsu Happo Biken
      Founded in the mid 1300 by Izumo Kanja Yoshitero. Most famous in Bujinkan for the many different weapon techniques.
    4. Shindenfudo-ryu Dakentaijutsu Happo Biken
      Founded in the beginning of 1100 by Izumo Kaja Yoshitero. Most famous in Bujinkan for the rough Dakentaijutsu techniques. 
    5. Gyokushin-ryu Ninpo Happo Biken
      Founded in the mid 1500 by Sasaki Goemon Teruyoshi. Very little of this school have been taught to the western world. It is believed that this school was more into information gathering and planning than actual combat.
    6. Koto-ryu Koppojutsu Happo Biken
      Founded in the mid 1500 by Sakagami Taro Kunishige. Most famous in Bujinkan for the Koppojutsu (bone breaking techniques), and unusual Biken (sword) style of fighting.
    7. Gikan-ryu Koppo Taijutsu Happo Biken
      Founded in the mid 1500 by Uryu Hangan Gikanbo. Most famous in Bujinkan for the difficult and odd Kamae's in it's taijutsu. This school is also specialised in Koppojutsu.
    8. Takagiyoshin-ryu Jutaijutsu Happo Biken
      Founded in the beginning of 1600 by Takagi Oriuemon Shigenobu. Most famous in Bujinkan as a "Bodyguard School" fast and effective Jujutsu techniques, and Daishosabaki (Jujutsu while wearing both swords in the belt).
    9. Kumogakure-ryu Ninpo Happo Biken
      Founded in the mid 1500 by Iga Heinaizaemon No Jo Ienaga. Most famous in Bujinkan for the Kamayari, and jumping techniques.

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  2. What is training in the Bujinkan like?

    Training progresses through skills in:

    • Taihenjutsu (body changing skills), which include falling, rolling, leaping, posture, and avoidance;
    • Dakentaijutsu (striking weapons body techniques) using the entire body as a striking tool/weapon - how to apply and how to receive; and
    • Jutaijutsu (Supple body techniques) locks, throws, chokes, holds - how to apply and how to escape.

    In the early stages, weapon training is usually limited to practicing how to avoid attacks - overcoming any fear of the object and understanding the dynamics of its use from the perspective of "defending against" (while unarmed).

    In the mid and later stages, once a grounding in Taijutsu body dynamics is in place, practitioners begin studying from the perspective of "defending with" the various tools/weapons.

    In the early stages of training, kata is provided as examples of "what can be done here" and "how to move the body to achieve this result". However, as the practitioner progresses they are encouraged to explore the openings which naturally appear in people's movements and apply spontaneous techniques based upon the principles contained within the kata. This free flowing style is one of the most important aspects of Budo Taijutsu training. Adaptability is one of the main lessons of all of these ryu.

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  3.  Are there tournaments or competitions in the Bujinkan?

    Due to the  nature of the techniques studied, there are no tournaments or competitions in Budo Taijutsu. As tournament fighting has set rules which compel the competitor to study the techniques allowed within that framework, this limits not only the kinds of techniques that they study, but also the way in which they will apply those techniques. The way that you train is the way that you fight. Budo Taijutsu requires that its practitioners be open to any situation and to be able to adapt their technique to ensure survival.

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