Bujinkan Martial Arts

The Bujinkan is a system of martial arts founded by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi of Nodashi Japan. This name was created by Soke Hatsumi to collectively represent the nine ryu-ha (schools) of martial arts contained within. These lineages were passed down to Soke Hatsumi from his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, known by many as the actual last living ninja. The name of the system can be defined many ways however one possible translation would be:

Bu 武 – Martial or military

Jin 神 – Spirit or heart

Kan 館 – House or Hall

Bujinkan – “Divine Warrior School”

The 9 Bujinkan Schools

The Bujinkan martial arts include nine schools, or ryuha. Each one represents its own unique skill set or applications. Six of these are regarded as jujutsu schools of the samurai, while the remaining three represent schools of  ninjutsu.
Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu 玉虎流骨指術
Koto Ryu Koppojutsu 虎倒流骨法術
Kukishin Ryu Happou Bikenjutsu 九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術
Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu 神伝不動流打拳体術
Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu 高木揚心流柔体術
Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu 戸隠流忍法体術
Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu 義鑑流骨法術
Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo 玉心流忍法
Kumongakure Ryu Ninpo 雲隠流忍法

Bujinkan Ranking System

The ranking system is broken down into different levels. Initially the Bujinkan student is a white belt or Mukyu, meaning no rank. Then as one progresses they move through the nine levels of the kyu ranks in desending order. All nine of these ranks are signified by a green belt and a kyu level wappen or badge as indicated below. From there the dan levels are further separated into three main catagories. A black belt is worn for all of these although they are separated by three different wappen as an indication of level. The first level being Ten, or Heaven represents 1st – 4th dan, the second level being Chi or Earth indicates 5th – 9th dan and lastly Jin or Man for 10th – 15th Dan. An instructor can rank a student up to Yondan (4th dan) and then one must go to Japan to test for the 5th degree. Once achieved one is considered a Shidoshi (licensed teacher) and is capable of running their own school at that time. One is referred to as a Shidoshi until 10th dan at which time one is considered a Shihan or senior instructor although, Soke has stated that only one who achieves the level of Jugodan (15th dan) will be considered a true Shihan of the Bujinkan martial arts.


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