By Yossi Sheriff

Bujinkan, (武神館道場), (בוג'ין קאן), (House of the warrior), or more properly the Bujinkan Dōjō, is a martial arts organization. It is headed and operated by sōke Masaaki Hatsumi (初見良昭 Hatsumi Masaaki), who learned from Toshitsugu Takamatsu (高松寿嗣 Takamatsu Toshitsugu). The Bujinkan hombu dojo is in Noda just outside Tokyo. Bujinkan dōjōs can be found all over the world.

The Bujinkan Dōjō method is named Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu (武神館武道体術), and includes nine martial arts family lineages, called ryuha. The art was previously called Bujinkan Ninpō Taijutsu and before that it was known under the more generic name of Ninjutsu. The name of the system being taught changed, but not the Ninjutsu techniques syllabus which has stayed the same.

Video of Hatsumi and Doron Navon in Noda


The training is generally referred to as taijutsu, and is composed of both armed and unarmed methods of fighting. Unarmed methods are broken down into three primary categories, dakentaijutsu (striking forms), jūtaijutsu (grappling forms), and taihenjutsu (body movement skills). Much of the basic taijutsu taught to beginners comes from six primary lineages in the Bujinkan compendium, namely Koto ryu, Gyokko ryu, Shinden Fudo ryu, Takagi Yoshin ryu, Kukishin ryu, and Togakure ryu. A large variety of weapons are taught, such as sword (including daito, wakizashi and tanto, bamboo shinai, wooden bokken, iaitō a flexible aluminum replica sword that holds no edge, or swords made by soft modern materials are employed for safety such as padded bokken), staffs of various lengths (bo, jo, hanbo), rope, kusari-fundo (weighted chain), kusarigama (sickle with chain), yari (spear), kamayari (spear with 2 rearward hooking blades), bisento (similar to the naginata), kyoketsu shoge (similar to a kama except it has a dagger point and a rope of several feet attached to an iron ring), jutte (shaped like a sai with just a single prong, at a smaller distance from the shaft of the weapon) tessen (iron fan), naginata (Japanese halberd), kunai (a bladed digging tool), as well various form of shuriken including bo-shuriken and senban shuriken. Weapons are categorized into four primary classes - sticks, blades, flexibles, and projectiles.

As a general rule, Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu practitioners don't engage in competitions or contests.

Nine ryūha lineages of Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu

  1. Gyokko ryu Kosshijutsu (玉虎流骨指術)
  2. Koto ryu Koppojutsu (虎倒流骨法術)
  3. Shinden Fudo ryu Dakentaijutsu (神伝不動流打拳体術)
  4. Takagi Yoshin ryu Jutaijutsu (高木揚心流柔体術)
  5. Kuki Shinden ryu Happo Bikenjutsu (九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術)
  6. Gikan ryu Koppojutsu (義鑑流骨法術)
  7. Togakure ryu Ninpo (戸隠流忍法)
  8. Gyokushin ryu Ninpo (玉心流忍法)
  9. Kumogakure ryu Ninpo (雲隠流忍法)