Bujinkan has a long and illustrious history originating back to the ancient art of Ninjutsu. The martial art of Bujinkan is relatively new, being founded in 1974 by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. However, its roots can be traced back hundreds and thousands of years back to the ancient Japan. Indeed, Bujinkan is the modern adaptation of Ninjutsu with the focus on hand-to-hand and weapons combat. So how exactly did Bujinkan arise from the ancient arts practiced by secret society of Ninjas for generations and into the mainstream martial arts scene?
The first historical account of Ninjutsu can be found in the texts of Shoninki in 1691. In it, Ninjutsu was described as an elusive and powerful martial arts that drove the winner of the Gempai War of 1180. Ninjutsu became incredibly popularized during the Three Kingdoms period of Japan in 15th century. Many texts from this era touts the effectiveness and efficacy of Ninjutsu as a potent combat discipline.
Ninjutsu was forged in the fires of the wars and was heavily practiced by Samurais and Ninjas, the combat ranks of the ancient Japanese hierarchical society. And Bujinkan is the successor of this incredibly historic discipline.
Rougly translated as “Heavily Samurai Training Hall,” Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi was the founder of this martial arts. The Ninjutsu master was a decorated martial artist with influential lineage, having inherited 9 schools of Ninjutsu in 1972 and all of them stay intact until today. Here are the names of the 9 schools of Bujinkan: Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu, Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo, Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo, Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu, Koto Ryu Koppojutsu, Gyokko Ryu Kossijutsu, Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, Kukishinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu, and Togakure Ryu Ninpo.
What the founder of Bujinkan tried to pass on and impart on the next generation is profound. He wanted Bujinkan to stay true to the ancient arts of Ninjutsu by adopting the techniques and principles faithfully. However, he also adapted the martial arts to the modern times, making it a more practical discipline that can be used in real life situations as a self-defense methodology.
Today, Bujinkan is incredibly popular and wide-spread. Almost all Ninjutsu around the globe has ties to Bujinkan and many dojos do teach the art to their students.
Although Bujinkan is a potent martial arts and definitely something that can be a practical self-defense weapon, its core teachings are more profound. It is a way of life, a way to discipline and improve yourself and to fit into the flow of the natural world in its entirety.