difference among the xkans

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Love Budo, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Love Budo

    Love Budo Valued Member

    I have wanted to do this for a while, but have been hesitant for various reasons. But peep_delta's thread has suggested that the following can be discussed openly, without rancor or childish name calling.

    What exactly are the differences amongst the three main xkans. In particular, what path did Manaka sensei follow which diverged from that of the bujikan.

    FYI, I practice bujinkan. I have no knowledge of the other two save what I have read on this forum. I've done some searching, but have not found a direct, let's compare, contrast and discuss thread. If there is one and I am being redundant, let me know. I will gladly read it and save you all the trouble.
  2. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Matthew 7:6

    This will of course be incomplete, but for starters. . .and keeping in mind that I'm coming at this from a Bujinkan perpective. . .

    Tanemura sensei, from what I recall at the time of the split, seems to have felt that Hatsumi was deviating from what Takamatsu had taught and wanted people to be able to learn these arts as he himself had first learned them from Hatsumi. Since then he's gone on to train with other surviving students of Takamatsu and receive licenses from them, and in the Genbukan also teaches other things in which he had received teaching licenses but not necessarily Sokeships.

    I'm not sure just what Manaka's vision actuallly was, but I heard that one thing motivating his approach was his feeling that most people in the Bujinkan did not have a sufficient foundation in the basics -- kihon waza and kata -- of the Bujinkan's arts to develop properly.

    Both instructors are, compared to Hatsumi, very formal in their approach. Hatsumi is focusing on "the feeling" he got from Takamatsu and seems to feel that the formal-transmission stuff is almost irrelevant.
  3. Love Budo

    Love Budo Valued Member

    Thanks Dale. I appreciate the responce.

    Since no one took my first bait, I will ask more directly. Are there not any practitioners of either Jinenkan or Genbukan who will tell us a bit about their training?

    I understand that you spar in Genbukan. Is that so? What is it like? How do you deal with rules versus the unruly reality of life?

    What is the difference between Jinenkan and Genbukan?
  4. Satori81

    Satori81 Never Forget...

    I train in the Genbukan. I've never trained in Jinenkan or Bujinkan, so I can't compare, per se. I can tell you a bit about the way our training is structured.

    My instructor teaches for free. He built his weapon racks, bought his own Kamidana from Japan, and constantly brings "goodies" for me and the rest of the students (new tabi, patches, weapons, etc...). Out of the dojo, he is a warm, friendly, personable guy who loves the martial arts. This is why I travel 2 hours to train with him.

    Once we bow in and begin class...everything changes. The relaxed, friendly atmosphere is gone, and replaced by something reminiscent of Marine Corps "Respectful **** Kicking". Everything turns deadly serious, all techniques are thrown full-speed (except when injury might occur), and eye-contact is maintained constantly.

    Etiquette is HUGE. You do not interupt the instructor, turn your back to the instructor, or bend over and show your rear to the instructor. Techniques are typically demonstrated once, then you are forced to repeat them until you get them right. Only once you physically perform the technique correctly is it explained.

    Training is tough, and I find myself getting frustrated often. In my old styles, testing was pretty easy. You would stand with other students in front of the instructor, and the instructor would call out the techniques to be performed.

    In my dojo, testing is much harder. You bow in seiza, and the instructor says "Begin". After those words, he says NOTHING. You are required to go through the entire kyu syllabus in Japanese, recite the proper "announcement" per technique, demonstrate both sides, demonstrate every Henka waza, and finish all on your own. At the end of the test, you find out if you passed or failed. No warning, no correction (most of the time), no idea of how you're doing until you finish.

    Yes, it is kind of harsh. Yes, it might seem overly strict. But that is why I train there. When I'm there, I have NO doubt that I'm training in traditional warrior arts. I have no doubt about the seriousness of my instructor and fellow kohai. It is really a humbling experience to practice with such intensity and reverence.

    May you achieve
  5. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    hm... my training in the genbukan is strict, but not THAT strict.

    My sensei and others were in the bujinkan for quite some time, and after they left some of the differences they noted were: Zanshin during/after EVERY technique/kata/etc. The curricuulum differences, ie: you have to follow what tanemura sensei has given you. In this way, someone from the west coast will have the same taijutsu as me on the east coast. I hear in the bujinkan the dojos are all different, and you learn whatever the sensei wants to teach you. Not that that is a bad thing, i could be wrong anyways :p Someone even said that ichimonji is a little bit different.. i dunno go figure. Sword evasion is done alot alot alot. I hear that its not really done very often in the bujinkan (or at all.. is this right?) but we have a lot of different techniques for evading different sword cuts.

    Thats all i can think of right now, if it doesnt make sense or im completly wrong, tell me, :D
  6. MattK

    MattK New Member

    In responce to the Ichimonji issue, as far as i know the variations come with the ryu that you are studying. Probably because of the different clothing/ situations involved.
  7. Brad Ellin

    Brad Ellin Baba

    Sorry, I don't think I'd fit in in the Genbukan. I'm too laid back. Besides, the military asked me to leave :D

    As some may have gathered, I'm a proud member of the Bujinkan (I dislike calling it the Booj, but that's me). I've visited many different dojos and have belonged to a few. Biggest difference, and maybe why I like it so much is the variety taught. Every teacher flavors his/her taijutsu a different way. My teacher in MD was very soft and flowing in his, his assistant was more technical. My new training partner compares mine to Bud's and Jack's. (Flattering, but not true in the least. Wish I was 10% what they are). We do sword evasion, every class. This dojo and the last one. Atmosphere is always relaxed and informal, but make no mistakes, if you are not giving 100% intent and concentration, we'll let you know. I know I'm training in a warrior art, I don't need to be treated like I'm in Boot Camp. (Not knocking you guys or the Genbukan, it's just not me). One common thing I've found is opening class with ukemi as a warm up. Every where I've been, class starts with ukemi.

    What we train in class? Depends. Back on MD, whatever the theme was, that is what was gone over. The last year, our teacher decided to go back in to the basics (Sanshin and Kihon) and start breaking them down.
    Here, kid's class, the teacher has a syllabus that he was taught from that he uses. Teaching the kids the basics. And some of them are pretty good, they stick with, they'll be downright dynamite. Adult class, depends. If it's newbies, one of us will go over ukemi a bit more in depth. Then get them used to the kamae. We'll do a little bit of the Kihon Happo, to give them a taste of what they can expect if they come back. I'm not going to spend all class teaching something, if the person has not shown an intent to come back and a willingness to learn. If there are no newbies, currently we are working on stuff from Takagiyoshin Ryu. Once in awhile, we'll play, no structure, just whatever someone is in the mood for.

    It's my style, that's why I like it. That's why I've stuck with the Bujinkan for so long.

    One other reason, no matter where in the world I've travelled, when I have visited a Bujinkan Dojo, I have always without fail, felt welcome. Greeted as one of the family, not someone who they had to prove themselves too. I've never been "tested" to see what I was made of (except that bogus guy in Ark back in the late 80's) Just, welcomed.
  8. Dale Seago

    Dale Seago Matthew 7:6


    Wow, this thread is interesting so far. The initial post wasn't from the perspective of "Which 'kan' is the best?", and the responses haven't been in that vein either. Are my eyes deceiving me, or are people really just trying to openly and honestly share information with each other?

    Just goes to show that it's rather amazing what can happen when people of good will get together for a chat. . .
  9. MattK

    MattK New Member

    Its because we all practise the martial art that could beat all the others ever...

  10. Peaceful Tiger

    Peaceful Tiger Happy Member

    Well Kukishinden Ryu was most likely practiced with body-armour on and Gyokku Ryu was the wee woman's art :D, so it's not hard to see the variations in stances and technique.

    This is a subject that fascinates me and I look forward to learning more.
  11. Zamfoo

    Zamfoo Valued Member

    Well I'm a genbukan member and my training is somewhat laid back. You're still not supposed to interrupt and you bow and move out of the way of higher ranks general stuff like that. We get tested each kyu but my sensei will ask for a certain technique in japanese but normally you know the order and names so it's pretty good. You may or may not be able to tell if you passed but you could be corrected on a bunch of things and still pass. You're expected to be in a kamae at the end of every technique when you test and most of the time in class but it's BIG on the test. I think I've done kihon's like 4-5 times just to warm up (I hear kihons are bigger in Japan). Mostly the technique is shown 2-3 times and explained then if you screw up when you're practicing and the sensei will come over and help. Occasionally we'll do free sparring but it's at 1/2 speed at most and mainly tries to get you not to freeze up and then perform a technique. It's the most difficult thing i think we do. Sword evasion is the 1st thing you learn but is reviewed for 5th kyu and 1st kyo but everybody does it every once and a while.
  12. Kunoichi

    Kunoichi Valued Member

    A lot of focus is put on ukemi in the Bujinkan. How much focus is put on it in the Genbukan or Jinenkan?
  13. Satori81

    Satori81 Never Forget...

    We fall a lot...and fall some more...then some more...

    Everyone is supposed to follow the same curriculuum in the Genbukan, and the first test (mu kyu) is primarily etiquette and the proper way to fall.

    In addition, we always warm up with some nice falling. The first few weeks I was there, I hurt in places I've never hurt before.

    We don't spar, as I've been told that sparring doesn't work with the "message" of Ninpo. However, on occasion one of the sempai will grab a shinai and begin "Freestyle Zan Totsu Sabaki", in which we are chased around by a sword wielding maniac and forced to use our "neenjootsoo skeelz" to escape.

    Did I mention we fall a lot?

    May you achieve

    BTW: I JUST found out why we use the Shikan Ken so much! I want a pair of Shuko now!
  14. Peaceful Tiger

    Peaceful Tiger Happy Member

    That sounds very similar to something Gary (Mr Bond....James Bond), would do at one of his classes :D
  15. Lord Spooky

    Lord Spooky Banned Banned

    Yeah but Gary would probably use a lightsabre VOOM VOOM :D :D
  16. Shinobi_Of_Iga

    Shinobi_Of_Iga New Member

    Some Examples...

    here's a link of techniques(videos) from 10th kyu to 1st kyu

  17. Kunoichi

    Kunoichi Valued Member

    That link to the video clips of the syllabus was quite useful. I'm seeing some very familiar techniques in there from the Bujinkan.

    I know all Genbukan works with a syllabus but I noticed the syllabus for each kyu grade was rather short. I've been at schools with different martial arts that only allow students to work on the techniques for that grade, nothing more (I left one place after I learned to do a hip throw from a right hand punch, asked to try it with a left hand punch but was told I couldn't because that was for a higher grade!!!). Are classes usually divided by level of students or is an amount of time allocated in each class to work on individual students' syllabus or are students mainly expected to pick up the parts in their syllabus as they go along?
  18. Love Budo

    Love Budo Valued Member

    Wow, this has been really interesting!! May I make a generalization? In doing so, please do not hesitate to correct or berate me for it...

    It would appear that the Genbukan is significantly more formal than the Bujinkan. The fact that Genbukan has a curriculum set from above is HEAPS different. Does that mean that 10th kyus do not or can not learn 1st kyu curriculum?

    In our training, everyone from from white to black does the same technique, irrespective of its level of complication. It is sometimes funny to stop and what a pair of white belts training alongside you go through Koku. You have to wonder what their eyes saw during the demo. No matter, at least they try...

    We have four grading nights a year. They are pretty much no different than other nights save for an extra hour of training. At the end of the grading night, we all sit around, have green tea while my sensei imparts some wise words for thought. Ussually, he will read a few passages from one of Hatsumi Sensei's books. Then he gives out new grades and we all take pride in the advancement of our buyu. It's all very relaxed and laid back. Although the one thing that is said after every grading night is, "... if you feel you are unworthy of your new grade, keep training and earn it. If you feel that you are deserving of a higher grade, then keep training and attain it. Irespective of what you feel, keep training."

    Just watching the Seiza / bowing for the 10 kyu was so different from anything that I have ever experienced in the Bujinkan. Also, the many techniques in the curriculum that are demonstrated on the Genbukan site are done very mechanically. Is this an example of Genbukan's focus on the mastering the basics versus Bujinkan's fcocus on feeling?

    Of course, I don't know which method is better, assuming of course that one way is actually better than the other, considering I have only experience in the Bujinkan.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2005
  19. Satori81

    Satori81 Never Forget...

    There is no better. Only different. I'm ex-Military, and the ritualistic "strictness" appealed to me. Everyone trains to escape from modern life, and the formality allows me to escape easier. I've trained in schools with very laid back instructors, and I simply like the "TRAINING TIME" strictness with my current teacher. Obviously, this won't appeal to everybody.

    Kunoichi- Before I started training, I also thought the curriculuum was small. In fact, I thought "Hell, I can learn all the techniques in a few months!"


    First off, each technique MUST BE EXACT. I wasn't allowed to test for kyu-kyu until I completely straightened my lead foot (Karate left me with a diagonally bent stance).

    Second, each technique has a specific "announcement" and "close". I don't bow to my instructor, then crank out all the techniques immediately. I bow, step forward, announce the technique with appropriate side, perform the side, announce other side, etc... then bow, step back, and move on to another technique.

    Third, everything must be learned ambidextrously, and every Henka Waza must be learned (within reason). So, while the syllabus lists 15 techniques, you actually perform around 45 on the test.

    No, we don't all learn the same thing at the same time. In my dojo, we split off with similarly ranked Ninpo-ka and work on our rank syllabus. It isn't a matter of "technique too advanced grasshopper", but rather the way the syllabus is layed out. Every rank builds upon the next, and so without learning the proper stance and strike from 8th kyu, the application of a defense learned in 2nd kyu would be flawed.

    My sensei has defined certain basic techniques that we all practice, though. We all practice ukemi, evasion, uke kata, daken kata kihon (shikan ken, fudo ken, etc...), keri kata, ichimonji (obviously), jumonji, etc... Certain "testable" rank techniques are also our warm up "basics", so I was learning the Jumonji no Kamae block/strike/blind set while I was a mu-kyu.

    As for techniques done mechanically...I believe you are correct in a sense. We all learn everything "from the ground up", and we are expected to condition our body to do the technique correctly before we can fluidly adapt the technique to the environment.

    Grading is very formal with my instructor, as I mentioned in a previous post. The standards for dan are pretty insane too, as bikkenjutsu (we call it this...not sure if this is the right spelling), bojutsu, and hanbojutsu (even an art?? Please don't quote me) must be graded at dan level in addition to taijutsu.

    I also notice a lack in the traditional "ninja armory", in that I've never seen a kusari-gama, ninja-to (which apparently didn't exist...damn GI Joe cartoons), or shuriken in my training or in the manual.

    May you achieve
  20. Love Budo

    Love Budo Valued Member

    Perhaps not quite in the manner portrayed by hollywood, but Ninja-jo existed. At least that is what I was led to believe on my first trip to Japan and we did technique in the Honbu which explicitly used the shortness of the "ninja-to" to get a quicker draw.

    I understand the Ninja-to's origins (henceforth only hearsay) are a poor man's sword. In other words, poor peasant ninja with no cash to get a good sword makes one from cheap steal, which accounted for it being straight vs curved. He would of course discard it when presented with a better weapon either through spoils of combat or by simple good fortune. After getting a nice sword, whether said ninja actually cut it down for the quicker draw, who can say? But considering the sword was treated by ninja as just another tool, without any real spiritual significance, I wouldn't be surprised.

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