Who do you train with?

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by bouli, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. bouli

    bouli Valued Member

    A topic I posted on a facebook group that got very few replies, so thought I might try it here.
    This is directed to the Bujinkan practioners mainly, we all have our favourites, but who do you train with in Japan and why?
  2. kouryuu

    kouryuu Kouryuu

    Mainly Someya Sensei since 1998, his basics are spot on and that's what i and everyone else needs
  3. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    Ishizuka sensei. Because he is the teacher of my teacher, he has been training for around 50 years under Hatsumi sensei, has menkyo kaiden in six of the nine ryūha, and is overall an amazing, cheerful, kind, and indeed deadly gentleman.
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I train with Ashida Kim at the Paypal dojo.
  5. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In Japan I cram as much mat time as I can in, prioritising the ****enno and certain members of a the next generation
    All have a lot to offer and I learn loads from each of them

    However, my focus has always been on Seno-sensei and I feel the strongest connection to his dojo. Largely because I have a dear friend who has been his deshi for 25 odd years

    - Mostly personal preference I guess, but in my view he's the whole package: a gentleman, loyal to his teacher and extremely skilled
    - His classes were, until recently, almost empty
    - Before his illness he would often let me spar with him which was incredible
    - I've found over the years that the guidance he's given me has had a profound impact on my training/development
    - Finally observing his method of developing his own technique has been very instructive for my own self study
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  6. llong

    llong Valued Member

    Soke wants us to train with all the ****enno when we're there.
  7. bouli

    bouli Valued Member

    Obviously my own teacher first! My own favourite in Noda was always the late Oguri sensei. Always super technical and small classes and he would always have time to chat before and after classes. That man had some stories! R.I.P.
  8. Pankeeki

    Pankeeki Valued Member

    Im sure Soke doesnt mind when you choose whom you train with and whom you dont train with.
  9. pearsquasher

    pearsquasher Valued Member

    I first went over for annual 10-day visits around 2003 and loved Nagato Sensei and Noguchi Sensei training the most initially.

    This was because of their personalities and a sort of nostalgia from seeing their pics and hearing about them. I found Nagato Sensei "like a freight train on a bed of feathers" and I called Noguchi Sensei the "magician" and someone from whom it was like "trying to punch a cloud".

    I dipped into Seno Sensei and Oguri Sensei classes too and gradually preferred their teaching methods - slower and more technical. I affectionately referred to them as "the professor" and "the human origami guy" - you'll know why if you trained with them. Their classes were small and they were very interactive. Very different atmospheres in these classes.

    Meanwhile my own teacher was cultivating a regular training connection with Someya Sensei - which took careful time and dedication and now I see that while he was doing that I was really just a budo tourist:bang:. Now I follow my teacher's lead and try and spend more time in a class where I will be corrected on basics - that being only once a year for me! But at least I get a whole year to practice basic stuff :cool:
  10. llong

    llong Valued Member

    Yes, I continue to miss Oguri Sensei. He kindly drove us from the train to his dojo a couple times, and his classes at Hombu and at his home were always instructive.

  11. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I really miss Oguri-Sensei's training.....

    His use of height changes and his ability to attack suddenly with his grips and knees was awesome!

    He was the full package too
  12. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Who knows for certain?

    What I do know is that he regularly tells us to train with all the ****enno (Nagato-sensei, Noguchi-sensei, Seno-sensei & in the past Oguri-sensei) as much as possible when we visit Japan

    I'm sure he's very supportive of our training with other great teachers too

    Noguchi-sensei and Nagato-Sensei are quite vocal about which teachers, in their view, would have a negative influence on our development.

    In some cases perhaps there is a political dimension to this, but in my opinion this is mostly their giving us their advice from a technical perspective

    For example I've spent a lot of time in the past learning particular fundamentals from certain teachers only to have them corrected by one of the ****enno. These corrections were not stylistic differences, but they highlighted pretty fundamental flaws in the approach. I'm very grateful for these corrections/pieces of advice as without them I'd have wasted even more time going down a dead end
  13. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    It is true, and I've heard this also. However, we must see this in the light of the Bujinkan organisation as a whole and the complex and generous personality of Hatsumi sensei. It's no secret that the majority of the practitioners can barely demonstrate a correct ichimonji, let alone do a proper jōdan uke or tsuki. And we're not even talking about being able to do techniques correctly from the shoden levels of the ryūha. And these same people have often high grades and receive very positive feedback from Hatsumi sensei. So, his words definitely need to be put into a context.

    I for one believe that it is much more beneficial to develop a relationship with, say, Senō sensei and over the years gain his trust and become his deshi – than to dojo hop and train with many shihan whose teachings are in contradiction with each other (the latter being no surprise – X amount of students do not automatically all become equal masters because they are Japanese and train with Sōke.)
  14. kouryuu

    kouryuu Kouryuu

    Totally agree there Will, there are a lot of so called 'shihan' that can't punch, kick, block and even perform ukemi correctly, these people never go to a teacher in Japan that will correct them because they think they know better, so they only turn up to Sokes training, sad really
  15. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter


    Sorry I am being a bit dim here, but not sure what point you're making

    Do you mean that because people can't punch, block etc (no debate on this point from me) Soke is advising them to go to the 3/4 ****enno?

    Do you mean that:
    - by training with the 3/4 ****enno then one is dojo hopping (presumably meant to be a bad thing) &/or
    - the ****enno's teachings contradict each other

  16. benkyoka

    benkyoka one million times

    I think it's worth noting that you don't regularly see the Japanese students of a Japanese shihan training with another teacher/at another teacher's dojo. This is definitely a cultural thing but as a foreigner coming to Japan to train wouldn't you want to emulate what you see being done here.
  17. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I think it's different if you live in Japan vs visit

    As a visitor it makes sense to follow Sokes advice I think (which is targeted at visitors)

    Interestingly for Japanese it depends on who their teacher is. If they 1st went to Soke, then they are Soke's deshi and its OK to train under different students of his. However, if they 1st went to a Shihan then they are the deshi of that Shihan and can only train at other dojos with permission (except for Soke's class) - this is how it was explained to me by some of the Japanese students at least
  18. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    No, I am saying that since Sōke has ranked these unskilled people to the level of 15th dan shihan and has said that they are great, we need to realise that we need a filter to interpret everything he says. Just like he might say A to person X, and then in the next moment say B to person Y – where A is completely incoherent with B. This is something that Sōke has stated many times, even in his books. You cannot take anything he says at face value.

    So, to put it in the perspective of the current discussion:

    These ryū have been handed down through one-on-one master-student transmission for centuries. This type of transmission occurs throughout Japanese history, and today, not just in martial arts but in any art or craft. It starts with some sort of trust, and ends with a deep relationship between the master and student. This relationship is the base of what kind of transmission you receive.

    If you practice with the ****enno, dojo hopping between them, you will NOT (even if you really, really want to) develop a master student relationship with any of them.

    So, when Hatsumi sensei first says that everybody is now good, the future of the Bujinkan is secured, etc. etc., and then says that everyone should practice with as many shihan as possible, you have a choice. Either you take what he says at face value, or you start to think for yourself and realise that you will not be the one exception in the history of transmission of arts in Japan, and that you are better off trying to learn from one shihan and build a relationship with him that will lead to him trusting you and maybe (just maybe) teaching you a thing or two after a few years.

    But then again, everybody's experience and view of life is different. And this is the beauty of the Bujinkan, everyone can be happy in their own bubble.

    For the first question, see my answer above. For the second, from what I have seen the ****enno's teachings (or at least, their ways of moving) contradict each other. Without naming names, you can take two of them and you will see vastly different body mechanics when it comes to tsuki, uke, keri, and kamae. Strangely enough (or actually, not so strange), you can see that each generation of shihan share certain common points, depending on which point in time they entered Hatsumi sensei's life process as sōke. It's not really strange at all, they all have different lives, experiences, and transmissions from their master. Based on Hatsumi sensei's personality, the characteristics of the nine ryū, and human nature, it would be very strange if the shihan were all of equal skill and moving exactly in the same way.

    It's just my way of seeing things... not even worth 2 cents :)
  19. Big Will

    Big Will Ninpô Ikkan

    And then you will always be seen as just a visitor. Which is fine by most people.
  20. bouli

    bouli Valued Member

    There is nothing wrong with being a visitor. Depending on the practioner it might actualy be benificial.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016

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