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Ninjutsu IBDA Curriculum


Ninjutsu IBDA Curriculum

At IBDA Shihan Van Donk offers a strategic standardized step-by-step learning and ranking system. This special system has been refined for over 20 years by Shihan Van Donk’s some 50 trips to train with Soke Hatsumi, his owning every piece of his
printed material,  several hundred published and non-published videos, personal training with Soke who answered all his questions, personal training with most all senior Japanese instructors, and instructing several thousand students to every level in the Bujinkan, including many students to high Judan levels with lots of them starting with the distant learning Ninjutsu BlackBelt course. Bottom Line our method works. The proof is in the students who’s lives have been changed by our training. Yours will be too when you study with us.

Everyone who is affiliated with us will have studied this material or has proven to Shihan Van Donk that they indeed know the material presented in our courses. There is no exception and there will be no exception. We believe in our standard and recommend that all teachers do the same. We believe that the future of Ninjutsu will depend on this. Ranks just given without meaning or the student knowing what they have learned for the rank they where given is in our opinion unfair to the student. We prefer the University approach. You can learn anything you want in any order you want with us. Do what you love and the rank will come as you learn and can demonstrate the required material as outlined very clearly in our Kyu and Dan ranking curriculum. All of our ranks are issued in Ninpo taijutsu as we study the ancient arts of Takamatsu-den as well as the more modern Budo Taijutsu. And that is a rank you can be sure will be recognized worldwide. Below is a short overview of what you learn at each level. 

Ninpo Taijutsu Training

At this beginning level you will learn the “Foundation Teachings” which is an overview of all the 9 schools and their weapons to prepare you for the deeper study of Budo Taijutsu and all the 9 schools wazas and principles.

Shodan Level Training – “Foundations Teachings”

Ninpo Taijutsu training from 9th kyu to Shodan you learn a strategic systematized overview of the Ninjutsu 9 schools including foundations, postures, punches, kicks, weapon basics, history, stealth, chokes, grappling, throws, meditation, kuji-in, proper body movement and much, much more. Hundreds and hundreds of techniques. On the average our students spend 3 years of solid training on this level as it covers main aspects of Togakure Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, Koto Ryu, Kukishinden Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu preparing you for a deeper focus of individual schools that you will study at succeeding dan levels.

Kyu Grades are divided into these levels. Once completed you become a Shodan and receive your BlackBelt.

  • 9th Kyu (Kyukyu)
  • 8th Kyu (Hachikyu) 
  • 7th Kyu (Nanakyu) 
  • 6th Kyu (Rokkyu) 
  • 5th Kyu (Gokyu) 
  • 4th Kyu (Yonkyu) 
  • 3rd Kyu (Sankyu) 
  • 2nd Kyu (Nikyu) 
  • 1st Kyu (Ikkyu) 

Budo Taijutsu Training

After learning a very solid overview of the Nine traditions“FOUNDATION TEACHINGS” in the Shodan Course which make up the teachings of the Bujinkan Dojo you will begin to explore the actual school (aka Ryu) material in a more in-depth way by studying the principles and partner exchange forms called waza. Unlike a Kata which is performed by oneself to perfection. Wazas are interactive drills that are done with at least 2 persons both in a formal way and with many variations so that the principles of the school can also be learned. Wazas also help you learn timing, distancing, and eventually true budo protection methods. Each of the 9 schools have their own focuses and attributes and may favor certain weapons. 

Nidan Level Training

2nd degree Black Belt training includes Kosshijutsu study of the principles and Gyokko ryu wazas of Jo Ryaku no maki, Churaku no maki and Geryaku/Mutodori gedan plus 29 Kukishinden Ryu Hanbojutsu, Shoden/Chuden/Okuden level wazas.  

Sandan Level Training

3rd degree Black Belt training includes principles and wazas of Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu, Ten & Chi No Maki, Shizen Shikoku No Kata Jutaijutsu, Shoden Gata/Juroku Gata/Chuden/Okuden levels and from Kukishinden Ryu: Rokushakubojutsu – Shoden, Chuden, Okuden, Kuden levels  

Yondan Level Training

4th degree Black Belt training includes principles and wazas of Takagi Yoshin Jutaijutsuincluding Shoden No Kata/Chuden No Sabakigata/Chuden No Tai No Gata/Okuden No Kata levels and Eri Shimegata, Moguri levels. Kukishinden Ryu: Yari Jutsu, Kodachi, Muto Dori.


IBDA Shidoshi Teacher Training Course 
Become a Teacher of the Warrior Ways of Enlightenment!
We are looking for IBDA NINJUTSU Instructors … 

Is that you?
Are You Ready? 

Study this Ninjutsu Teacher Training Course to become a better Martial Arts teacher while learning:
  • How to be a very skilled, confident teacher 
  • How to create interesting Lesson Plans – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly 
  • How to handle your students’ challenges and keep them happy 
  • Your responsibilities as a teacher 
  • How to Empower yourself to Empower others 
  • To become a good communicator and leader, how to think on your feet and be quick at decision making 
  • The History of the Ten Chi Jin and the esoteric meanings of teaching the “Way” 


5th Degree Blackbelt training includes the Comprehensive study of the Budo Taijutsu Course. This course will give you very deep insights on the master principles of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and Martial Arts in general.
The 5th Dan level also requires that the student passes the Sakki test by Doshi Richard Van Donk. At that time you are then considered a fully licensed master teacher in the Bujinkan and can use the title – Shidoshi.

At this time, all 5th degree (Godan) IBDA tests must be taken with DaiShihan Richard Van Donk who is authorized by Soke Hatsumi to administer this test on his behalf anywhere in the World.


6th Degree Blackbelt training includes principles and wazas of Koto Ryu Koppojutsu
Shoden -Chuden-Okuden – Hekuto No Kata. Daishosabaki – Bokuden Ryu
Shiken Gata Shodan thru Kudan levels


7th degree Black Belt training includes principles and wazas of Kukishinden Ryu Dakentaijutsu including the Shoden / Chuden / Sabaki Gata / Okuden No Kata / Shirabe Moguri Gata levels. Weapon is Naginata and Roikumiuchi.


8th degree Black Belt training includes principles and wazas of Togakure Ryu Happo Hiken Kenpo- Itto giri / Kakushi Iai Sanpo / Ukemi gata / Shinobi Iai Happo Sabaki  Happo Bikenjutsu Level 1. Specialties / Ninpo 


9th degree Black Belt training is Juppo Sessho and includes wazas of Kukishinden Jojutsu – Shoden Koshiki Gata – Kjui no ho, Kutsu no ho (Joruku gata) Happo Bikenjutsu Level 2
plus Jutte and Bisento –


10th degree Black Belt training includes the advanced understanding of Budo Taijutsu Ura Waza principles Happo Bikenjutsu Level 4 and a personal choice of a deep spiritual practice. Take a look at Koppojutsu Gikan Ryu – Gyokushin Ryu principles/ Jutaijutsu Jodan No Kurai Tehodoki and Taihodoki  Kukishinden Ryu: Tessen Jutsu  Happo Bikenjutsu. Personal evolution and understanding of the Godai as it relates to life.

This top Shihan ranking will take the signatures of Shihan Van Donk and at least 2 other Judans plus the final agreement of Soke Hatsumi.

Judan has 5 Grade levels

  • 10th Dan Judan 
  • 10th Dan Judan Chigyo Happo Biken – EARTH
  • 10th Dan Judan Suigyo Happo Biken – WATER
  • 10th Dan Judan Kagyo Happo Biken – FIRE
  • 10th Dan Judan Fugyo Happo Biken – AIR
  • 10th Dan Judan Kugyo Happo Biken – SPACE

For the 5 advanced levels of Judan IBDA students study aspects of the Elements in relation to the Do/Dao, training and their life. Contributions to the art are also considered in these 5 grades of Judan. These grades are awarded by IBDA headmaster Doshi Richard Van Donk Soke at his discretion and guidance.
At IBDA we do NOT refer to these levels as 11th dan to 15th dan. 

Shihan titles of  DaiShihan (AKA GrandMaster) are a special recognition by Soke Hatsumi given only to 15th dans that are making a difference in the Bujinkan. At 15th Dan Soke has referred to these individuals as true shihan to help him oversee Bujinkan activities worldwide.

Shin Gi Tai Level – Highest level of the art – this student has achieved harmonious blending of Mind/Heart, Skill and Body in the Bujinkan arts. This personally hand written certificate from Soke Hatsumi also includes his Red and Gold Gi Patch on it. This very distinguished award is very rare and above any rank grade. DaiShihan Richard Van Donk was honored with this award. 

IBDA ranking and study structure goes all the way and will continue even after Soke Hatsumi is no longer teaching -which is the case now in 2020. There is a lifetime of learning available and we can help you travel the journey as far as you want to go.