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It is ALL about the training!! And what it does for each person to benefit their lives.

No long distance course should be a replacement for a good teacher. Nor should it be thought of that way. To think of courses that way is a mistake in perception. People do learn from books and videos. People learn from YouTube everything you can imagine, including how to make a Potato gun. I don’t think that you are a true martial artist if you do not own some martial art books. You also have watched many a movie and video clips. Martial Arts gets in the blood. It becomes who we are. People criticize what they do not understand, I get that.

My goodness if you are a Bujinkan practitioner and you are criticizing people who put out martial videos and books then you are attacking my teacher and your Soke. Stop it! Soke Hatsumi has published almost 100 videos and at least 30 books all for us to learn from. He has graciously spent a great majority of his life providing this material for us to learn from. Think of the time that is required to do this. Do you really think that he did this to get rich? NO, you are wrong of you do. And even if he did he deserves anything that he wants from life. I am truly grateful to him for all he has added to my life.

I cannot speak for others But our IBDA courses are made to be the curriculum for our IBDA dojos. Over the last 30 years we have built a standard and a strategic systematic structure of learning the Bujinkan arts so that our ranking means something. It is used as a guide for the student to learn from and for the Instructors to have class curriculums to teach from. We encourage our students to learn anything they want from whomever they want while they study the IBDA requirements for each rank level advancement.

bujinkan badgesA Shodan grade takes at least 3 years and requires a grueling several hour in person test that concludes with a knife fight. All of our instructors go through a certified training course to be a certified Shidoshi-ho with the hombu. Teaching is a different skill set than training and we want all instructors to know all the material eel enough to teach it to anyone. All of our students are ranked through the hombu in Japan, without exception. We do not and will not rank anyone else’s students.

We allow anyone to enroll in our training even if they are outside of a physical IBDA Dojo. Many people including non IBDA instructors use our very detailed step-by-step manuals full of pictures and terminology as a reference guide for their dojo teaching and training. Face it there are many around the world that are not fortunate to have a teacher near them. Many students have a teacher then they must move or their teacher moves leaving them without a dojo after years of training. Should these people be denied the opportunity to train in these arts?

NO! Everyone should have that opportunity. These courses give people a way to study the arts in the best way that they can until they can either become a teacher or find a new one. We always highly encourage people to join a dojo or start a training group with friends. Courses fill the gap.
Good teachers are really hard to find even to this day. The art is still growing and one day this may change. Find a teacher and build the relationship needed. Go to seminars…. there are many excellent teachers out there giving seminars. Travel is involved but worth it. We have events that are open to anyone and encourage students to make these events. Some people cannot afford this and for that we put all the teachings online so the library of 25 years of study can be referred to for as low as $15 month. We offer opportunity to train. That’s all. We love the arts and love sharing it.

No one can effectively learn a martial art of any sort by their own. You at least need a training partner to experience how what you are learning applies in actual effectiveness of the art. Sure you can learn a lot from self training and you should practice everything you can on your own. Bujinkan training is best when you have multiple training partners of various strengths and sizes as you will need to know how to adapt your learnings to different bodies and timings. I can tell you that hundreds of people that are now Judan and Jugodan started with these courses – So Yes they do work. If you are finding a problem with people having the opportunity to train in something that even you love then perhaps you are missing something from Soke’s training. According to Soke you are training to have a pure heart. That is the correct feeling. I wish you the best on your path.

Richard Van Donk, Jugodan