"Though the fighting sports of Japan are thought to be closely tied to the traditional culture of the island nation, it is interesting to note that Judo, Karate and Aikido were all introduced to the Japanese only within the past century. The lesser-known art of Ninjutsu, however, traces its roots back over a thousand years."
Stephen K. Hayes
Ninja: Spirit of the Shadow Warrior
Ohara Publications, 1980
Ninjutsu, in the form we recognize today, was developed in the Iga and Koga regions of Japan by mountain warrior ascetics. However, it is widely accepted that the true origins of the art reach back over 2,000 years and stem as far as India, Tibet and China. Looking closely, one can see the influence of East Indian spiritual doctrine, and Chinese military strategy and combat principles within modern day teachings.
The majority of the Ninjutsu clans were most likely founded by warriors who had the misfortune of being on the losing side of a major war or battle. Rather than face ritualistic suicide, as the code of the Samurai demanded, they instead chose to live by taking their families into the mountains. This is the case with Daisuke Nishina, a samurai who, in the 1100's, fled to Togakure mountain in Iga after one such battle. There, he adopted the name of the mountain as his own and is credited with laying the foundations of our modern system of self-preservation.
Other ryu, or styles, were founded by simple peasants and farmers whose only chance of survival against an oppressive military government was to ally themselves with nature and develop skills to help them prosper under the most adverse conditions. The ancient Ninja soon developed a reputation as formidable guerrilla warfare specialists with expertise in all aspects of combat, strategy, and intelligence gathering. These attributes did not sit well with the military establishment of those times. Many fierce battles were initiated by the Shogunate and lesser daimyo to eradicate the existence of these warrior families because their beliefs were not in line with the prescribed doctrine of the government.
Although other schools of Budo do still exist and a few do contain some elements of Ninjutsu as part of their curriculum (the most widely known is the Shinden Katori Ryu school of Samurai arts), only the
Bujinkan system of Ninpo/Budo Taijutsu is known to have survived as a complete system of Ninjutsu history, tradition and techniques.
Legend and myth has always surrounded the existence of Ninjutsu traditions. They were either feared or dismissed as fantasy by the elite as well as the commoner. Even as late as the 1980's, exploitation films did nothing to further the truth of Ninjutsu. During this time, true practitioners discarded the use of the word "Ninja" to avoid the negative connotations brought on by the dollar-driven, Hollywood inspired "Ninja craze."
Although well known for Togakure Ryu Ninpo, our system consists of nine different ryu of which only three are Ninjutsu tradtions. The majority of the techniques offered for study are from the other schools of bujutsu.
Today, the collective system of nine martial traditions that we study is known as Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu or Ninpo Taijutsu. The term
"Ninpo" being translated as "the way of enduring" or "the higher order of Ninjutsu" as opposed to "Ninja," or "one who endures." The term Bujinkan was coined by our current Grandmaster, Masaaki Hatsumi, as a way to honor his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu. It is commonly translated as "Divine Warrior."
Unlike many martial arts, Budo Taijutsu has continued to evolve and adapt to each passing generation. Through Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu we teach all of our clients how to deal with the dangers of an ever-changing modern society.
Today, we enforce strict guidelines to ensure that only those truly worthy individuals receive the rare gift of the history and traditions of the nine family traditions of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.