The Bujinkan is an international martial art, based on fighting and tactics from nine traditions established in feudal Japan. These nine schools date as far back as the 7th century and beyond. In the past the Bujinkan has been solely associated with the art of Ninjutsu, because of the associations with the only surviving forms of Ninpo. Three of the schools in the bujinkan emphasise Ninjutsu, the remaining six emphasise on the foundations of bujutsu (martial forms) common in warfare fighting forms, including those utilised by Samurai.
The head of the Bujinkan Dojo is Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. One of only a few Living National Treasures of Japan, Soke oversees the training of thousands of students worldwide from the Hombu dojo (headquarters) in Noda City, Japan. He teaches both Japanese and Western students, with a great number of students visiting and training from across Australia and New Zealand.
There are several theories about the origin of Ninjutsu, as many historians have their own theories and beliefs. Due to the fact that Ninjutsu was developed as a highly illegal counter culture to the ruling samurai elite, this art form was shrouded in mystery and concealed deliberately for centuries. Ninjutsu did not originate from a well-defined system, nor was it devolved into sport orientated competition.
Ninjutsu, the ‘Art of Stealth’ or ‘Art of Endurance’, developed in central Honshu around the 9th-10th C. It was developed by mountain-dwelling clans; these clans being great observers of nature and were seen to have a close connection to the Earth. The Ninja were also very spiritual people, and their beliefs became an integral part of Ninjutsu.
It is generally accepted that most of the methods found in Ninjutsu originated via China, as after the fall of the T’ang dynasty many outcast warriors, philosophers, and military strategists escaped to Japan to avoid punishment by the new Chinese rulers. It is believed that Ninja families were exposed to many of these exiled people’s sophisticated warrior strategies and philosophies over the centuries, helping to influence and shape what became Ninjutsu as it is known today.