6 ways to be a bad Bujinkan student

I refused to teach someone today.  He made one of the fatal errors that I discuss below.  This happens infrequently, but often enough that it makes me wonder about people.  It also gets me thinking about my own standards as a student and teacher in the Bujinkan.

Hatsumi Sensei made a remark once about how students deserve their bad teachers.  This sounds odd at first, until you've met these students or teachers.  How do students achieve this?

Not knowing why they want to learn a martial art.

It starts here.  This informs all your choices going forward.  If you lack this answer or the answer is one you are not willing to share in public, then time to reconsider your hobby.

Not researching the style.

They e-mail after reading my website "Can I ask you what style you teach?" Not only does my website describe our style with a brief history, it takes all of two seconds to type Bujinkan into google or wikipedia.  How can you determine if I am a good teacher if you are so uninformed you can't ask intelligent questions?

Not shopping for schools or teachers.

Seems obvious.  But many find the one that is: cheapest; closest; fills their empty Monday night slot; has cool trophies; or sells them hard.  Spend some time on yourself, shop around.

Not recognizing problem schools or situations.

Too many injuries.  The hard sell and having to pay months in advance for classes.  The teacher that doesn't teach, his senior students run the classes.  Insulting or humiliating atmosphere.  Unfocused curriculum.  The list is long and usually obvious after a few classes.

Not thinking for themselves.

Examine the style and teacher.  Does it make sense?  Does it work for you?  Are you better for having come to class?  Not every student fits with every teacher.  Martial arts are very personal pursuits.

Not taking charge of their own learning.

A teacher is simply a guide.  You choose how you learn and what you learn.  If you are missing something, ask.  If something needs clarification, research.  If you know you are unskilled in one area, focus your training there.  Don't wait for the teacher to read your mind.  The class you attend once or twice a week isn't enough.  Learning is an attitude.

and finally...

A teacher that accepts these flaws is a bad teacher.

So bad students and teachers deserve one another.


The Bundu


I have NEVER heard of being refused to be taught, in Bujinkan. This is new to me.

I wonder if there are any stories of Hatsumi sensei refusing to teach.

Michael Glenn

If this is new to you, then you don't have much experience with the Bujinkan...

And I won't say why specifically I refused this person because I don't want to embarrass them, but suffice it to say, they were a danger to themselves and other students.


What is the best way to deal with a school that falls exactly into the category above of a problem school. Not talking so much as a student as I remove myself from the danger but from how the BJK treats such dojo.

Michael Glenn

Hello Anonymous, that is a good question.

The Bujinkan is not any kind of monolithic organization that has official policies on dealing with problem students or schools. In my experience, if someone is a problem, we all make sure to let each other and new students know about it.

People develop reputations and those become common knowledge, so hopefully students will steer clear of such problems.

But, reputation is always a matter of opinion, so while many people may think a certain teacher or school is a problem, there are others who do not. As always, it comes down to developing your own skills at making a good judgement.

This is a lesson in itself.

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