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Showing posts from June, 2015

New Bujinkan Book, "Dancing Embers" by Sleiman Azizi

Warm People, 日本民家園 Nihon Minka-en, photo by Michael Glenn My friend Sleiman Azizi has a new book out called Dancing Embers . I’m not sure if Sleiman wants anyone to know, but besides being a martial artist, he is also a poet. Being a poet myself, that was one of the things that drew me to him. I met Sleiman many years ago during one of my trips to Japan for Bujinkan training. He was not one of the loud, in your face foreigners that one often enjoys in the raucous atmosphere of the Bujinkan dojo. In fact, I may never have noticed him at all had my teacher not introduced us. I felt a quick bond because of the subversive twinkle in his eye. I often gravitated towards his corner of the dojo during my many visits. Over the years we continued to trade training ideas along with plenty of dry humor. One day, without knowing why, I turned to him for advice about a pending complication with my upcoming godan test. My mind had been in turmoil for days because of a premonition I had abo

A New Beginning and a New Bujinkan Shodan in My Dojo

The Belt Exchange, Michael Glenn promotes Jesse to Shodan Yesterday a new 初段 shodan was born in my dojo. My student Jesse proved that he has what it takes both with technique and heart. But he also showed something more which proves his understanding of what it means to be a Bujinkan Shodan. I don’t give out rank easily. As the day grew closer for Jesse’s initiation, I checked my records to see when he started training. I was very surprised to see that he began exactly 5 years ago! I hadn’t planned for his black belt to fall on that anniversary, but sometimes everything lines up just right. Jesse doesn’t know yet what it means to be a black belt in the Bujinkan. And of course everyone’s experience is different. I wrote an entire series about the black belt ranks that begins here: Bujinkan Shodan 初段: Searching for the Bull For me personally, It was a new beginning. It took me a lot longer than five years to get my black belt. Getting there symbolized a re-dedication to the passion I

What if I Give Everyone in the World Bujinkan Rank?

The Crowded Path to 弁天堂 Benten-dō, photo by Michael Glenn This could be one of my silly or offensive posts. But, you may already know my personal feelings about Bujinkan Rank . Or, about how long it takes to get a Bujinkan Black Belt . I remember when Hatsumi Sensei marked the occasion when he awarded the 3000th godan. We all stood and applauded. That was some years ago. He recently said there were 400,000 Bujinkan members worldwide. That seems like a lot. So what if I just promote everyone in the world? I'll make up my own rank and promote everyone because I think my (fake) numbers may surprise you. I'll call my fake rank the "Rojodojo Bujinkan Level." Out of an estimated 7 billion people on earth, what is Your Rojodojo Bujinkan level? (my made up levels are not proven by science, so don’t check my math too close) Rojodojo Bujinkan level 0 about 5 billion people (about 70% of the population) These are people who have never heard of martial arts or