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 don’t care

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 1


  • about a billion people (about 15% of the population)
  • People who like martial arts movies.
  • Maybe learned a technique from their friend.
  • Called a dojo once to check prices.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 2


  • about 100 million people (about 1.5% of the population)
  • People who took a martial arts class when they were a kid.
  • Or studied a couple weeks at the gym.
  • Maybe they bought a book.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 3


  • about 10 million people (about 0.15% of the population)
  • Someone who achieved rank in a martial art or studied more seriously as an adult.
  • Still probably never heard of the Bujinkan.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 4


  • about a million people
  • These people are actively studying a martial art.
  • Some have even heard of the Bujinkan.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 5


  • about 100,000 people
  • People who actively study the Bujinkan.
Hatsumi Sensei says it’s more than this, but most Bujinkan members haven’t even trained once this month. And to me, once a month is not very active.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 6


  • about 10,000 people
  • Have reached Shidoshi level or close to it.
  • Some even run their own dojos.
  • Maybe they visit Japan occasionally.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 7


  • about a thousand people
  • Jugodan ranks.
  • There may be more or less, but it’s growing close to this number. 
  • Some are actively training/teaching. Some are not.
  • Some have died and we miss them.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 8


  • about 100 people
  • Shihan.
  • People who are top rank and actually know what they are doing.
That’s 100 people in the whole world!

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 9


  • about 10 people
  • the teachers I train with in Japan.

Rojodojo Bujinkan level 10


  • Hatsumi Sensei
(since this is my list, I can put whoever I want on top)

You might notice that if someone is one or two levels above you, they seem cool. Three levels above and they start to seem a bit strange. If you examine someone four or five levels above, they are just crazy. Anybody above that, you should just run away from them.

Going the other direction, people one level below you seem ignorant. Two levels below are assholes. Beyond that, are they even alive? I mean can they fog a mirror?

Do you think my numbers are even close? Where do you fit in there?

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