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Is the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo Open?

Who is teaching at the Bujinkan Honbu Dojo?

The Japan training schedule is irregular and I am following my instincts rather than any set schedule. Peter Crocoll shared a story about Hatsumi Sensei using instinct to buy an antique jūmonji yari based on a feeling.

Furuta Sensei invited me to his class. He picked us up from the train station and we went to a high school gymnasium. We warmed up with a bit of rolling, sanshin, and 骨指基本三法 kosshi kihon sanpō. Then he went into the kata 乱勝 Ranshō from Takagi Yoshin Ryū. He did a deep dive with many themes from Hatsumi Sensei.

The next day, I got up early to have coffee with my friend, Craig Olson. He told me some funny Nagato Sensei stories. He also told me that Furuta-san would be helping out at the Honbu office today.

This piqued my interest because I had a lot of ranks and paperwork to be approved and recorded. Many things have changed in the Bujinkan office, and I had a lot of questions. Craig suggested that it would be too busy and I should not go. But I risked it, and I was the only one there.

Niigata-san has done a tremendous job organizing the Honbu office and the record books. With his and Furuta-san’s help, I was able to get all of my paperwork submitted properly with all of the correct kanji, dates, and yen amounts.

While waiting for the ink to dry, I went to lunch at the old Coco’s in Noda. The restaurant updated with a computerized reservation and order system. It even had robotic servers to bring the food to your table.

Then I stopped by the old tabi shop. It was nice to see it still open. I didn’t know if the elderly couple that ran it would survive the lack of tourism for 3 years over the pandemic. But the old man was as helpful and friendly as ever.

My luck continued when Paul Masse invited us to a special class at the Honbu dojo. He organized this training and got permission a while ago, not realizing that it was on Soke’s birthday. Paul seemed to think that was a good omen.

Paul Masse shares a story at Bujinkan Honbu Dojo December 2022

The dojo has been mostly closed. The Japan training schedule has been empty. Niigata said that this class was the biggest one held at the Honbu in a long time. Paul didn’t teach so much as share. We were all nostalgic and traded Soke tips and tricks with each other. It was a really good feeling and I am grateful to Paul for organizing this opportunity.

Paul also invited us to his house to meet with 根岸流 Negishi-ryū Shihan Kurosawa-san. If you’ve followed my Japan reports from the past, you know that I’ve studied bo shuriken with Kurosawa before. His methods really improved my own understanding of shuriken use.

Kurosawa-san shares a variety of weapons

Paul served some 焼酎 Shōchū with 麦茶 mugicha. Kurosawa-san shared a variety of hidden weapons and bo shuriken from a few different schools. He even showed some modern shuriken with a hollow shaft for improved aerodynamics. He told us that Kan Sensei’s son, 菅 祐寿 Kan Hirotoshi, helped to design these shuriken.

根岸流 Negishi-ryū Shihan Kurosawa-san

Kurosawa shared 3 different shuriken styles: 直打法 Choku dahō; 反転 hanten; and shutō. He also spoke about 柄飛ばし tsuka tobashi, where your own sword leaps into your hand during a shuriken throw to deliver a quick cut. I can’t wait to practice this!

If you would like to see this Bujinkan training video from Japan follow the link: Japan Report December 2022 Part 2

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