Training

Training in the Bujinkan involves training in classical weaponry (spear, sword, halberd, and other weapons), as well as empty handed combative techniques. All the techniques stem from the nine schools encompassed by the Bujinkan organization. Additionally, history, philosphy, strategy (Hei-ho), and other areas of knowledge are covered.

Class starts and ends with rei-ho, which may involve a formal ceremony or a less formal bowing to one another to maintain a sense of respect and honoring of the traditions. Most classes involve working with a partner to attempt to copy what the teacher shows. The sensei (one who goes before or preceeds) will show the technique several times, usually making comments about aspects of the technique. These comments are usually a reaction to what he or she has seen during the students' attempts at copying and should be heeded for future attempts.

The subject of a class could be any weapon or technique from any of the schools. Typically beginners are given some schooling on "kihon" (fundamentals), but it is equally likely that they may just have to do their best with what is being shown if it is more advanced. 

It is important to note that in classical martial arts the kihon or fundamentals are the key to success in the art. In many modern arts, basics are often seen as something shown for tradition, but are then abandoned for a more modern movement. This is not the case in the Bujinkan. What you are shown on day one is crucial to understanding the art and cannot be cast aside for "the good stuff." Kihon are "the good stuff" and your success will be based on your ability to reproduce the fundamental movements and the depth of your understanding of them, rather than how many techniques you can muddle through.

In classical martial arts, getting it correct is paramount. There is not room for doing it "your own way." If you cannot reproduce it correctly, then you are missing important aspects of the technique. In the end, this would lead to your death in a violent encounter. This can be very difficult for modern day practitioners to embrace, but it is necessary for the correct transmission of the traditions. As such, being able to handle correction and being "wrong" are necessities. A new student will be wrong more often than not in the first couple of years of training. Progress comes to those who can view their practice in an honest and straightforward manner. The teacher is there to pass on what they know and understand as accurately as possible. The joy is in the effort and discovery from hard work, not in the achievement of praise or ranks.

Lastly, there are ony three belt colors in the Bujinkan- white, green, and black. Shodan or the first grade of black belt should be seen more as the achievement of having become a true student, rather than the recognition of expertise. There are multiple grades of black belt that represent decades of training. In the end, ranking is something that should not drive one's training, but should be a reflection of it.