Recently I have been asked, does Budo Taijutsu/Ninjutsu or would you use Budo Taijutsu in a real fight? Well this is a very easy question to answer, YES!! This is a good question, especially for lower ranked students, who are still trying to understand the fundamental techniques. At times new students feel that the techniques that they are practicing will not work, or are not working on their training partner.
Why? The first thing is improper technique, and this includes sabaak i(footwork), Maai (distance), and ritsudo (rythym). The second thing is your opponent (while training) knows what you are going to do! It is easy for him to stop a technique from working. In reality, will your opponent know what you are going to do in a fight, I don’t think so! Third, when we train it is like stop action, where you can see all the holes and weaknesses of any technique. Now this becomes very difficult when I attack you and apply techniques for real. I don’t tell you what’s going to happen, I strike and tear at kyusho, I use all my skill to prevent you from hurting me and I will cause you pain! A real fight is not choreographed and techniques go awry, but yet you still must come out happy and healthy and go home, while your opponent thinks twice about why he attacked you. As my first example, I would like to take you back quite a few years ago when I was attacked by a man, while I was at a dance club. I was dancing with a lady (little did I know it was his girlfriend), when all of a sudden a large guy started to swing a mad hook punch at my head.
The first thing I did was to slide out to ichimonji no kamae and applied uke nagashi to his oncoming arm. Wham it sent his arm flying and he stopped the attack(that and all the bouncers moving towards us). This wasn’t the end of all of it and by the end of the night I went home healthy and he went home with a mangled face from a series of kikakuken from the mount position.(don’t pick on the little guy, buddy) There is more, in sparring, I moved in with a happaken to the side of my opponent’s head, grabbed his wrist and applied ura katate nage. He went flying in the air and landed on his back. I applied an arm bar, match over. Is there a pattern starting to develop. You need more examples? Takamatsu proved his skill in many life or death encounters in Japan and in China. Manaka shihan(who recently left the Bujinkan), Col. in the Japan defense force demonstrated his skill against two Green berets. Once he defeated them, they respected his skill so much that they gave him an honorary green beret.
So, how do we train to use taijutsu for fighting? It all starts at the beginning, and what is that you may ask? The Sanshin no kata and Kihon happo. You first must understand the sanshin no kata is not something you can take and just fight with. Many of the instructors in Japan will tell, that you must take the principle of each sanshin no kata and apply it to a fight. The kihon is slightly different, they are designed to take one piece of a fight and learn to defend against it. A big “but” must be put in here because the kihon are just a part of the response, they are not the whole attack and they have hundreds of variations, and counters to counters. Next step is to practice in freestyle (randori). This is not common in the U.S. but is required in Israel and Europe for rank testing. In Israel, it was determined that people were unable to use their techniques effectively, and so their training program changed to incorporate a more realistic approach.
Now the Bujinkan Isreal is known for producing highly skilled (fighting) martial artists. If you have been regularly attending class, you will see(and feel) the principles and techniques described within this article. I am trying to slam this point home! Budo Taijutsu is a very powerful, unconventional martial art. It is also highly effective. (Now, I haven’t even touched the unconventional approach to training and fighting but stay tuned for that nice post!)