Genbukan & KJJR Martial Art Systems
All of the Martial Art systems taught by Tanemura Soke are Koryu (traditional) martial art systems with a set curriculum required to be learned.
However, the end goal of learning set patterns is not to be able to repeat them through rote repetition. The goal is to be able to realize your current situation and adapt what you have truly made your own thus enabling you to respond fluidly and effectively to that situation.
It is crucial to remember the skill of recognizing how-things-actually-are is crucial to responding correctly.
Ninpo is the art of the true Ninja. It is The Art of a Spiritual Warrior.
It is the Martial Training of the Genbukan World Ninpo Bugei Federation.
What Ninpo is and why it is different than Ninjutsu?
Ninjutsu is a subset of Ninpo. Ninjutsu comprises the physical skills necessary to survive in a very hostile world.
In totality, Ninjutsu provides perhaps the ultimate self-defense skills.
Ninpo, however, has always included another dimension in its training. This extra, higher dimension of self- purification sets a practitioner of our art apart from and above the practitioners of mere fighting systems.
As a Martial Art, Ninjutsu teaches:
- The Mindfulness and Concentration to be totally aware of one’s surroundings and all the possibilities it presents to both you and your opponent(s).
- Strategy and the very important art of subtly manipulating one’s opponent. Utilizing this concept correctly will enable you to choose the correct fighting stance for each situation.
- The art of controlling the distance. “Controlling the distance” means controlling the speed, direction, height, as well as, the actual distance of all interactions with your opponent. Indeed, controlling these factors also means you are controlling time as well.
- Learning to recognize and utilize what is at hand.
- Atemi Waza (Striking Techniques)
- Nage Waza (Throwing Techniques)
- Shime Waza (Choking Techniques)
- Osae Komi Waza (Floor Fighting & Ground Pinning Techniques)
- Taihenjutsu (Bodily Displacement)
- Kaeshi Waza (Reversal Techniques)
- Learning the Skill of “Finding A Way to Win” by putting all of the above together.
The Japanese term Taijutsu is synonymous with the Art of the Ninja. It also associated with the Koryu (Traditional and/or Ancient) Japanese Empty Hand Techniques practiced by only a few other Japanese Martial Ryuha or lineages.
Taijutsu can be translated as “The Way or Art of the Body.”
These words are easy enough to understand. However, the Art of the Body is not.
Notice the name is not the “Art of the Body Parts.” It is simply the “Art of the Body.” One Completely Unified Body.
This concept goes all the way back to the Chinese origins of the Japanese Martial Arts where the Chinese say:
“If One Joint Moves, All Nine Joints Move.”
This is really profound and difficult to understand on the physical level. If you tilt your head slightly, just one joint, your neck, will have moved. However, if you wish to keep your structural integrity intact, every other joint in your body will have to shift slightly in order to keep all of the forces acting on your body properly aligned.
If this does not happen, you will lose the Harmony and Balance between your In and Yo or Yin and Yang. After that, the flow of your Ki or Internal Energy will not be correct and the skill level of your Taijutsu will become much lower. You will have to depend more on local muscle strength and less on whole body power to accomplish your goals.
Ki unites your whole body. It is the only one thing that connects the distant parts together. How else can the power from your foot drive your hand? There is no one muscle or even one nerve that travels that whole distance. Yet, with the proper alignment, you can easily feel the power flow from your feet to your fingertips!
The latest Western research has found that our body’s Network of Facia connects each and every individual part of our body with each and every other part of our body: from top to bottom, from inside to outside and from any other way you can think of. There is even facia in our brains; and so, even our brains are included in this sensory loop.
A True Warrior must remember that the only Tools or “Weapons” he possesses that can improve with age are his brain, his intelligence, his intellect. These is a Ninja’s most feared weapons; and, with good reason:
A True Ninja never stops training his mind.
I believe both the Eastern and Western processes are involved in acquiring and utilizing good Taijutsu.
Shoto Tanemura Soke’s Genbukan Harukaze Dojo & its branch dojos teach all the practical physical skills of Ninjutsu as well as the art of some of its more traditional weapons. Unknown to all except those that practice these arts, weapons training can take one’s empty hand skills to a new, higher level.
Simply moving a weapon in close proximity to yourself or another person raises increases the risk of injury. This inherently helps a person learn how to deal with the stresses we encounter in real life.
Weapons training also helps a person learn how to survive a true case physical encounter successfully.
On the street, we don’t want to spar with an attacker. When training with a sword, we don’t say to ourselves, I can take a hit and give a better one back in return. There is no “taking a hit.”
That’s why learning true Taijutsu is so important.
Ninpo is elevated above most other martial arts and/or martial systems by its realization that the refinement and purification of your heart and character is a prerequisite for the opening of your energy channels and proper use of your increase in Ki or power.
This has a twofold effect on your ability to produce power and act quickly.
It increases the flow of one’s internal energy or Ki by reducing the internal resistance.
It also enables the practitioner to become tonus-which is the state of being energized while remaining relaxed.
Both of these qualities are necessary to produce a good martial art practitioner.
Ninpo also acknowledges that the final extra dimension of power comes from one’s spirit.
This part of us can only reach its full potential when it is in harmony with its own inherent nature-which is infinite strength and goodness. This is why Grandmaster Tanemura has begun to teach the precepts of Amatsu Tatara.
This purification – power cycle becomes a cycle with an ever-expanding sphere. The purer our heart becomes, the more energy we have available. The more energy we have available, the easier it is to remain true to our morals, our ethics, our values, our honor and our Dharma (our life’s mission). The more we live our Dharma, the purer our Heart becomes.
The Genbukan Harukaze Dojo and its branch Genbukan dojos with the support of Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura, will provide the instruction and nurturing necessary to help our students reach their full multi-dimensional potential as True Spiritual Warriors armed with potent self-defense techniques and an indomitable spirit.
Jujutsu (Jujitsu) is the ancient empty hand art of the Samurai. It was used primarily for their self-defense when they had no weapons. Its movements are generally more compact than that of Ninjutsu.
It is a large system with some ryuha (schools) being based on battlefield tactics (taking an opponent’s armor and weapons into account); while others are concerned with self-defense in the circumstances of everyday life.
True Jujutsu involves the full spectrum of empty-handed self-defense:
- Atemi Wasa (striking techniques)
- Nage Waza (throwing techniques)
- Osaekomi Waza (restraining techniques)
- Kansetsu Waza (joint locking & joint breaking techniques)
- Shime Waza (choking techniques)
- Kaeshi Waza
Generally, the Samurai did not use Jujutsu for self-perfection. If they chose to pursue this goal, it was generally through the study of Kenjutsu or Iaido, the arts of the sword.
Some schools of Jujutsu have changed and have decided to make the practice of their art into the pursuit of self-perfection. This was not how the art developed and it is not how we teach it.
True Jujutsu was, and still is, “down and dirty.” Samurai fought to the death. However, while our schools retain their fierce fighting skills; we instill in our students the concept of harmony:
- An extremely effective knowledge of self-defense
- The skills necessary to use this knowledge
- Improved Self-Discipline
- Improved Physical Fitness, Flexibility and Aerobic Capacity
- Greater ability to function calmly under stressful conditions
- The Knowledge of how to live a Healthy Life and the friends to help you do it.
- Knowledge of Japanese Budo (Martial Art Chivalry and Code of Conduct)
Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu:
Unarmed striking study of Chinese origin. “Sister school” to Koto Ryu, is sometimes considered 1/2 (circular) of a single movement style.
Koto Ryu Koppojutsu:
Unarmed striking waza of Chinese origin. “Sister school” of Gyokko Ryu, sometimes considered 1/2 (linear) of a single movement style.
Gikan Ryu Koppojustu:
Unarmed striking waza of Chinese origin. Off-shoot of the Gyokko/Koto Ryu duality. Contains many of the best points of both.
Shinden Fudo Ryu Jutaijutsu:
Japanese wartime, armored arms-length and ground grappling waza. Armor-specific takedowns and dislocations.
Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijustu:
Japanese wartime armored striking and takedown waza. Armor-specific strike targeting and grip considerations.
Yagyu Shingan Ryu Kacchu Yawara:
Japanese wartime, armored striking and throwing waza. Armor-specific strikes and throws to invert the opponent.
Japanese wartime, armored striking and throwing waza. Armor-specific strikes and throws to invert the opponent.
Japanese war/peacetime, 6 foot staff (broken pole-arm) waza, usually against a swordsman.
Japanese wartime, armored swordsmanship waza. This is not fencing-range sword work. It is learning to close the distance to grappling-range.
Togakure Ryu Ninpo:
Japanese war/peacetime, specialized movement, equipment, and weapons skills. Intended for the furtive agent to disguise, infiltrate, conceal, exfiltrate in hostile areas.
Mugen Shinto Ryu Iaijutsu:
Japanese peacetime, unarmored swordsmanship waza from the quick-draw against possible ambush.
Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu:
Japanese peacetime, unarmed, arms-length grappling waza. Intended for self-defense, predecessor of modern Aikido. This Ryu specializes in teaching the use of your Ki to propel the wazas.
Asayama Ichiden Ryu Taijutsu:
Japanese peacetime, unarmed arms-length grappling waza intended for self-defense and restraint utilizing posture and joint manipulation. This Ryu specializes in teaching the use of your Ki to propel the wazas.
Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu:
Japanese peacetime, possibly armed arms-length grappling waza. Intended for policing actions; restraint, arrest, knife defense.
Tajiquan & Chugoku Kenpo
Tajiquan (Taiji or Tai Chi) and Baquazhang (Baqua or Pa Kua) are two famous Chinese Martial Arts.
Some people like to divide Chinese Martial Arts into external & Internal Arts.
The only way this makes sense to me is if you use the following criteria:
If the art makes your Qi flow more deeply into your body’s tendons, ligaments and bones, then it is an Internal art. If the art makes your energy flow closer to the surface of your body and primarily into your large muscles, it is an External art.
All of the Chinese Internal Arts promote internal changes in our bodies.
Regular practice of Taijiquan and Baguazhang (just like any good Qigong), will:
- Increase our strength, flexibility, range of motion, bone density.
- Enhance the function of our immune system.
- Detoxify and improve the circulation in our lymph system.
- Improve our posture and our senses of balance and coordination.
- Increase our concentration.
My focus in the Chinese Martial Arts or Kung Fu is the Internal Arts of Taijiquan (Tai Chi) as taught by Master Chen Weigun. and Bagua as taught by Shoto Tanemura Soke.
In his Chugoku Kenpo or Chinese Fist Methods, Shoto Tanemura Soke teaches Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang, Bagua, or Pa Kua) and its related self-defense drills from Grandmaster’s Li Zi Ming’s lineage. He learned the art from Grandmaster Li Zi Ming’s direct disciple Grandmaster Sato Kinbei.
I teach the first section of this art, which includes Qigong, the first two sets of Palm Changes (Circle Walking) and Chin Na. These are wonderful compliments to Master Chen’s Taijiquan (Tai Chi).
The physical, energetic and spiritual origins of Taiji and Bagua are the subject of long debates. However, I believe their essence is “Harmony with the Way Things Are.”
To be effective and to reach a high level of practice in either of these internal arts, you must be able to harmonize your own energy with that of your uncooperative opponent. Your Yin and Yang with that of another person’s Yin and Yang.
In order to achieve this, you must first understand and then control your own energy flows. Then, you can begin to sense and then to control your opponent’s energy. It requires mindfulness to align all of your joints properly for the action you want to perform. It requires calmness. It requires balance and harmony. It requires determination, will power and the proper instruction.
You can achieve all of this and more. All of these skills are also in High Level Ninpo and Jujutsu. They may not be emphasized as much in the Japanese Arts; but they are there and need to be mastered in order to achieve the higher levels of accomplishment in these Arts also.
Very Sincerely Yours
Gary Giamboi, Kyoshi, Shibu-Cho