The Future of the Bujinkan!!!

This past weekend was a great experience, and a huge step forward for the Bujinkan. This past weekend, Karl Koch hosted a wonderful charity event. There were four instructors: Andrew Young, Dick Severance, Karl Koch, and Chris Carbonaro. When I arrived at Karl’s house, Dick and Andrew were already there. I arrived late, so I went right to bed. The next moring all four of us went out for breakfast. We started talking about how we were going to teach the seminar. Karl suggested that we teach in a round robin format. Each instructor would teach for about 15-20 minutes and then the next instructor would start.

Chris Carbonaro

“Chris Carbonaro”

For the first day, we went over the first two techniques from the Okuden level of Kukishinden Ryu. I started off each hour of training. I taught the base kata Fusetsu, and then I showed a henka or two. Karl was next, and taught some variations off of the same Kata. Dick and Andrew did the same as well. The strangest thing was that the chemistry of the four instructors was incredible. We all backed each other up, and we each stuck to the theme. More so than teaching many techniques, we really studied the different angles, distance, and kukan that make these techniques work. For the second half of the day, we each picked a weapon and showed how we could use that weapon in the same techniques. The most important thing was that we all taught within the technique. Although we had never taught together before, all four instructors have trained extensively with Soke and the Shihan in Japan. This was the secret to the chemistry of the instructors.

Karl Koch

“Karl Koch”

Another great point was that everyone who attended was there to learn. This also included the instructors. When one instructor was teaching, the other instructors would go around and help the students. They did not show them their wayof doing the technique, instead they showed them how to do the technique the way it was shown. This is difficult for many people to do, because unless they have the cultivated eyes, it would be impossible for them to see what is really going on. This is also something that is learned from training with Soke and the Shihan. Throughout the day, each instructor also found himself training amongst the group. It was truly a unique experience.

Dick Severance

“Dick Severance”

After the first day of training, we all met up at Karl’s house for a cookout. There were a total of 20 people or so who showed up to his house. Carol, Karl’s wife, along with some of the other wives cooked us a great meal. We also indulged ourselves in wine, as well as sake. It was great, because we shared some great stories with each other. Andrew Young had some great stories about his adventures in Japan. We also got a chance to get to know one another. When I spoke to Carol, I said that this cookout felt like a family gathering. Carol told me that it was supposed to feel that way. The great thing about BUYU is that we are family. It was a really good time, and one of the highlights of the seminar.

Andrew Young

“Andrew Young”

 Overall we studied Fusestu, Gongi, Kaeshi Waza, and Oni Otoshi from the Okuden level. There were a lot of great insights about the meaning of the Kanji as well as the meaning of the Okuden level, shared by Andrew Young. It was truly a seminar of research and development. In the beginning of the seminar, all the students were moving too fast, and were trying to do techniques. However, by the end of the day, everyone came to understand how to train effectively. I benefited a lot from the seminar, as well as everyone else. The most important part of the seminar is that many people came together not only to train, but also to remember Lee Brothers. Karl explained to everyone that Lee really wanted to try and unify all the groups in N.C. Lee’s wish was accomplished through this seminar. Also, all the money from the seminar was collected and given to a college fund for Kira Brothers. Kira Brothers is Lee’s youngest child, and trained regularly with her dad. Kira not only attended the seminar, but also showed some great techniques. These are the reasons why we train.

 I would have to say that these are the types of events that Hatsumi Sensei has been asking us to do. Lately, he has been telling everyone to get together to form a Bujinkan Community. However, there are many people who are not training in Japan, or training with people who go to Japan. This is a problem, and a misconception of a Bujinkan Community. We cannot only rely on videos and books to get us through the day. All of us need to continue to train with our teachers. There are many people out there now, who broke away from their teachers, and are now training on their own. However, they have left the path of budo, and started their own journey. We will always need guidance as well as instruction. This was evident during the training. No matter how long any one instructor had been training, they were all still learning from each other. If your teacher does not study in Japan often, then he or she should be studying with someone who does. If not, then they are leading you down a blind path, and neither you nor the instructor knows where that path leads!Therefore, all godan and above should be training with their teachers, and if they do not have one, I highly encourage all of them to make it out to events like these. You should ask yourself always: Is my instructor furthering his or her education? How often are they going to Japan? Who is their teacher? I think that it is important to know these things, so that we do not get caught in a trap. I have talked to many people who have been studying for 20 years in the Bujinkan, but for some reason they have no clue what the training is all about. With all that said, these are the same people who never show up to seminars, and or never go to Japan .

 Andrew Young made a good point at the seminar: “When you train with Hatsumi Sensei it is like a natural high, but after you are away for a while that high goes away.” There are also many people who think that if they go to Japan once or twice a year, that it is enough. However this is not true. Personally, I go to Japan in January and then again in December. In between those months, I try to make it to other seminars where people are teaching what they learned in Japan throughout the year. Because I have a dojo, and I know a lot of good people, I have organized many great seminars at my dojo next year. All the seminars will have the theme of Back from Japan. Therefore, no matter how long you have been training, or how high your rank is, these seminars will be beneficial. Why you may ask? Because we all need to continue our education. We need to get the most current and up to date information. There are many people who are spending lots of money to go to Japan and bring back the information. Therefore, these seminars are great!!


“Kira Brothers”

These seminars are not only beneficial to the Bujinkan Community, but also to the town, city, or state we live in. We raised a total of $3000 for Kira this weekend, and everyone was in agreement to do another one next year to help raise some more.  Additionally, we all agreed to have the video put together and put it up for sale with proceeds going into Kira’s educational fund.

A special thanks to all the instructors for volunteering their time to make this event possible!


Chris Carbonaro

Bujikan Shidoshi

%d bloggers like this: