What Is Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu?
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu was founded in the fog-shrouded mists of Japan's south central Iga province, 800 years ago, by the Shinobi. It was founded by a class of people who cherished the same ideals as present-day Americans—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These freedom-loving people started Togakure Ryu Ninpo through necessity. They were people seeking protection from dictators and feudal warlords who sought to subjugate them. Contrary to popular belief, ninpo is not the art of assassination, but one of total protection of family, friends, and country.
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is composed of nine ancient schools, derived from the densho (scrolls of knowledge), which encompass a full variety of armed and unarmed combat. Among other disciplines, these arts address multiple attackers, grappling, strikes, weaponry, choking, leaping, rolling, and throws:
- Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu – Jewel Tiger School
- Kukishinden Happo Hikenjutsu – Nine Demon Gods School
- Koto Ryu Koppojutsu – Tiger Knocking Down School
- (Hon Tai) Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu – High Tree, Raised Heart School
- Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu – Immovable Heart School
- Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu – Truth, Loyalty & Justice School
- Gyokushin Ryu Ninjutsu – Jeweled Heart School
- Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo – Hiding in the Clouds School
- Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu – Hidden Door School
The western world is now fortunate to have this art made available to us by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi (Soke), thirty-fourth Grandmaster of the Togakure Ryu. He has made his art available to the world in hopes that the study of ninpo will promote peace, understanding and fellowship.
34th Grand Master, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi (Soke)
Masaaki Hatsumi, 34th Grandmaster of the nine schools of The Bujinkan, was born in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan on December 2, 1931. Soke (headmaster) Hatsumi began training in various martial arts at nine years old learning kendo. He then studied judo, aikido, karate, boxing, and numerous koryu bujutsu (traditional Japanese arts, warrior arts) styles.
From the late 1950‘s to 1972, Masaaki Hatsumi studied under Sensei Takamatsu Toshitsugu, 33rd Grand Master of the nine traditions. It is from Sensei Takamatsu that Hatsumi founded The Bujinkan dojo in the late 1970’s to carry out the ancient Shinobi traditions, taught to him by his teacher, Takamatsu. Since 1982, Soke Hatsumi has traveled the globe, teaching and promoting Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Today, the Bujinkan headquarters are based in Honbu, in Noda City, Japan, and Budo Taijutsu is practiced globally by more than 10,000 practioners.
In addition to his position as the grandmaster of Budo Taijutsu, Soke is recognized by many governments and notable world figures as an accomplished writer, artist, actor and practicioner in the Japanese medical techniques of Seikotsu (natural healing methods). He's also a Hone-tsugi (Orthopedic Doctor).
Dai-Shihan Robert F. Johnson, Jugodan
The founding instructor of Bujinkan Indianapolis Dojo, Dai-Shihan Robert F. Johnson is a retired Marion County Deputy Sheriff with 30 years law enforcement experience. He was the first in Indianapolis to be awarded black belt in the Togakure Ryu. Dai-Shihan Johnson is the highest ranking Togakure Ryu Ninpo practitioner from Indiana at Jugodan (15th degree black belt), and was a personal student of the first westerner to be awarded a teaching license in Togakure, Stephen K. Hayes. Dai-Shihan Johnson now trains directly under Soke Hatsumi, and has trained with master instructors Maj. Fumio Manaka and Toshiro Nagato.
In addition to Dai-Shihan Johnson’s rank in the nine schools of the Bujinkan system, he also holds a second degree black belt in Isshinryu Karate, awarded by his personal instructor, Mr. Clarence S. Ewing, seventh Dan. Dai-Shihan Johnson is a P.K.C. certified judge, and referee.
Dai-Shihan Johnson is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. He was assigned to Fighter Squadron 121 Naval Air Station Miramar, California. He’s also provided personal protection services for visiting celebrities Sammy Davis Jr., Jayne Kennedy, Michael (Bobby Hill) Warren and others.
Chief Instructor, Shidoshi Darius McClendon, Judan
Darius began training in Budo Taijutsu in 1999, and he achieved Shodan in April 2002. He's made several trips to the Bujinkan Honbu dojo in Japan to train. Darius achieved Godan (5th degree black belt) in April, 2010, and has since attained Judan (10th degree black belt). He's trained with many shihan, including Nagato Sensei, Someya Sensei, Oguri Sensei, Seno Sensei, Noguchi Sensei, Johnson Sensei, and Hayes Sensei. In addition, Darius has attended various firearms training sessions with Johnson Sensei, Shidoshi Palmer, and Shidoshi Halbakken.
Darius has been teaching Budo Taijutsu since 2003, and he's served as a firefighter in Indianapolis with Pike Township since 2005.
Assistant Instructor, Bill Burdine, Godan
Bill began training in Budo Taijutsu in 1991 with Robert Johnson. He started teaching in 2005 after earning his Shodan (1st degree black belt). Bill earned his Yondan (4th degree black belt) in December of 2010, and Godan (5th degree black belt) as of August 2017. He trains & teaches regularly.
Bill has worked in the printing industry for over 23 years.
Assistant Instructor, Kevin George II, Nanadan
Kevin began training in Budo Taijutsu in 2004 under the direction of Dai-Shihan Robert Johnson. Prior to his training in the Bujinkan, Kevin was a nationally ranked All-American elite gymnast. He retired in 2004 after 20 years in the sport.
Kevin has been teaching the art since earning his Shodan in August 2006. He has traveled twice to Japan to train with Soke Hatsumi and the Japanese Dai-Shihan.
Kevin passed the Godan (Sakki) test at the Hombu Dojo in 2015 under Nagato Sensei, and has since received the rank of Nanadan (7th dan).
Kevin holds a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and a master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. He is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School. Kevin has worked as a personal trainer, life coach, and college counselor. He currently works as a Student Success Advisor in the Health and Life Sciences Advising Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Associate Instructor, Shidoshi Derrell Palmer, Hachidan
Shidoshi Derrell Palmer began training in July of 1991, under the direction of Dai-Shihan Robert F. Johnson. Derrell has actively taught Budo Taijutsu for the past 18 years, and he's also trained under military, law enforcement, and various private agencies.