What is the Future of Ninjutsu?

What is the Future of the Bujinkan? I have just recently been asked this question by groups in two different countries. I had asked the same question of Dr. Hatsumi two years ago and he responded that "we have good people in the Bujinkan now, I’m not concerned". It was evident that he expected us to make the right choices. Let me share with you my response to that same question.

We have a wonderful opportunity in the Bujinkan to extend this life enhancing art to millions of people. There is one danger however, if the leaders do not recognize the need to cooperate with each other and choose to go it alone, the Bujinkan will fracture into small ineffective groups. We need to recognize that it is by cooperating that everyone benefits. Cooperation fosters the "family" aspect of our art that is so attractive to those seeing us for the first time. It is the knowledge that one can find friends that will be there for them when there is need. Where they can train in effective techniques and not fear being injured because they can trust their training partner to never deliberately injure them. They truly can learn the things, in safety, that make them able to defend themselves and their loved ones.

What is often not recognized is that a synergy occurs when people with skill train together. This means that each is stimulated to grow in skill and it is not a mere addition, new understandings happen because both have brought their skill and life experience to the training. This is a true "win-win" situation. Individual egos have no place here, to grow we do not compete with each other, we cooperate. This cooperation also gives the economic power to groups to provide more and better opportunities for training. A large group, or a number of cooperating small groups have the economic power to bring good instructors in from anywhere in the world. A greater chance for special "synergy" to happen. No one person has all of this art. Even Dr. Hatsumi says he is still learning from his sensei. All of us must continue to learn.

There must be the recognition by the higher ranks of instructors that the most important person is the student! That new student is our reason for being, it is in his/her learning that this art can reach its potential. I think we should all recognize the value of putting skills of self defense into the individual’s hands. That can only lead to a more peaceful and just society which will benefit all of us.

It is my hope that those of us in the higher ranks will work well with each other for the benefit of that most important person, the student.