Since around the mid 1980's there has been, and continues to be a serious impediment to students trying to learn ninjutsu. It's bad enough when our own beliefs and erroneous ideas get in the way when trying to learn ninjutsu, but when the problem lies in the way the lessons are passed down... what can you do?
This article focuses on a belief about a lesson within ninpo taijutsu (aka budo taijutsu) known as kihon happo. This misguided idea was developed by less-than-knowledgeable junior instructors and has continued to limit and cripple the development of well-meaning students to this day. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be able to see through the illusion that persists and break free to be able to truly take your training in the art of Ninjutsu, to the next level of Mastery!
According to the belief, the kihon happo are really a set of 8 fundamental techniques. The idea is that there are eight, preset techniques that have been passed down from past masters as "the" basis of everything that we do in ninpo and budo taijutsu.
And, the belief is wrong!
I say this because, the lesson of kihon happo points to a concept, not a set of kata. And, because when translated from the Japanese language, kihon happo DOES NOTmean, "8 Basic Techniques." When translated from Japanese, kihon happo really means...
"Eight directions of the fundamental techniques."
The word kihon does mean "fundamental," "main," or "principle." But, the word happo does NOTmean "8 techniques."
Happo literally means, "8 ways," or "8 directions" - giving it the same meaning as when we might say "every direction", "everywhere you look," "infinite ways," or "countless ways."
To get the meaning that many people use, we would need to use the Japanese term, kihon happan, or "8 fundamental technique items."
I have been training in the art of Ninjutsu since almost the beginning - in the days when we didn't say Bujinkan, we said Togakure-Ryu Ninjutsu. And, I have watched the training change and adapt to the masses over the last several decades.
Now, I'm not telling you this to impress you, but to impress upon you that not all of what is being passed on by instructors with little knowledge of the art is not what has been passed down for the last thousand years or better.
Controversial, I know. But, that doesn't make it wrong.
But then, do you really want to master the art or only be good at performing some "cool moves."
If that's your goal... may I suggest dance classes instead. They're a lot less painful, and you wouldn't be lead around by this illusion that's crippling the abilities of well-meaning students!
The fact is that, since the earliest writings put out by Hatsumi Sensei, headmaster of the 9 lineages that make up the training within the Bujinkan, there has been many versions of the supposed "8 techniques" that make up the kihon happo.
Even in the scrolls of the Gyokko-Ryu, the lineage where the "concept" of the kihon happo came from, the 8 techniques are NOT 8 techniques but 16- AND with the exception of the ichimonji, jumonji, and hicho examplesfor using those particular kamae, the techniques are NOTthe same as those being taught.
As pointed out in the Advanced Sanshin / Kihon Happo Home Study Course offered by Warrior Concepts, the idea of the kihon happo is to "see your techniques from every direction" - "to understand the fundamental principles that make up this powerful art from as many different ways as possible."
That's why the lesson is not to memorize and religiously practice some sort of kihon happan, "8 preset technique forms", but to practice the core level principles and concepts that should be present in ANY form or kata - to make 8 variations of each technique. and then make 8 variations of each of these, and 8...
You get the idea.
So, when it comes to really attaining Mastery...
Are you serious about mastering the art of ninjutsu? Do you want to know what it takes to progress through the levels of mastery in this powerful martial art?
How? By insuring that your training is about skill proficiency - not just learning a bunch of skills! Get started by reading this valuable
Jeffrey Miller is a master-teacher in the centuries-old art of Japan's ancient shadow warrior. Each month he shares his 30+ years of training, research, and knowledge - combined with his years of real-world experience using these teachings on the dangerous streets of our modern world - with literally thousands of students from all over the world. Shidoshi Miller says, "If you really want to learn ninjutsu, and become a master of the Ninja's arts, then I can show you the secrets for developing the power, confidence, and control of a true Ninja warrior!"