What Is A Bujinkan Black Belt?

For our training group a black belt is a student who has a solid command of the basics as expressed through the kihon happo, san shin no kata, and ukemi taihenjutsu. They can demonstrate these movements when called on, understand the henka of them, and can adapt them to a variety of situations. A black belt understands how their body moves with regard to balance, distance, and timing- the three “pillars” of budo taijutsu.

This is the omote of a black belt- the physical, as there is also an ura that is also always present.

The omote of a black belt is a student who can be trusted to always avoid and escape danger before confronting it.

A student who can set a good example as a senior (sempai) in the dojo helping the green belt students (kohai), and as a role-model as to what they can become.

And then there is beyond the omote and ura- a black belt student is finding their way and their place in the martial arts. Don’t look at what other black belts ARE, look at what you hope to become, and make that happen as you progress through the black belt ranks to 4th dan.

Building on the framework of the kyu study guide, this manual should be thought of as an out-of-class checklist. As you practice the waza learned in class, consider the points mentioned here to keep in mind and self-check yourself against as you study on your own. They are not the infinite descriptions of the techniques, nor a replacement for live instruction, but rather questions to ask during your out-of-class training to help guide your own process of self-discovery and movement.

You are both a black belt and becoming a black belt at the same time. A black belt can be thought of not of what you know or are proficient in, but rather what you now have an obligation in the Bujinkan to represent and a responsibility to know.

The ten chi jin is essential to unlocking the movement of budo taijutsu. At the kyu level the focus is on the ten ryaku no maki and how it teaches you to move your body in balance with correct distance and timing.

At the dan level of training we now turn our attention to the movement of our training partner as expressed through the chi ryaku no maki. While this section of training has a variety of locks, throws, and immobilizations it is not about hurting a specific part of our training partner’s body, but rather how their movement and ability to move is destroyed as expressed through the waza. The waza of the chi ryaku no maki are NOT about pain and hurt (although there is plenty both of that in them for sure) but rather about preventing your training partner from stopping your ability to move. When you apply the various techniques if they still have the ability to move or escape it then check your ten ryaku no maki movement and correct it.

Waza done correctly leaves no escape or way to wiggle out from your training partner.

In this model we can see how the ten chi jin is about the expression of budo taijutsu movement and not a collection of techniques- the selected techniques are there as the best and quickest ways to teach you the movement.

Ten- How you move.

Chi- How you stop your training partner from moving.

Jin- How the both of you interact when both are expressing the movements of ten and chi.

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