Whilst at Exeter, I joined the Exeter Bujinkan Ninjutsu dojo under the instruction of Tony Matthews, 10th Dan. I trained there for four years before moving to Cambridgeshire where I later joined the Ely Bujinkan Dojo run by Rick Pridmore, 6th Dan. In April 2014, I achieved the level of 3rd Dan.
Ninjutsu is a rich and varied martial art with a history of over 900 years. In essence it is an art of stealth and manipulation. Its etymology is ‘nin’ which means ‘stealth’ and ‘jutsu’ which means ‘art’. Students of ninjutsu learn how to manipulate the balance and movement of their opponents using wrist locks, punches, kicks and throws in order to defeat them. Our Grandmaster, Masaaki Hatsumi, wrote in his book ‘The Essence of Ninjutsu‘ that the true ninja learns how “to win without fighting”. For me, this is a really powerful quotation – martial arts are not always about fighting and combat – they are about finding ways to avoid – and appropriately manage – conflict and injury.
I don’t have the expertise to adequately summarise all 900 years of the art with the eloquence that it deserves but if you would like to find out more about it, I can recommend the Bujinkan Dojo site which outlines the guiding principles of the Bujinkan. If you would like to learn more about its history, there is plenty of information on the Cambridge Dojo website.