You are on page 1of 5

Shiro Kuma's Weblog

Arnaud Cousergue's Bujinkan blog

There is a new trend recently that is developing amongst the high ranks of the Bujinkan.
Searching for the true and original Bujinkan they are unearthing the past and reactivate
unfinished programs discarded by Ske.
Maybe because of our Christian origin, we think that printed matter is truth, and that
the oldest the material is, the more we can trust it.
But concerning the Bujinkan program this is not the case.
Hatsumi sensei developed a syllabus called the Tenchijin basic program (aka bushinkan
shinden kihon gata) and that it took him many years to come up with a (nearly) finished
set of techniques.
Here is the genealogy of the Tenchijin program (the way I see it):
1. In the sixties, Hatsumi sensei tells Takamatsu sensei that he wants to create a
program regrouping the nine ryha into one single one. Takamatsu sensei
rejected the idea adding something like: each system is important and they are
all different, this is why they should be taught separately.
2. Fourty years ago, in April 1972, Takamatsu sensei leaves us. Hatsumi sensei is
now alone, he begins to develop the Bujinkan system.
3. Having had time to think it over, Hatsumi sensei abandoned the idea of a
common program for the nine ryha but takes the decision instead of regrouping
all the basics of the ryha into one set of techniques: this is the Tenchijin Ryaku
no Maki . The title says it all as (ryaku) means shorten,
abbreviation, outline. His idea, therefore is to create a simplified program to
prepare for the study of the nine Ryha.
4. At the end of the 70s, Hatsumi sensei creates his first Tenchijin program. It is
presented in the form of 3 stencil like booklets and is only in japanese, no
5. In1983, Hatsumi sensei publishes, in Japanese only, the evolution of the first
paper version. He calls it: Togakure Ry Ninp Taijutsu. It follows the tenchijin
structure. This published version of the Tenchijin contains 267 pages and presents
three parts: Ten ryaku no Maki, Chi ryaku no Maki, and Jin ryaku no Maki.
Shuriken and kakushi buki are added in the Jin Ryaku.
6. In 1987, some western students receive from Japan a photocopied booklet written
on a typewriter and entitled: Bujinkan Shinden Kihon Gata. The subtitle is
Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki. It contains many changes to the 1983 version. The
Kysho are gone, the weapons are gone, and the techniques are reshuffled and
7. In the official Kihon Happ, Ganseki Nage is replaced by Mus Dori.

Since then the tenchijin of 1987 became the basic programme of the Bujinkan to teach
the basics. It is the third and final evolution of the first tenchijin amended by Soke and
this is the more developed programme of the three versions.
As you know to put out a comprehensive program is not an easy task and it took Sensei
nearly 20 years to come up with a final tool. We can see the creation of this program as a
famous painting like Mona Lisa la Gioconda by Leonardo Da Vinci, who spent 4 years
to paint it. According to Leonardos contemporary: after he had lingered over it four
years, (he) left it unfinished. Leonardo, later in his life, is said to have regretted never
having completed a single work*.
This is the same with the Tenchijin.
The first version (tcj1) was a sketch.
The second version of 1983 (tcj2) a prototype. A beta version.
The third version of 1987(tcj3), the Tenchijin 1.0. Unfinished but good enough.
Today in 2013, some 30 years after the Beta version (tcj2), I am surprised to see many
high ranks trying to discover a new hidden truth by basing their teaching on the first
tries by sensei.
Unable to exist by themselves they try to create some kind of competitive advantage by
putting back to light the first unstable versions created by sensei. Many base their
syllabus on version tcj2 or even worse on version tcj1. This is why we see many old terms
unearthed from these pre versions of the tcj reappearing today.
But I wonder how can these high ranks be so wrong in their analysis?
Do they think that created first the perfect programme and that he destroyed it version
after version?
Do they think he is stupid?
The tenchijin was an attempt to summarize all the basics of the nine schools into a
single tool to make it easier to enter the specific study of the Bujinkan Ryha.
Please keep in mind that:
1. The terms used in the tenchijin are generic (or became generic).
2. Similar techniques in various Ry can be named differently.
3. A technique is a mix of several basic generic moves
4. Techniques look like some basic techniques but are not to be done fully to the
5. Some concepts, some techniques are missing from one version to the other.
6. Some concepts, some techniques are added from one version to the other.
7. The structure if the tenchijin is evolving from one version to the other.
8. Some techniques from the Chi enter the Jin.
9. Some techniques from the Jin are now into the Ten, etc.
To me it is as if Sensei through trial and error had been tuning and adjusting his first
programs (tcj1 the tcj2) in order to make a common platform for learning the
schools. The Tenchijin is only a tool designed to help the practitioner to undda erstand
the Bujinkan. The last version tcj3 (1987) is the best one to do that.
But like Leonardo Da Vincis Gioconda, please keep in mind that the Tenchijin of 87 is
still unfinished so it is correct to mix with the tcj3 some of the concepts and techniques
from tcj2 (the Kysho for example). Like in the Pareto distribution it should still respect
the 80-20 ratio no more. Remember Sensei tried to make it simple.
With all that in mind, please see the overall logic followed by sensei since the death of
his mentor:
Ninjutsu: Hatsumi Sensei develops the Bujinkan through 20 years of Tenchijin
practice (1973-1992)
1993-1997 Bud Taijutsu Omote: He teaches the weapons, to emphasize
knowledge of angles and distances (5 years),
1998-2002 Bud Taijutsu Ura: The five aspects of Taijutsu and body movement
through five ryha (5 years),
2003-2012 Jupp Sessh: and then sensei continued with Ninp Taijutsu: 5
years of Jupp Sessh Omote and 5 years of Jupp Sessh Ura.
2013: This is where we are today with a Tsurugi in the hand.
When I look at it globally it seems to me that Sensei has been following some kind of
very smart plan to bring us to his level of understanding. After all this is exactly what the
word sensei means, no?
So please trust him, he knows what he is doing and he is the Tamashii (soul) of the
If some high ranks in the West think they are smarter than Sensei, this is strange but
after all they are adults.
If they decide not to follow Hatsumi Senseis vision and prefer to replace the Tenchijin
programme 1987 (tcj3) by its former beta versions, let them continue. Everyone is
responsible for his choices.
But if you are a dedicated Bujinkan instructor and if you want your students to grasp the
essence of Hatsumi Senseis Bud, and to get a better chance to survive, then I urge you
to think about it and to follow the only true and logical path: The one Bud path defined
by Hatsumi Sensei!
Sensei can be called many names but stupid is definitely not the appropriate one!
This man is a fantastic human being who has been guiding us on the path for the last 40
Choosing another path is like leaving the Bujinkan and his creator.