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campsinger
18th November 2002, 18:00
Hey, y'all...

I'm new to e-budo, but I've been trying to catch myself up on the back posts over the last couple days. My name is Ron Bergman, and I'm a Bujinkan yondan in the frozen hinterland of South Dakota. I've got a license from Hatsumi-sensei that says I'm also a shidoshi-ho, but whether I can actually teach anything is open to interpretation other than mine. I began training back in 1987, and have a website at www.usd.edu/nin. For those of you who were at the St. Louis TaiKai this year, I was the uke that Natasha Morgan pile-drove into the stage...twice.
:look::smash: :look::smash:

Anyway, all seriousness aside....

I heard from one of my former students over the weekend some disturbing news: Ken Harding has left the Bujinkan and no longer recognizes Bujinkan rank. I was told he is teaching along the lines of Jinenkan, although he is not affiliated with that organization that I know of. I checked his website at www.mbdojo.com, and he now refers to what he teaches as Missouri Budo Taijutsu, and he is teaching six of the nine ryu-ha: Gyokko-ryu, Koto-ryu, Shindenfudo-ryu, Kukishinden-ryu, Takagi Yoshin-ryu, and Togakure-ryu. He only has two or three lines that mention Hatsumi-sensei, stating only that he trained with Hatsumi-sensei from 1990-2002. The pictures on his dojo kamiza are of Takamatsu-sensei, although there is one picture of he and Hatsumi-sensei on the photos page.

I'm not trying to be inflamatory or acuse anyone of anything. If there are any students of Ken Harding on e-budo, I humbly ask for your input. Any of the rest of y'all got any info on what's up? I'm merely trying to understand what's going on.:confused:

Also, got an email from Phil Legare last week that said he was closing his dojo and moving to Japan for more training opportunities with Hatsumi-sensei at the end of the year. Bummer for us.

Gambatte...
Ron Bergman
Bujinkan Kushin An Dojo

Tamdhu
18th November 2002, 18:48
All I can say is I'm glad he got rid of that picture of himself meditating on the front of his webpage. I find that strangely irritating, when people post pictures of themselves meditating, looking all solemn and warrior-like. I'm not sure why.

It is kind of too bad that he seems to have dropped the 'Bujinkan' from 'Budo Taijutsu'. That's a first, and not neccessarily a proud one in my book, but I don't know the full story so I won't judge.

I wonder what the 'b' in 'mbdojo' stands for? 'Budotaijutsu'?

R Erman
18th November 2002, 19:09
Mr Harding has always been approachable in the e-mail exchanges I've had with him. I'd advise you e-mail him and ask yourself. In fact he answered this question for me already--I just don't feel comfortable posting his reasons here.

campsinger
18th November 2002, 20:16
Hey, y'all...

I stand corrected on a couple of points regarding my previous post. The correct URLs are [www.mbdojo.com] and [www.usd.edu/nin]. The periods were grammatical, not html. I also must apologize for my comment about the lack of info on Hatsumi-sensei. There is a short page of information about Hatsumi-sensei's teaching background. I meant to say that there were only two sentences concerning Ken Harding's connection to Hatsumi-sensei.:p

Again, I meant no disrespect to Ken Harding. Thanks for the advice, Rob... I shall contact Mr. Harding; I just didn't want to pester him. I'm sure he is receiving a lot of flack for his decision. Mr. Harding's reasons are his reasons, and as long as he handled it in a respectful manner with Hatsumi-sensei, as I'm sure he did, no one has much reason to get their thong in a knot.

Gambatte...
Ron

campsinger
19th November 2002, 21:50
Hey, y'all...

Mr. Harding has patiently indulged my ignorance and provided me with very honest and straight-forward answers to my queries, for which I thank him. His decision to leave the Bujinkan was well-reasoned, based on what he perceives to be the path leading in the direction toward his chosen destination in budo/bujutsu. Mr. Harding is unaffilliated with any other organizations, and intends to remains so at the moment. Mr. Harding made a point of saying, "I have nothing bad to say about Hatsumi Sensei, and never will."

Having met and trained with Mr. Harding personally (once, several years ago when business took me through St. Louis), if the opportunity presented itself, I would train with Mr. Harding again, as he is an accomplished buyu.

There has been much talk over the years about other senior instructors that have left the Bujinkan. I would not like to see his name thrown about in similar fashion; it would be disrespectful and a display of poor manners. I would like to think we, as buyu, are above such actions.

Though I am saddened to see Mr. Harding leave the Bujinkan, I wish he and his students well in their training.

Gambatte...

Tamdhu
19th November 2002, 22:44
Thanks for looking into it and posting your findings.

Does this mark the official beginning of 'budo taijutsu' as a generic martial-arts term like 'karate'?

Interesting...and sure to become more-so in the future.

My OPINION is that many current shidoshi will jump ship in the coming years and shore up their holdings in response to fears of what the Bujinkan may or may not become when Hatsumi Soke retires.

I could go deeper into this but I won't, as I realize that this may be construed by many as a rude or inappropriate thought/expression. I mean no offense to anyone.

R Erman
20th November 2002, 00:35
Originally posted by Tamdhu
Interesting...and sure to become more-so in the future.

My OPINION is that many current shidoshi will jump ship in the coming years and shore up their holdings in response to fears of what the Bujinkan may or may not become when Hatsumi Soke retires.

I could go deeper into this but I won't, as I realize that this may be construed by many as a rude or inappropriate thought/expression. I mean no offense to anyone.

Actually, I completely agree. I think it is a distinct, and very likely, possibility.

The Tengu
20th November 2002, 13:42
Originally posted by Tamdhu
My OPINION is that many current shidoshi will jump ship in the coming years and shore up their holdings in response to fears of what the Bujinkan may or may not become when Hatsumi Soke retires.I think that when this occurs, it will reveal those with unscrupulous intentions and impure loyalty.

campsinger
20th November 2002, 14:42
Originally posted by Tamdhu
My OPINION is that many current shidoshi will jump ship in the coming years......in response to fears of what the Bujinkan may or may not become when Hatsumi Soke retires.

I share your opinion. If that becomes the case, it does bring up an interesting point of giri, does it not? My understanding of giri involves respect, loyalty, and honor to those whom you follow (including the ancestral lineage), and to those who follow you (now or in the future, including those who read your words or watch your videos). Giri not only flows up channel and down channel, but laterally as well, to your fellow buyu (whether that be shihan, shidoshi, shidoshi-ho, kyu ranks, or all, depending on your personal viewpoint).

I may be just a blind sheep following the shepard, but Hatsumi-sensei is the soke, the head of the family, and I trust in his judgement in the choice of who will be chosen as the next soke. That is his giri to us, and I very much doubt he will shirk it. As for blindly following the shepard, I am a student who has an ideal that I am trying to attain, though sometimes I'm not really sure what it is, because it is constantly changing as I change and become a better person (at least I hope I'm becoming a better person). Since I'm not really sure how to get to where I want to be, I have chosen several guides (Hatsum-sensei being one of them) from several different backgrounds and traditions to help guide me through the pitfalls and places where I can't even see the path anymore. Isn't that what the term "sensei" means, after all? I have willingly placed my giri with them in return for guiding me.


Originally posted by Tamdhu
...and shore up their holdings...
Again, I agree. Smacks of "merchant martial arts," doesn't it? Capitalism at it's best.

Gambatte...

bgigas
24th November 2002, 03:44
Hello, after some browsing around Mr. Harding's website, I noticed he offers various videos for sale (http://www.mbdojo.com/%7Embdojo/videoform.html). I am curious as to the quality of these videos, as the prices are easily affordable. If anyone ever seen them first hand, please respond or PM me with your opinion.

Thank you

Jim_Jude
24th November 2002, 04:46
You know, it's none of our business who does what, & we have absolutely NO IDEA as to his Sensei Harding's motivations. Considering his good standing in the American Bujinkan community, & the fact that he has withdrawn his membership to the Bujinkan by contacting Hatsumi-sensei directly, & has left on good terms, I see no reason why we shouldn't afford him the same respect that we would Manaka-sensei, or Tanemura-sensei.
Remember, Hatsumi-sensei has said repeatedly that he is teaching "Jonin". The Bujinkan is his best effort to pass on the essense of his arts, not to build an army of Ninja, one subservient to the next.
It could very well be that Harding-sensei is following his Dharma, & not just "ducking out" as many may believe. Maybe his martial path is going in another direction.

Please, some respect, Buyu. We're chatting on the Information Highway, not the hearsay highway.

poryu
24th November 2002, 09:30
Nice post Jim

I am close friends with Ken I trained in taught in his dojo last. I found him to be highly skilled and very open to others. he has his own opinions which he mostly keeps to him self or in very private conversation.

I have held back on this thread because I did expect it to turn into a flame war. However I have to commend everyone from keeping it from becoming one.

On another note, I have over many years had friends quit the Bujinkan and gone to other arts etc for all sorts of reasons.

The only cooment i can really mak eis if someone wishes to leave the bujinkan or any other arts for what every reason why not let them. Unless you are a member of that persons dojo how will it involve you or effect you, there is too much worry by people because someone else does something that doesnt involve them. This thread has been one of the most intelligent and respectful towards someone who has leftt he bujinkan - great effort guys.

Bgigas - the sword seminar video rocks (blowing my own trumpet - couldnt resist it)

Oni
24th November 2002, 22:11
As the comment made by TheCannon seems to be me to little more than a Troll it is being removed from the thread. I ask that it be striken from the record ;)

To those that responded...while your comments were well thought out and appreciated...leaving them in can only drive conversation back to the Troll attempt. I hope you understand.

pete lohstroh
24th November 2002, 22:59
I train with a one-time student of Mr. Harding's. His taijutsu is excellent as is his ability to help me develop my taijutsu. A good reflection of a good teacher, Yes? I wish Mr. Harding success. The difficult decisions he needed to make have no bearing on the decisions most of us will make. Our budo training can be an opportunity for us to develop the courage and maturity to live as "adults". The posts on this forum reflect this reality well but I get the feeling that there are still many lurkers looking for some blood at the scene of an accident.

Tamdhu
25th November 2002, 17:18
Well said all.

I'm sure Mr. Harding won't be suprised or offended if trolls appear seeking 'blood' or whatever. He can't have been in the Bujinkan this long and not have expected as much.

As Mr. Harding is the first non-Japanese I know of to make this sort of break, I'm still curious what folks think about 'budo taijutsu' being billed without 'Bujinkan'.

We can't really equate what he's doing with SKH's Toshindo, as Mr. Hayes still offers rank and training in the Bujinkan.

This is an interesting first, in my opinion, and worthy of discussion.

Bradenn
25th November 2002, 17:25
Has he gone over to another organistion?

poryu
25th November 2002, 17:38
Hi all

I spoke with Ken just now and he says he is not with anyone at this moment in time.

He is not Bujinkan or Jinenkan

However, he is hosting a seminar with Shaun Havens in the near future

drizzt777
3rd December 2002, 23:47
I can feel on where he is coming from, myself former Bujinkan. I left to better myself, and though my former teacher supports me, some of my ex-training partners there do not, and have nothing but BS for me. I guess they don't understand that I had to follow my own heart and go my own way, as many of people do over the years.

I wish Mr. Harding all the luck in the world, and hope he finds what he is looking for. I think anyone who would verbally bash someone for doing what is best for themselves is the one who needs more insight to their heart. I had to find a dojo where I could grow and feel part of a family again. I don't know Mr. Harding's reasons, and won't claim to, but I am sure he is doing what his heart desires. Besides, skill is skill, and if you can learn from him, then that is the sign of a great teacher.

God Bless, and take care!

In Christ,
Randall Engle
Genbukan Ninpo Bugei

kevinmcdonough
17th December 2002, 00:06
Although I am new to this forum, I have been reading over some of the older posts in order to try catch up.

As was commented earlier this trend seems to be increasing slightly, and Iím just wondering everyone's thoughts on this.

Obviously I have no grudge against anyone making this choice; everyone has their own reasons and must follow their own path. Indeed, I myself have changed style in the last few years, although I could only dream of having the skill of someone like Mr. Harding.

What Iím getting at is does everyone think that there is any sort of trend in the similarities of these peoples reasons, or are they purely individual and unconnected choices.

kevin

bencole
17th December 2002, 02:44
Originally posted by kevinmcdonough
Although I am new to this forum, I have been reading over some of the older posts in order to try catch up.

I think you're the first in history to do that, Kevin. I applaud vigorously. :D

All kidding aside, it's good that you are familiarizing yourself with older threads so you can understand the history and culture here. Welcome.


As was commented earlier this trend seems to be increasing slightly, and Iím just wondering everyone's thoughts on this.

I don't think it is a "trend" that is increasing. There have always been people who come and go, even after years of training. Only now, we have this thing called the internet. News that was no longer news is now news, and people who you should never have heard of are now public knowledge. (Hell, who would even care who Jeff Mueller was if it wasn't for the Internet?!? :D)


What Iím getting at is does everyone think that there is any sort of trend in the similarities of these peoples reasons, or are they purely individual and unconnected choices.

The choice to train, or to leave, is a personal one. Further, as more and more people join the Bujinkan to train with Soke, it is inevitable that the "headcount" of those who depart will also rise. But seeing how the Bujinkan has somewhere around 100,000 practitioners now, up from five about 35 years ago, it looks like the "joiners" are outnumbering the "departers." :D

I have never believed that the Bujinkan was for everyone, and wrote as such in the intro of my book. This art is not for everyone. Certainly, not everyone is comfortable with the free-form nature of Hatsumi-sensei's art. He's a genius jazz musician, and well, more people buy N-Sync albums than Miles Davis.

Some people have left because a single Bujinkan curriculum is not strictly enforced. Others have left because they did not like the ranking structure. Both of these reflect, imo, a personal need for unambiguity--precisely the type of thing that Soke is trying to have us face through his training so as to overcome in real life. Alas, not everyone is comfortable with that type of "training," and so they depart. They already "know what they want" and well, those who already have a full glass have (sadly) little room for the bounty that Hatsumi-sensei has to offer....

Others have left because they didn't enjoy the training, they didn't have time or money, or simply because their life's path took them elsewhere. Regardless of the reason, in the end, training (or not training) is a personal journey and every person's journey will differ....

I hope that answers your question.

Regards,

-ben

Jeff Cook
17th December 2002, 21:20
Is it possible that people leave their ryu as an inevitable end-state of ShuHaRi?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Noodles
17th December 2002, 23:15
Forgive my ignorance, but what does that last post mean?

John Rankin
To-Shin Do

R Erman
17th December 2002, 23:52
Originally posted by Noodles
Forgive my ignorance, but what does that last post mean?

John Rankin
To-Shin Do

Think of them(shu, ha, ri) as phases of training and development as a warrior.

They basically describe obeying and following precepts and rules of a style(Shu). Progressing to where you begin to develop your own flavor by changing, modifying, or breaking the "rules"(ha). And finally the phase where you leave the rules in the dust(ri).

Jeff Cook
18th December 2002, 03:15
Excellent explanation, Rob!

I of course have no idea why the current person being discussed left, but it did get me to thinking. Perhaps it is a topic worth discussing in a separate thread?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

John Lindsey
18th December 2002, 13:59
Many years ago I heard Hatsumi S. comment about how the Bujinkan is not really about a shu ha ri style of training. I think he said that the term originated with kendo? Anyhow, I have always thought of shu ha ri as being part of rigid systems in which kata play a center role. In the "shu" stage, you have to perform the kata in a strict manner, and personal interpretation is not generally allowed. Thus, I think this is what Hatsumi meant about it not being the Bujinkan way. I have also heard Tanemura Sensei say basically the same thing about the Genbukan and how the term does not apply to us as well. I have only heard Manaka use the term often, but that was back in the old days...

Jeff Cook
18th December 2002, 15:52
According to the Hudson, New York Bujinkan dojo, shu ha ri IS a Bujinkan term. http://www.nybujinkan.com/articles/shr.php It also appears to be a theme with the Belgium Bujinkan folks - http://www.bujinkan-belgium.com/library/uraomote/texts/1998/9803_4.htm

Shu ha ri is such a basic, elemental principle of Japanese budo I cannot imagine how Budo Taijutsu could discard it. It is a concept that seems to lead one towards formlessness and ownership/originality/spontanaiety.

I am not a student of Budo Taijutsu, but I am now very curious how it fits into the training maxim of the Bujinkan. I will butt out if my question is deemed inappropriate.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

John Lindsey
18th December 2002, 20:26
Richard,

It was a few years ago that I asked Tanemura Sensei about shu ha ri and training in the Genbukan. I will try and recall what he said, but donít quote me on it please. He said that it is a good concept to think about in regards to how to train, but in ninpo, we should never ďriĒ or throw away anything. Also, the Genbukan is not a strict kata based system. The majority of it is really the kyu system, which has various techniques, but they are not as static as kata. Compare how the kyu material was done in the 1980ís to now, and you can see this clearly. The old way is not wrong per se, its just that our current kyu system reflects Senseiís knowledge as a martial artist.

Jeff,

From my experience with the Bujinkan, it is more of a "ha" and "ri" system with little "shu."