Home » Bugei Juhappen – 18 Samurai Fighting Arts

Bugei Juhappen – 18 Samurai Fighting Arts

Ninja Juhakkei were often studied along with the Bugei Juhappen (the 18 samurai fighting art skills). Though some techniques were used in the same way by both samurai and ninja, others were utilized differently by the two warriors. The 18 disciplines are as follows:

  • Seishin Teki Kyōyō – Spiritual Refinement
    The Togakure Ryu Ninja worked at developing a deep and accurate understanding of himself, his personal power, his strengths and weaknesses, and his influence on the playing out of life. The Ninja had to be very clear about his intentions, his commitments and his personal motivations in life. Personality traits could often mean the difference between life and death in his line of work. Exercises in mental endurance, ways of looking at things, were taught to the ninja along with his physical skills. By evolving into a mystics understanding of the universal process, the historical Togakure Ryu Ninja would became a warrior philosopher. His engagements in combat were then motivated by love or reverence and not by mere thrill of violent danger or need for money.

  • Taijutsu – Unarmed Combat
    Skills of Dakentaijutsu or striking, kicking and blocking, Jutaijutsu or grappling, Jime (chokes) and escaping the holds of others, Taihenjutsu or silent movement, rolling, leaping and tumbling (Kurowaza) assisted the Togakure Ryu Ninja in life threatening defensive situations.

  • Kenjutsu / Bikenjutsu – Sword techniques including Tojutsu
    The ninja’s sword (shinobigatana) had a short straight single edged blade, and was considered to be his primary fighting tool. Two distinct sword skills were required by the ninja, “Fast Draw” techniques centred around drawing the sword and cutting as a simultaneous defensive or offensive action. “Fencing” skills used the drawn sword in technique clashes with armed attackers.

  • Rokushakubojutsu / Bojutsu – Stick and staff techniques
    The Japanese stick fighting art, practiced by Samurai and Peasants alike, was also a strong skill of the ninja. Togakure Ryu Ninja were taught to use the Bo (long staff – 6ft), Jo (4ft staff) and Hanbo (half-staff – 3ft) as well as sticks and clubs of varying lengths. Specially constructed Shinobi-Zue or Ninja canes were designed to look like normal walking sticks, but concealed blades, chains, or darts that could be used against the enemy.

  • Shurikenjutsu – Throwing weapons techniques
    Throwing blades were carried in concealed pockets and used as harassing weapons. The Togakure Ryu used a special four pointed throwing star called a Senban Shuriken, which was constructed from a thin steel plate. The blade was thrown with a flat spinning motion and hits its target with a sawing effect. Bo Shuriken or straight shaft darts and spikes were also constructed for throwing. Throwing stars in general are called Hira Shuriken.

  • Sojutsu / Yarijutsu – Spear Techniques
    Togakure Ryu Ninja were taught to use standard Japanese spears and lances as middle-range fighting weapons. Spears and Lances were used for stabbing and piercing attacks, and rarely ever thrown in normal combat. The Togakure Ryu also used a unique spear weapon called a Kama Yari or “Sickle Lance”, which consisted of a spear blade with a hook at the base. The total length of the weapon was over nine feet. The lance point could be used to lunge and stab, and the hook point could be used to snag and pull the opponent or his weapon.

  • Naginatajutsu / Binaginatajutsu – Halberd Techniques
    Virtually a short sword blade mounted on a Rokushakubo, the Japanese Naginata was used for cutting and slashing attacks against adversaries at medium range. Togakure Ryu Ninja were also proficient in the use of the Bisento, A huge heavy bladed version of the Naginata. Based on a Chinese weapon the broad bladed weapon was heavy enough to knock down attackers, smash through armour and ground the horses of mounted Samurai.

  • Kusarigamajutsu – Chain and Sickle Techniques
    The Japanese Kusarigama was adopted into the arsenal of the Togakure Ryu Ninja. A chain, six to nine feet in length with a Fundo (weight) attached at one end, was attached to the handle of a Kama (sickle) a traditional grain cutting tool. The chain could be used to block or ensnare the enemies weapon and the blade then used to finish off the attacker.

    Kyogetsu Shoge – Over the fields and plains
    A weapon similar to the Kusarigama, It was favoured by the Togakure Ryu Ninja. The Kyogetsu Shoge is commonly thought of as the predecessor to the Kusarigama. The weapon consisted of a straight blade with a secondary forward facing hook blade protruding from the hilt, attached to a fifteen foot resilient cord usually made from a woman’s or horses hair. A large steel ring was attached to the free end of the cord with the other end attaching to the Kashira/Pommel of the blade.

  • Kayakujutsu – Pyrotechnics
    Togakure Ryu Ninja were experts in the placement, timing and rigging of explosive devices for demolition and distraction predominantly utilizing fire and smoke. In later years, the use of black powder or Bakuyaku and other explosives were supplemented with knowledge of firearms and their strategic applications. Kayakujutsu was generally taught in three stages Katon No Jutsu – the use of fire smoke and heat for infiltration, evasion and deception, Kayakujutsu – The use of gunpowder, firearms and explosives, Shinobi Kaki – Fire Tools

  • Hensojutsu – Disguise and Impersonation
    Essential to the ninja’s espionage work was his ability to assume false identities and move undetected through his area of operation. More than merely putting on a costume, Ninjutsu’s disguise system involves thoroughly impersonating the character adopted. Personality traits, areas of knowledge and body dynamics of the identity assumed were ingrained in the ninja’s way of thinking and reacting. He or she literally became the new personality, whether taking the role of a monk, craftsman or wandering entertainer. This art of assuming alternate identities is called Shi Chi Ho De – (The Art of Seven Disguises)

  • Shinobi-Iri – Stealth and Entering Methods
    The ninja’s techniques of silent movement, breaking and entering, and gaining access to inaccessible areas became legendary in feudal Japan. Togakure Ryu Ninja learned special walking and running methods for covering long distances, passing over floors silently and for staying in the shadows while moving, in order to facilitate entry and escape.

  • Bajutsu – Horsemanship
    Togakure Ryu Ninja were taught to be proficient on horseback, both in riding and mounted combat skills.

  • Sui-Ren – Water Training
    Stealth swimming, silent movement through water, methods of using special boats and floats to cross over water, and underwater combat techniques were taught to Togakure Ryu Ninja. Also training and fighting in icy conditions, most often performed by practicing Taijutsu wearing Geta (wooden sandals) on ice.

  • Bo Ryaku – Strategy/Tactics
    Unconventional tactics of deception and battle, political plots and advantageous timing for use of current events were used by Togakure Ryu Ninja. By employing or influencing seemingly outside forces to bring the enemy around to doing what the Ninja wanted him to do, Ninja were able to work their will without drawing undue attention to themselves. This is an extensive area of study which cannot be summarized into a small caption

  • Cho Ho – Espionage
    Methods of successful espionage were perfected. This included ways of locating and recruiting spies and served as a guide for using espionage agents as efficiently as possible.

  • Intonjutsu – Escape and Concealment
    Togakure Ryu Ninja were experienced masters in the ways of using nature to cover their exit, allowing them to “disappear” at will. The Goton Po five elements of escape were based on a working familiarity with the creative use of Earth (Chi), Water (Sui), Fire (Ka), Metal (Kin) and Wood (Moku) aspects of nature and the environment.

  • Ten Mon – Meteorology
    Forecasting and taking advantage of the weather and seasonal phenomena was an important part of any battle consideration. Ninja were trained to observe all the subtle signals from the environment in order to predict weather conditions.

  • Chi Mon – Geography
    Knowing and successfully using the features of the terrain were crucial skills in the historical art of Ninjutsu. High and Low points, Undulated Terrain, Horizons, Cover, Etc.

    Note: In the book Ninjutsu History and Tradition written by Soke Hatsumi, Kusarigama and Kayakujutsu are both labelled as the ninth level of training with their being 19 levels of training listed, Level 19 being Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho.

    Although not listed as a separate discipline in its own right, A crucial part of the Togakure Ryu Ninjas training was the application of Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho philosophy.

    “In the world of combat survival, the superior fighter makes use of all advantages at his disposal, including the influence of the mind.
    As a means of increasing the difficulty for an enemy, Ninja of old developed the strategy of Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho or the interchange of the concepts of falsehood and actuality. A strategy for winning that relies on the presentation of truth and falsehood in ways that permit the antagonist to be deceived,
    Kyojitsu forms the basic approach for all Ninjutsu activities and thinking. Because the Ninja is dealing freely with the concepts of truth and falsehood, fluidly bending one into the other, he must be well grounded in his own concept of reality. To prevent becoming lost, misguided or swallowed up by his own deception or awareness altering, the Ninja must maintain Seishin, or purity of heart. In this sense, the word pure means “Complete” or “Total”. The ninja carries the truth in his heart, though he may appear in many psychological guises to others. His intentions remain resolute, though others may have no idea what those commitments entail. Because he is totally honest with himself at all levels of introspection, he can venture into the realm of falsehood and untruth without defiling himself or his spirit. He can willingly plunge into the cold darkness knowing full well that he has the power to create his own light from the brightness he carries in his heart – Soke Masaaki Hatsumi 34thGrandmaster Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu “

In summary I have included a list of the Bugei Juhappen for quick reference with Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho included:

1. Seishin Teki Kyōyō – Spiritual Refinement
2. Taijutsu – Unarmed Combat
3. Kenjutsu / Bikenjutsu – Sword techniques including Tojutsu
4. Rokushakubojutsu / Bojutsu – Stick and staff techniques
5. Shurikenjutsu – Throwing weapons techniques
6. Sojutsu / Yarijutsu – Spear Techniques
7. Naginatajutsu / Binaginatajutsu -Halberd techniques
8. Kusarigamajutsu – Chain and Sickle techniques
9. Kayakujutsu – Pyrotechnics
10. Hensojutsu – Disguise and Impersonation
11. Shinobi-Iri – Stealth and Entering Methods
12. Bajutsu – Horsemanship
13. Sui-Ren – Water Training
14. Bo Ryaku – Strategy/Tactics
15. Cho Ho – Espionage
16. Intonjutsu – Escape and Concealment
17. Ten Mon – Meteorology
18. Chi Mon – Geography
19. Kyojitsu Tenkan Ho –The Interchanging concept of truth and falsehood present in all.

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