Introduction to Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

Interested in Learning Japanese martial arts?

We organise regular eight week beginners’ courses. The next start date is Monday, October 5th, 2015

These courses cover all aspects of training in the Bujinkan dojo. No previous experience is necessary as we start from the most basic skills – kicking, punching, locks and throws, how to stretch and drills to teach you how to fall without hurting yourself. The Bujinkan has a very wide weapons syllabus and in the Beginners’ course we look at the basics of hanbo jutsu – fighting using a three foot staff.

Training is held on Monday evenings from 6.30 pm to 7.30pm in our dojo in Molesworth Lane, Dublin 2 (just behind St. Ann’s Church on Dawson St.). Training is open to both men and women over the age of 16.

The cost of the course includes:

– 8 weeks tuition every Monday
– Training manual
– Black training uniform (dogi) with white belt

Cost is €70.
For students and unemployed it’s €50

Places on the course are limited, so book online now:


You can book your place directly from this page.

Eventbrite - Introduction to Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

If you have any questions you can email me ( alternatively, you can phone me on 087-2492951.

What Previous Beginners have said:
“A fantastic intro to martial arts in a very friendly environment. Doesn’t take long to learn the basics and it’s super exercise too. Ninjas do it with attitude.”

Sinead McGlynn

“The eight weeks flew by. I loved that technique is more emphasised than strength (meant girls like me actually had a fighting chance) and I liked the titbits of Japanese history and culture thrown in. The atmosphere was more relaxed and female-friendly than some other clubs I’ve been in too”.

Aileen Power

You can also sign up for further details on the course using the sign up form below.


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Beginners Application Form

It is recommended that you view a class before starting the beginners’ course if you wish to do this please e-mail, phone or text.

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Beginners’ Course

Monday May 13, 2013 – Monday July 1, 2013

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Details for next Beginners’ Course

Start Date: 12 September, 2016

Class Time: 19.00 – 20.00

Location: Bujinkan Jishin Dojo, St. Ann’s Resource Centre (Molesworth Hall), Molesworth Place, Dublin 2.

Course Duration: Eight Weeks

Cost: €70 or €50 (student/unwaged)

Class duration: One hour per lesson

Course content

Interested in Learning Traditional Japanese Martial Arts?

This is an eight week course which gives people an opportunity to find out what training in the Bujinkan Dōjō is like. The course costs €70.(Students/unwaged €50) A training uniform is included in the cost. Training is open to anyone over the age of sixteen. No particular level of fitness is required.

What’s included in the price:
* Eight weeks instruction (one hour per class)
* A free training uniform (keikogi) with a white belt
* A printed training manual
* Weekly email with training notes

What’s Involved:

Stretching Drills and body conditioning (junan taiso)

How to fall and roll safely (Ukemi gata)

Punching and kicking drills (tsuki/keri gata)

Defences against grabs.

Introduction to joint reversals and throws (gyaku waza/nage waza)

Introduction to hanbo (three foot staff)

Please note: people who have done this course previously are welcome to take part again for free, as many times as they wish.

If you are interested you can sign up to receive more information here:

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Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

You must be over sixteen years of age to attend the event

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

The Dōjō is well served by public transport. There is a list of buses that stop nearby on the Dōjō website. If you’re driving there is plenty of on street and off street parking in the vicinity.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

You can email


Interview with Gillian Booth Shihan (Part 2)

In the second part of our interview with Shihan Gillian Booth, she talks about the experience of being female in the “boys’ club” of Bujinkan and what an all-female taikai can achieve.

Female instructors are in the minority in Bujinkan, and certainly few have risen to the rank of 15th Dan. Having been through plenty of ‘only girl in the room’ moments myself, I wonder how it must feel for someone who has gone through 38 years of it.

“There are probably 5 or 10 women in the world who are amazing practitioners, at the top of their game. Us others are working to keep inspired by that, seeing models of other lone wolves”.

And when lone wolves come together?

“The energy was electrifying,” she says of the all-female Kunoichi Taikai in Germany in 2010.

“All of those one or two women from hundreds of dojos – the black sheep – they all got together. It was a very consolidating time for everybody.”

She explains that Soke wanted women to find their own space within the Bujinkan.

“He felt it was really important that women had that feeling of not being alone. He really wanted them to have the feeling of connectedness and congeniality and consolidation. That they were not just one in every dojo – they were hundreds.”

Instructors reported their female students returning to dojos expanded in “their spirit and their confidence and their attitude.”

She shakes her head. “Even a very supportive teacher can’t inject that to a student.”

I ask for her tips for an injury-free career.

“As a smaller person it’s important to say, ‘you cannot apply these techniques in training with the same force that you would on a big strong fellow’. It’s okay to say ‘that’s too much for me’.”

It reminds me of the advice from Marie-Valerie Saumon at the Kunoichi Taikai: “Don’t think you’re a man. You’re a woman – be proud of it”.

“It’s not a level playing field,” she nods.

“If we try and compete and emulate how much energy or strength it would take to compete with a guy, we end up sending too much energy out and end up robbing our own energy and immune system.”

“Soke talks about ‘take this Taijutsu, take this movement, and make it your own’. And that doesn’t mean trying to do it exactly the same as the person who’s demonstrating it, or exactly as the person who’s 6ft 4 and weighs 100 kilos would do it. It means own it. How do you do it for yourself in a way that’s sustaining for you, not draining for you?”

Before I leave to have ‘sustaining not draining’ printed on twenty black t-shirts, I ask what lessons she is keen to impart to her own students.

“Well Soke talks about this principle of ‘one thousand cuts and no surprises’. What it means is if something happens on a one-off basis, you’re likely to be immobilised or frozen or not quite know what to do. But if in our training we continue to get exposed to variables that we don’t always know the answer to, then eventually everything becomes like a walk in the park.”

The key, she says, is to get exposure to things that we’re not necessarily always in control of, walk through the variables and collect them all.

“I think it is a really important metaphor for not getting our boat rocked in – or out – of the dojo.”

This exposure is why some women get involved in martial arts in the first place, and, indeed, why this author feels every woman should.

Many high-ranking female instructors have had connections with women’s self-defense initiatives. Sheila Haddad and Cathy Lewis are board members on women’s self defense associations, while Frances Haynes is a consultant to governments on interpersonal violence and Natascha Morgan teaches self-defense to womens’ groups.

Gillian is keen to differentiate between budo and self-defense though.

“The basis of women’s self defense is not getting out of strangles and arm bars and kicking people in the groin. It’s actually a spirit and an attitude. Being able to show ‘I’m not going quietly – I’ll fight every inch of the way’. That’s the thing that defuses many attacks in the first place.”

She tells me that if someone approached her and said something leading or offensive, her first response would be put her finger in their face and shout ‘DON’T FUCK WITH ME!’

The words – dripping with intention and aggression – seem to shake the table. It’s a scene I have recounted excitedly to many women since.

“That’s the basis of most women’s self defense: the psychology and not being a pushover. So everyone who can project an attitude of ‘I’m no pushover’ is in a better position to not attract that domination in the first place.

“There’s a lot of evidence that the people who mug, rape and steal are actually shrewd about their victims. The people who they think are not just going to crumble when they’re challenged are less likely to be attacked than the person who is not aware of where they are, or is sort of slumped in their body language.

“I think like many lessons in life, it’s really important to be able to say No, and to be able to say No with a really loud voice. If you haven’t had exposure to standing your ground and saying No, you can actually learn that in a training environment”.

Suddenly the News of the World hack in me comes out and asks whether anyone has ever been stupid enough to try something on her.

“Yes, I met somebody who did karate at a party. He kept wanting to know ‘what I would do if he did this sort of karate kick’, and I said ‘no, no, don’t do that’. And he did that. And in front of a crowd of people, he just ended up flat on his back with my hands around his neck.”

I ask for some final advice for the women of Bujinkan.

“Keep going, but keep going on your own terms. Don’t try and keep going in the terms of the bigger, stronger person.”

Black sheep and lone wolves – we’re all stronger than we look.

Link to Part one of the Interview here

Link to Kunoichi Taikai homepage here

Aileen Power can be found on Twitter @AileenSpeaks

If you are interested in learning more about Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu; beginners’ information can be found here

Beginners’ Course

The beginners’ course starts tomorrow. There are still some places left so if you are interested please get in touch. Those of you who have already signed up will be receiving an a email later today with some details of the course.


A really interesting post by Jon Haas on the subject of stretching. It provoked a lot of discussion at training on Thursday. Interestingly although the Japanese shihan are really flexible none of us could ever remember a class in Japan which started with stretching exercises. Find the article here

Beginners’ Course

The next beginners’ course starts on the 27th February. This course will serve as an introduction to Bujinkan Dōjō Budō Taijutsu and give anyone interested in training a flavour of what training in the Dōjō is like.  The classes are shorter than regular classes and are aimed at giving participants a good grounding in the basics.

Course content

The course is intended to provide a basic introduction to Bujinkan Dōjō Budō Taijutsu. Classes include instruction in:

Stretching/warm up exercises

Rei-ho (etiquette)

Ukemi (rolling and breakfalls)

Kamae (postures)

Basic unarmed techniques

Introduction to hanbo (three-foot staff)

How to apply

There is a Facebook Page for the event here You can list yourself as attending.

Alternatively, you can contact or phone me on 087-2492951.

Scan 3


Beginners’ Course and Upcoming Seminars

The beginners’ course started yesterday but it’s not too late to join if you wish. I’d be delighted if we had more people training so if you’re interested please let me know.

Holger Kunzmann  Shihan is teaching a seminar this weekend in the Bujinkan Meehan dojo. The theme is koppojutsu and biken. It will be excellent so I’d like all my students to make an effort to be there. More info at

Alan Butler Shihan is teaching a taijutsu seminar in Galway on the 24th July. It’s in Alan’s Dojo in Oranmore. It’s only about an hour an a half from Dublin and it will be a great day’s training.

Alex Meehan Shihan is teaching a one day seminar on the Ten Chi Jin Tyaku no Maki on Saturday the 6th of August and again I’d ask all my students to make a very special effort to attend.


New Dojo

Congratulations to Shidoshi Matt Harvey on the opening of his new dojo. The Bujinkan Shugyou Dojo is located in the Taney Parish Centre, Dundrum. Training is on Tuesdays from seven until nine. I would encourage any of my students to take classes with Matt when they can.

Training Notes from Japan

Below are some tips on training from two members of the Bujinkan Meehan Dojo who have recently returned from training in Japan. They were originally posted on the Meehan Dojo discussion forum. I am grateful to Jason Coleman (Godan) and Matthew Harvey (Yondan) for their permission to republish them here. I would encourage my students to take the training advice posted here to heart it will make agreat difference to your progress.

“For myself, the most important tips I got from this trip were to:

  • practice slowly (as per the maxim: slow is smooth and smooth is fast),
  • relax!!,
  • don’t grab (spider-walk your fingers like antennae),
  • get used to pain (understand its use in a technique) – this is different to injuring your uke through lack of control,
  • Understand balance breaking (mental and physical),
  • develop good ukemi,
  • be a good uke
    • understand what’s being asked of you
    • attack honestly and with intent to give your partner something to work with.
    • Allow tori to work on what’s being shown i.e. don’t be awkward and try to thwart what he’s doing,
  • get much lower (improve leg strength!!!) and stay there as necessary. Don’t bob up and down as you move,
  • get flexible (both physically and mentally),
  • move foot/hips/spine in concert with each other,
  • try to understand what’s being taught (different people will see different things on different days),
  • practise what you’ve been shown not what you thought you saw,
  • drill the kihon happo and the sanshin no kata and work on the Ten Chi Jin. Think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
  • Understand the various kamae,
  • Then take everything apart and put it back together.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Everything else depends on these… and will make further training easier. This is what the Japanese Shihan teach their own students. As far as I can see, the kata in all of the schools will only work for you if you have gotten a firm foundation in all of the above.

During Soke’s class I watched Nagase sensei and Nagadai Sensei “playing” together and it was really interesting to see them take their time, continuously monitoring their own position and angling in relation to each other rather than assaulting each other at 128,000 mph (which I have no doubt they could do).”

“In addition to what Jason and Ali have posted here’s some notes I cobbled together.

Some bits I picked up:

Oguri Sensei:
Use of elbows, knees, feet, subtle joint manipulation and gobbling up to kukan to control Uke.

Noguchi Sensei:
Dropping the hips and staying consistently low, moving from the centre and applying locks with the feet. Additionally, and like like all of the Japanese Shihan he’s incrediblely polished basics. And they’re there for a reason…

Seno Sensei:
Structure, Structure, Structure. Maintain your kamae and balance while crumpling uke’s, using their own muscular-skeletal system against them.

Nagato Sensei:
Use of footwork in distance control, application of locks, throws and strikes to get effortless effects, judicious use of kicks and pinning of feet, use of chosui dori to manipulate Uke, maintaining Fudoshin throughout waza.

Additionally Nagato Shihan was kind enough to answer my question about the role of the Ten Chi Jin in today’s training. He said something like this – it’s important to master but then you should to forget. He also mentioned that kihon changes over time, that your kihon should evolve. However the TCJ is very important, especially before Judan.

Someya Sensei:
Work on your kihon, and make sure it’s right. I got some interesting technical points on things like the first three of the kihon happo, and some of the sanshin no kata. We also covered some meaty Koto-Ryu kata and formal henka, and some basic Iaijutsu.

Probably the hardest to articulate. Use various Kyusho in conjunction to positioning, taking of fingers, use of the feet, being able to move and respond for any position, being aware of uke’s potential counters and the “connectedness” of occurrences are some that spring to mind.

Other bits:

  • Control Uke at every stage and on every level possible.
  • Where possible plunge Uke rather then just drop or throw him.
  • Use your feet, when doing pretty much anything you care to mention. The effortlessness of all the senior Japanese teachers comes down in a large part to this, as far as I can perceive.
  • Work on your conditioning and flexibility they’re incredibly important for a long term and successful budo career.
  • Work on your kihon, it’s the most fundamental step in budo. I was able to do more this trip thanks to work on my kihon, but moreover I was able to see and recreate more thanks to it. Good kihon gives you the cognitive and perceptual basis to understand budo, without it you’ll never amount to anything. However don’t forget to outgrow them either.

“Don’t do what Johnny Don’t does”:

  • Don’t do what you think you saw. Do exactly, and I mean exactly, what the teacher did. If you’re not sure then either ask the teacher or copy one of their better students until you can.
  • Don’t fail to ask the teacher questions or get a feel of the technique. It’s idiotic to fly as far as Japan to shy away on the other side of the room for fear of being judged. The principle is the same back home.
  • Don’t forget to train your intent in training. You’re reinforcing behaviour and attitude with the movement, so it’d better be the right one.
  • Don’t be a bad uke. This is a big one. Don’t talk too much, don’t fail to give suitable feedback, don’t hamper someone else’s learning experience and so on ad infinitium. If you don’t know how to be a good Uke then ask.
  • Don’t get flustered when a waza isn’t working. If you do you’ll muscle, you won’t learn anything and you may well injure someone.
  • Don’t suffer idiots. Injuries are just too high a price to pay. If someone is awful to train with then ask them to change what they’re doing or avoid them.
  • Don’t be a wuss. When you have to, take pain and give pain, and then get on with it, only injuries are to be avoided, but not discomfort.
  • Don’t keep you feet pinned to the mat, everything begins, occurs and ends with the feet.
  • Don’t muscle in training. When you do you’re no longer doing budo taijutsu, and you’re not learning anything of merit.
  • Don’t forget to learn actively. There’s no failure in training, only feedback, you can learn what not to do from the worst which may be equally as useful as what to do from the best. You’re wasting your time if you’re not learning something. This also applies for when you get pulled up to show something…

I’m sure there’s some other bits I’m forgetting, but I suppose overall the message was just to do it right – if you don’t know what that is, find out.”