Learn Ninjutsu – The 9 Martial Schools Within Modern Bujinkan Ninja Training

One of the least understood aspects of modern Ninja training, is the taking on and assimilation of the techniques, tactics, and strategies of other schools throughout history. In fact, car ninja the Bujinkan Dojo of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, current-generation headmaster of the Togakure-Ryu of Ninjutsu, includes the techniques, weapons, and teachings of at least 8 other traditional Japanese schools of martial arts.

But, rather than seeing these 9 schools as “styles,” in the conventional sense, modern practitioners should recognize that each school has contributed it’s own strengths to the overall body of knowledge. Instead of trying to separate and compartmentalize each ryu-ha as a different entity as it was once-upon-a-time, modern students need to understand that today’s training reflects a very powerful model that is made up of the “best-of-the-best” from a wide range of sources.

The list of the 9 traditional schools, which form the foundation for training for both the Bujinkan Dojo as-well-as the curriculum that I used for my own personal students, is offered here as an introduction to the power that lies waiting for the student who is ready to take massive action and go beyond the concept of being a mere martial artist – to becoming a true warrior in every sense of that word.

It’s important to see beyond the “toys,” “forms,” Latest foodie story and other surface-level appearances that each school seems to be made up of. It’s also important, unless we are training for purely aesthetic reasons, that we must be able to extract the important combat and life strategies from each, if they are to do us any good in the modern world.

So, the following list contains not only the name of the school, and it’s primary specialty, but also the strategic “place” that each holds for real-world self protection in today’s world.

The 9 Lineages of Modern Ninjutsu Training include:


  • Togakure-Ryu Ninjutsu – Information-gathering and unconventional tactics. This school focuses on the concept of Kaju no waraku (‘The wisdom of the wildflowers’) which is a reminder to adapt to the situation, rather than conform to rigid structure. The combat theme to be applied to modern self defense is: Pay attention and gather information about your attacker before acting. And, using any aids you can find, let him show you the way to beat him.
  • Gyokko-Ryu Kosshijutsu – The kosshijutsu is said to be the essence of real budo training. The focus of the Gyokko-ryu is to provide the foundation to mastery. And, more info please visit these websites:-https://www.usajournalz.com https://ferall.si/ https://www.vrgyani.com it teaches that mastery comes through an integration of body, mind, and spirit. The lessons from this school that can be directly translated to modern self defense is this: Understand the essential – most critical lessons – first. Then, you will be unbeatable.
  • Kukishinden-Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu – This school has traversed not only centuries, but also applications. It’s major claim to fame is in the use of longer, battlefield weapons and fighting in armor. The name Kukishinden means “9 demon Gods” and points toward the tenaciousness used to overcome adversaries. According to some sources, this lineage also has ties to shipping and therefore the development and use of weapons and tactics that would be found in a ship-building area, and abourd ship. The lessons of the Kukishinden ryu should be seen as models for both using longer items such as brooms, garden rakes, etc., as tools for self protection, as-well-as the principles and concepts for fighting on shifting surfaces and beating larger, stronger attackers.
  • Shinden Fudo-Ryu Dakentaijutsu – The lessons of the shinden-fudo school are based, as are all the other, on the workings of nature. The core idea within this ryu-ha is “find the most natural way.” And, although this lineage does have example kata to convey the teachings, the lessons require that the student see beyond the form to the real lesson. The modern self defense lesson from this school is to use your natural surroundings as an aid to your defense, and find the easiest, most natural way to defeat your assailant.
  • Koto-Ryu Koppojutsu – Koppojutsu means “bone-method skills” and points to the science of attacking the skeleton, rather than the muscles. And, although this school does have pressure point attacks, throws, etc., the focus is on using these other skills in a way which causes the attacker’s own frame to lock up on itself. The movement of this lineage uses long-range, angular movement to move away from and then back into the weak points of the assailant. The modern self defense application of these lessons is the same as that of the Gyokko-ryu for learning the proper foundation, and then using that to be able to position yourself perfectly so that you can take your opponent down with 1 finger! In fact, these 2 schools were organized and structured as complimenting opposites of each other!
  • Gikan-Ryu Koppojutsu – This techniques of this school include very strange, almost “square,” movements and footwork patterns when applying techniques. There are very few kata examples. The idea here is that you should be able to take any technique from anywhere, and apply it with the principles of this school.
  • Takagi-Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu – The Takagi school is a very diverse and dynamic school in and of itself. It has been a major contributing influence to the over-all training system and perspectives for combat that make up the training today. At one time, the Takagi-Yoshin school was used as a bodyguard system. So many of the techniques are based on the idea that you, the defender, are not the target of aggression. It also focuses on defending in the smaller rooms and structures from ancient Japan, where there was little room for the more conventional tactics. The lessons from this school give you the critical lessons for both defending others, and protecting yourself in very tight areas – such as in a parking lot between parked cars.
  • Gyokushin-Ryu Ninjutsu – This school was derived from the Gyokko-Ryu and was also known for it’s superior use of the nagenawa (a lasso-like weapon). This school contribution is the use of cords, ropes, belts, etc., as defensive tools during an attack.
  • Kumogakure-Ryu Ninjutsu – This school was derived from the Togakure-ryu and contributes special ways of walking which can be applied in a combat situation against an attacker’s own legs. The contribution of this school to modern self protection is the use of the legs to attack the opponent’s legs (not kicking) while applying your other defensive techniques.


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