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Traditional Japanese Martial Arts.
Ninpo is a traditional Martial Art that developed through Japan’s turbulent history. The necessity to survive required the highest level techniques, mastered and nurtured by the warrior both male and female, to ensure survival both in war and times of peace.
The term ninpo itself however best describes the art.
Ninpo is made up of two characters. ’Nin’ meaning perseverance as a basic understanding and ’Ho’ (read as ‘Po’ in some combinations) which is made up of two further radicals, the first ’sanzui’ meaning water and the second ’saru’ going forth. Putting them together literally results in ‘water going forth’ but it’s true level implies the water cycle. From the clouds above rain falls on the mountain and travels down into the valley to form a stream. The stream meets other streams becoming a river, eventually flowing to the sea. There the water rises toward heaven and becomes a cloud once more. This is the eternal law of the water cycle that is meant by ‘Ho’. In the ancient Sanskrit language of India, ’Ho’ meant Daruma. It is in India that the famous personification of the eternal truth, daruma, exists.
‘Ho’ is often found in the names of religions such as ‘Buppo’ which translates as eternal truth. This is important to understand as a true balance in the Martial Arts. As an analogy consider Martial Arts ‘Bumon’ as the right hand and Spiritual teachings ‘Shumon’ as the left hand. Possessing both provides a balanced body. This is comparable to the blending of the masculine force ‘Yo’ (Yang) and the feminine force ‘In’ (Yin) for a balanced universe in Chinese philosophy.
The curriculum in the Genbukan is centered on the teaching of the Ninpo Sanjurokkei (36 areas of training) that consists of 18 forms of traditional Japanese martial arts (Bugei Juhappan) in combination with the 18 forms of Ninpo (Ninja Juhakei).
‘What is Ninpo?’ In one sentence I would reply, ‘Ninpo is the true Budo, the true spiritual teachings, and the true art.’ ‘So what is true Budo? That is a combination of shingitai (heart, techniques and body) combined with the powerful light butoku (Martial virtue). Never adhering oneself to the idea of winning or losing; being skilful or not skilful. True Budo is the way to self defend one’s body, ones heart and heaven. These are Ninpo’s three jewels. That is the meaning of Sanpo Hiden.
-Grandmaster Tanemura Shoto 1987-
The Name “Genbukan”
Genbukan means the place that nutures the martial art professionals; the place radiating an exquisite martial art. Gen also means black – a place of practice for techniques which are mysterious, strange and marvellous. The significance being that one who masters the Ninpo Bugei gives light to the (outer) world of darkness.
The Name “Ninpo Bugei”
Ninpo Bugei is not limited to any one style or school (Ryu-Ha). Instead, what has been included to build this art must be further developed. There are no limits imposed on this original Japanese art of perseverance (Shinobi).
©.Genbukan, K.J.J.R., Amatsu Tatara are Copyright, Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura, 1997