Masaaki Hatsumi Sōke


Masaaki Hatsumi (初見良昭 Hatsumi Masaaki, born 2 December 1931) is the founder and current Soke, or Grandmaster, of the Bujinkan Organization, currently residing and teaching in the city of Noda, Chiba, Japan. He is also a doctor of orthopedics, specializing in the mending of bones.

Beginning in childhood, Masaaki Hatsumi studied several popular martial arts. After teaching martial arts to the U.S. soldiers stationed in Japan he noticed that the larger and stronger Americans had an advantage in battles when using the same techniques. He began to question the legitimacy of modern martial arts training and started to search for one where persons of equal skill truly were equals, even if the other one was stronger. It was after this time, while studying ancient Japanese weaponry, that he learned of ninjutsu and a martial artist named Toshitsugu Takamatsu who still knew it.[citation needed] In 1957 he and Fukumoto Yoshio began making regular trips to train with his new teacher (who resided at the time in Kashiwabara, in Nara), taking a 15-hour train ride from his hometown of Noda in Chiba. This training continued for 15 years until the passing of Toshitsugu Takamatsu in 1972. 

The Bujinkan organization is the modern continuation of ninpo as carried on and adapted from its foundations in Feudal Japan.

Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu practice does not normally include participation in competitions or contests, as the school's training aims to develop the skills to protect ones self and others, through the use of techniques which often focus on the disabling (breaking) of the attackers limbs and which can also intentionally cause their death.

The Bujinkan does not adhere to any guideline or set of rules to limit action or techniques during training, as such many of the staple responses of a student would be illegal in most competitions. Specifically however, the Bujinkan is mostly known for teaching koshijutsu (pressure point, muscle attacks/tears and joint dislocations), koppojutsu (bone breaking), jutaijutsu (throwing, grappling, ground fighting), dakentaijutsu (strikes), happo bikenjutsu (various modern and traditional weapons), and ninpo tactics and strategies (Ninjutsu). The depth of training in the Bujinkan, is designed to open the eyes of the student to the endless possibilities and potential in all situations.


Masaaki Hatsumi focuses the training of the Bujinkan on the "feeling" of technique, or perhaps more accurately, what he terms the feeling of real situations. While technical knowledge of an art is considered important, the direction of this feeling-based approach guides the practitioner towards a "natural understanding" of what links various martial lineages as well as what is most effective in real situations. In addition Bujinkan students do not participate in martial art tournaments as it is Hatsumi's belief that martial arts are not about winning or losing but about surviving.

The head of the Bujinkan organisation, Masaaki Hatsumi, is the lineage holder of several ryūha taught in the Bujinkan, transferred to him 1958 by his teacher Takamatsu Toshitsugu


From his martial arts instructor he inherited the position of sōke (headmaster) of nine ryū (schools of martial arts):


34. Sōke

- Togakure Ryu Ninpo

(Hidden Door School)

28. Sōke

- Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu

(Jeweled Tiger School)

28. Sōke

- Kukishinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu

(Nine Demons School)

21. Sōke

- Gyokushin Ryu Ninpo

(Jewelled Heart School)

18. Sōke

- Koto Ryu Koppojutsu

(Tiger Knocking Down School)

17. Sōke

- Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu

(High Tree, Raised Heart School)

16. Sōke

- Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu

( Immovable Heart School)

15. Sōke

- Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu

(Truth Loyalty and Justice School)

14. Sōke

- Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo

(Hiding in the Clouds School)




International Awards


Noda City. Education & Culture Service Award
Self Defense Forces, Police Department, Fire Department
Many Letters of Appreciation
World Cultural Grand Prize: Martial Arts Division for 2000, World Peace and Culture Association
Contributed as Bugei Researcher and Producer/Director for the Arts in Japan

Apostolic Blessing awarded by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the Vatican, April 2001

America National Department of Defense. Certificate of Friendship
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation. Certificate of Friendship
Euro technical Research University. Ph.D. (Science)
Euro technical Research University. Ph.D. (Philosophy)
State of Texas. Honorary Resident
City of Atlanta. Honorary Resident
City of Los Angeles. Honorary Resident
State of New Mexico . Honorary Resident
Presidential Sports Conference. Minister's Award
Atlanta Olympic Conference. Letter of Appreciation
State of New Jersey. Japanese Culture Association - Certificate
President Clinton. Certificate of Friendship
Former President Bush. Certificate of Friendship
Former President Reagan. Certificate of Friendship
Black Belt Magazine. 1986 Instructor of the Year
Washington Senator Mr. Paul Saben. Certificate of Friendship
State of Maryland, Howard County. District Head Charles Ecker
State of Georgia Governor 1992. Certificate of Friendship
State of Georgia Governor 1994. Certificate of Friendship
New York Budokai. Rank of Seibu Master
City of New York Kobudo Research Association. Letter of Appreciation
State of Texas Governor. Service Award
Washington Senator Mrs. Barbara McFusky. Certificate of Friendship
Congressman Mr. Benjamin Carter. Certificate of Friendship
Sports Minister Award
Barton Village. Honorary Resident
State of Georgia Governor 1990. Certificate
Hillsdale University. Leadership Certificate
Texas Rangers. Honorary Member
State of New Jersey. Certificate from Japanese
Culture and Art Society

Prime Minister Major. Certificate of Friendship
Minister of Culture Award
London Police Department Award
London Environment Agency. Letter of Appreciation
Manchester University Institue of Bone Medicine. Special Honorary Member
S.A.S. England Special Forces. Certificate of Friendship
London Ambassador. London Summit Secrecy Institution Chairman's Award
Royal Marines (England Navy). Certificate of Friendship

President Mitterand. Certificate of Friendship

German National Historical Culture Federation. Knight
Berlin. Secretary of State's Award
Berlin. Senate Sports Award
Japan-Germany Friendship Association
(31-Member Bodies. Japan-Germany Association Certificate
City of Wuttenshuraise. Certificate of Friendship

King Juan Carlos. Certificate of Friendship
(Military) Decoration
Information Bureau Department Minister's Award
National Police Department. Letter of Appreciation
Catalonia Minister's Award
Spain Kickboxing Association. Certificate
Canary Islands Air Base Command. Certificate of Friendship
Canary Deldei City. Congressional Certificate

City of Dublin. Honorary Resident
Ireland Budo Association Award

North Ireland:
City of Belfast. Certificate of Friendship

Brett College (Montreal, Quebec)
Foreign Language Institute. Honorary Award

Jordan Valley. Honorary Resident
Israel Air Force. Certificate of Friendship

State of New South Wales. Certificate from Premier John Fahey
State of South Australia. Certificate from Premier John Bannon

National Diet. Certificate of Friendship

Certificate of Friendship

Certificate of Friendship

Certificate of Friendship

Certificate of Friendship


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