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. 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):