Budo – along the path

learn ninjutsu lessons in Glasgow class

One of the best things about having this dojo is watching people grow and change. Even for those considered by society to be “finished” in their development (who have their own children and even grandchildren), it’s a beautiful thing and a privilege to see them opening up, taking in new ideas and different paths for the journey.

The Japanese say “Keep going!” and it is ever true with the Bujinkan. Even if you can’t get to class every week, there is something about the Bujinkan that drives people to personal growth that is hard to define. It’s not just the inspiration we receive from Soke and our wonderful teachers, it’s not just the family aspect of the dojo, it’s not just the physical processes, but it is all these things and more, I think.

Accepting that there is no such thing as a fixed destiny, that you can change your life at any point — it’s incredibly liberating. It helps us journey towards our truest and best selves, at the same time acknowledging that there’s no such thing as perfection, only doing our best.

It might sound pretentious if you haven’t experienced these things, but I want to let you know it really is out there. I’m a pragmatic type, not drawn to the mystical, but to me, this is more than just a martial art. My own experiences and those I’ve observed tell me it is so.

On the other hand, if you want to just train for the sake of fitness and self-defence, that’s an option too. It’s your choice, to make at any point.

Gambatte kudasai.

Humbly, Beth 🙏

Welcome our new shidoshi (instructor) – Bryan Kirk!

Kizen Dojo's newest Bujinkan instructor, Bryan Kirk

Bryan passed the sakki test (test for 5th dan and instructor level) in Paris, with Dai Shihan Arnaud Cousergue. For many years now, the test has been administered by 15th dans around the world with our Soke’s approval. (And just for your information, he passed first time and it was superbly done!)

Having instructed our Wednesday class with Doug for a few months now, and having spent many years of dedicated training, we are more than proud to welcome him into the ranks of Shidoshi, a Bujinkan specific title for instructors that is achieved once the 5th dan test is passed.

Time and time again, Bryan has gone above and beyond, showing duty and dedication to the club and the art. He is always volunteering his skills to help promote and run classes. He has travelled to train in Japan and Paris, and attended many other seminars as well as regular training over the years. We wish him all the very best.

Well done, Bryan, and “gambatte”.

Full class details

sunrise

Our new Wednesday Bujinkan classes are now fully operational in Glasgow. If you’ve been thinking about attending our martial arts class for the first time, or you have taken a break from training but want to get back, please come along.

See our class locations and details page for full details on locations, times, and themes. Or contact us for any specific questions (but please make sure you’ve had a look around this site first as there is plenty of relevant info here).

Hall troubles

…or, it’ll be hall right.

A dojo is more than just its location. So, when we learned with only about 24 hours notice that the next lesson would be the last one we’d be having at this particular venue, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Of course, at first, you feel a little aggrieved. After all, it wasn’t anything we had done. We’d always paid our rent, behaved well, done our best to keep everything clean. It turned out that the ancient heating system that was constantly breaking down needed full replacement and every single club, community group, and private party that wanted to use the lovely Langside Halls would have to find somewhere else until it was fixed.

“How long are we talking here,” I asked, still a little confused, “weeks, months, years?” I chuckled a little, to show that the last one was a bit of a joke.

“We don’t really know,” they replied, deadpan. “We’re thinking more months and years.” I was a little stunned to say the least. Now I’ve had some time to process, it makes sense that a project to renovate a building of advanced age, with historically important features and limited funding would probably not take place overnight. But still. We had better start looking for a new place permanently than wait for this to be finished.

It’s not the first time a venue has been swept out from under us. It’s the third. And one time I moved it myself. That’s four times moving venues in less than 10 years. But it doesn’t really matter. One time we went without a permanent base for many months, going between dance studios and gyms as itinerant budouka while we sought out a good location. We thought we’d found it. It turns out it was just another stop on the journey.

But the journey’s worth making. A dojo is more than just the location. It’s not even just about the instructor. Of course, it’s my vision of the Bujinkan that provides the guiding principles for what our dojo is about, but if it had just been about puffing up my own ego, I’d have got sick of it years ago. There is so much crap to put up with when running a dojo. But it’s worth it, because it’s not just about me. It’s also a bunch of students who support you and can’t wait for the next class because their love for the art helps renew your faith every single time.

And it’s thanks to this that we’ll be finding that new location and moving as many times as it takes. In the spirit of “Kizen” or “fortitude”, we’ll keep on keeping on. I extend my personal thanks to those guys who have gone out of their way to contribute to the club. You’re brilliant. We’ll be in our new home soon.

Gambatte kudasai,
Beth

Everything is a weapon in the Bujinkan

Random objects

Quite often we say to the students, “In this Martial Art, everything can be a weapon”, and we generally mean “using an everyday object to hand” to help overcome your attacker. But sometimes that statement can be even deeper. Here are some of the ways in which everyday objects or even concepts can be used to in self-defence and survival situations. Continue reading “Everything is a weapon in the Bujinkan”

New Year’s Resolutions – Why you should start a Martial Arts class now

2016 - is this your year for starting something?

If you’ve always dreamed of starting a martial art but always put it off, here’s why you should try this class out now.

Kizen Bujinkan Dojo has some great reasons for you to get out, get motivated and start learning this awesome martial art today. We’re going to attempt to answer all those little doubts that are stopping you from getting to where you want to be. Okay, it’s specific to this club, but there’s no reason some of these answers won’t apply to yoga, dancing, art or other classes!

“I don’t want to pay for it then find out I hate it!”

For our club, students don’t have to pay for their first lesson. Nor do they have to sign up to any complicated agreements or buy any expensive equipment before they’ve even walked in the door. You don’t even need to get a uniform straight off. In fact we discourage anyone from doing so until they’ve had some time to see if it’s for them. If you do find it’s not for you, there’s no obligation or hard sell to stay. A lot of classes offer free tasters just to get people in the door.

What have you got to lose?

“Maybe I’ve missed the beginner’s start date?”

Worried there’s a special intake time? Worried you needed to signup on 1st of January? Worry no more. We take beginners at any class. There might be a few more beginners around at certain times of year, like new year or uni term start, but really there is no special time you have to start. Other activities may have a more structured start time but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

The right time is now.

“The higher grades might treat me badly”

We don’t treat our new starts like punching bags or like a nuisance. Higher grades have the duty and privilege to help and encourage new people, and remember that it was how they learned. Also, people develop a strong sense of camaraderie through training together, and everyone is pretty friendly and warm. Bullies don’t last long in this club.

You won’t be getting in our way.

“It might hurt!”

Yes, it’s a martial art. You can expect a little pain, but it should only ever be at a level you can accept. When starting, we encourage going slow, placing rather than punching through etc. Some light bruising is to be expected. But not a face like a cabbage that’s been hit by the rotary hoe.

It’ll be fine.

“It’ll be all boys / girls”

Group activities, including martial arts, can be quite biased towards or against a particular gender. Here, we don’t care if you’re a male or female. If you can show some dedication, then you’ve got every chance to excel.

Equal opportunities to kick ass.

“The sofa is maybe a lower risk…”

It’s a tough world out there and keeping an eye towards your personal safety and your fitness can only be a benefit. Besides, mixing with people and challenging yourself just adds to the richness of your life.

You’re not getting any younger.

“But I’m not fit or strong!”

Your holiday weight is none of our concern. Telling yourself you’re not fit enough can be a great way to make sure you stay indoors and never try. But at this club we don’t mind if you have to take some time to develop your fitness. And we help you along a little. You don’t have to be able to do 50 press ups to impress us. Just don’t have any health problems that might get worse with some exercise. It’s not a boot camp (although we do have those available too sometimes). Nor do you have to be particularly muscular to get on. We play to the strengths you have and develop the ones you don’t over time.

You don’t have to be He-Man to train here.

“I don’t know what we will be doing”

You get to throw people of different ages, sizes and genders around the room, learn how to punch and kick, grapple and apply pressure points among other things. You get to play with sticks and swords and other weapons (safely, of course). However, our injury rates are low thanks to our method of training which teaches you how to roll (sometimes quite literally) with the punches.

There’s more info on this site, use it as the resource it is.

“I should maybe just go to the gym”

If the thought of a treadmill makes you yawn, maybe you’ll get more out of something where you’re learning and interacting all the time. It’s a fascinating art.

If you’re interested in something you’re more likely to stick to it.

“It’ll be really strict and formal and I might mess up”

Training is sometimes hard work. But it is remarkable how many people come out of class with a smile, saying they feel great. You should know we aren’t as shouty and strict as some clubs. There are a few things we do for etiquette’s sake, but after a while they start to feel normal, nice even. We don’t mind having a laugh either. Life is already pretty hard without spending your spare time being scared you’ll say or do the wrong thing.

Just try your best and you’ll be fine.

“I’m still not sure…”

We study ninjutsu. Therefore, you could honestly say you were a ninja.

What more do you need??

So make the first step through the door and come to your taster lesson. New year’s resolutions are all very well but it’s up to you to fulfil them. And the first step is the hardest. Dreading the thought of something unfamiliar is natural, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t give it a try!

P.S. These reasons above apply all throughout the year too!!

Want to know more?

Call Beth on (UK) 07763100750 to have a chat about coming to your first class. If you prefer, fill out the contact form.

The hidden cost of martial arts classes

payment for martial arts classes
I was told once that Dr Usui, the originator of one version of the reiki healing technique once admonished his students that every patient must pay for their treatment. This sounds rather hawkish and exploitative on the surface, but his explanation reveals a shocking truth – one that opens up an insight into our human urge to value things based on their price. I’ll be asking you: what price do you think your martial arts class is really worth?
Continue reading “The hidden cost of martial arts classes”