The following post is comprised of the content of a number of recent conversations with Soke…
Apparently, I learned from conversations with Soke and Noguchi Sensei that during the warring states period in Japan there were no Ryuha. Ryuha was something that developed in a more peaceful time. Thinking about this, it makes sense that in order for an art form to develop, it would be at a time of peace and not a time of war.
In a period of war, style, form and kata are not at all useful. The only useful element is courage and the guts to fight. These are not skills but an innate trait.
The important factor to ponder here is that strategy, mindset and the ability to influence people to motivate to battle is a far more critical skill set than any technique or style of fighting.
I would even go as far to say that “style” means nothing and there is/was no “superior style” that can win wars. It comes down to superior tactics combined with the intangible abilities mentioned above. Not to mention a good dose of luck, and of course, superior weaponry.
We must also not overlook the evolution of weaponry. The truth of history is that during the time the way of the sword was considered to become an art form was the exact time that guns entered Japan and were being used to win battles. Thus anyone bringing a sword to a gun fight was bound to lose and the ryuha dies with them.
We must have the eyes to look at the history of things and the underlying truth that may not always exist on the surface. Executing the needed emotional control to see through what might be hype or fantasy.
Some study martial arts for the glory or the fantasy to become the ultimate warrior, but the real determination of warriorship comes from within and cannot be taught.
What our Soke IS teaching us in the Bujinkan is a global look at what war is (and more so life) and not the quest for what is the ultimate technique. There is not one.
War is fought on the battlefield and it is a live or die outcome.
Win or lose are terms for different game, and exactly that, a game.
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is a lifestyle, a warrior development philosophy-different from what is expected of the present day martial arts.
Martial Arts are for peace time.
But the true warrior is never at peace, because the biggest battle is within.