The Kihon Happo of Nutrition

The Kihon Happo of Nutrition

By James Clum, Shidoshi

On May 3rd of this year I had the misfortune of being diagnosed with colon cancer.   After a day or so of adjusting to the news, I immediately began to educate myself on my condition and learn what would be the best course of action.  The conservative medical approach went by the book choosing a protocol that statistically had proven to provide patients with my diagnosis an 80% chance of survival over 5 years.   The process of coming to this course of action however took about a month and a half before any form of treatment was undertaken.

So what does a person do for a month and a half after being diagnosed with cancer?  Do you just sit and wait as your life hangs in the balance?  I didn’t.  I couldn’t.   I had to do something to try and help myself.   I started by juicing.  I didn’t know why or how, but something told me to juice.   This interest in juicing led to learning about alternative cancer treatments such as the Gerson protocol for fighting cancer.   I eventually adopted a modified form of this diet which is more appropriate for someone doing chemo and surgery.    I am not advocating any particular alternative to standard medical treatments of any disease including cancer.   I am advocating eating for longevity and the prevention of disease.   Everything we need is found in nature.  We just have to make the right choices.

Currently, am feeling stronger each day.   I finished radiation and chemotherapy one week ago.  After 6 weeks of this treatment nurses and doctors were surprised that my blood tests each week continued to remain normal, my weight did not fluctuate, and I continued to feel pretty much normal in every way.   Although I felt occasional fatigue, I was not uncomfortable most of the time and very rarely even experienced such mild symptoms of such as nausea.  I was given three different medications which I never needed to take.

Although juicing is a mainstay of the Gerson protocol for cancer, while doing chemotherapy and radiation, juicing multiple times a day can cause bad diarrhea.   As treatments progressed I was forced to back off from juicing and bring other nutritious foods into my diet that would be more agreeable to me.   What I came up with was very similar to what Soke Hatsumi mentions in “The Way of the Ninja:  Secret Techniques.”   Soke explains this “Ninja Diet” on page 109.

“Above all, I recommend eating plenty of vegetables, the Ninja Kihon Happo diet consists of brown rice, tofu, sesame, miso soup, no salt, no sugar, uncooked food and colored vegetables.”

Soke’s “Ninja Diet” seemed to provide a healthy plan which could include plenty of juicing and still provide whole grains and proteins.   A typical day may include fresh fruit or vegetable juice 2-3 times a day, oatmeal for breakfast with fresh fruit, a salad for lunch, edamame (immature soy beans) or tofu with brown rice, miso soup and cabbage for dinner.   I like all of these foods, but don’t get wrong, I love the hamburgers, the chili-fries, and probably most of the same poisons that any typical American enjoys.  I could stop eating because I could see a clear choice between life and death.   If you are thinking that you could never give up certain foods to eaten a mainly vegan diet, you are wrong.   If somebody had a gun to your head you would.  You just need proper motivation.   If life doesn’t mean that much to you, you might continue to do as you please thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to you.   Statistically speaking, heart disease, cancer and diabetes will catch most of us at one time or another.

In Soke Hatsumi’s section on the Ninja Diet in his book, he explains that one should eat the foods previously described as the staple foods of one’s diet.  However, he also explains that one must also be flexible in one’s choices of foods.   He advises eating a variety of foods outside of one’s comfort zone.  Such foods may be unusual or foreign to one’s taste buds.  They may even be foods that are “disguised” which one must truly savor to detect.   In this way, the ninja must accept change in life easily with no surprises even when these unforeseen changes occur on one’s plate.   Being careful to not be “picky” one can enjoy a variety of foods in this way while still maintaining an overall healthy diet.

The development of the Kihon Happo in one’s Taijutsu requires repeated practice of Hon Waza which is the foundational movements of certain standard basic techniques.   In a sense, this is like the basic Kihon Happo diet of eating whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables daily.    In Taijutsu, there are also Henka or variations of the basic techniques.   Good Taijutsu requires a strong foundation of the Hon Waza as a basis for all other movements.   At the same time, one must also explore variations of the basics to have the mental and physical flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances as they occur.   The same is true for our diet.   We need to be consistent in in worthwhile practices, but not inflexible.  It is necessary to develop eating habits that can sustain long term good health by eating foods that are “vital” While at the same time avoiding being “finicky” lest we be caught off guard when we cannot eat our customary foods.

Here are some of the health benefits that have been attributed to the foods Soke Hatsumi has listed as the “Kihon Happo of Diet:”

Brown rice

As a whole grain brown rice contains many minerals such as manganese, selenium, and phosphorus that are removed once rice has been polished and turned into white rice.   Whole grains such as brown rice contain phytonutrients rich in antioxidants that protect one from a whole host of diseases.   In addition, brown rice has more fiber which promotes good digestive health by increasing transit time of food through the intestines.  Increasing fiber in one’s diet can potentially prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diseases of the colon including cancer.


Tofu is a white soy based product that offers a low fat alternative to eating meat.  Rich in protein, it can be added to one’s diet in a variety of ways.   Tofu can come in a variety of densities and consistencies which allows it to be very versatile as a textural substitute for meat products.   It has the abilities to take on the flavors of the foods that it is cooked with.   Steamed young soy beans (edamame) make an excellent snack and can even be added to one’s diet as an additional source of protein especially for vegetarians and vegans.


Products made from sesame seeds are rich in many minerals such as copper, selenium, manganese, magnesium, calcium and iron to name only a few.   The seeds can be ground and then sprinkled on all kinds of things such as soups, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, dips etc…   Sesame is rich in phytosterols, a substance which is similar to cholesterol in its construction, but has the benefits of lowering cholesterol levels thereby lowering one’s risk of heart disease.    As an alternative seed, flaxseeds can be used in exactly the same way.  They are excellent sources of omega3 fatty acids which are antioxidants.   Antioxidants help to protect cells from being damaged by toxins within the body resulting in greater physical health and less chance of getting diseases like cancer, heart disease, and also communicable disease like the cold and flu.

Miso Soup

Miso is also a Japanese staple along with brown rice and soybeans.    It is a fermented soybean paste that is used to make a soup frequently drunk with Japanese meals.   It is usually made with small cubes of tofu and sea weed.   Miso soups may help to boost normal flora within the intestines which helps to maintain normal digestion and intestinal health.   Rich in antioxidants it may also help to keep one from getting sick from bugs that go around seasonally as well as maintain overall healthy tissues.

No Salt

By lowering salt in one’s diet, one reduces the risk that one will develop hypertension.  Hypertension can lead to heart attack and stroke.

No Sugar

Many foods in the standard American diet have salt and sugar added to them unnecessarily to create more flavor and insure that one desires to eat more.   As a result, many people are desensitized to the taste of salt and sugar in their food.   American food tastes abnormally sweet or salty to most of the world by comparison.   By limiting sugar in one’s diet, one may avoid getting Type 2 Diabetes, a problem that is all too common in America.   In addition, by limiting the amount of sugar one consumes, it is possible to avoid becoming overweight or even obese.

Uncooked Food

Cooking destroys many nutrient and enzymes in food.  Ideally, we want to eat fresh, lively foods at each meal.   The vitality present even visually within foods can be added to our own bodies.

Colored Vegetables and Fruits

By consuming primarily a plant based diet, one can effectively eat more food without gaining weigh. These foods which are distinguished by their bright colors are rich in vital nutrients that support life.  They are flavorful and do not require other flavorings or cooking to be eaten.   Fruits and vegetables provide necessary fiber, are low in calories and fat and provide all of the vitamins and nutrients that we need.   In this day and age, it is important that we by farm fresh organic foods that are not genetically modified.  In this way we process our food as nature intended.

Since these foods and this way of eating may be a bit unfamiliar to you, I’ll give you some examples of what a day of meals would like using such a diet.

Breakfast:   Blended 0% Greek yogurt with flaxseed oil, crush flaxseeds, berries, raw honey and granola

Snack:  Fresh carrot juice

Lunch:  Almonds, spinach salad with tomatoes, fresh fruit salad made from what is in season, slice of rye bread with horseradish, fresh carrot and apple juice

Snack:  almonds and some orange juice

Dinner:  brown rice, fried tofu, and soy beans drizzled with sesame oil and tempura sauce, miso soup, fresh carrot and parsley juice

On this diet I am never hungry and feel younger and healthier than I have in years despite having cancer!

Submitted by  Shihan  James Clum,  IBDA Educational Director and Master Council member


Lessons from Soke


2012 Daikomyosai DVD– Shihan Richard Van Donk insights on what Soke does and says

I was just watching Soke’s new DVD that I would share with you a few insights that I got even in just a few first few minutes. These concepts that I share are just random thoughts that I gleamed from viewing Soke’s movements while being attacked. Again these are my perceptions and may not be Soke’s perceptions. I also will throw in a few of his comments for you to reflect on.

Kaname (vital point) – you are moving but it is not moving you are moving by receiving in such a way that you direct the path of force and capture it at the same time. It is as if your essence merges with theirs, your intent is hidden within theirs as you have no intent. The outcome is happening in the flowing moment.

Soke says Fingers, eyes and ribs are thought of as Sanshin. Togakure Ryu with fingers of Chi, fu, sui, ka, ku …. This is also used in medicine with this understanding, it is like the kami.

Kihon Happo at new level. More as a way of moving infinitely. It is really the connection that you are making and exploring (everything is connected). Then any weapon can be used. And any technique or outcome can be born. Throw yourself away in the process and let the Gods help you…. Hence Bujin in Bujinkan. Be empty and zero so that you are one. In this non- separateness you are connected. Again, explore the connection. It is this relationship that will also bring you the freedom spiritual attainment that you quest.

Do Natural movement without grabbing. Capture with yourself. Capture with your whole being. Move without intention and without power. If you do too much the opponent feels it and responds.

Remove your thinking and trying to perfect.  See in a magnified way. Accomplish it without doing more than you need. Take your time so it does not become a technique of power. It is just flowing

Control without grabbing. Take them with your body. Think of control and not delivering pain as that will come when necessary. Explore the connection. Build on your relationships. When you are in your center you can go anywhere or create anything from there.

I hope you enjoy these insights I invite you to reflect on them and to watch the latest DVD, 2012 Daikomyosai, of Soke Hatsumi’s as his taijutsu is superb and the lessons are very deep and valuable. Here is the link if you do not already have this.

See you on the mat,

Richard Van Donk, Shidoshi



The IBDA Master Council did a great job in hosting this event, and for that I am grateful as I used to have to do this all this myself.  A very special thanks goes out to Tai Kai Director Shihan Charles Benham for all his many months of hard work in putting the event together.

I can truly say that everyone had an awesome time.    All you have to do is take a look at all the FaceBook  pictures and see all the smiles. We had people from all around the world. Alfie Reid and Donal came all the way from Ireland  Efren came from Mexico,  the Daikens  came from Canada.  Most everyone was from out-of-state. Shihan Roman Marquez from Nevada brought the largest group of students to the event.

It was GREAT TRAINING in all facets of Taijutsu with each day broken into aspects of the Ten Chi Jin no maki. So many high ranking instructors rotating the teachings, giving their personal views and insights to the specific subjects made this a very educational and rewarding experience. No matter what level of training experience or rank grade you had there were plenty of amazing insights into the exploration of taijutsu both empty handed or with weapons.

IBDA Educational Director Shihan James Clum  administered a very in depth kyu and dan testing.  He was assisted by other high ranking IBDA instructors. The 2 hour test was rigorous and demanding.  Everyone who was promoted can really feel that they earned their grade.  This is what we want in IBDA.  we want our ranks to mean something in relation to how you’ve grown in  your taijutsu, your specific knowledge for that level, and your contributions to the art,  as well as you growing as a human being.















Just before the Tai Kai CHARLES BENHAM was promoted to 9th Dan by Shihan R. Van Donk. Benjamin Hagen and Alecxander Lovelo where promoted to 4th Dan by Shihan Roman Marquez. Congratulations to them as well.




Our Shidoshi  and  Master Council  meetings were deep, insightful and enlightening on the future of IBDA. We are surely growing and the spirit of all the growing Shidoshi body is exciting to witness. We deeply talked about the separation of Ninjutsu/Ninpo Taijutsu training and the Budo Taijutsu training. In the Shidoshi-ho meeting we had 23 members that range from Shodan to 9th dan (well 15th if you include me). Everyone in the room all agreed that they had signed up on this ride because of the Ninja/Ninpo teachings. Those teaching are what attracted them to the art and they would not have signed up for it if it was just Budo Taijutsu.  So, we have decided to build the best Ninjutsu/Ninja/Ninpo study platform available. I have to agree with this idea as I myself became a 9th dan (highest rank possible then) in Ninpo Taijutsu BEFORE Budo Taijutsu even existed. That was and is my love and passion in these arts. More on this later – This subject is much too large for this Tai Kai blog post so I will address it in a separate dedicated blog.

Shidoshi Brian Sumpter  was chosen and has accepted to be a member of the IBDA  Master Council as Carlito Flores has stepped down due to other commitments.  Welcome aboard Brian!  Brian has also agreed to help me build the best online Ninjutsu Masters Course Study Portal we can. John Owsiak has been chosen as the new IBDA executive director, and Jamie Daiken is the Assistant Executive director (specifically requested by John as he has already been helping in that role). It seems that Colorado is being consider for the next Tai Kai 2014 and a possible Shidoshi Kai may be held later this year in Canada near Niagara Falls.

What can I say, we love to train hard, eat good food, drink together and build life long relationships. So we have to schedule that into the training, don’t we?
We started the Tai Kai party at the Buddha Thai Food restaurant, which was kind enough to close the restuarant just for us, and we did fill the place. Yummie, Yummie food and great company. After cleaning them out of food and drink we moved the party to our large 1,450 sq ft. casino hotel suite. The party and socializing lasted until at least 1 am (I went to bed then so I have no idea how late it went). But the guys were up at 8am to be on the mat (well some of them did not make it until 10am – you know who you are.. hahahha)  See the pictures at facebook

Do your best to come to next year’s event. I know you will have a great time and meet people that will remain deep friends for a lifetime. One thing is for sure at our events – you will feel welcomed and made a part of the family. I always make sure that I connect with every person as deeply as I can, usually starting with a deep hug. Kokoro no Kamae and heart to heart is where our budo starts and where it remains as it is with our hearts that we overcome injustice.

See you on the mat,

Richard Van Donk, Shidoshi
IBDA founder



Motivation and Passion in Budo

Motivation, it is literally the thing that gets us up in the morning and drives us to do something with the day instead of letting it waste away. For a martial artist, motivation is the thing that drives us beyond the capabilities of other people, reaching ever greater heights. Without copious amounts of motivation, a martial artist will never reach the loftiness of the mien for which they strive. This could be mastering a very difficult and elusive technique, earning a black belt, becoming an instructor, or becoming a true master.

Passion, on the other hand, often ignites our initial interest, but it ebbs and flows with no real consistency or predictability. All too often, people mistake passion for motivation. As a martial artist, you must find the motivation inside yourself for when the passion isn’t present.

Passion is that force that inspires you to act initially. It is associated with deep, strong emotions. Often passion can be all-consuming like a fire in the soul; and just like a fire it can be equally destructive. Passion often burns bright and hot for a finite period of time. A person can develop a passion for martial arts, and for weeks it is all they can think and talk about. They watch Hatsumi videos on Youtube while they are at work and spend their savings on weapons and gear. If passion is the only thing driving a person to pursue martial arts, they will simply move on once that fire fizzles out. It is motivation that separates the martial artist from the person who does martial arts.

Martial artists make time to train. They wake up in the early morning to train. They occasionally miss social gatherings in order to train with fellow buyu (warrior friends). Martial artists are committed to the path they have taken, even when the passion dies down for a time, or shifts to something else. They follow the path, even wearily, and once the passion reignites, they are there to reap the rewards from their determination.

The modern age fills our lives with make believe and society accepts this as normal. Video games, social media, viral videos, these are all examples of ways people can hide behind a screen and have experiences without the danger or consequences of failure. And it requires no motivation to remain in a world of make believe.

Martial artists gain authentic experiences, risking physical injury and social in-acceptance. We climb walls and trees, learn to cause harm and to heal, and generally embark in genuine, physically difficult tasks that we eventually overcome. We do what others don’t, achieve what others won’t. These experiences help us find the motivation to press on. When you spend weeks trying to reach one particularly difficult milestone through blood, sweat, and aching muscles, and then achieve it, the reward can be immense.

It is this success that drives us forward. When the alarm breaks the peace of the predawn, announcing with its din the time to train before driving to work, or a friend mentions movie plans the same night as training, martial artists are motivated to make the hard choices and stick with the training. We do this because we know that our hard work will pay off and the feeling of achievement surpasses that of sleeping in or watching a two hour movie. Certainly we must find balance in life: finding love, maintaining good relationships, finding time for recreation. But, when your passion wanes and you are tempted to relax your training schedule, remember what

Soke says, “Keep going!”

–Sensei Shane Muir, certified IBDA Shidoshi-ho


INSIGHTS ON NINJUTSU – NINPO TAIJUTSU I Invite you to think on this insight by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi -

What is written below in the book “Way of the Ninja” deeply shares the very core of what captured me to go to Japan to train with this man who possessed a very rare budo spirit.

Even though the 1st visit was some 30 years ago I can still feel how my soul cried for more in those days. I was captured and the quest consumed me. I would go there and get full. I would come home integrate it and go right back for more, several times a year. These are the teachings that I most received from him and why I still call what I teach Ninjutsu/Ninpo Taijutsu (note: I did receive from him the highest grade of 9th dan in Ninpo Taijutsu). I went to Japan already skilled in fighting techniques. He had something much more that I quested.

“Ninjutsu was not actually “Ninjutsu” right from the start. It started out as “Shinobi methods” (Shinobi no Hō), meaning methods for discerning what is right for the world, enduring, training to become a moral being, becoming aware of one’s destiny, and dedicating one’s life to other people or the world as a whole. These later became known as Ninpō, and later still Ninjutsu. The original sense was not one of mere Jutsu (techniques), but rather that of Hō (laws or principles) permeating the entire universe. For this reason, Ninja always fixed their perspective on Tenchhijjin, the relationship between the universe, the earth, and humankind. – Masaaki Hatsumi, The Way of the Ninja Secret Techniques

Learn to experience what is not yet there. – RVD

See you on the mat,
Richard Van Donk, Shidoshi

Common bad habits in the Bujinkan #2

Common bad habits in the Bujinkan Series #2

By Jamie Daiken – Godan Certified IBDA instructor

Go Watch this clip 2012 IBDA Tai Kai – Jamie Daiken  on our youtube channel.

In this clip, through ura gyaku, I show two important points that I see as common bad habits in the Bujinkan.

 1.)    Do not go into “floppy Uke” mode, and not pay attention during your time as an Uke

2.)    Try to stay in kamae for as long as possible while taking ukemi.  Don’t give it up so easily.

Paying attention as an Uke, and not just going into “floppy” mode, will create an opportunity to learn a lot. Too many people go into that pointless “Uke” mode where their first strike usually is unrealistic, and then they just flop around. This is a bad habit that happens too much in the Bujinkan!


By keeping your eyes on your opponent you can witness their skill set, their possible openings for counter and just what it is they are doing. This art is conveyed through touch and feel-if you are not paying attention and being conscious of what is happening to you, how can you have any hope of replicating it? Use this time to learn what you can, especially if it is from a higher ranking person.

I move onto show how I strive towards not giving up my kamae while taking ukemi.  I still need to pay attention to what I am doing. Kamae, created through proper balance and structure, allows us to use power- if we give this up, we give up our will to survive also. Being in kamae gives us an element of control as we receive ukemi, keeping us safer. For this reason, it is important to stay in kamae as long as possible, even though you are about to be thrown or knocked down.

Try applying these concepts to all of the kihon, any waza, technique, weapon context, etc.

It will make your entire taijutsu better!

Jamie Daiken…

Kaname: Bujinkan Theme for 2012

Kaname:  Bujinkan Theme for 2012
by James Clum, Shidoshi

This year Soke Hatsumi has chosen “Kaname” as the yearly theme for the Bujinkan.   For those who live and train in Japan, Soke may from time to time elaborate more on the context, and as others make their way to Japan over the course of this year more information will slowly disseminate to the rest of the Bujinkan abroad.  Like many of the words which Soke has chosen for yearly themes, Kaname could be interpreted in a variety of ways.  Perhaps Soke has given us this in part for us to discover for ourselves over the course of this year.

What is Essential?

The word kaname is written 要 in Japanese kanji, and has the following meanings:  vital, necessary, and essential.   The word could be used like this:
 a key concept
 a pivotal time
 a crucial moment
 a decisive victory
 a principal concern
 an essential ingredient

Underlying the meaning of each of these words is the idea of “importance.”  The etymology of the Chinese character reveals that the top portion means a “covering” and the bottom portion means a “woman.” Put together, the word means “essential.” Of course, sheltering women has always been a primary or principal concern of man. 

To capture the idea of Kaname, we can see that at times many aspects of the whole rest upon the status of one important part.  

 Without understanding a key concept, other knowledge may become useless.
 Making poor decisions at a pivotal time in history can cause disastrous  consequences for the future. 
 In attention to crucial moments can result in lost opportunities.
 A decisive victory can end a war.
 Investigating a principal concern can prevent later problems.
 The absence of an essential ingredient like salt can make food inedible.
So then, how can we apply this word to our daily training?  

The most obvious reference here is the use of Kyusho or “vital points” of the body.   In theory, these points, more so than other places, can affect the flow of energy in the body.  They are therefore more susceptible to pain and have greater influence over the functioning of organs more than other surrounding places on the body.   They represent entry or access points to influencing the body as a whole, and that is why many of these same points can be stimulated in other beneficial ways such as acupuncture or shiatsu for improved health.  When asked about Kyusho points in Soke Hatsumi’s recent DVD Hitsumon Bujinden, he responded that Kyusho don’t work on everyone.    He also remarked that stimulating the Kyusho sometimes feels good as with the parts that make us feel pleasure.  There are also points that are ticklish and cause us to laugh.  From influencing one sensitive area, the mind and the rest of the body can suddenly be responsive.

More conceptually, we could look at the Kaname or “pivotal” distance, timing and angles of our Taijutsu.   Where is the right distance?  What exactly is the right timing?  What is the correct angle?  These crucial factors are always changing in time and space and are not fixed.  They vary as much as Kyusho points on each person.   Each person at each moment creates a seemingly infinite number of variables which have to be calibrated almost intuitively to wind up in the right place at the right time to make a technique work effortlessly. 

What is more essential learning to fight or learning to make peace? 
Is the crux of Budo preserving techniques for posterity or adapting them for modern use?
With regard to techniques, is the form more critical than the feeling?

How we answer these questions have broad implications.
How can we apply this to our lives?

Soke Hatsumi has said on many occasions that he is not teaching people how to fight but rather how to live.   We can only assume that the meaning he applies to Kaname could also be applied to life.

 Is this not a pivotal point in history? Each person’s life is a series of points in time and space.  Memories connect moments in the past to the present.  Goals connect a point envisioned in the future to the present.  This might get us to start thinking about how affecting one factor in our life could cause a chain reaction and create major changes ahead.   As in chess, one move could spell victory or have disastrous consequences.  In addition to thinking that large parts of our lives will fall into place if we just change the right things, we can also look at the value of the present moment.  Where we are at this moment has tremendous value and impact on what we can do next in the future.  We must therefore be mindful of positioning ourselves and realizing the vital essence of being alive with free will at this moment in space and time.  In this way, each moment here and now becomes essential and pivotal to everything else that will come later in our lives.  Now is the turning point.

2012 IBDA Tai Kai

2012 IBDA Tai Kai
By Shidoshi James Clum

The 2012 IBDA Tai Kai held March 22nd-25th in gorgeous Middletown, California was a smashing success which drew in a large group of enthusiastic Bujinkan students from the continental US and several different countries including Mexico and Canada.  This event was the 25th IBDA Tai Kai taught and organized by Shihan Van Donk who has stated ,”this event will be my last.”  And what an event it was! 

As students gathered together on the first night, each shared their heartfelt reasons for training and being at the event breaking the ice and starting what would become bonds of friendship, respect, and cooperation that grew as the event progressed. 

Nestled in the mountains of wine country, the location provided trainees with nearby forests, and fresh brisk air that helped to focus the mind on the purpose of the Tai Kai and to get back to the basics that make Budo Taijutsu the effective martial art that it is.  Shihan Van Donk began his teaching by starting with natural movement and explaining how it flows directly from a natural standing position.   This on the surface seemed elementary, but actually caused even senior instructors to take a closer look at how movement is generated efficiently and in a way that is hard to perceive easily by others. 

An underlying them of the weekend event was “Things to Avoid in Bujinkan Training.”  Several of the senior instructors which included Shidoshi Carlito Flores, Shidoshi John Owsiak, Shidoshi Charles Benham, Shidoshi Roman Marquez, Shidoshi Rick Greener, Shidoshi James Clum, Shidoshi Theo Schink, and Shidoshi Jamie Daiken who passed his Godan test at the event were asked to teach points that each thought was pertinent.  Each brought up unique and valuable insights into the daily habits that many in the Bujinkan frequently do and may be unaware of.  Such habits have not gone unnoticed by other martial arts styles and are in most cases are not characteristics of correct Bujinkan training. 

Some of the highlights of these points are included below:
Avoid stopping and continue moving. 
Avoid losing contact with the opponent so that you maintain control and can anticipate movements.
Avoid being overly compliant as a training partner or realism will be lost.
Avoid being a training partner that moves mindlessly waiting for his turn.
Avoid over-committing oneself to an attack and leaving openings for counterattacks.
Avoid losing your structure while attacking or defending.
Avoid fixating on any point of conflict or resistance.
Avoid receiving attacks of any kind in such a way that one can be attacked further.
Avoid thinking that you will be attacked in the ways that most people plan.
Avoid thinking in terms of winning conflicts by force, but rather think in terms of bringing conflicts naturally to resolution by using whatever means at your disposal.

With the rising popularity of Mixed Martial Arts, there have been concerns expressed both inside and outside of the martial arts community as to whether or not traditional martial arts are still valid in today’s world.  Although people join martial arts for a variety of reasons, their core purpose is self-defense and this point cannot be lost.  Without a healthy degree of realism applied to training, there is a danger of falling into routines in which one becomes sloppy about protecting the very gaps and openings that a potential opponent would take advantage of.  The IBDA is committed to realistic martial arts training using combat tested methods to provide students with instruction that they can rely on.  Testing at this event reflected this necessary element of realism as students were asked to not only demonstrate competency with techniques, but were also forced to improvise and push the levels of their own physical and mental endurance in scenarios that they could not have predicted.

This Tai Kai successfully explored ways to become more aware of what we are doing and why.  With over eight senior instructors assisting Shihan Van Donk, there was a lot of one on one time which allowed for each person attending to get personalized instruction suited to his or her needs.  Such instruction included working on postures, distance, timing, angles and also strategy and attitude.  Each instructor noticed remarkable improvement in each person especially the beginning white belt students who seemed to pick up very complicated movements and concepts inexplicably by the third day.  In Shihan Van Donk’s own words, “This Tai Kai got deep fast!”

At the Tai Kai the eight senior instructors that were previously mentioned were appointed by Shihan Van Donk to form a Master’s Council to oversee certain administrative duties necessary to running the IBDA smoothly.  The council will focus on ways to maintain high standards of quality Bujinkan training and to continue to support those who seek a more structured curriculum such as the one that IBDA provides.   In addition to this, the council will plan future IBDA Tai Kai events and keep members up to date with news and important information useful to IBDA members. 

We look forward to seeing you next at our next event!  Keep Going!

Written by
James Clum, Shidoshi (8th dan)
IBDA Educational Director

IBDA TAI KAI 2012 – Greatest event ever!

IBDA TAI KAI 2012 – Greatest event ever!

What an amazing event. Our very best ever!!

We trained hard…. We did spiritual integration…. We partied…. We trained some more… We examined, discovered, shared and practiced warriorship with heart…. We got real…. We meditated together… We helped each other grow and learn the arts…. We experienced one breath together….  We shared from our hearts….

This event will not be forgotten by those that attended.

IBDA Shidoshi Master Council Formed!
From this years Tai Kai attendees Shihan Richard Van Donk selected IBDA instructors that held the rank of Godan or above  a solid IBDA Masters Shidoshi Council. The intent of this Master Council, which has been working behind the scenes for several years, is to take IBDA to the next level in the following areas: creating future educational instruction, recording history, overseeing the IBDA ranking process, upholding curriculum standards, developing new innovative methods for student/teacher interactions, hosting of annual Tai Kai events, offering IBDA instructor events on a local basis, creating a deeper organizational structure, building the Ninja forum into something incredibly special, offering upper dan level advanced student training events, teachers standards, online study programs, and to assist all other IBDA Shidoshi and Shidoshi-ho in serving students to take IBDA to the next level.

With this new Council in place you can be assured that the International Bujinkan Dojo Association and the Bujinkan teachings it represents will outlive anyone training in the art today. 

Executive Director - Carlito Flores 9th Dan 
Asst. Executive Director – John Owsiak 9th Dan
Administrative Director – Roman Marquez 8th Dan
Administrative Director – Jamie Daiken 5th Dan
Educational Director – James Clum 8th Dan
Tai Kai Event Director – Charles Benham 8th Dan
Council Advisor – Rick Greener 8th Dan
Council Advisor – Theodore Schink 5th Dan

Stay tuned to many posts from members of the Council. Most will be in the Ninja Vault Members Area.

This party rocked from the opening of the doors until closing (actually we closed the first place and move the party to the hotel suite lasting until after 2am). About 15 people decorated the space in a very cool Asian motif with large Japanese lanterns, special table coverings, special dishware, digital rainbow lit tai kai cups, wall coverings and much more. It looked awesome when you walked in the door.

Shihan started off with the song Tonight’s gonna be a good good night …. even singing along and pumping up the room. He and Shihan Linda danced it up! Then boom boom – boom boom rocked the room and the curtains opened with the Somoma County Taiko group playing a full explosive drum set. Awesome. Shihan gave away a Hatsumi painting and lots of dvds, books and courses by raffle tickets. We ate a very delicious gourmet catered dinner. Shihan gave away some more stuff – a big prise was one of his own personal swords – Effrain from Mexico was the winner and he danced with it (in the dragon box) all night as his dance partner. Then if that was not enough an outrageous rockin band “Twice as Good” grooved the night. These guys were awesome and enough cannot be said about Paul the lead guitarist. Check them out…

Everyone, except one person (Todd-maybe at the 30th?), danced and I mean danced the night away. Of course we had an open bar and great desert,chocolate brownies and lemon bars. Shihan gave all the senior dans these IBDA Tai Kai imprinted glasses that lit up with pulsating rainbow lights. Shihan and Linda was given a great picture book of cool pics taken over the last 25 years and a super Tai Kai logo in a frame signed by all the attendees in silver ink. Shihans Richard and Linda danced with 14 month old Grandson Logan as he bounced up and down  rocking to the music. Love was flowing everywhere. Everyone had an outrageous night. Then at 10:30 we moved the party to the large suite at the hotel which lasted until after 2am.

Great news the newly formed IBDA Shidoshi Master Council will take over and produce the annual Tai Kai event!
And they will work towards having more than one each year in different parts of the USA so more people can attend. There is talk that they will do it in Middletown, CA again next year 2013 as it worked out so great here (I think they just want me to have no excuse to attend. hahahaha ) 2014 will be in Denver Colorado hosted mostly by Charles Benham. There is talk of a Canada Tai Kai and one in Georgia.

It will take another complete post to tell you about the fabulous training… 

 Thank you to EVERYONE that attended this absolutely fabulous event. You made it very special to Linda and I. I will never forget it. Much much love.

Until we meet again,

Richard Van Donk, Shidoshi
IBDA Founder

IBDA TAI KAI 2012 – 25th Anniversary

You are invited to our

From “Ninpo Taijutsu to Budo Taijutsu”

Exploring the evolution of the Bujinkan training during the last 25 years

MARCH 22nd-25th, 2012

held in the California Napa wine country.

Join us for 3 1/2 days doing exciting, informative Budo training and a great party with old or new friends!

Mark down these dates -March 22nd-25th, 2012 (Thursday night to Sunday eve) in Middletown, California (a small mountain village in the Napa Wine country north of San Francisco) for an exciting special Tai Kai.

Everyone is welcome to train!
No rank requirements! No Experience Necessary! Come if you are a brand new beginner (we will take care of you) or a vary experienced Master. Come if you train with me or you don’t train with me. It would be cool to have some old students that have moved on come to this event and share their stories and knowledge. We respect all affiliations or arts at this event.

Just come, learn some cool stuff, meet some new lifelong friends and have a really great time. Ask anyone who has been to our events and they will tell you why they keep coming back all time. Our events are special and are way beyond a normal seminar. Very few organizations ever have a 25th year event and we are determined to make it very memorable.

SPACE IS LIMITED THIS YEAR- to about 75 people for the training due to the training location.

Group Banquet Dinner and Tai Kai Party will be held on Saturday night.

Starts 7pm Thursday Night and goes until 5pm Sunday.

Need more info?



See you on the mat,

Richard Van Donk, Shidoshi