Interview with Mike Reina of Bujinkan Bukeyashiki Dojo
Property Type: Ninjustu
1. Who is the dojo founder and what prompted him/her to build the school? Is there any rich history behind its making?
Bujinkan Bukeyashiki Dojo was started back in the late 90’s as a shibu (training group) by Mike Reina, with only 2 students. Classes were held in his basement with just barely enough room to roll from one end to the other. When the weather permitted classes were held outside in a local park.
Since 1995 Shidoshi Reina has been training in the Bujinkan. His first visit to Japan was in 2006 and again in 2007 when he earned his Godan (5th degree) certificate. What prompted Shidoshi Reina to start the dojo was out the love for the art and the camaraderie it instills. This art has a long history with numerous life lessons to be learned and mastered.
2. What forms of Japanese martial arts do you teach in your school? Can you please share with us the history behind them?
At the Bujinkan Bukeyashiki Dojo, we only teach Budo Taijutsu as taught by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, who is the head of the Bujinkan. Dr. Hatsumi is the 34th Grandmaster head of nine warrior schools which was passed to him by his teacher Toshitsugu Takamatsu – the last ninja of the 20th century. The following are the nine koryu (a traditional or ancient martial art) schools: Togakure Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, Kukishinden Ryu, Shinden Fudo Ryu, Gyokushin Ryu, Koto Ryu, Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Gikan Ryu and Kumogakure Ryu.
Ninjustu, as this art is more commonly known deals with many different arts and survivalist techniques. It was developed by groups of people mainly from the Iga and Koga areas of Japan. During the warring state of feudal Japan the ninja used their art to ensure their survival. Their skills in espionage and assassination were highly useful to the warring states during that era. Because these survivalist techniques were seen as dishonorable to the samurai class, many samurai would hire a ninja to perform these tasks. Some of these tasks involve training in disguise, escape, concealment, archery, medicine, explosives and poisons, just to mention a few. Today however the main focus of Ninjustu deals with the techniques relating to armed and unarmed combat.
3. What are the principles and concepts that you uphold and try to instill in your students?
We have several but the most important to us are: Respect yourself, Respect others and be responsible for your own actions. We also believe heavily that “you are responsible for your own training”. One main idea that we try to push to all our students is that we don’t fight to “win”, we fight to survive. Getting home to our family is the only prize that we are after.
4. Why do you think it is important for people to learn martial arts?
In my opinion the martial arts teach human interaction. It teaches patience, determination, self reliance, discipline, self preservation, and reflection/wisdom. Not to mention, the camaraderie that you establish with your dojo friends. It teaches you to push your body and mind and to constantly reach for new goals.
5. What difficulties and obstacles have you encountered so far with regards to teaching martial arts and how did you overcome them?
I think the most difficult is getting students into the door of the dojo. This is a dynamic art. Accordingly, training with different people and different body types is extremely important in your development. The size of the dojo is another obstacle in that you need space to throw people around and to swing weapons of different lengths.
6. What advice and/or insights can you share with our readers who want to pursue their interest in the Japanese form of martial arts?
Find the right art for you and your personal situation. Then find the right teacher and school. It might take a while, but its well worth the investment in your time. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not the school located within your town. Sometimes travel is necessary in order to find the right match.
7. Can you please give a short biography of your dojo’s instructor(s)?
Currently we have Mike Reina, Shidoshi as the head instructor and John Soto, Shidoshi-ho as the assistant instructor. Mike and John started together back in the late 90’s and have gone through the ranks together. Along with a long history of training together their friendship has also continued to grow into what is turning out to be a life long friendship. Their friendship is used as an example to the other members of the dojo and a cornerstone of how we treat our students – friends’ first and then students second.
Mike and John both have many years of experience in Tae Kwon do as well. Mike has taken several other arts including Aikido, Judo and Kung Fu. Currently Mike and John have started to train in “Reality based” scenarios and passing onto the students not only the rich history of the Bujinkan but also how it relates to today’s attacks.
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