Interview with Dr. Leland Cseke of UA-Huntsville Bujinkan Dôjô
Property Type: Ninjustu
1. Who is the dojo’s founder and what prompted him/her to build the school? Is there any rich history behind its making?
The UA-Huntsville Bujinkan Dôjô was founded in 2002 by Dr. Leland Cseke (presently a 6th Dan, Shidoshi). Our Dôjô is affiliated with the University of Michigan Bujinkan Dôjô run by Shihan Michael Asuncion (15th Dan). The Dôjô was founded due to our commitment to the correct transmission and preservation of the Bujinkan martial arts (see next question).
|2. What forms of Japanese martial arts do you teach in your school? Can you please share with us the history behind them?
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (more commonly known as ninjutsu) is a traditional Japanese martial art with a rich history that spans over ten centuries. Developed by the legendary ninja and samurai warriors of feudal Japan, the Bujinkan martial arts have survived the test of time and continue to flourish worldwide under the direct guidance of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, thirty-fourth Sôke (grandmaster) of the nine distinct ryu ha (budo traditions) that make up this martial art. The Bujinkan Dôjô or “Warrior God Training Hall,” is a worldwide Dôjô organized in the 1970’s by Hatsumi Sensei and headquartered in Noda, Japan. Hatsumi Sensei inherited the nine ryu ha from his teacher, the late Takamatsu Toshitsugu in 1972. Hatsumi Sensei has been revered by leaders of the military, police forces, and even presidents. He has received several international peace awards, Japanese cultural awards, and an accommodation by the previous Pope for his work in the preservation of an ancient art. The UA-Huntsville Bujinkan Dôjô attempts to follow in his footsteps.
|3. What are the principles and concepts that you uphold and try to instill in your students?
Budo Taijutsu is a very practical martial art that has found use in military and police forces throughout the world. However, there is much more to the art than mere physical techniques. With proper understanding, it not only becomes useful in allowing smaller people to generate immense power but also rouses the natural powers of human beings that can make the world a better, more peaceful, and more prosperous place.
|4. Why do you think it is important for people to learn martial arts?
From our point of view, there is a big difference between martial arts and martial sports. As with any art form, the aim of martial arts is to achieve perfection of performance, feeling, practicality and some argue the human soul. Just like a guitar player has only a certain number of notes he or she can play, there is an endless amount of music and feeling that pours forth from those notes when the musician becomes really good at the art. In this sense, Budo Taijutsu is a true martial art. It is not a martial sport, focused on winning or losing. It is a perspective that embodies true survival approaches and not simply collections of fighting scenarios.
|5. What difficulties and obstacles have you encountered so far with regards to teaching martial arts and how did you overcome them?
Because this martial art is a “hard” form (we do not use pads, we tend to hit one another, and there are no rules other than common respect), this martial art tends to be difficult for children. We have found that people age 16 and above have the proper physical and mental development to make good use of this art.
|6. Can you please give a short biography of your dojo’s instructor(s)?
Dr. Leland Cseke, 6th Dan, Shidoshi has over 16 years of experience in Budo Taijutsu. He has been an integral part of Bujinkan organizations at The University of Michigan, The University of Arizona, and Michigan Technological University. He also holds ranks in Aikijustsu, Judo, Tai Chi and Karate.
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