Training in the Bujinkan Happ˘ D˘j˘ begins with learning the basic methods of hitting the ground and rolling to escape injury during training. From there, the skills of striking with the hands and feet, techniques of throwing and joint locking are practiced. Our main method of practice in the dojo is through the beginners' observation and duplication of the instructor's technique. The instructor then makes corrections to the students' movements. After some time, the student is shown more complex two-person kata that allow him or her to string several basic techniques together. In this way, we gain confidence in our skill and ability to control our training partners. Our training also includes body conditioning and special methods of leaping, walking and running.

We teach traditional Japanese weapons including kenjutsu (Japanese sword) utilizing the katana and kodachi (long and short Japanese swords), shurikenjutsu (throwing blades) and kusarijutsu (weighted chain or rope weapons). Weapons with more modern applications such as tant˘jutsu (knife), hanb˘jutsu (3-foot staff) and rokushakub˘jutsu (6-foot staff) are taught as well. training tools In the Bujinkan D˘j˘, weapons are used as tools to enhance one's taijutsu skills. This is possible because the basic principles of movement remain the same regardless of the weapon in hand.

The goal of our training is to develop each student's ability to protect themselves and their loved ones. Through skill in taijutsu, the individual learns to control not only their body, but also their mind in order to transcend any barriers, physical or emotional that the student may encounter. The result is a person of compassion and strength responsible to himself and the community. S˘ke (grandmaster) Hatsumi describes this state as tatsujin (a complete person).

View our short training video for a glimpse at what our training looks like (Flash player required).

History of the Bujinkan D˘j˘

The fighting arts of Japan have a history which goes back over 1000 years. During Japan's long cultural and political isolation which did not end until the 1600's the country was in an almost continual state of civil war. The warriors of this time developed methods of hand to hand combat that were unequaled by any society. These martial arts were tested on the battlefields of ancient Japan and only those techniques which were proven to work survived. Unfortunately, when Japan entered into the modern world, much of these mostly secret methods were lost through disuse and neglect. In their place the modern "martial" sports of Japan (karate, jűd˘, kend˘ - which have their basis in the fighting arts, but have been modified over the years for safety and ease of practice) have come to be more widely known. Today, only a handful of the tried-and-true bujutsu (warrior methods) have survived intact. Passed along from teacher to student over many generations, these shinken gata (real combat methods) are practiced by a relative minority of martial artists.

Masaaki Hatsumi grew up learning the traditional martial sports of his country. Mastering karate, jud˘ and aikid˘ he found these arts to be lacking when facing bigger, stronger or faster opponents. Hatsumi searched for years for an art he could believe in until one day he was introduced to a bujutsu master named Toshitsugu Takamatsu. Having mastered several traditional Japanese arts by his teen years, Takamatsu had traveled throughout China and Mongolia in his early adult years, testing and improving his skill in the Japanese martial arts he had learned from his teachers until his return to Japan where, in addition to his martial pursuits, Takamatsu also devoted himself to the study of Buddhism. Hatsumi was in awe of the ease with which Takamatsu defeated his opponents and inflicted pain on attackers. Hatsumi made weekly trips across Japan throughout the 1950's and 60's to train under Takamatsu. In 1972, Takamatsu sensei passed away and bequeathed the title of s˘ke (grandmaster) in nine schools of fighting arts (including the last two historically traceable ninjutsu traditions) to Hatsumi.

Today, Hatsumi sensei, who is retired from his medical practice, lives and trains in Noda City, Japan. S˘ke opened the nine traditions - which he called the Bujinkan D˘j˘ (Divine Warrior School) - to the public in the mid 1970's and his name and art have spread throughout the world. Hatsumi sensei has been recognized by the Japanese government for his efforts to pass on the traditional martial arts. There are now hundreds of Bujinkan schools and training groups scattered about the globe.


Don Houle in jűmonji no kamae Don Houle is the instructor at the Bujinkan Happ˘ D˘j˘. He began his training in 1986 while living in Massachusetts. In the 32 years since, he has travelled across the US and the world to train with Hatsumi sensei and many other senior Bujinkan instructors. After relocating to New Jersey in 1994, Don was accepted as a student at the Bujinkan New York D˘j˘. In order to train more often, he began a small training group at Rutgers University in 1995.

In January 1997, Don made his first trip to Japan to train with S˘ke Hatsumi. At the 2003 Tai Kai in New Jersey, Don was honored to take and pass the godan shinsha (5th degree black belt test). April 2004 saw the founding of the Bujinkan Happ˘ D˘j˘ and the relocation of the training group to the Newton d˘j˘. Don continues his studies by traveling to Japan to study with Hatsumi sensei and in New York with Joe Maurantonio shihan at the BNYD as well as taking advantage of the many training opportunities provided by other senior Bujinkan instructors.