I very rarely go on any of the dozens and dozens of different online martial arts forums, I’d much rather use the time to actual train, instead of reading about people arguing about training. Every once and a while though I’ll be researching a certain topic and the search will turn up a link to a conversation on one of the boards. One of the most commonly asked questions is “where can someone find a training group or school for a specific art in their area?” I came across this very question in regards to authentic Ninja Martial Arts training the other day. The person wanted to know if there was anyone teaching Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu in his area. Apparently there wasn’t. Someone suggested that until he could get to Japan, he should train in Judo and if he wanted striking training, he should train in (Western) Boxing. I couldn’t agree LESS!
Decades ago when there was no such thing as martial arts instructional videos, or worldwide seminar tours done by famous teachers, this might have been good advice. However, presently there’s a seemingly endless supply of quality instructional DVD’s, online streaming videos and martial arts masters teaching seminars driving distance from you. There’s absolutely no reason to have to train in a “substitute” martial art.
If you took the advice of the well-meaning person who advised you to train in Judo and Boxing until you could get to Japan to train in Taijutsu, you would have to unlearn a whole lot of things that you would have conditioned into your muscle memory. There are many similarities between Taijutsu and Judo, they even share some of the same techniques like Uchi Mata, Hane Goshi, Harai Goshi and Tomoe Nage, just to name a few. Ninja Head Master Toshitsugu Takamatsu was even friends with Kodokan Judo founder Dr.Jigoro Kano. Having said that, the arts are ultimately very different in many subtle ways. Taijutsu is not Judo and Judo is not Taijutsu. Boxing, although a brutally effective striking art is also most definitely not Taijutsu.
If you are interested in training in a specific martial art and there are no teachers of that art in your area, find the best instructional videos that you can, purchase those, recruit a friend to train with and train regularly in that art. Whenever an opportunity arises to train with a quality teacher of that art, make the commitment to attend that seminar. It’s better to train less and travel more, then to just train in the default art nearest you.
There’s no longer any reason to train in a “substitute” art. Get the vids and a training buddy and go to it.