NINJUKAI CLAN SYSTEM

FUJIWARA MINAMOTO TAIRA

WHAT IS THE CLAN SYSTEM ALL ABOUT?

As the Dojo is home to a sizable number of students, it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure that they receive optimal training in all facets of the art. There is a two fold approach to this. The first approach involves what we term the conventional approach to training. This takes the form of formal classes where members receive instructions in the art according to their respective levels. Even here our approach is not very conventional. Most martial arts have their students taught in one huge class with the one instructor standing in front displaying his kata movements. As Ninjukai Taijutsu is not about katas but more about spontaneity and the potential of the human body, our approach to formal training takes on a different turn. In order to appreciate and understand the techniques and intricacies of the art and to ensure that members receive adequate supervision, formal classes are not run as a whole, but rather they are further divided into smaller groupings of 3-5 students, each under an instructor or trainee instructor. However it must be made clear that training in Ninjukai Taijutsu is not confined to formal classes.

The second approach is what we would term as environmental training. The Shihan often tells the members that budo training must go "beyond the four walls of the dojo". Whilst a member can learn formal techniques in a dojo, he must realise that he can only cultivate a level of spontaneous responses to situations if he is exposed to conditions beyond the dojo. In this regard Outdoor Workshops and Bush Camps are organised for the members. As in formal classes, our approach is to divide the members into smaller groupings to ensure better quality directions and instructions. Members here are divided into Clans. We have three Clans - Minamoto, Taira and Fujiwara. The Clan System also helps to encourage and motivate the members to excel in the various activities that are specially designed for them. For example, during Bush Camps and Workshops the members can earn points for their clans if they can demonstrate spontaneity in action and responses, creativity in techniques, ability to explore possibilities etc. We have found that the Clan System has worked extremely well with the members – there is an old Chinese saying that says, "Only a good challenge can turn me round to have a second look at a difficult situation".