At the Tiger's Den Dojo, our curriculum consists of Bujinkan Ninjutsu, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and Arnis Knifefighting. We mesh Bujinkan stand-up fighting skills, Bujinkan and Arnis weapons skills, and Gracie BJJ grappling skills into a single interwoven style recognized as Butaijutsu. We also specialize in teaching wilderness survival skills and hold seasonal camps in which we practice these techniques.

Training is usually conducted in a situational manner (i.e. reaction to a: punch, kick, shove, grab, or an attack from a weapon; what to do when: confronted with multiple attackers or multiple attackers with weapons, etc.). We emphasize fluid movement, balance, and mobility in our techniques. This is what we call "Taisabaki", or footwork. We also encourage training on varying surfaces, slopes, and terrain. We do not perform individual "Kata". All techniques are applied on another person. This way one can learn what the techniques actually do by observing how the opponent moves and reacts when hit. Because not everyone is of the same build or flexibility, we also encourage training with people of varying body types. A 200lb man will move very differently than a 115lb woman. Overall our main focus is on realism and effective combat application.

Here is a breakdown of each component art we study:

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is comprised of 9 Kōryū (traditional) martial arts from Japan. The Bujinkan Dojo was formed by Masaaki Hatsumi (pictured above) shortly after he became Soke (head master) of the 9 schools in the early 1970's. The 9 schools were brought together by Hatsumi's teacher Takamatsu Toshitsugu, who is generally considered to be the last true ninja.

Each school has it's own history, methods, and techniques. Although they were interchanged between Ninja and Samurai lineages, ultimately all the schools are now considered schools of Ninjutsu since they have been brought together under one banner.

Following is a brief overview of each of the schools within the Bujinkan.

Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu

Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu

Hidden Door School of The Way of Endurance Body Art

Founded by Togakure Daisuke in 1161.

Shuko: metal hand claws used by the Togakure Ryu Ninja to block and capture swords and to rip and tear at the flesh of their opponents.

Daisuke Nishina, being young and on the losing side of a surprise battle against his lord, Yoshinaka Minamoto, was forced to flee into far-away Iga to escape persecution. He changed his name to Daisuke Togakure, after the village of his birth. While he was in Iga, Daisuke was found by Kagakure Doshi. Doshi was a ninja, and the third soke of Hakuun Ryu, which was one of the original ninjutsu systems developed from the teachings of Ikai who brought the roots of Koshijutsu from China. Daisuke Togakure learned all Doshi's warrior teachings, added them to his own Shugendo beliefs he was taught as a child, and the beginnings of Togakure Ryu where forged. Studying with Daisuke under Kagakure Doshi was Shima Kosanta Minamoto no Kanesada. He was a high level samurai retainer who had also fought at the battle of Awaza no Kassan, where he had become a friend to Daisuke and his father. Shima was wounded in the fighting, and was taken by Daisuke to Iga. Shima become the second soke of Togakure Ryu, and took the name Daisuke Togakure II after Daisuke's death. His son Goro Togakure, the third soke, is recognized as being the person who actually formed the teachings of Togakure into the Ninjutsu system that we learn today. The 11th, 12th and 13th Soke of the Ryu are named after the main town of Iga, Ueno. It is therefore likely that the Togakure Ryu was based at or near Ueno at that time, which is in north Iga. Togakure Ryu mainly operated out of southern central Iga during most of its history.

Senban Shuriken: these throwing stars were used to inflict pain as a distraction to give time to issue a final blow.

Members of the Hattori clan, the clan of Hattori Hanzo most famous ninja of all, trained in Togakure Ryu. Members of the Momochi family also trained in this system, and the 21st Soke of Togakure Ryu was Momochi Kobei, a descendant of Momochi Sandayu, the second most famous ninja and a leading figure of the Iga region. As with most martial traditions in earlier days, control of the system stayed within the family that founded it, and control of the style passed from father to son. When the immediate family died out, most senior member of the system was Nobutsuna Toda, who was given leadership and became the 24th Soke. When the Toda family took control in approximately 1625, they added their own ninjutsu systems of Kumogakure Ryu, Gyokko Ryu, and Koto Ryu. From that time on, all those martial arts systems were then passed down together. The 32nd Soke of Togakure Ryu, Shinryuken Masamitsu Toda, was the sword instructor for the Tokugawa Shogunate in the mid 19th century. He resigned his post when he learned that he was teaching men who were then forced to kill other Japanese people. This went against the Law of Togakure Ryu to protect family, country and nature. The 33rd Soke, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, was the last member of the Toda family to control the Togakure Ryu before it was passed to the current Soke, Masaaki Hatsumi .

School Teachings:
"Violence is to be avoided, and Ninpo is Bujutsu"
"The sword is to be used for peace and to protect family, country and nature"

Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu

Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu

Jewel (or Pearl) Tiger School of Bone Finger Art

Founded by Tozawa Hakuunsai in 1156.

Even though this art was "founded" in 1156, it is much older. Gyokko Ryu's basis was brought to Japan from China sometime during the Tang Dynasty (618 AD- 907 AD) by Cho Gyokko and bears his name. The 15th Soke of Gyokko Ryu was Momochi Sandayu, one of Japans most famous ninja. Gyokku Ryu was the foundation of many martial arts in the Iga region of Japan.

This art, along with Koto Ryu, form the base structure of our stand up fighting methods. Gyokko Ryu is where the Kihon Happo (Foundational 8 methods) come from. Emphasis is on attacking the nerve centers of the body using the fingertips.

Kukishinden Happo Bikenjutsu

Kukishinden Happo Bikenjutsu

Nine Demon gods School of Eight Secret Weapons Art

Founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru.

This school was taught to the Shogun Tokugawa Ieasu's naval officers in feudal Japan. Because it was to be used on ships low stances and deep movement is characteristic of this school. Emphasis is on varous weapons techniques (Bojutsu, Hanbojutsu, Kenjutsu, Naginatajutsu, Sojutsu, Shurikenjutsu, Juttejutsu, Tessenjutsu, etc.) and includes Taijutsu unarmed combat methods.

Koto Ryu Koppojutsu

Koto Ryu Koppojutsu

Knocking down the Tiger School

Founded by Sakagami Taro Kunishige in 1532- 1554 (Tenmon Era).

Emphasizes powerful attacks too the bodies structure with striking and movement in close distance. This art would be considered "hard" as compared to the others, but is still "soft" in movement.

Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu

Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu

Immovable Heart School

Founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru.

Emphasis is on grappling, striking, and use of your natural surroundings. Some weapons taught from this school are different types of yari (spear), Ono (axe), O-Tsuchi (War Hammer), and Naginata (bladed staff)

Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaujutsu

Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jutaijutsu

High Tree, Raised Heart School

Founded by Takagi Oriuemon Shigenobu in 1625.

Emphasizes fast application of preliminary grappling techniques.

Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu

Gikan Ryu Koppojutsu

School of Truth, Loyalty, and Justice

Founded by Uryu Hangan Gikanbo in 1558.

This art, along with Gyokkō-ryū, form the base structure of our stand up fighting methods. Emphasizes powerful attacks too the bodies structure and balance.

Gyokkushin Ryu Ninpo

Gyokkushin Ryu Ninpo

The Jeweled Heart School

Founded by Sasaki Goeman Teruyoshi in 1532- 1554 (Tenmon Era).

Similar to Gyokkō-ryū, emphasis is on attacking the nerve centers of the body using the fingertips.

Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo

Kumogakure Ryu Ninpo

The Hidden in the Clouds School

Founded by Iga Heinaizaemon Ienaga in 1532- 1554 (Tenmon Era).

This school is similar to Tōgakure-ryū in its techniques and is where the kamayari originates. The members would often wear demon masks into combat.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Gracie Jiu-jitsu is a comprehensive grappling art, developed from Japanese Judo by the Gracie family of Brazil. A Japanese immigrant, Esai Maeda, traveled to Brazil to spread the art of his teacher Jigoro Kano. Kano created Judo from learning various schools of Japanese Jujutsu. At the time Esai Maeda traveled to Brazil Kano had not yet named his art "Judo" and used the traditional "Jujutsu" to describe his art. Carlos Gracie was Maeda's first student and became the first in the Gracie family open a dojo in 1925. Helio was the youngest of his brothers, and even though he was restricted because of his frailty, he attended every class and observed intently. One day his brother Carlos was late for a class and Helio offered to teach in his absence. Helio had never practiced the techniques before but had memorized them from years of watching. He realized he could not effectively use the techniques due to his weakness, so he altered them using leverage and timing for successful application. After years of adaptation Helio held many public fights in Brazil. To prove his system's superiority he regularly challenged opponents that were much larger and stronger, and even challenged famous boxing champion Joe Lewis.

Helio Gracie's son Rorion traveled to the United States to promote Gracie Style Jiu-Jitsu. Rorion, having little money, taught out of his garage for years. Rorion opened his first school in Torrance, California with the help of his brothers Rickson, Royce, and Royler. Frustrated with the public's Hollywood perception of effective martial arts, Rorion started the “Gracie Challenge” betting $10,000 on his art's superiority. In 1993 Rorion founded the Ultimate Fighting Championships which made the Gracie family name and Jiu-Jitsu both a household word.

Arnis Knifefighting

This system's focus is on use of a knife. It teaches unarmed and armed defense from a knife attack, and any combination of knife vs knife.

Arnis was developed in the Philippines, and is known there mainly as Arnis or Eskrima. Kali is mainly used in the United States as a name for the Filipino martial arts. The use of sticks came about when a ban on large swords took place from the Spaniards who settled there. Arins was introduced to America by Angel Cablres (pictured above left) and popularized by Dan Inosanto (above right).

Our dojo's philosophy when training with a knife is "winners drip, losers bleed".

As you can see, we have a large volume of knowledge we can pull from encompassing all the areas of personal combat. Each of these martial fighting systems have been tested either on the battlegrounds of feudal Japan, in competitions and challenges in Brazil, and in defense of invasion in the Philippines. All the methods in our fighting system are currently used by the various branches of the US military and special ops units.

In any given class we could cover each art specified here, or focus on one area in particular for the entire duration. Training is conducted in a progressive manner. Beginners are expected to train lightly, and with more experience comes more contact when training and when sparring. During practice of techniques it is the responsibility of both parties involved to ensure one another's safety using the "tap out" system. If the 'Uke' (the receiver or person the technique is being applied on) feels that the pressure is enough, he is expected to tap out. That is to tap the 'Tori' (the giver or person applying the technique) somewhere on their person (arm/ leg) indicating that the pressure is enough and to release. One tap means "stop that's enough"; two taps means "release right now". It is also the responsibility of the 'Tori' to maintain control when applying techniques. If anyone is found a safety hazard, they will be dismissed from class.

We welcome anyone of any experience level to come train with us. We also encourage our own students to study other arts. We feel this is best because not everyone is the same. Our art is primarily combative, not everyone is looking for that. Maybe they want the artistic nature of Tai Chi, or the aerial kicking of Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do. We do not hold to the philosophy of "our art is the best, this is all you need", we leave that up to the student to decide.

At the end of every class we resolve any questions concerning what has been taught, then we give glory and thanks to God in prayer before dismissing class.

Tiger's Den Dojo


172B N Rt. Hwy 11
Heidrick, KY 40949

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© Copyright Tiger's Den Dojo 2015

"Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight"
-Psalm 144:1