Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Respect Does Not Come from A Belt

Many times I have stated I think the Bujinkan system is a bad system, with a false history and full of people trying play Ninja-Warrior. I don't like the system and that is my opinion... Now I am going to blow your mind because I am going to praise a Bujinkan member, Richard Van Donk. Now like I've said I don't much like the system (it has it's good and bad points to it, everything does) but, I di have to discuss my respect for Shihan Richard Van Donk.

Now Hayes and Bussey brought us Hatsumi's "Ninjutsu" in the 1980s. Robert Bussey managed one of the largest ninjutsu organizations in America at one time & even offered instructional videos, I think Bussey probably pioneered the martial arts instructional video market. Certainly, Richard Van Donk being the first to establish a video testing platform in which a person could get rank in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu changed the game. I happen to respect Richard Van Donk as both a business man and martial artists.

Now I know many will say "But you don't like the Bujinkan" or "You talk trash about their art." This is basically true, there is a lot of things I take issue with here. The fact however is this, Richard Van Donk has put in his time and did much to help spread his art. His video courses have made his art widely accessible to people throughout the US, possibly the world. So regardless of my personal opinion about the Bujinkan, I'm stuck having to honestly admit he did a good job.

The fact of the matter is that if you've ever listened to online idiots like Don Roley or his troll account Simon Edwards you can see his motivation for blasting Shihan Van Donk. At one time Bujinkan ninjutsu was few and far between now it has grown into a multi-million dollar franchise business mainly through Richard Van Donk's video courses. This is where I respect him as a business man and hope to emulate him with my own Black Dragon Ninjitsu video course.

While there are many against these courses there is a simple fact, video courses are not much different then many martial arts schools. I've been in schools where students barely saw their Sensei. He'd lead the class in a 10 to 15 minute warm up exercise, teach a few drills and instruct students to perform the drills while he went into his office to do paperwork. If you had a problem with a technique, it was generally other students who helped you. So with a video course you can watch the video over and over again to grasp the concept. Sadly, Shihan Van Donk takes a lot of flak from members of the Bujinkan who feel cheated, their arts are no longer "exclusive" they are no longer the "elitist" they wish to be and their art has become a franchise.

Ultimately, this goes back to another more subconscious matter of relying on external tokens of achievement to justify your life. Of needing something outside yourself to feel validated. Respect does not come from a belt or a certificate or even a tradition. Respect comes from within, respect comes from whats in your heart and mind. You cannot get respect without first achieving self-respect and understanding your self-worth. Only then do you achieve respect from others and even it is not guarantee that everyone will respect you or care about what you've done.

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