February 24, 2018

About Us

Dojo History

The Tuscaloosa Bujinkan dojo was originally started at the University of Alabama in 1997 under Shidoshi Robert Geyer. Having to leave to run his father’s family business, the dojo was placed under Shidoshi Michael Tucker (8th dan), who is now chief instructor at the Magic City Dojo in Birmingham. After Michael Tucker left Tuscaloosa, Shidoshi Eric Young (5th dan) took over, and in 2004 Shidoshi Arlando Sanders (9th dan) took over the dojo, and the dojo was later moved to the Leroy McAbee center. Shidoshi Sanders runs the dojo to this day.

Our dojo is an affiliate of the Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo (Bujinkan Hawk Justice Dojo) run by Shihan Philip Legare (15th dan) in the Washington D.C. area.

What is the Bujinkan?

The Bujinkan, meaning ‘House of the Divine Warrior’ is a martial art system put together in Japan in by Masaaki Hatsumi. The Bujinkan consists of nine separate ryuha, or schools, which have persevered through the constant warfare of Japan’s history during the last thousand years. The martial art itself is known as Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, meaning body skills of the warrior. But rather than being stuck in the past and strictly keeping to it’s traditional training, the Bujinkan has evolved to also include modern day tactics and weapons training, including knife, pistol and rifle, and even tactical driving training.

The training of the Bujinkan works on developing a person’s awareness and capabilities to move naturally. By understanding basic human anatomy and physics, we aim to be efficient in our movements and able to respond in the most appropriate way to keep ourselves safe. The training of the Bujinkan is designed to give you a strong and flexible body that is resilient but also able to adapt freely.

Dojo Philosophy

The aim of our training is not to just give you combat skills, but survival skills that can be used in all walks of life. Understand that there are no referees or rules in a street fight. It is a battle for survival, to make it back home to your family and loved ones alive. For this reason we do not work on performing fancy, pretty techniques to show off with. We train with what works, with what is efficient and natural. We then work to take the principles learned inside the dojo and apply them in our daily lives. Rather than being people who commit our lives to the training, we strive to be people who can commit the training to our lives in order to become happy and balanced people who can walk down the street with confidence.




Image result for shihan legarePhillip Legare Shihan is the senior instructor and founder of the Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo (BTSD), formerly headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. He started training in Chinese martial arts in 1970. After joining the US Marine Corps in 1973, he had a number of military assignments in the Far East in the 70s and early 80s and trained in a number of schools local to wherever he was stationed at the time. In 1977, while stationed in Misawa, Japan, Phil was initiated into Budo Taijutsu under Sensei Shoen Fukuda, who was the Soke for Chugoku KuKenpodo, but was also a ranking instructor in the Bujinkan. Phil started training solely in the Bujinkan in 1982 under Larry Beaver. In 1986, Shihan Doron Navon became Phil’s teacher and mentor and a year later was recommended for Shidoshi-ho (instructor license prior to the rank of Godan). In 1989, Phil traveled to Japan for training at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo where he passed the Godan test at the old Kashiwa Dojo. This started an annual pilgrimage to Japan for training until moving to Tokyo for work. In 2003, he was awarded the highest rank in the Bujinkan, Judan-Ku level, and is recognized as a master instructor of Budo Taijutsu under Soke Masaaki Hatsumi. Hatsumi Soke also awarded Mr. Legare a Menkyo Kaiden (master’s license) in Shinken Gata (modern warfare) in recognition for developing a modern combative system for law enforcement personnel to deal with counter-terrorism related situations and for military and civilian deployers to fight in the global war on terror. Since 1996, Mr. Legare has taught this protection training to more than 3000 students who have gone into harms way. This combative system is now called Shinken Taijutsu in honor of Soke Hatsumi and in recognition of the strong tie to the Bujinkan and Budo Taijutsu. Shihan Legare’s Budo warrior name is, “Taka-Seigi” meaning Hawk Justice.

Shihan Legare is the recipient of 4 Bujinkan Gold Dragon Awards presented by Hatsumi Soke for martial arts excellence. Joanne Legare, Phil’s wife and a Judan in the Bujinkan who often co-teaches at his seminars, is also the recipient of a Gold Dragon Award. Both Shihan(s) Phil and Joanne lived in Japan for 4 years, training at Hombu with Hatsumi Soke on a weekly basis.

Over the years, Phil hosted 3 highly successful TaiKai’s in the USA (93, 98 and 01) with the 2001 Washington TaiKai DVD winning the prestigious Japan Literary Guild award for Best Sports Film of the Year 2001.

Mr. Legare has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from New York State University and a Masters degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College, National Defense University.  He has written numerous articles that have appeared in martial arts magazines over the years. He is a sought after speaker and lecturer on personal protection and Warrior Ethos. He has lectured at the US Naval Academy and in Japan at the American Club in Tokyo, Japan. Legare Shihan has authored several Budo Taijutsu Instructor Manuals, as well as produced numerous instructional videos in Budo Taijutsu and Shinken Taijutsu.

A combat veteran, Master Sergeant Legare retired from the United States Marine Corps in 1996, with more than 22 years of honorable service. He is an Elite Life Member of the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars and also the American Legion. Mr. Legare was a 1996 graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy’s Criminal Investigator Training Program and a Department of Defense Special Agent for 4 years. Mr. Legare is currently an executive level manager in the Executive Branch of government.

Phil is married to the former Ms. Joanne Thacker and has twin boys, Matthew and Joshua. The BTSD Hombu is currently located Westminster, Maryland.


Arlando F. Sanders-Shidoshi, kyudan (9th-degree black belt) is dojo-cho (or “head of dojo”) of the Bujinkan Martial Arts Tuscaloosa Dojo( a Taka-Seigi sponsored dojo). He is a warrior, combat veteran, law enforcement officer,  and has studied and taught martial arts for more than 20 years. He has advanced to black belt rankings in the arts of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Aikido, Hapkido, and Taekwondo. Arlando has lived and trained in Japan with 34th generation Soke (grandmaster) Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, founder of the Bujinkan, and his top students both in Japan and across the United States. He is also one of the very few people certified to teach ‘shinken taijutsu,’ a program using Bujinkan training as applied in modern scenarios with modern weapons, which was created by Phil Legare Shihan.

Arlando Sanders heads the Bujinkan Martial Arts Tuscaloosa Dojo under the sponsorship of Shihan (teacher of enlightened warrior ways)Phillip Legare, Dojocho of the Bujinkan Taka-Seigi Dojo (Guardian Hawk Justice School) and has trained in Alabama since 1999.


Ergin Esirgemez is an assistant instructor in the BTSD Tuscaloosa Dojo. He has been training in Bujinkan Taijutsu for over more than 7 years. Before being introduced to Bujinkan Taijutsu, Ergin practiced different martial arts including Karate (Shotokan and Wado Ryu) and Aiki Budo. He is currrently Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) in Bujinkan Taijutsu and actively trains as well as attend seminars related to the art.

Ergin is from Istanbul, Turkey, and has received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the Mechanics department in the University of Alabama





Ethan B Hammond, sandan (third-degree blackbelt), is an assistant instructor for the BTSD Tuscaloosa dojo. Ethan has been training in the Bujinkan since 2009 and also trained in Isshin-Ryu karate for two years prior to joining the Bujinkan. He actively trains and attends seminars several times each year to learn from more experienced practitioners of the art.

Ethan has graduated from Shelton State with a certification in Wellness and Exercise Instruction. He is also a certified ACTION personal trainer, Level 1 Crossfit Trainer, Movement and Mobility Trainer, and is the first Level 1 Yoga Tune Up® teacher in the state of Alabama. His philosophy towards exercise and movement is that humans are designed to move pain-free through full ranges of motion, and prioritizes safety through having an integrated understanding of human anatomy and physiology. 



About the Grandmaster and creator of the Bujinkan, Massaki Hatsumi:

(From wikipedia)

Beginning in childhood, Masaaki Hatsumi studied several popular martial arts. After teaching martial arts to the U.S. soldiers stationed in Japan he noticed that the larger and stronger Americans had an advantage in bouts when using the same techniques. He began to question the legitimacy of modern martial arts training and started to search for an art where persons of equal skill truly were equals, even if the other one was more muscular. It was after this time, while studying the ancient Japanese weaponry of the Masaki Ryu under Yumio Nawa, that he learned of ninjutsu and a martial artist named Toshitsugu Takamatsu who claimed to be proficient in this art. In 1957 he and Fukumoto Yoshio began making regular trips to train with his new teacher (who resided at the time in Kashiwabara, in Nara), taking a 15-hour train ride from his hometown of Noda in Chiba. This training continued for 15 years until the passing of Toshitsugu Takamatsu in 1972.

The nine schools of the Bujinkan:

  • Togakure-ryū Ninpō (戸隠流忍法)
  • Gyokko-ryū Kosshi jutsu (玉虎流骨指術)
  • Kuki Shinden Happō Biken jutsu (九鬼神伝流八法秘剣術)
  • Kotō-ryū Koppō jutsu (虎倒流骨法術)
  • Shinden Fudō-ryū Dakentai jutsu (神伝不動流打拳体術)
  • Takagi Yōshin-ryū Jūtai jutsu (高木揚心流柔体術)
  • Gikan-ryū Koppō jutsu (義鑑流骨法術)
  • Gyokushin-ryū Ninpō (玉心流忍法)
  • Kumogakure-ryū Ninpō (雲隠流忍法)

For more information or to SETUP YOUR FREE TRIAL CLASS Contact Us.