“The secret principle of Taijutsu is to know the foundations of peace.”
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 Shihan Michael Tucker (10th 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 Dai Shihan Arlando Sanders (15th Dan) took over the dojo, and the dojo was later moved to the Leroy McAbee center. After Shihan Sanders moved to Virginia to continue his career in the goverment, his senior student Ergin Esirgemez, Ph.D. started to lead the trainings. During the years, dojo has moved to other locations, and Dr. Esirgemez (7th Dan) has been teaching to many enthisuastic students who want to learn the art of Ninjas in Tuscaloosa, with the guidance and continous support of his sensei; Dai Shihan Arlando Sanders.
Our dojo is an affiliate of the Bujinkan Taka Seigi Dojo (Bujinkan Hawk Justice Dojo) run by Dai 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 by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi. The Bujinkan consists of nine separate ryuha (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.
The training of the Bujinkan works on developing a person’s awareness and capabilities to move naturally and feel a technique, rather than memorizing very specific kata, or forms. Instead of developing muscle memory for set-in-stone techniques, Soke Hatsumi stresses being able to move freely and naturally, so that you can act as is most appropriate for any given situation, not being restricted to specific movements.
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 truly happy people.
ARLANDO SANDERS-DAI SHIHAN (15TH DEGREE BLACK BELT). TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA, USA.
Arlando F. Sanders-Dai Shihan (15th-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 Dan 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, head of the Bujinkan Dojo, and his top Shihan both in Japan and across the United States. 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, PhD (SHIDOSHI – 7TH DEGREE BLACK BELT)
Dr. Esirgemez is a chief instructor in the BTSD Tuscaloosa Dojo. He has been training in Bujinkan Taijutsu for over more than 13 years. Before being introduced to Bujinkan Taijutsu, Ergin practiced different martial arts including Karate (Shotokan and Wado Ryu) and Aiki Budo in Istanbul, Turkey. He passed his Godan Sakki test given by Dai Shihan Philip Legare in 2015. He currrently holds 7th Degree Black Belt in Bujinkan Taijutsu and actively trains as well as attend seminars related to the art.
Dr. Esirgemez is from Istanbul, Turkey, and has received his PhD in the Departhment of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics in the University of Alabama. He is currently working in the private sector.
About the Grandmaster and creator of the Bujinkan, Massaki Hatsumi:
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)
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