1. What are classes like at BMD?
A typical class at the Bujinkan Madison Dojo is split into two halves separated by a brief refreshment break. The first half normally consists of some combination of ukemi (rolling/falling), striking, sanshin no kata (individual movement forms), kihon happo (8 basic techniques), or basic weapons training. The second half of class tends to be a more free form exploration of the basics in a variety of situations. The focus of any specific class varies between waza (specified attack/defense forms), taijutsu (empty-hand combat), or weapons. Some of the weapons studied include bo (6 ft staff), hanbo (3 ft staff), katana (sword), kusari (short rope/chain), tanto (knife), and more.
2. How is Bujinkan different from other martial arts?
Lots of modern martial arts are sport arts with a focus on competitions and specific rules. Bujinkan is a historical art that focuses on survival in a variety of situations. The main points of the art are efficiency of movement and the ability to either control your opponent or give yourself an opportunity to escape.
3. When is training?
See the “Class Information” page. There is also a calendar there that is updated regularly with class cancellations and location changes.
4. I’m going to be late to class / have to leave early, should I still come?
Yes, please come in either case. We’d rather have you train for an hour than not at all.
5. How do I get started?
Let us know in advance if you can. If not, check the calendar on the “Class Information” page for any class notices an hour beforehand and then just show up. You will need to sign a liability waiver before participating in training, which can be found here or on the “Links” page. (We have copies at the dojo if you don’t fill it out beforehand.) After filling out the waiver, you’ll participate in the first half of class while we cover basics. Then, we’ll ask you to observe for the second half of class to see some more advanced techniques. After that first class, you’ll be able to participate in full training sessions going forward.
We offer the first partial month as a free trial period. After that, if you decide that you want to stick around, you can start paying dues for the next month.
6. How much does training cost?
Dues are $50 per month or $5 per class for occasional drop-ins. We don’t want money to be the reason someone doesn’t train, so if it’s an issue for you, let us know and we can talk about reduced plans.
7. Can I get private lessons?
We do no offer private lessons. Our general classes are accessible to people of all training levels.
8. I don’t have previous martial arts experience …
Bujinkan is a different martial art than most others out there. No previous martial arts experience is necessary to start training with us.
9. I’m visiting Madison but I train at another Bujinkan dojo. Can I train with you?
Yes, visiting practitioners are always welcome. Try to let us know ahead of time, but feel free to join us any scheduled day. If you’d like to contribute to our dojo, see the drop-in rate listed above.
10. Does BMD offer a kid’s class?
No, we do not offer a kid’s class at this time. Special considerations may be made for teenagers 15+ on a case by case basis, please contact us beforehand to discuss.
11. What should I wear to training?
When first starting out, wear whatever comfortable workout clothes you already have. After you’ve been training for a while you can order a training gi. Footwear options include barefoot, socks, or cotton soled tabi. No leather tabi or shoes are allowed on the mats.
12. How often should I attend classes?
The more often that you train, the faster progress that you’ll make. We recommend attending at least 2 classes per week to make reasonable progress, but if you can only make 1 class per week you are still welcome to train, though your progress may be slow.
13. Is there a cheat sheet for all the Japanese phrases used during training?
Yes, you can find a copy of it here or on the “Links” page. Note, there is no expectation to memorize any of these words/phrases during the first few months of training.
14. Are there any competitions or sparring matches in Bujinkan?
Occasionally classes will feature randori training which is similar to controlled sparring but this is not a frequent occurrence. There are no competitions or tournaments in our art. Instead, as a dojo, we will host training seminars or travel to training seminars that other dojos are hosting. These seminars typically either feature a highly skilled guest instructor or are setup as a teaching exchange where all instructors present teach for a short period.
15. Do training sessions ever take place outside?
Weather permitting, we’ll train outdoors during the summer and fall on a somewhat regular basis. When there are home Badger football games on Saturdays, we’re unable to use the Neighborhood House parking lot, so we train at an alternate off-campus outdoor location.
16. I have more questions …
Please feel free to get a hold of us through the “Contact” page.