Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a black belt?

As a student you shouldn’t focus on rank. People who I’ve encountered stated to me that they wanted a black belt… well they never received it! People feelings were crushed when they realized all the hard work and time they had to put into training, with blood sweat and tears. They end up dropping out before they could even obtain a green belt. In general it depends on the practitioner and some people learn faster than others. The more classes you make the faster you will progress; this conception isn’t a mystery! Overall, according to Hatsumi sensei it should take about 3yrs. In my class anywhere between 3-5yrs on average, but it may take some folks longer. If you want a black belt that bad just go to the store and buy you one; just don’t wear it in my class.

What do I wear for my first class?

Sweats and a T-shirt with stocks… No shoes on the mats.

Do I have to be physically fit?

No… We call Budo Taijutsu the old ladies art, because a senior citizen has to be able to perform these techniques without any physical strength nor speed. Look at our Grandmaster he’s 84 years old!

Do beginners pair up with advance students?

Simple answer… Yes! In the streets rank doesn’t exist and no one cares because you have a colored belt around your waist. Plus it’s good to train with various skill level of people and different body structures. It is more challenging to perform techniques on people who possess better balance.

Will I get into shape from training?

Yes… you will lose weight because you will be constantly moving, but if you want to get into shape, I strongly recommend you go to the gym and change your diet.


Do you train outdoors?

Yes we do… It’s good to have that realism in your training. More than likely you’ll be attacked outdoors instead of inside a fluffy dojo with mats and scrolls on the wall.

Will I get hurt training?

Well this isn’t ballae… Teaching for as many years as I have, we’ve never had any serious injuries besides a few scrapes and bruises. I like to train as safely as possible therefore we have to be mindful of one another during training.

Is training strict?

We’re more of a formal class. We enjoy what we do therefore we have fun while we’re doing it, so we train with a smile on our face as they do in Japan.

How many colors belts do we have in our art?

We have three; white, green and black. Nin in Japanese can mean “concealment” you go through different kyu’s when you’re a green belt, just like you go through higher degree levels when you’re a black belt. The 3 colors represents earth, heaven and man.

Do you guys have a set curriculum?

No… Soke doesn’t want us to teach like that, and I believe that’s a good thing. I feel students will lose focus of their taijutsu and try to only study a curriculum guide, so they can study the next set of techniques to pass future exams and neglect their training. We do have and cover basic fundamentals however; every class is different.

Where do I purchase my uniform and weapons from once I join?

I do not sell neither one therefore; we purchase our uniform online. I try to help my students save money, so some of the weapons can actually be purchased from home depot.

Are we obligated to go to Japan?

No, however I do strongly recommend you try your best to make it there. I do understand traveling to Japan can be expensive and it becomes difficult when you have other commitments such as; bills, family and work.

Will it be difficult as a woman to train?

No, might of fact women tend to progress faster than men in this art simply because; this art doesn’t require strength, and if you’re using strength (as men tend to do when they first start training) then you are doing incorrectly. Most women aren’t physically stronger than men, so they rely on technique which is the proper way of executing ANY technique. Men tend to try to muscle things when they cannot get the technique.

Does your class spar?

Most Bujinkan schools don’t spar due to the nature of our art. Here at Tenyu Dojo we are a firm believer of pressure testing your technique, so yes we spar, but no one is obligated.

Have you ever used your art in a real fight?

Yes I have… The fight ended within about 3-4 seconds and not in the assailant’s favor.

Why don’t we train in a ring?

Well quite simply we learn to crush people wind pipes and other beautiful things of that nature. I think things like this is NOT permitted in the UFC. Also sport martial arts don’t train against multiple and armed attackers. It will be not in your favor to go to the ground against an attacker armed with a knife, or with a few of his intoxicated buddies. In the streets you’re more likely to be jumped by multiple people. Chicago is notorious for these actions!

How long will it take me to get good in this art?

My question to you is compared to what? In our school you learn how to defend yourself within the first class and every class after that. If you’re talking about Hatsumi sensei good; then you have decades of more training to go before you can be at his caliber.

Can DVD training and watching YouTube videos make me an effective student?

No! YouTube videos and books without training is basically pointless. I’ve meet a few people like this, and when I felt their techniques, it was beyond horrible. When you don’t have a teacher you don’t see your mistakes and no one to point those mistakes out to you. People like that can become a bit egotistical due to the fact; when they step foot in an actual dojo and they realize it’s not as easy as they thought. Word of advice, go train with a certified teacher! Everyone is responsible for their own training and should put forth the effort in seeking knowledge and further enlightenment. Don’t expect to be spoon feed and do your due diligence…

“We need bad teachers in the Bujinkan; and that way the bad students can go to them” ~Nagato sensei