Written by Raven Cain on April 25, 2022

The 18 Skills of Musashi Ryu BuJutsu Utaka-Ha (Part One)

The Musashi Clan, established in1582, is now in its nineteenth generation. The clan exists today as an Non-Profit Organization dedicated to teaching the Ninshido lifestyle by promoting the self-development and awareness of its members. The Musashi Ryu BuJutsu Utaka-Ha is dedicated to this mission in addition to keeping the eighteen skills of the Shinobi Samurai alive and progressing in both it’s historical form and it’s modern day adaptation.

1. Ninshido (Spiritual Refinement)The Musashi Clan Shinobi Samurai worked at developing a deep and accurate knowledge of himself, his personal power, his strengths and weaknesses, and his influence on the playing out of life. The Samurai had to be very clear about his intentions, his commitments, and his personal motivations in life. Personality traits could often mean the difference between life and death in his line of work. Exercises in mental endurance, ways of looking at things, and proper perspective when evaluating things, were taught to the Shinobi Samurai along with his physical skills. By evolving into a mystic's understanding of the universal process, the historical Musashi Clan Shinobi Samurai became a warrior philosopher. His engagements in combat were then motivated by love or reverence, and not by the mere thrill of violent danger or need of money. In the Musashi Ryu BuJutsu Utaka-Ha it is required that every student embrace the Modern-Day Samurai Warrior Philosophy. 

(Photo of O'Sensei Raven with his Zen teacher Kitabu Roshi 1999)

2. Ju Jutsu (Unarmed Combat) Skills of Kempo or striking, kicking, and blocking; ju-jutsu or grappling, choking and escaping the holds of others, and taihenjutsu or silent movement, rolling, leaping, and tumbling helped the Musashi Clan Shinobi Samurai in life-threatening, defensive situations. Today Musashi Ryu BuJutsu Utaka-Ha studies Mi Yama Ryu Kempo JuJutsu and Krav Maga to stay modernized with the every changing dangerous world.

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(Photo of Dai Hanshi Kenneth Winthrop 1965)

3. KenJutsu (Sword) Two distinct sword skills are required of the Musashi Ryu BuJutsu Utaka-Ha. "Fast Draw" techniques centered around drawing the sword and cutting as a simultaneous action. "Fencing" skills used the drawn sword in technique clashes with armed attackers. In modern training we will use Kendo concepts to pressure test our KenJutsu techniques.

(Photo of O'Sensei Raven Cain 2017)

4. Bo-Jutsu (Stick and Staff Fighting) The Japanese stick fighting art, practiced by samurai and peasants alike, was also a strong skill of the Shinobi Samurai. Musashi Clan would have been taught to use the bo long staff (six feet) and hanbo "half-staff" cane (three feet), as well as sticks and clubs of varying lengths. Specially constructed shinobi-zue or ninja canes were designed to look like the normal walking sticks, but concealed blades, chains, or darts that could be used against an enemy.

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(Photo of Great Grandmaster ER Spruiell)

5. Shuriken-Jutsu (Throwing Blades) Throwing blades were carried in concealed pockets and used as weapons. Bo shuriken or straight shaft darts and spikes are constructed for throwing. The Musashi Ryu BuJutsu Utaka-Ha practice this skill as a means of distraction and a means to cause pain and overwhelming the opponent before drawing the katana or the firearm.

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Article written by Raven Cain
has spent a lifetime learning martial arts. He has been developing his skills, strategies, and tactics for 40-plus years. He owned several martial arts schools in his hometown of Virginia Beach and later in Richmond Virginia, and is now proud to bring his art to Southern Utah. In his early years, he was a Bar Bouncer and Guardian Angel in hopes to test himself and his skill set.

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