September 1998:
Interview at Swedish Taikai

1. Give me your name, age, grade and dojo plus what year you sarted training.
I am Oliver Münstedt, 26 years old, and my grade is Bujinkan Shodan. Now on single training with another shodan, due to the fact that I had to part from my present teachers. The Bujinkan is an art where it is essential to follow your heart to accomplish freedom and justice for every human beeing. So these people chose an other path and I had to quit — but I am associated with Shihan Richard van Donk 10. DAN in the American Bujinkan Dojo and I am getting much help from other Shihans worldwide. Summing up all my training in the different arts I will make the 20 years complete next year. Among these I trained the following arts the longest: Judo, Pentjak Silat, Wado Ryu Karate, Wing Tsun (under Kernspecht, yes) and Escrima.

2. Why Ninjutsu among the other martial arts?
For technical reasons I chose this art simply because it is pure and true Budo not found anywhere else on the planet. It is complete since it covers all imaginable weapons, aspects of strategical warfare, combines all tactics how to use the body. We have kicks, punches, throws and locks etc. Most other arts or I better should say sports have mainly one ore two sections trained in, for instance Karate mostly kicks and punches and Judo throws and locks. But the main reason for me was the spiritual approach this art offers. Other arts are on constant war. With other martial arts styles, with other human beeings — their collegues, their kids or relationships or the most worst they try to destroy themselves. The most are simply unhappy with their lives, so they chose to fight anybody and anything. The Bujinkan on the other has the essence to make this world a better place to live in for everyone and everything. This is achieved through the betterment of oneself. To protect freedom, happyness, justice and love under any circumstances for all creatures. So we train in an athmosphere of friendship (at least it should be so) with the feeling of one big family with Soke as the leader or the father so to say. We train the katas not to learn how to kill or destroy someone, but to be aware how nature functions, how to protect ourselves and our loved ones. This fact should be constantly carried in our minds since in training we see how fast bones can crush and how fast a human beeing can be killed — a human beeing that took so many years to grow up.

3. What is your impression of Hatsumi Sensei and the Tai kai in Stockholm?
The Taikai was great in any sense, as was sensei in his teachings. The Taikai are a special events because there is the possibility to get in contact with new friends, get new ideas for your training and a whole new understanding of the art itself with every meeting. Furthermore the people can see Soke and receive his teaching without spending so much money to go to Japan. Most simply can not afford it.

Sensei is one of the best teachers I ever come to now, although I don’t know him personally... He is a genius in Budo. What makes him special is that he not teaches mere katas or wazas but he fills them with life. The most fascinating aspect is when he teaches a kata e.g. called fog he uses everything to show how to fight in fog as well as to make your enemy believe that he is fighing against fog. So the names of the katas are no labels but they have a true meaning. Sensei has the ability to show and teach these things. He makes the unseen things seen. There is is a lot philospophy in his teaching. I think the only thing he wants to understand us is how to make our hearts strong and to fill it with love. So it is my opinion that everyone joining the Bujinkan has to attend the Taikais to receive that essence he teaches. You can see the difference in the eyes of the attendees after the training with Soke. It is like most of the people are growing up in martial arts now.

4. Describe the Bujinkan organisation in germany, list over the masters, dojos etc.
The toughest question! There are many good teachers as well as there are bad ones. We have many good black belts and teachers godan-level and above. Many tiny organizations as well as big ones. I join now an association called Bujinkan Ninpo Association. This is not an organization in common sense. In there we try to build a strong network between the members to exchange information and to follow the path of training as sensei wants us to get it done. There is no bureaucracy neither membership fees. All attendees simply need to follow the guiding lines of the Bujinkan and say that they want to join. Many people realize now this is the right thing and Dojos from every country are now joining in. I donŐt want to say more about the situation in Germany because it is all about politics. Sensei has its one plans with this country and I feel an earthquake coming to this country to clean up the art from the black sheep. All lists about teachers a little bit incomplete. I think you will find something good in the internet.

Oliver Münstedt, is 26 yrs. old, and a bujinkan-shodan, who has been training for over 20 yrs. He has been training in the Bujinkan for three years, is a member of the ABD under Shihan Richard van Donk. He is now training with the assistance of some Shihan teachers and visits as many seminars and Taikai’s as possible. He may be reached via e-mail at: nonasimakis@T-ONLINE.DE.

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