Before we can answer this question it’s important to consider the following:
There are three main ‘types’ of martial arts:
1. Sport Martial Arts: Such as Boxing, Judo, and Karate where the objective is to score points to win a match.
2. Traditional Martial Arts: Such as certain styles of Kung Fu, Capoeira, and traditional forms of Karate; where the objective is to perform a style of artistic movements of combat, much like a choreography or dance.
3. Self Defence Martial Arts, such as Bujinkan, Ninjutsu, Jujutsu, and Krav Maga; where the objective is to perform techniques in order to deal with confrontation from a street style attack.
Although no art is better than another, they do however offer different things to the practitioner. It’s important to consider why you want to study martial arts before you begin. Do you want to get in the ring and test yourself? Maybe Boxing is for you! Do you want to study the traditions and kata, perhaps Shaolin Kung Fu is a great option! Or do you want to learn how to defend yourself against an attacker on the street? Ninjutsu is for you!
So, to answer the question ‘are there competitions in Bujinkan Ninjutsu?’, indeed no, there’s not, and for good reason! We find it exceedingly difficult to put ourselves in competitive situations when the techniques we practice are extremely dangerous. We do however practice our art in situation-based scenarios with our training partner who plays the role of the assailant in a safe and controlled environment, which is our training space.
There are exceptions however; as Bujinkan Ninjutsu is a very dynamic art with throws, striking, ground fighting, and weapons; there are schools that will practice certain aspects of these categories such as boxing training to gain work more experience on specific elements of the art. In this instance you will find a more competitive sport-like adaptation of the art in these fields; however, they are generally practiced separately to avoid confusion to the student as to what they are learning.
Overall, Ninjutsu training has the ability to encompass all three categories of martial arts training, Sport, Traditional Arts, and Self Defence; as to how much focus gets applied to each area generally depends on the instructor. A good instructor will find a balance between them and show relevance as to why and how each are applied and used. This ability to adapt and evolve is a unique strategy of the Ninjutsu art, as it will consistently stay relevant to the modern day attacker while still being able to maintain a strong connection to it’s traditional roots.