Bujinkan Huovi Dojo – BHD

BHD was born in Autumn 2001, when I started to teach Bujinkan Budô Taijutsu in Säkylä.

While I was thinking about a name for the dôjô the place name Säkylä seemed too difficult to pronounce in these international times. On the other hand I thought the name would be for “my” dôjô, and therefore couldn’t be tied to a place – in case I would end up moving to someplace else.

I don’t remember the exact time when Bujinkan Huovi Dojo started to be used as a draft name, possibly sometime when 2001 was changing to 2002, but the name stuck gradually. It is tied to a place because the more precise place where I live in Säkylä is Huovinrinne, but I suppose the name can be tied to it’s original place of use.

The word “huovi” comes from Swedish word “hofman” meaning a man of court. In Swedish-governed Finland huovis were the professional soldiers of the Middle Ages (at least 15th to 16th centuries) provided to the army by households keeping horses. They also acted as government representatives – therefore maintaining order – during peace time. History books also mention “huovi riders” (“ratsuhuovi” in Finnish), but to my understanding all huovis were armored, mounted warriors. Foot soldiers were called “nihti”, which comes from mid-lower German word knecht meaning boy, servant or armed man (the word later becoming knight).

The most remarkable incidents in connection which huovis are usually mentioned are the Battle of Joutselkä in 1555 and Nuijasota (“Club War” – no, it doesn’t refer to any bar…) from 1596 to 1597. In Joutselkä the huovis formed a detachment that closed the road Russian war party was advancing while skiing detachment struck on the side resulting in a crushing victory for the Finns led by Juho Maununpoika. Nuijasota was fought as a sideshow of the power struggle between Finland’s governor (or something like that) Klaus Fleming and Duke Carl who tried to ascend the Swedish throne. During that was Fleming’s huovis defeated a violent peasant rebellion that began in Pohjanmaa.

What makes huovis so good example that it is worth using in a dôjô name? I leave that definition to the reader to ponder, but provide my view on the subject. As should be evident from above, huovis were soldiers and policemen of their time and society. I see a direct correlation to samurai class. The samurai were in a similar role as a class of society, while during wars auxiliary troops were used to strengthen the numbers. After chasing the Ainu to the North the samurai defeated two Mongol invasion in 13th century – helped by the forces of nature. Once or twice the samurai invaded Korea. For the main part of their history the samurai fought each other. During the peaceful Edo period 1600-1868 the samurai were used to put down 1240 peasant rebellions. My view on where the huovis stand is mainly formed on the basis that I don’t think the deciding factor is what a armed person is called, but for which he uses the weapon.

BHD trains from Autumn to Spring in a local school and from Spring to Autumn on a grassy sports field. The group is small, there’s just a few of us. There’s no beginners’ courses organized, newcomers are welcome to join regular classes to learn the basics while more advanced students are honing their skills. This of course means that the learning curve is quite steep right away – but this would have to be faced at the end of a beginners’ course anyway. It’s better just to try to learn couple of ideas during each class, that’s how it goes.

The purpose of BHD is to develop it’s members by practicing Bujinkan Budô Taijutsu while respecting it’s traditions and the knowledge of those who have been training for longer. Especially since the group is small, BHD tries to actively train with teachers who have been learning with sôke Hatsumi – most important of them naturally being shihan Moti Nativ, whose teachings I have enjoyed since 1997. BHD is in cooperation with Bujinkan Dojo Finland and Bujinkan Shinden Dojo Finland.

– Jukka Nummenranta, shidôshi, dôjô-chô


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