Dai Shihans -John Cantor - Robin Doenicke - Nicholas Lynn
In 1985, after early years as International, national and schoolboy rowing champion, John Cantor began training in the Bujinkan with Wayne Roy dojos. In 1990, he began his Musha Shugyou - 武者修行 - warrior quest and spiritual pilgrimage - and moved to Japan. He intended to stay a year, study Japanese language, culture and martial art with the Bujinkan Grandmaster - Hatsumi Sensei - and his senior students. In 2003, thirteen years later - he returned to Sydney with his Japanese wife, a 4-year-old my son, a master's degree in Asian Studies and a 10th Dan ranking in the Bujinkan. His武者修行 continues today supporting others on a similar path.
In 1991, at Hatsumi Sensei's house, after watching a video of him training with Takamatsu sensei, the Grandmaster turned to John and directed he establish a dojo in Osaka - his home city at the time. He returned home with a solid challenge and the honour of being the first foreigner to start a Bujinkan dojo in Japan. This opened in Nakatsu, just North of the Yodo river and close to where the actor Steven Segal had earlier learned and trained Aikido.
Cantor states, "I remember first training with the Hatsumi Soke - the tradition's headmaster - in a dojo in Shinagawa during the summer of 1990. On being introduced, I respectfully bowed - expressing a formal greeting. On raising my head, Hatsumi sensei looked me square in the eyes, took my hand, and while shaking it simply requested I "Keep Going". Today, 30 years later, I understand how two simple words anchor the study, and lives, of all. Not just Bujinkan students. I encourage anyone studying/training with me to contemplate their power. In time, by accepting the challenge of "why" "Keep Going", the secret to "how" is revealed. Bujinkan martial training stirs awareness, resilience, honesty, patience and other important values required survive life. The Japanese kanji - 忍- nin- the sword drawn over the heart typifies the tenacity an individual trains to acquire and sustain."
On weekends and work holidays he would travel to the Bujinkan Home Dojo in Noda Chiba-ken Japan. He happened to follow the reciprocal route his teacher Masaaki Hatsumi took in the late 60's to meet with Grandmaster Takamatsu. Over the years he trained with Dai-shihan's Ishizuka, Taguchi, Noguchi, Senno, Someya, & Shiraishi. He returns yearly to Japan to train primarily with Dai Shiahan Nagato and catch up with colleagues still travelling a warrior's path.