Togakure Ryu and Kukishin Ryu deeper

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

Is the link between the Togakure Ryu and Kukishin Ryu deeper than we thought???

In the middle ages, there was a very serious samurai practice to take written vows when undertaking the study of a military science, especially when the pupil is from outside of the family.

In the case of the Kukishin Ryu, the Kuki family to this day still preserves a document from 1532 CE that has been continuously added to until modern times. The document is the 2nd scroll in a set of two titled “Seiyakusho” (誓約書). It is a written oath that pupils sign upon formally entering the school or “Ryu”. It is a promise to uphold the true meaning and spirit of the martial arts (military arts) and that one promises to cultivate a great sense of justice. The signature is traditionally accompanied by a thumbprint in blood, vowing they will never reveal what they have been taught to others without the master’s permission.

In the book Kukishinden Zensho by Ago Kiyotaka in 1983 he writes that he could hold in his own hands and examine this original 1532 CE document carefully. He notes that the more recent portion of the document leading up to the modern times was re-written by Kuki Takaharu in 1904.

This list is a veritable all-star list of Japanese military commanders and master swordsmen. Including Yamamoto Kansuke (Red Star on pic), known to have studied Togakure Ryu ninjutsu from Fujibayashi Nagato no Kami. The list also includes Sanada Masayuki (Green Star), the father of Sanada Yukimura. Both men are recorded as hiring local shugenja from the Togakure and Iizuna regions as shinobi and “Kamari” commandos in their forces.

Takamatsu Toshitsugu (Yellow star), our current Soke’s master also signed this list in 1899, vowing his allegiance to the emperor and the nation and to protect the teachings of the Kukishin Ryu. His “Kohai” or junior training partner Iwami Nangaku signed the list in 1922.

As Kuki Takahiro (隆博) died in WWII he was the last signature on the list as the Kuki family has taken vows of peace and no longer are involved in the martial arts. They now run several successful businesses and corporations all over the country and still administrate the Kumano Grand Shrine.

The original document list begins in 1532 with the vows and signatures/stamps of;

Kuki Yagoro, 1532 CE

Yamamoto Kansuke, 1534 CE

Kuki Moritaka, 1573 CE

Kuki Yoshitaka, 1574 CE (Formed the Kuki Navy from various bands of pirates from the Shima region)

1 name omitted

Sanada Masayuki, 1577 CE (Father of the famous Sanada Yukimura who used Shinobi from Togakure)

Bessho Nagaharu, 1576 CE

2 names omitted

Itō Ittōsai, 1573 CE (Famous master swordsman, 2nd to only Miyamoto Musashi, 33 matches, no losses)

Kuki Shigetaka, 1576 CE (Son of Kuki Yoshitaka)

Kuki Takasue, 1597 CE (Son of Kuki Moritaka)

Miyamoto Musashi (Black star), 1494 CE (Here we have an enigma, the date is exactly 100 years too early but it is for the famous swordsman, the Kuki family claims that it is the same Miyamoto Musashi who wrote the book of 5 Rings and fought over 60 duels with only one loss, I think the date may be a typo and should read 1594 putting Musashi at around 10 years old, the normal age of taking these vows)

Chōsokabe Motochika, 1595 (Daimyo of the Chōsokabe Clan)

Takagi Oriemon (Blue star), 1616 CE (Founder of the Takagi Yoshin Ryu)

Kuki Takayuki, 1648 CE (Daimyo of the Tanba Ayabe Domain)

1 name omitted

Kuki Takanao, 1662 CE (3rd Daimyo of the Tanba Ayabe Domain, brought Kito Ryu into the Kuki family)

Kuki Takahide, 1683 CE (Son of Kuki Takanao)

Shibukawa Bangoro, 1625 CE (Founder of Shibukawa Ryu Jujutsu)

Kimura Ittosai, 1649 CE (no information on him at this time)

Kuki Takashin, 1712 CE (Founder of the Shima branch of the Kuki family)

Kuki Taka??, 1743 CE (no information at this time)

Kuki Takanori, 1773 CE (8th Daimyo Lord of the Tanba Ayabe Domain)

3 names omitted

Ishitani Matsutaro, 1868 CE (Takamatsu Sensei’s 2nd master)

Takamatsu Toshitsugu, 1899 CE (Hatsumi Sensei’s master)

Iwami Nangaku, 1921 CE (Takamatsu Sensei’s Kohai under Ishitani Sensei)

9 names omitted

Shiozaki Katsuo, 1923 CE (Student of Iwami Nangaku)

Essay by Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
9/6/2018



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Searching for Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

40387407_1732831433496398_4280024864259047424_oToda Gosuke is historically recorded as working in the Oniwaban intelligence agency as well as being a head falconer for the Shogun.

We can see his name alongside that of a Hattori family member in marriage and divorce cases held internally within the super-secret spy group.

The members of the Oniwaban were not allowed to intermingle with people outside of the group so records for things such as marriages, divorces, births, deaths, etc. were all handled internally within the Oniwaban. This is indisputable proof that Toda Gosuke was at least involved with known members of the Oniwaban.

These men (and women) of the Oniwaban were direct descendants of the Iga (Togakure), Koga and Kishu ninja. Positions in the Oniwaban and Onmitsu were almost always hereditary.

Toda Hisajiro (our Shinryuken), later took over the head falconer position for his father, Toda Gosuke, until the end of the Bakufu government.

Based on the records left behind by Katsu Kaishu, what we do know about Hisajiro for a fact is that he served as head falconer to the Shogun and he was also a swordsmanship professor at the Kobusho from the time that it opened until 1858 when he resigned for mysterious reasons. Reasons I will discuss in more detail in my upcoming book “Hidden Lineage”.

I have found quite a bit of evidence implicating that Hisajiro, Gosuke’s son, was also working closely with the Oniwaban and Onmistu secret service groups serving the Shogunate.
The most interesting thing is that after Hisajiro’s role at the Kobusho as sword instructor, his trail goes dead. Except for this (pic) from the Tokugawa Chronicles (續徳川實紀: 第4篇 経済雑誌社, 1906, P. 1038), This page records that on December 4th, 1861:

Toda Gosuke – GREEN BOX
(Head Falconer at the time and Hisajiro’s father)
Received 3 pieces of gold from the Shogun

Toda Hisajiro – YELLOW BOX
(Head Falconer’s apprentice, son of Gosuke)
Was issued 2 sets of Jifuku (時服) or clothing gifts from the Shogun in the summer and winter seasons.

Mukai Shogen – RED BOX
(Ship Captain at the time, Born as Toda Kinzaburo, Gosuke’s 2nd son and brother to Hisajiro, 23 years old at the time of this record)
Received 2 pieces of gold and issued 2 sets of Jifuku (時服) or clothing gifts from the Shogun in the summer and winter seasons.

This means that in 1861, almost 3 years after leaving the Kobusho as a swordsmanship professor, Toda Hisajiro was still serving the Shogun in Edo as the head falconer.

But soon after this a multi-year manhunt known as the Ansei Purge during which the Tokugawa shogunate imprisoned, executed, or exiled those who did not support its authority and foreign trade policies took place. This movement’s leader was Chief Elder Ii Naosuke, and his enforcer was no other than Matsudaira Noriyasu (Toda Hisajiro’s sponsor to the Kobusho).

In 1860 Ii Naosuke was assassinated for his role in the purge and his stance towards opening up Japan to trade.

From this time Noriyasu is said to have left Edo in fear of his life and laid low until his death. We never hear of Hisajiro again in the public record. Could this be the same reason that Toda laid low??? Out of fear of being assassinated like Ii Naosuke.

If Noriyasu was Naosuke’s Ansei Purge enforcer and Toda was serving Noriyasu…it seems logical to think he may have needed to hide.

Togakure Ryu oral tradition says that after leaving the Kobusho, Shinryuken never took up another official position in the government.

I believe Toda Hisajiro left Edo with the Kuki family when Kuki Takahiro resigned from the Kobusho as Director in 1861.

Immediately after this the Kuki family and the Ayabe Han (Along with the Toda) switched sides and supported the emperor and his new imperial army.

Due to the transition of power from the Shogun to the Emperor, on the 4th of July the following year, the Shogun’s Navy was officially dissolved.

Mukai Masayoshi (Toda Kinzaburo) was quickly recruited along with Katsu Kaishu to head up the Emperor’s newly opened Imperial Military Academy (軍艦操練所). This goes a long way to explain why Takamatsu Sensei said that Toda Shinryuken (Hisajiro) had a close relationship to Katsu Kaishu and the two others of the famous triad known as the “Bakumatsu no Sanshu” (幕末の三舟).

Over time Masayoshi left the Imperial Navy and joined the Imperial Army and served as an “Otsukaiban” (御使番) and as an infantry magistrate.

Katsu Kaishu went on to continue to run the training at the Imperial Military Academy.

The “Otsukaiban” were advance scouts and messengers on the battlefield so obviously, some ninja skills learned from father (Toda Gosuke II) would come in very useful here.

As an Imperial Infantry Magistrate, he is recorded as Mukai Buzen no Kami (向井豊前守), a title awarded to him in May of 1865. On October 23rd of 1867, he was again promoted and given the title and rank, Mukai Izunokami (向井伊豆守).

In 1868 he left the Army and conceded his family naval traditions over to his adoptive father’s 2nd eldest son, Mukai Masayasu (向井正養). As of April 1st, 1868, he became a regular citizen of modern Japan and again changed his name to Mukai Akimura (向井秋村).

He moved to Shizuoka and cleared some land to plant tea but it failed to cause him to move to the Port of Shimoda. There he taught students from Meiji Gakuin (University) swimming in the summer. From 1876 he spent the rest of his life as a substitute judge at the Shimoda courthouse.

Toda Kinzaburo died March 24th, 1906 at the age of 68.

Could Toda Hisajiro’s (Shinryuken) grave be near his brothers???…

Still digging for more…

Legends of the Bujinkan…

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

Towards the end of the Edo Period from about 1839 to 1841, there was a suppression of scholars of Western Studies called the “Bansha no Goku” (蛮社の獄, “The Indictment of the society for western (or barbarian) study”). The Edo Shogunate government of Japan was beginning its expulsions of all things western and foreign.

Master Yagi Ikugoro Hisayohi (八木幾五郎久喜), the 13th Soke of the Takagi Yoshin Ryu, at the time was a samurai of the Akō Domain (赤穂藩 Akō Han) located in Harima or today’s Hyōgo Prefecture. He was a Jujutsu master at Akō Castle. This castle is famous for being the home of the Daimyo Asano Naganori known for his attempt to kill Kira Yoshinaka at Edo Castle in 1701. Naganori was ordered to commit suicide and his samurai later became rōnin. You may know a group of them as the Forty-seven rōnin. The domain later was ruled by the Mori family for twelve generations until the abolition of the fiefdom system in 1871.

Being interested in the outside world, Master Yagi had regular correspondence with members of the Shoushikai (尚歯会), a group of Japanese scholars that studied European arts and technologies through the Dutch. He is said to have been close to Watanabe Kazan. But unfortunately, due to the ongoing suppression of those open to western influences, this caused him to get expelled from the Akō Domain and his clan in 1841. Now in need of a new occupation to survive in the rapidly changing times, he opened a Jujutsu Dojo at the base of Akashi castle.

It is interesting to note that Akashi castle, from 1633 to 1639, was the home to Toda (Matsudaira) Yasunao and Toda (Matsudaira) Mitsushige. Both lords came from the Toda family of the Matsumoto domain in Shinano near Togakushi Mountain. This branch of the Toda family was entitled to use the family name of the Shogun, Matsudaira.

So now we have the same Toda family that has ties to Togakure Ryu ninjutsu serving the Shogunate and lording over Matsumoto castle and Akashi castle at the beginning of the Edo period.

Keep in mind this is the same Toda family that sent:
Toda Hisasuke
Toda Gosuke I
Toda Gosuke II
Toda Hisajiro
to work for the Shogun in Edo as Takasho (falconers).

This connection to Akashi castle could be why our Toda Shinryuken (Hisajiro) ended up residing in Akashi city (Kobe) after leaving his position at the Military Academy in Edo (Tokyo) as a sword instructor.

One of the stories about Master Yagi in the Takagi Yoshin Ryu (Ishitani-Den) scrolls says that he was so skilled in martial arts that he once held off a giant wild dog that was attacking some travelers on a country road with only a small wooden skewer for boiling snack foods.

Bujinkan Dojo lineage for Takagi Yoshi Ryu
1.Takagi Oriemon Shigetoshi
2.Takagi Umannosuke Shigesada
3.Takagi Gennoshin Hideshige
4.Ohkuni Kihei Shigenobu
5.Ohkuni Yakuburo Nobutoshi
6.Ohkuni Tarodayu Tadanobu
7.Ohkuni Kihei Yoshisada
8.Ohkuni Yozaemon Yoshisada
9.Nakayama Jinnai Sadahide
10.Ohkuni Takezaemon Hidenobu
11.Nakayama Kaemon Sadasaka
12.Ohkuni, Kamahura Hidetoshi
13.Yagi Ikugoro Hisayashi
14.Fujita Fujigoro Hisayoshi
15.Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadefusa
16.Takamatsu Toshitsugu
17.Hatsumi Masaaki

Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
5/11/2018H


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***UPDATE on: THE HIDDEN LINEAGE – IN SEARCH OF THE HISTORY OF THE TOGAKURE RYU***

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

Many have been asking me when the Togakure Ryu history book that includes the information about Toda will be ready. Honestly, I am slightly behind schedule due to several long business trips with my day job but I still plan to be finished with the rewriting and editing by the end of May. So, if things go really well I may have copies at the end of May. But at the latest, I should have everything ready in June.

I am also opening a new website in conjunction with the book to promote the BKR Dojo’s new member’s only content. I will still always be writing and posting for free here on Facebook but this will be for my personal students and for those who want more in-depth videos and articles along with the chance to earn rank in the BKR syllabus created by myself and approved by Hatsumi Soke and Noguchi Dai-Shihan in 2001. There will be monthly live training webinars included for members. All for the low cost of $9 per month.

But for now, here is another part of Soke’s new Taijutsu book that I thought deserved translation…

Koppojutsu and Taihenjutsu
From Kamae to tactical application

The Root Principles of the Bujinkan Martial Arts

It is Taihenjutsu (大変術), not to mention, that is the root of all of the Bujinkan’s techniques. Here is where you pull off all the strikes, joint locks and throws. It is the same if performing unarmed Taijutsu (体術) fighting techniques or with Bukijutsu (武器術) weapons techniques. I think many of you have already come to understand this now. In this essay I will return to the origins, and explain in detail this basic point that should be called the Bujinkan’s root principle technique.

The Koppojutsu mentioned in the above title is referring to one of the core styles of the Bujinkan system, the Koto Ryu Koppojutsu. When generally referring to Koppo (骨法), many people may have the image of striking techniques in their mind but in the old schools of Jujutsu, a fist (拳) did not always mean a hand held in a closed fist. Just the same, Koppo does not always equal striking techniques. It is certain that striking skills are an important part of the Koto Ryu and there are striking based techniques in the style such as Yokuto and Setto. But not limited to only that, there are throws, as in the form Hoteki, and there are also joint lock techniques and muscle grabbing techniques in the style. But what all forms have in common is that you move with the legs in an X pattern to approach and attach yourself to the opponent while applying the techniques. Each technique has an established theme and then with these forms as a base, various elements are added. Therefore, even with throwing techniques, various types of techniques will be used in combination. For example, Hoteki is reverse-over the shoulder throw versus a grab to the chest. But at the moment when the opponent’s body floats up from the reverse lock on the elbow, a pressure point grabbing technique is applied in combination to the points in the opponent’s arm. Depending on the flow of situation you can also strike the pressure point called Jakkin on the inside of the bicep rendering it unable to resist the technique.

Also, the form Setto is a technique versus a grab to the chest using a type of fist called Shikanken. This fist is formed by half closing your normal fist and striking the opponent’s Jakkin with the second joints of the four fingers, followed by a thumb strike from the other hand to the floating ribs. At first glance it seems like a very simple technique but from this point many variations including various throws, joint locks and grabbing techniques are included. The theme of this technique and the secret to its application are important elements. Therefore, as I have expounded “Koppo” means the knack or the gist of how to apply the techniques.

Along with the Koto Ryu, the Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu is another of the core arts of the Bujinkan. Koshijutsu is said to mean the “essentials” of all martial arts (the mother of all martial arts). Here the use of the Kanji character for bone in the “Ko” part of “koshi” is used to imply as always, the root principles or the theme of the art. The use of this character is not simply just a pun, it is meant to impart a deep feeling.

The birth of a technique…【Kamae 構え】

In this essay, to analyze the fundamental parts of the Koto Ryu, I will explain the basic Kamae and their usage. I have said many times that Kamae is the birth or the beginning of a technique and not a fighting pose. But I think that it will be even more clear if we look at the photographic explanations. From these Kamae, I’d like you to understand how to use Taihenjutsu to deal with your opponent’s attacks.

In the Koto Ryu, Kamae is called Kurai Dori (位取) and this term shows that it contains various feints, variations and counters. Essentially all the elements of the martial arts are contained in the Kamae.

Here I will explain Seigan no Kamae (正眼の構え), Hira Ichimonji no Kamae (平一文字の構え), Houko no Kamae (抱圍の構) and Boubi no Kamae (防備の構え). But of these four the most basic is Seigan no Kamae. As you can see in the picture, in this posture you turn to the side and lower the hips while both arms are directed towards the centerline of your opponent. From this Kamae the basic body movement is while the lead arm becomes the axis and the body evades the attack to the left or to the right. By doing this you can evade the enemy’s line of offense and be in a position that is advantageous for the battle, and if you have a weapon in your hand you can still move in this same way. Hira Ichimonji no Kamae will probably give the strangest impression…

Specifically, move from Seigan no Kamae to evade the line of attack by moving the body to the side where you can counterattack immediately. Or you can turn your body sideways to avoid the line of attack to the inside or the outside, immediately spreading both hands forcefully to hit the opponent’s face with the back of the hand or palm (this position is Hira Ichimonji no Kamae). At the time of avoiding the attack by turning to the side and flattening out, do it just like trying to squeeze through a crowd. By opening both arms out. During this movement it is possible to be completely flattened out. There is also the meaning of complementing the movement of the front hand with the with symmetrical arm movement of the backhand. The raised leg is meant for kicking and hooking, and everything is prepared to be useful for battle with no waste. In addition, spreading both hands to the left and right and keeping both feet flat on the floor while dropping their waist is called Hira no Kamae.

Widely applicable…【Kamae 構え】

To do Houko no Kamae face your body to the front and raise both hands up and in front of you. The knack of this is to keep your hands and arms up like you are wrapping up or absorb your opponent into your arms and body. Both hands can be used for offense or defense. It is a very easy Kamae to use in actual battle and is used for facing a swordsman while unarmed. While Seigan no Kamae leads to the sword, staff, spear, etc. this Houko no Kamae is the basic stance of using secret weapons like the Tekagi (手鉤) or “hand claws”. As for this, I would like to explain more, in addition to the Tekagi, there are also many techniques including dangerous weapons such as the “ring spike” or Kakushi (角指) and “iron fists” or Tekken (鉄拳). There are even knife fighting techniques as well. But regarding these, I wish to avoid from putting on paper the techniques that are regarded as dangerous.

If you are seeking real training head to the door of your nearest Bujinkan Dojo.

Hatsumi Masaaki
Ninjutsu Kyoden (忍術教伝) 2018
Text: Pages 94 ~ 96
Photos: Pages 98 ~ 103

Translated by
Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
5/1/2018


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Searching for Toda, Sensei

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

When I sat with Soke on the 21st and shared my research with him, everything was still hot off the press and only in English. I needed to explain everything I had found to him.

27628809_1481584878621056_1609936000718160481_oHe was very excited about the finds and insisted that I get everything translated over into Japanese for him right away.

That has been my priority number 1 since I returned on Monday heavy with a bad hangover and severe jet lag.

Today I have completed translating all 31 pages of the most important aspects of the research I have done over the past few months. They are off to him now both digitally and by postal mail.

Now I can focus on getting down to writing the full book.

Glad this initial stage is finished.


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