The history of our art is shrouded in myth and deception . . . we are Ninja!

Most is kuden (verbal transmission) and the rest from the scrolls of our arts.

Togakure Ryu Ninpo
The 'Hidden Door' School

Kaihogyo (the proper name for the 'belief' which everyone is referring to as Shugendo) background:
So-o was a monk at Enryakuji (headquarters) of the Tendai monastery on Mount Hei-zan, but he left to live for three years in a cave. while there he had a dream after which he formed the Tendai Shugendo sect of Buddhism. These monks still exist today and some are still engaged in the Kaihogyo. Note: It is within this Tendai sect that 750 years later the Takamatsu O'sensei 33rd Soke of the Togakure Ryu became an “Abbot”, on Mount Hei-zan.

It was in Shinsyu (near Azumino province)  in mid 1100's Daisuke Nishina was born.
Both Daisuke and a 16 year old Shima Minamoto, were vassals for one of the most powerful Samurai generals Kiso Yoshinaka, who was a general in the Minamoto army. The Minamoto where in time (1185) to become the first hereditary Shoguns.  

Both Daisuke and Shima fought against the Tiara family, the rivals of the Minamoto family. That battle took place at Awazu, and on the losing side of the battle, seriously wounded it is believed they were forced to flee into a region of Iga called Togakure (now Togakushi) in the prefecture of Nagano (close to the Nagano/Gunma-ken border) in Jyoshinsetsu National Park.

Here Daisuke was found by a Ninja of the Hakuun Ryu known as Kagakure Doshi. He was accepted as a student and adopted the sages Hakuun Shinobi (ninja) warrior teachings, Shugendo practices and combined them with his Samurai skills, he later changed his name to Togakure Daisuke and the beginnings of Togakure Ryu where formed.
Daisuke later took Shima into his care and continued his training.

Togakure Ryu never had an official founding as some martial arts, just Daisuke, Shima  and later Goro Togakure who trained with Daisuke. Goro Togakure is recognized as being the person who officially formed the family of Togakure into the Ninjutsu system that we learn today. The Hakuun Ryu of Ninjutsu was founded by Garyu Doji, but was later completed by Hakuun Doji who later gave the Ryu its name. 

Of the first 8 generations, 5 had the name of Togakure, as with most martial traditions it was passed from father to son. It is said that it continued in this way until approximately the early 1600’s. When the immediate family died out, the chief branch of the clan Toda took over leadership.
The 33rd Soke Takamatsu was the last member of the Toda line. It was interesting to note that the 11th, 12th and 13th Soke of the Ryu were named after the main town of Iga, Ueno. It was the tradition in those days to be named after the town or village that one came from. 32nd Soke of Togakure Ryu, Shinryuken Masamitsu Toda was also a master in the Bikenshin Ryu and was the sword instructor for the Tokugawa Shogunate in the mid 19th century.

Togakure Ryu Ninpo includes various punching, throwing and levering techniques. It is known by low and wide stances and also by very strong punches, which are mostly directed towards opponent's eyes, ears and diaphragms. Along with Taijutsu, this school includes the arts of Ken jutsu (sword), So jutsu (spear), Naginata jutsu (helberd), Bo jutsu (sticks), Jutte jutsu (multiple bladed dagger), Tessen jutsu (fan), Ka jutsu (fire), Sui jutsu (water), Onshin jutsu (invisibility) and three school secrets, named Sanpo Hiden, which are Shuko (hand claws), Senban Shuriken (throwing daggers), and Shinodake (bamboo tube for breathing under water).

Togakure Ryu Lineage

Togakure (Nishina), Daisuke Oho Born circa 1161
Minamoto no Kanesada, Shima Kosanta
Togakure, Goro
Togakure, Kosanta
Koga, Kosanta
Kaneko, Tomoharu
Togakure, Ryuho
Togakure, Gakuun
Kido, Koseki
Iga, Tenryu
Ueno, Rihei
Ueno, Senri
Ueno, Manjiro
Iizuka, Saburo
Sawada, Goro
Ozaru, Ippei
Kimata, Hachiro

Kataoka, Heizaemon
Mori, Ugenta
Toda, Gobei
Kobe, Seiun
Momochi, Kobei
Tobari, Tenzen
Toda, Nobutsuna Seiryu. Kwanyei  era circa 1624 - 1644
Toda, Nobuchika Fudo. Manjiera circa 1658 - 1681
Toda, Kangoro Nobuyasu. Tenna era circa 1681 - 1704
Toda, Eisaburo Nobumasa. Hoyei era circa 1704 - 1711
Toda, Shinbei Masachika. Shotoku era circa 1711 - 1736
Toda, Shingoro Masayoshi. Gembun era circa 1736 - 1764
Toda, Daigoro Chikahide. Meiwa era circa 1764 - 1804
Toda, Daisaburo Chikashige. Bunkwa era circa 1804 - ?
Toda, Shinryuken Masamitsu ? - 1909 (b.1824 - d.1909)
Takamatsu, Toshitsugu Uoh 1907 - 1972 (b.1887 - d.1972), last of the direct Toda bloodline.
Hatsumi, Masaaki (Yoshiaki) 1968 - (b.1931) current.

Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu
The Jewelled (or pearl) Tiger School of "bone finger art"

Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu techniques were brought to Japan from China during the Tang Dynasty (circa 600) by a Chinese Martial Artist called Cho Gyokko. The ryu was passed down from generation to generation and was repeated until it was given to Sakagami Taro Kunishige. He organized the ryu and served as head from 1532 to 1555. The ryu was then passed to Momochi Sandayu. The Momochi family then passed the ryu to the Toda family and then on to Toshitsugu Takamatsu. Once, when Takamatsu was training with Shinryuken Toda, he was told that the most important thing for him to learn, was the eight fundamental techniques. These are the foundation stone for Hatsumi Sensei's Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and are the foundation stones of all martial arts. These techniques are called Kihon Happo. Takamatsu then taught these techniques to Masaaki Hatsumi, they are also the foundation of Gyokko Ryu. Kihon Happo is made up of the basic pieces of the Gyokko ryu kata. Gyokko ryu is roughly divided into three sections: unarmed vs unarmed, unarmed vs knife, unarmed vs sword.
Muto Waza are unarmed against either sword or spear and are the most advanced and difficult techniques of the Ryu. The basic movements are that of a spinning top. If a lock is placed on a joint, the joint is held still by the body, while the feet move one's body around the joint. Because footwork takes time, nerve strikes are applied before and during the motion. The movement in Gyokko ryu is also around an opponent's fixed point of balance.
Other specialties of this school are Koshi jutsu (attack on muscle and nerve points), Shito jutsu (use of thumb and other fingers), Ken jutsu (sword), Ko Dachi (short sword), Yari jutsu (spear), and Bo jutsu (various sticks).

Gyokko Ryu Lineage

Tozawa Hakuunsai 1156-1159
 Tozawa Shosuke
 Suzuki Saburo Shigeyoshi
 Suzuki Gobei
 Suzuki Kojiro Mitsu
 Tozawa Soun   1288
 Tozawa Nyoun Geneai
 Kato Ryu Hakuun
 Sakagami Goro Katsushige
 Sakagami Taro Kunishige
 Sakagami Kotaro Masahide
 Sogyokkan Ritsushi
 Toda Sakyo Ishinsai
 Momochi Sandayu I  1542 - 1555
 Momochi Sandayu II  1573 - 1591

Momochi Tanba Yasumitsu  1595 - 1615
Momochi Taro Saemon  1615 - 1624
   (4 generations omitted)
Toda, Nobutsuna Seiryu. Kwanyei  era circa 1624 - 1644
Toda, Nobuchika Fudo. Manjiera circa 1658 - 1681
Toda, Kangoro Nobuyasu. Tenna era circa 1681 - 1704
Toda, Eisaburo Nobumasa. Hoyei era circa 1704 - 1711
Toda, Shinbei Masachika. Shotoku era circa 1711 - 1736
Toda, Shingoro Masayoshi. Gembun era circa 1736 - 1764
Toda, Daigoro Chikahide. Meiwa era circa 1764 - 1804
Toda, Daisaburo Chikashige. Bunkwa era circa 1804 - ?
Toda, Shinryuken Masamitsu ? - 1909 (b.1824 - d.1909)
Takamatsu, Toshitsugu Uoh 1907 - 1972 (b.1887 - d.1972), last of the direct Toda bloodline.
Hatsumi, Masaaki (Yoshiaki) 1968 - (b.1931) current.

Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu
The Immovable Heart School of "hard weapon body art"

One of the secret attributes of Shinden Fudo ryu is the "Principle of nature". The ryu originated by Genpachiro Temeyoshi in the mid 12th century. It is traced back to Kosshijutsu which was introduced by Izumo Kanja Yoshitero. Kuki Takei from the Kuki family of Kukishin ryu was also from the Shinden Fudo ryu. Takenaka Tetsunoke, senior student of Jigoro Kano (the founder of Judo) was at one time a student at the Shinden Fudo ryu Dojo. Kuden says that Yari was taught to Izumo (the founder) by Tengu (demons) and these techniques still remain a secret today. The school uses several different types of Yari (spear), Ono (war axes), O-tsuchi (war hammers) and Naginata (halberd). Hojojutsu (the art of tying someone with a rope) is used along side the Taijutsu, to help restrain the opponent. The school is specialized on Jujutsu and Iainuki (fast sword drawing). The Taijutsu of this school bases on Jutai jutsu (levers, controls and throws) and on Dakentai jutsu (punching techniques).

Takagi Yoshin ryu Jutaijutsu
The High Tree and Awakened Heart School

This school was organized by Takagi Oriemon Shigenobu in the beginning of 1600. He learned this art from a monk named Unryu, who was a master of Amatsu Tatara Rinpo Hiden ryu. Oriemon added to his master's teachings some techniques of Jujutsu from Takanchi ryu and he thereby created a ‘perfect’ combat system. Along with Jujutsu, this school also uses Dakentai jutsu (punching techniques), which are applied without any strength. Techniques are fast and directed to short combat distance, and they are based on such methods that they do not allow the opponent to escape with rolls. Weapons used in this school are Bo (stick), Yari (spear), Kodachi (short sword), Shuriken (throwing blades), and Tanto (knife).

Koto Ryu Koppojutsu
The Tiger Knocking Down School of Bone Structure Art

The exact origin of Koto Ryu is unknown, but it was probably brought to Japan from what today is Korea by a person named Chan Buso in the 16th Century. There went several generations before the system was organized by Sakagami Taro Kunishige. It took two generations more until Toda Sakyo Ishinsai formally formed Koto Ryo Koppojutsu as a Ryu. Sakagami Taro Kunishige was considered as the first Soke in Koto Ryu, but Bando Kotaro Minamoto Masahide, the one that was to be the 2nd Soke died in battle 1542. Instead the Ryu went to Sougyoku Kan Ritsushi who also was the Soke of Gyokko Ryu. There after the Koto Ryu was following the same family line as Gyokko Ryu. The difference as apposed to Gyokko Ryu was that Koto Ryu was only taught to the person that would become the next Soke. Koppojutsu means to destroy the bone structure on the attacker. What specializes the Koto Ryu techniques is that distance is created by moving along with the attack, then moving forward with a strike and then move quickly out to a safe distance again. This is done to come in with a strike at exactly 90 degrees against the bone structure of the attacker to do the most damage. To do this demands good timing and rhythm in the defensive attack, often done with Yoko Aruki (moving with the legs crossing each other). Another important part of the footwork is to hit the attackers toki (the top of the foot), by kicking or stepping on it to control his balance.  It should also be noted that the starting distance should be really big from the start, the attacker must take one big step or several steps to reach the defender. This states clearly that Koto Ryu was developed for the battlefield or out doors in general, and not inside a house or narrowed places. The Koto Ryu stylist should be looking right between the attackers eyebrows, so that the attacker cannot read the intentions through his eyes. The attacker will also believe that he has eye contact, which will be confusing for him. Other typical methods of Koto Ryu are the use of Metsubushi, different ways of blinding the attacker or attacking the eyes directly. Metsubushi could be powder thrown at the attackers eyes, but also reflections at the eyes from the sword or other metal blades. For example when it rains the Koto Ryu stylist will stand in Mangetsu No Kamae (similar to Hoko No Kamae with the blade in the left hand) and collect water in the hi of the blade and then throw the water at the enemies eyes before the sword slashes down. Because of the hard character of the Koto Ryu techniques it demands hard discipline training to harden the body. Takamatsu Toshitsugu started his training in Koto Ryu when he was nine years old, and was considered a Koto Ryu master when he was 13 years old. In his self biography he has written that he got hard fingers and toes by hitting stone and gravel until the blood came through the finger and toenails. Shako Ken (claw hand) is one of the strikes that is used in Koto Ryu. There are story's about Takamatsu Sensei in the 1960's when he convinced Koizume Shizuo, a journalist from the Tokyo Sport Newspaper, by literally drilling five holes through the bark of a tree with his Shako Ken finger strike (‘Claw’ hand). Koto Ryu also has an unusual way of using the katana. Koto Ryu is one of the very few Ryu that sometimes changes the grip of the sword by holding it with the left hand near the tsuka. This gives multiple ways of holding the sword with crossed arms that would totally confuse the attacker, and sometimes convince him that the stylist was an amateur and an easy opponent.

  Koto Ryu Lineage

 Sakagami Goro Katsushige
 Sakagami Taro Kunishige
 Sakagami Kotaro Masahide
 Sogyokkan Ritsushi
 Toda Sakyo Ishinsai
 Momochi Sandayu I  1542 - 1555
 Momochi Sandayu II  1573 - 1591
 Momochi Tanba Yasumitsu  1595 - 1615
 Momochi Taro Saemon  1615 - 1624
 (4 generations ommitted)
 Toda, Nobutsuna Seiryu. Kwanyei  era circa 1624 - 1644

Toda, Nobuchika Fudo. Manjiera circa 1658 - 1681
Toda, Kangoro Nobuyasu. Tenna era circa 1681 - 1704
Toda, Eisaburo Nobumasa. Hoyei era circa 1704 - 1711
Toda, Shinbei Masachika. Shotoku era circa 1711 - 1736
Toda, Shingoro Masayoshi. Gembun era circa 1736 - 1764
Toda, Daigoro Chikahide. Meiwa era circa 1764 - 1804
Toda, Daisaburo Chikashige. Bunkwa era circa 1804 - ?
Toda, Shinryuken Masamitsu ? - 1909 (b.1824 - d.1909)
Takamatsu, Toshitsugu Uoh 1907 - 1972 (b.1887 - d.1972), last of the direct Toda bloodline.
Hatsumi, Masaaki (Yoshiaki) 1968 - (b.1931) current.

Kukishinden Ryu Happo Hikenjutsu
The Nine Demon School of "eight secret weapons arts"

This school is believed to have roots in China and is also said to be founded in the 12th century. Its founder is Izumo Koshiro Terunobu, who learned from Izumo Kanja Yoshiteru, who is written as the first Soke. The word Kuki in the name of the school was obtained after the event, when the master of the school saved the tsar Go-Daigo, who told him, that he was fighting like Kuki - nine demons. Kukishinden ryu warriors used to wear Yoroi battle armour, therefore strong and direct attacks in certain unarmed points are used. This school also uses Bo Ryaku (special kind of strategy), Sui Ren and Ka Ren (use of water and fire), Onshin jutsu (disguise) and weapons as Hanbo (90 cm stick), Rokushaku Bo (180 cm stick), Kaginawa (rope with a hook), Kusari Gama (sickle with chain), Bisento (heavy weapon similar to helbard) and Daisharin (axle with two wheels). It is also written, that Kukishinden warriors used mast tops for fighting. This system was used as a naval art, and consequently the movements are designed to be used on a ship that is slippery and rocking.