• One must learn patience
within the time it takes a cigarette to burn.
• One must learn that
the way of man is righteousness.
• Forget desire;
forget easiness;
forget stubbornness.
• Think of sadness and grudges as destiny.
One must comprehend the immovable heart (Fudoshin).
• Do not distance one's loyalty from one's parents and rulers.
Try deeply to master culture and martial arts.

Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu
32nd Grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu
New Years message of 1892 (Meiji 25)


There was not a Dan-Kyu system for traditional martial arts once upon a time, there was only a Menkyo system by scroll. The Dan-Kyu system started from about 1887. In Menkyo (scroll) system is Shoden (Mokuroku), Chuden (Chu-Gokui), Okuden (Gokui), Menkyo (Shinan Menkyo) and Kaiden (Inka). This is the normal case.

I will explain more in case of Takagi Yoshin Ryu. This Ryu-Ha was opened by Oriemon Takagi during 1644 to 1654. Second generation Umanosuke Takagi fixed system completely with the theory using the mind of the willow and In-Yo. This Ryu-Ha was named as the "Hontai Yoshin Ryu Takagi Ryu Jujutsu". Then the fourth generation Onihei Ohkuni changed it to Kukishin Ryu Bo-Jutsu from Takagi Ryu Bo-Jutsu. Grandmaster Takamatsu Toshitsugu Sensei called this Ryu-Ha as the "Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu".

Oriemon system used as the Takagi Ryu techniques from Tatara Shinden Shintoism, Kenko Ryu So-Jutsu (Yari), Muto Ryu So-Jutsu, Yagyu Ryu Kenpo, Ueda Ryu Ba-Jutsu (horse riding), ... because he held Menkyo Kaiden (Grandmastership) for that. As a Ryu-Ha rule, next generation Grandmaster is only one. That is Soke. Other Menkyo Kaiden Masters are Shike (special Master family). If other Menkyo Kaiden Master wants to keep that Ryu-Ha name, he can not say he is Soke and he has to be called Shike or other title name. If he wants to call himself Soke/Soshi as new Ryu-Ha, he has to system up new style and he can do so because he already has some traditional Ryu-Ha Menkyo Kaiden. If someone opened new Ryu-Ha without being given correct Ryu-Ha Menkyo Kaiden, he is irregular and nobody can believe him.

Shihan was from Okuden or Shinan Menkyo persons title as a traditional rule. But nowadays be called Shihan from about 4th Dan or from 6th Dan. Or sometimes be called as a Shihan eventhough Soke. Nowadays, this is confusing.

Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu scroll system are Shoden Mokuroku no Maki, Chugokui no Maki, Gokui no Maki, Menkyo no Maki, Kaiden Ryuko no Maki, Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu Menkyo no Maki, Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu Kaiden no Maki and Tora no Maki (Tiger scroll), ... .

The 13th generation Grandmaster was Ikugoro Yagi. He was a Samurai of Ako castle (Hyogo Prefecture). In 1841 he lost job (became Ronin) and he went to Akashi City. He opened a Dojo there and taught Takagi Ryu Jujutsu and Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu. He gave Menkyo Kaiden to 3 persons who were Takema Ishitani, Kumataro Inoue and Togoro Fujita. They were 14th generation.

Takamatsu Sensei was the 16th generation of Ishitani line and Fujita line. He gave Grandmaster Sato Kinbei Sensei the 17th generation of Ishitani line as Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jutsu, with Amatsu Tatara scroll and Tora no Maki. Grandmaster Sato Kinbei Sensei gave to Grandmaster Tanemura Shoto Sensei as 18th generation of this line.

Grandmaster Takamatsu Toshitsugu Sensei gave to Grandmaster Ueno Takashi Sensei next generation of Fujita line as "Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jutsu". And Grandmaster Takamatsu Toshitsugu Sensei gave to Grandmaster Hatsumi Yoshiaki Sensei too next generation of Fujita line as "Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Ju-Taijutsu".

Ueno and Hatsumi said their generation was 19th because they counted from So Unryu and Kiinokami Ito before Orimon Takagi. Hatsumi was a student of Ueno. Sato Kinbei was elder student rather than Ueno under Takamatsu Sensei.

Grandmaster Tanemura Shoto Sensei received Grandmastership of Inoue line and he mastered Mizuta line too.

Nowadays there are other Soke in Ako and Kobe and some person line separated for Takagi Ryu, Hontai Yoshin Ryu and Kukishin Ryu. Like this, if no decision is made about the next generation Soke, many Soke appear.

© Grandmaster Tanemura Tsunehisa Shoto Sensei (Bu-Fu Magazine)


Budo is Budo, that's all. Budo is a great Japanese inheritance which our ancestors made for complete victory, through experience in battles by their blood and sweat. It is not Budo if there is no thinking about battle and effect in a true fighting case. With the Budo if you lose a fight, you face death. The Budo practitioner has to have resolution all time to die or not. Don't confuse true Budo and Bushido which was made up in the feudal age as a Samurai theory by Zen and Confucianism. We have to master ourselves through Budo training. If you divide Jutsu (technique) and Michi (way), and if you try comparing with sport and sportsman that is the idea as in Europe. Then the Ho and Michi are just one.

Sport is decided by rules, takes a weight system, starts the fight from an oath and has an empire. This is very far from the true Budo way of Japan and the East.

For training in Budo one has to keep doing correctly the original Kata, even the steps or swings which previous Masters left as the Ryuha. So we can reach the point we never lose the way.

Some sportman said, training only in Kata is like a mold that one will not be able to break out of to see its applications or variations. I don't think so. If so, that instructor is bad. In the present, there are many strange martial art demonstrations which look like movie shows.

For training in Budo one has to concentrate with strong Ki. So this Ki sees into an opponents heart and he, will be afraid. If one can not do this, as a martial artist it is not useful for true cases. If a man trains like a movie actor that is just playing at Budo. Even when receiving a heavy injury never escape and even if ones neck is cut never resign until you knock down and completely finish your enemy.

If you just only throw for a point (like in competition), you will never attain true Budo points.

After World War II, Japan could reconstruct and the Japanese could have a good standard of living. But eventhough the economy can prosper, if one loses its traditional culture it is very difficult to reconstruct. If one doesn't try to preserve and study now, traditional Japanese Budo will soon be lost.

I hope to study and train in Japanese Budo instead of spending a lot of time as a sports martial artist only with the Budokan (Japan Budo Center) and Budo class of University. They take control of too many martial arts and are laughed at by martial artists from China and Asia. These things are very shameful for the traditional Japanese martial artist and Japan itself too.

I will say again, that martial art (Budo) is not sport and not a play theory of Budo, and it is unimportant how long the scroll is. The most important thing is just training and practice. There is a very famous phrase in China: "The person well known about the way never says so, but the person who doesn't know well soon says".

Grandmaster Sato Kinbei Sensei - 1948


Interview with Grandmaster Tanemura Tsunehisa Shoto Sensei
by Peter Nunn (BBC journalist)
BBC Radio 5 Live 909-693 MW
5 December 1999 - La Spezia - 4th Italy Tai-Kai

Ninpo is a total system, not only 1 part of martial art and not only physical techniques; all spiritual world and all technical world with physical world and I would say in fact everything is included.

Manners are most important throughout this martial art. In the world today, almost no manners are taught anymore. In the school no manners are taught, parents don't teach manners, kids don't listen to parents or others when manners are taught. Only in the Dojo, where true traditional martial arts are taught, true manners are taught. Next important thing is, good mannered persons can use good techniques without using for killing purpose. These true techniques are dangerous, so having a good heart is very important. A student will only use the techniques for self-defense purpose and for helping another person.

The true Ninja is never saying or showing that he is a Ninja. He is behaving as a usual person. Only in emergency times for the world he will come out and defense and create for peace, after peace disappear. So what I'm doing now is not being a Ninja, I'm a Ninpo martial artist. Now is emergency time for traditional Japanese martial art Ninpo.

So I have to create again and clean up what is the true traditional martial art as a part of the Japanese culture.

Sports martial art is good for health and Ki (energy) too. Traditional martial art is not so exciting because only pain and no title-matches and one must be very patient. It takes a long time before mastering everything. Most persons don't like this and have no patience until success-time will come. Of course this is very hard because one have to save lives and have to defend against assassins. Assassin is a killer-specialist, so how to defend against him without hard training?

Most important thing, keep going any way, even sports martial arts, doesn't matter. Keep going and you can understand what is your purpose/mission. If you can find out this, then you are a true martial artist and you can do service for society in the world. You are happy and can die with happiness.

My mission is spiritual together with martial arts. As a martial artist how to guide and introduce the spiritual world. This is my mission.