Togakure-ryū (戸隠流) "School of the Hidden Door" (history from Masaaki Hatsumi 34th grandmaster of Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu) was founded about
eight hundred years ago by Daisuke Nishina (Togakure), who learned shugendo practices as well as Hakuun
ryu ninjutsu from Kagakure Doshi. Although the existence of Daisuke Nishina has been verified, in that a person by that name
was found by Koyama Ryutaro in a period work, the history of the system has not been independently verified.
In 1182, during the Japanese Genpei War, at the end of the
Heian Period, Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a general from the mountainous Nagano region of Japan, captured the capital city of Kyoto.
After this victory, he found himself under attack by his cousin Yoshitsune. When Yoshitsune's troops successfully crossed
the Uji river, a key strategic defense for the capital, Yoshinaka withdrew,
only to be killed as his horse fell through the ice of a frozen rice paddy.
After Yoshinaka's defeat, one of his samurai retainers, Daisuke
Nishina of Togakure Village escaped to the mountains of Iga in south central Japan. Nishina's native village of Togakure is
now known as Togakushi, Nagano, and was an early center of Shugendo training. It may be that Nishina engaged in such training,
but the records of the Togakure ryu do not mention it. The mountains provided an easy place to hide from the enemy troops,
who still searched for Yoshinaka's forces. Daisuke Nishina, who subsequently changed his name to Daisuke Togakure, later became
known as the first Sōke (family head) of Togakure-ryu ninjutsu.
- * Kurai Dori – the postures,
unarmed or with shuko.
- * Ukemi Gata - Ninja receiving forms,
used with Shuko.
- * Shinobi Gaeshi – includes
methods of moving undetected.
- * Santo Tonko no Kata – vanishing
forms: uses blinding powder, shuriken and other devices. These are also used in the case of discovery but this time the opponent
- * Togakure Ryu Gontonpo - 5 Elemental
methods of Evasion and Stealth
* Mokuton-no-jutsu (wood evasion art)
Doton-no-jutsu (earth evasion art)
* Katon-no-jutsu (fire evasion art)
Suiton-no-jutsu (water evasion art)
Kinton-no-jutsu (metal evasion art)
- Ninja Bikenjutsu –
methods of using the Ninja sword, which was shorter and straighter than the Katana.
- * Kurai Dori – sword "postures",
as well as five methods of attaching the sword to the body.
- * Iaijutsu - sword drawing.
- * Biken Kata – sword forms.
(The Ninja method of using the sword is unusual and distinct.)
- Sakkijutsu – developing
the ability to sense intentions. This isn't an entire sub-discipline, however, but is developed through training in the other
- Kyoketsu shoge –
a special blade on a long "lead," had no formal techniques.
According to the 34th Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, the school contained Yon-po Hiden (Four
Secrets): Senban Shuriken (four-pointed throwing star), Shuko and sokko (spiked bands worn on hands (shuko)
and sometimes feet (sokko), for climbing), Shinodake (a tube used as a snorkel or blowgun) and Kyoketsu shoge,
an unusual blade attached to cord which is in turn attached to a heavy ring, and taijutsu or arts of the whole body.
Togakure Ryu Sanpo Hiden
“Three Secret Treasures of the Togakure Ryu”
Senban Shuriken - the four pointed throwing star. This resembled a tool used by carpenters to remove nails, called a
kugi-nuki. It was a weapon to harass the enemy to assist in escape.
Shuko - commonly
known as climbing claws, they were frequently used on both the hands and feet for combat as well, capable of delivering very
serious injuries. They were made of metal bands around the hand and wrist with a strap of leather connecting them. Also called
Shindake - a
bamboo tube around 4 feet long, used as an underwater breathing tube and a blowgun.
There are many martial arts researchers and Japanese historians that discredit the history of the Togakure Ryu
and claims that this art never flourished in the Sengoku period of Japan. Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu (from my
understanding and what I share with my students) was transmitted to Toshitsugu Takamatsu from Toda Shinryuken along with other
arts such as Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu and Koto Ryu Koppojutsu. Takamatsu Sensei
was an extremely gifted martial artist as well as inheritor of many classical Japanese fighting arts.
Lineage of the Togakure Ryu
From Masaaki Hatsumi 34th grandmaster of Togakure Ryu
era - 1110
era - 1151
Togakure (Nishina) Daisuke.....Oho
era - 1161
Minamoto no Kanesada.....Shima
Kosanta - 1180
Toda, Nobutsuna Seiryu.....Kwanyei
era 1624 - 1644
Toda, Nobuchika Fudo.....Manji
era 1658 - 1681
Toda, Kangoro Nobuyasu .....Tenna
era 1681 - 1704
Toda, Eisaburo Nobumasa.....Hoyei
era 1704 - 1711
Toda, Shinbei Masachika.....Shotoku
era 1711 - 1736
Toda, Shingoro Masayoshi.....Gembun
era 1736 - 1764
Toda, Daigoro Chikahide.....Meiwa
era 1764 - 1804
Toda, Daisaburo Chikashige.....Bunkwa
era 1804 - ?
Toda, Shinryuken Masamitsu.....b.1824
Takamatsu, Toshitsugu.....1907 - 1968
b.1887 - d. 1972
Hatsumi, Masaaki (Yoshiaki).....1968
- ... b.1931 -
"The essence of all martial arts and military strategies is
self-protection and the prevention of danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes the fullest concept of self-protection of not only the physical
body, but the mind and spirit as well. The way of the ninja is the way of enduring, surviving, and prevailing over all that
would destroy one. More than merely delivering strikes and slashes, and deeper in significance than the simple out-witting
of an enemy; ninjutsu is the way of attaining that which we need while making the world a better place. The skill of the ninja
is the art of winning".
When searching for information regarding secret societies and old
martial arts schools of training, it is very hard if not impossible to find all
of the information regarding the history of the arts. The information that I
have placed on all of
the seven traditions (ryuha) that are
studied within the Budo Ryu Kai (Koka-ryu Kempo, Tenjin-ryu Jujutsu,
Tomo-ryu Shinobijutsu, Eishin-ryu Iaijutsu, Koto-ryu Koppojutsu, Gyokko-ryu
Kosshijutsu & Togakure-ryu Ninpo Taijutsu) may be entirely wrong &
inaccurate. The information that I have
listed is the information that I gathered from my teachers, my training and my personal
research of the arts. This historical information
of the seven traditions taught within the Budo Ryu Kai I feel is
correct based on my personal training and research.