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TOMO RYU SHINOBIJUTSU

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According to legend, the origins of the Tomo-ryu tradition of Shinobijutsu was developed in the Kemmu Restoration (建武の新政) as a samurai tradition that had its primary focus on its use of the short sword (kodachi) as well as several different kobuki (old weapons).  It was during this time (1333-1336) in the Shiga prefecture (known as the Omi Province before the prefectural system was established) of Japan that Gohei Tomo and two other samurai (Jinsuke Tomo and Senri Akutagawa) developed this method of warfare to serve as a means of self-protection for their families, their village, and their feudal lord.  As Japan entered the Sengoku period (戦国時代), it was during this time that the art flourished and other areas such as Bōryaku (tactics), Chōhō (espionage), Intonjutsu (escaping and concealment), and Zetsumeijutsu (assassination) which then became the strength of this samurai tradition.  It was these methods of guerrilla tactics that would later be known as Tomo-ryu Shinobijutsu.

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As the lineage of the Tomo-ryu continues, the 17th Soke Nakashima Fumio trained in other family traditions such as the Nakamura-ryu (中村流), Kobayashi-ryu (小林), Nakashima-ryu (中島), Akutagawa-ryu (芥川) as well as Tomo-ryu (伴流).  It is with these teachings that Nakashima Sensei combined all of his bujutsu and ninjutsu training calling this method Tomo-ryu Shinobijutsu (戸猛流忍術; Door of the Fierce School).

 

Tomo-ryu (戸猛流) Keiko consists of the Goke (), also known as the five houses, which is the training of five family transmissions.  The main family tradition and foundation of all kuden that is taught is the Tomo-ryu (伴流; also called Ban-ryu).  Each of these five family traditions has its own direct purpose and specialization towards war.

Tomo-ryu Shinobijutsu (伴流忍術) has a variety of skills taught within which includes, but is not limited to: stealth, espionage, assassination, spying, shinobijutsu, shinobi-waza, shinobi-heiho, kajutsu, suijutsu, tenton juppo, chiton juppo, jinton juppo, and zetsumeijutsu.

 

Nakamura-ryu Monomijutsu (中村流物見術) has a variety of skills taught within which includes, but is not limited to: survival, wilderness skills, scouting, hunting, tracking, meteorology, geography, and topography.

 

Kobayashi-ryu Nusubitojutsu (小林流盗人術) has a variety of skills taught within which includes, but is not limited to: theft, robbery, stealing, disguise, impersonation, persuasion, bribery, seduction, sexual persuasion, and prostitution.  All of these skills are utilized as a means to a specific end. 


Nakashima-ryu Bujutsu (中島武術) has a variety of skills taught within which includes, but is not limited to: jujutsu, dakentaijutsu, kenjutsu, bojutsu, sojutsu, kyujutsu, nagamonojutsu, shurikenjutsu, hojojutsu, hojutsu, teppojutsu, and heiho.


Akutagawa-ryu Ninjutsu (芥川忍術) has a variety of skills taught within which includes, but is not limited to: stealth, entering-in, concealment, evasion, spying, disguise, fire and explosives, water methods, shinobijutsu, shinobi-waza, ninki, kakushi bukijutsu, ninyakujutsu, and shinobi-heiho.

While studying the five families of the Tomo-ryu (戸猛流), there are four levels that one has to be proficient in to master this tradition.

 

Shoden Gata (初伝; initial transmission)

Chuden Gata (; middle level transmission)

Okuden Gata (奥伝; heart transmission)

Kaiden Gata (皆伝; full transmission)

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The training within the Tomo-ryu is very physically demanding. Challenging your body to achieve extreme physical abilities, such as hanging from rafters, holding your breath for lengths of time, climbing, lifting, and swimming skills as well the ability to live in the wilderness for months on end are a necessity. This is part of the training in order to develop your mind, body, and spirit to be as sharp and as strong as the katana.  You must constantly push and forge yourself to achieve the necessary skills of the shinobi.  This extreme mental and physical training approach towards preparing for warfare has always been a staple point of the Tomo-ryu.  Striking trees, sand, and the training floor to condition skin and bone, lifting heavy rocks and weighted objects to build muscle,  and running and walking for miles to condition cardiovascular ability are only a few of the “normal” training methods.  In the Tomo-ryu, the training goes further into the extreme so that no matter what situation you are in, whether you are killing someone, being captured, raped, tortured, or having to fight many enemies at once who are heavily armed with weaponry, you have the physical strength, mental strength, and skill to overcome any situation.

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Tomo Ryū (戸猛流) was a private school.  None of the previous Soke felt the need to join large martial arts organizations.  Therefore, not much was known or recorded about the school outside the school itself until the 21st Soke; Anshu Christa Jacobson began teaching publicly and accepting more than a handful of students at any one time.

 

Tomo Ryū (戸猛流) is a school of war, and just like all warrior traditions of the time, was passed down in the warrior sect in the form of kuden (oral teachings).  Therefore, very little was written down in the form of Densho until the 17th Soke; Fujibe Nakashima started documenting the oral traditions of the school for it's survival.

 

There are makimono & densho concerning Tomo Ryū (戸猛流) from the past masters, and are currently in possession of Soke Anshu Christa Jacobson, 21st headmistress of the Tomo Ryū (戸猛流).

KODEN (古伝)

Ichiro Kobayashi (1948-2008) 20th Soke; was a practitioner of the martial arts his whole life.  He studied Shotokan Karate and Judo as an adolescent and started his training in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu while he was in college.  Later, Kobayashi Sensei started training with Nakashima Sensei in the Tomo Ryu methods of NinjutsuKobayashi Sensei knew that this was an honor to learn this art, as it has been only taught within the Nakashima family for the last three generations.  After years of training, Kobayashi Sensei was awarded Menkyo Kaiden (Full Transmission) in Tomo Ryu Shinobijutsu and the title of "Soke", making him the 20th grandmaster of the school.

 

Years later he met a woman that he passed down the knowledge and the art of the Tomo Ryu Shinobi to; Christa J. Jacobson.  Kobayashi Sensei felt that she possessed the physical / mental skills needed to train in the ways of the Tomo Ryu Shinobi.  Christa Jacobson was awarded Menkyo Kaiden (Full Transmission) in the art of Tomo Ryu Shinobijutsu in November of 2005 as well as inheritor of the art.  With the title of "Soke" (21st grandmaster of the family) he awarded her the warrior name of "Anshu" which literally translates to "Dark Master".  He said the kanji "dark" symbolizes shadows as he never thought that he would hand the art of the Tomo Ryu Shinobi to any non-Japanese, and or a woman.  He felt that "Soke Anshu" had all of the skills to be the next successor in the art for the future generations.

 

"Just as the ninja operated in the shadows centuries ago in Japan, a new master of the art again comes from the darkness.  Training you has been my greatest accomplishment, and it is clear the student has surpassed her master."

- Kobayashi to Anshu the day of awarding her Soke and successor of the Tomo-ryu.

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HISTORICAL DISCLAIMER:  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.

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