Takamatsu Toshitsugu (1887-1972)
The Mongolian Tiger
33rd GrandMaster of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu
The teacher of Hatsumi Masaaki
by Ilan Gattegno
Toshitsugu Takamatsu was born on March 10, 1887 in Akashi town, Hyogo province, by the name of Hisatsugu Takamatsu. Later he changed his name into Toshitsugu, which is written with the same Kanji, but is pronounced differently. His father was Yasaburo (also known as Gishin) Takamatsu. He owned a match factory in the city of Kobe. The name of his mother was Fushi. He spent most of his time with his grandparents who also took care of him. His grandfather was Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu.
Toda was a chiropractor and had a clinic in Kobe. He also had a Budo-Dojo in Kobe and was the Soke of Shinden Fudo ryu. His family had a Samurai rank but his ancestors were Ninja. That was of course a great secret, which became public after Takamatsu died. He was the last member of Toda family, who inherited their Ninja tradition.
Takamatsu was also called Jutaro. His father thought it would be good for him to join the army. He was very shy and that is why his father wanted him to try Budo as it would strengthen him and give him self-consciousness. When he was 9 years old he started practicing the Shinden Fudo Ryu. It wasn't really training. Toda and his students used him to throw around the dojo. After a year passed, he learned his first technique. From that point on Toda himself started to train Takamatsu. When he was 13 he got Menkyo Kaiden for Shinden Fudo ryu from his grandfather.
After Shinden Fudo ryu, Toda taught him also Koto ryu, Gyokko ryu, Gyokushin ryu, Kumogakure ryu and Togakure ryu. But Takamatsu wasn't really interested in Ninjutsu. Around that time Takamatsu met Mizuta Yoshitaru Tadafusa, who taught Takagi Yoshin ryu. Takamatsu used to train regularly with him also and had received Menkyo Kaiden from Mizuta when he was 17 years old. In those times, teachers used to give Menkyo Kaiden even if their student wasn't ready yet. That forced student to train even harder. This custom was called Sakizuke.
Also around that period of time he met Ishitani Matsutaro Takekage who was an employer of his father. Ishitani Matsutaro Takekage was well known in Japan because of his excellence in Martial Arts. He taught Takamatsu Kuki Happo Biken no jutsu. He was also taught various forms of Ninjutsu. Hon Tai Yoshin ryu, Gikan ryu and Shinden Muso ryu. Ishitani was Soke of all of them.
At the age of 20 Takamatsu quit his job at his father's factory and went to China to test what he had learned. In Korea he met someone named Kim Kei-mei-a. He was a teacher and taught Takamatsu. In the time he was gone he learned 18 Korean and Chinese Martial Arts. Then he got ill. He went back home and was cured by Yamabushi (mountain priest). After he was cured, he went back to China.
Takamatsu got in many fights. He got the nickname Moku no Tora, which means Mongolian tiger. He fought in nineteen fights, out of which only seven were competitions. Mortal combats were the consequence of teasing other Martial Artists, who heard of his fame. In one of those fights Takamatsu lost an eye. It was replaced by one made of glass.
Takamatsu then got into teaching others. He taught over 80 people a day. He taught Japanese, Chinese, French and American people. When he came back to Japan he became the head of the Nippon Minkoku Seinen Botoku Kai (Japanese Martial Arts organization). All of this happened before he was 30 years old.
In 1919 he came back to Japan and went into the Tendai monastery on Hiei mountain near Kyoto and became a monk. Later he became one of the representatives of the monastery in an attempt to make up for the sins of his youth.
He was married to Tane Takamatsu, who was born in 1896 in Hirakata region. Her maiden name was Uno. They did not have any children of their own, but adopted 2 girls. Takamatsu also taught a lot of students in Japan, although he was mostly known as master of Ju Jutsu and Bo Jutsu. He was almost only known for Kukishinden ryu. His first Dojo was Sukisha Dojo (place for people, who enjoy Martial Arts). He trained Koba Koshiro, Sato Kimbei, Hanaoka Nangaku, Ueno Takashi, Takeuchi Kikakusai, Kimura Masaharu, Fukumoto, Akimoto Fumio and others.
His last and best know student was Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, who was also Takamatsu's only student for the rest of his life. He also learned all Takamatsu's traditions.
Hatsumi started to train when Takamatsu was already in his 50's. Takamatsu taught him things, he had never taught anyone before. Takamatsu did not train when he was in his 80's, but still watched Hatsumi's development. One year before his death, Takamatsu told Hatsumi that he had taught him all he knew and that he has repaid Toda Sensei, Ishuitani Sensei in Mizuta Sensei for their kindness. Hatsumi had already been given the title Soke, but he still stayed and trained with his teacher.
Toshitsugu Takamatsu died on April 2, 1972 at the age of 85. He is buried on Kumedra cemetery near the city of Nara, which was the last place he lived. He was a great man and a living example of a true Martial Artist. He was the last of the real Ninja warriors, who were involved in real combat. Members of Bujinkan are very proud that we can be a part of the tradition, which was came to us from this great man.
Hatsumi Masaake (1931-)
Masaaki Hatsumi was born in December 1931 in Noda city, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. He grew up with an avid love of the martial arts and in his youth studied many martial art styles. Hatsumi began practicing when he was seven years old and found his fathers Bokuto ("wooden sword"). From that point on he began studying many popular Japanese martial arts and earned ranking in Karate, Aikido and Judo. After he attained a 4th degree Black Belt in Judo he was asked to teach at a United States Army base. He was in his early 20s and found that the big Americans seemed to have size and natural ability and Hatsumi found that they were learning in months what took the typical Japanese years. He began to question his training... What good is a martial art if a bigger or stronger person could easily defeat you? Hatsumi began searching for a true warrior tradition.
While studying kobudo ("ancient weapons") with a renowned instructor Hatsumi learned about a teacher named Toshitsugu Takamatsu, of Kashiwabara City which is to the west of the Iga region of Japan. As a last hope of finding a teacher who could impart the essence of a living warrior tradition and not just some recreational sport or lifeless art form, Hatsumi traveled across Honsho island to seek out the teacher he had searched for his whole life.
The train ride took over half a day to get from Hatsumi's home to that of Takamatsu. In 1957, upon meeting Takamatsu, Hatsumi felt a strange aura emanate from him. Takamatsu was well into his 60's when the two met. Hatsumi was only 26 years old. Full of confidence, Hatsumi had a match with the veteran battler and learned the true meaning of training. In Hatsumi's own words:
The pain of his technique was different from any pain I had ever suffered before. I had only felt a cold, momentary pain, while with Sensei I was exposed to a hot, burning pain. It was as if something would explode, if my blood would be sucked up and I would die right away. He didn'tjust apply one GYAKU but four or five. I immediately knew this is what I was looking for. I asked to be his student. At that time, Takamatsu did not accept any new students, and yet, seeing something special in this young man he agreed to teach him. For Takamatsu the meeting was more like a reunion than a first meeting. In a poem to Hatsumi, Takamatsu wrote:
"In the days of the Tenei era there was great master of Koppo. He was calm and peaceful like the flowers of springtime. Yet he was so brave that not even 10,000 enemies could make him show fear. He could even strike down a wild animal with but a single blow."
For over fifteen years Hatsumi trained under the supervision of Takamatsu and in 1972, with the death of his teacher, Hatsumi Sensei became the heir to the last and oldest ninja tradition existing.
Hatsumi is a Nihonga (Japanese-style) painter and has had exhibitions in Noda, Ginza (Nagai Gallery), etc. During his many years of training he has also supplied martial arts guidance for numerous film, (Ninja Nights) TV (Jiraiya, Ninja-boy-Fujimaru) & theater events.
Showa 5 (1921)
Masaaki Hatsumi was born in December 1931 in Noda city
Showa 31 (1957)
When he was 26 years old he met Takamatsu Toshitsugu in Kashiwabara City west of the Iga region in Japan. He travelled across Honshu island every weekend for fifteen years to study with his teacher. The train ride took him over a half day from his home in Noda to Takamatsu's home in Kashiwabara.
Showa 35 (1961)
November 3 he held a lecture to the Japanese Tenno (crown prince) about Ninpo.
Showa 36 (1962)
The film "Shinobi no mono" a film about Ishikawa Goemon and Momochi Sandayu was released this year, he acted as the advisor to the film company.
Showa 38 (1964) - Year of Tatsu-Kinoe (Dragon-Wood)
He performed frequently in the childrens program "Suteki-na-Mama!"
Showa 47 (1972)
After 15 years of studying, Takamatsu Toshitsugu died 83 years old in his home in Nara (just East of Osaka) April 2, 1972. A few years earlier Takamatsu had already decided that Hatsumi would be the next sole inheritor and "Soke" (grandmaster) of:
- Togakure ryu Ninjutsu, 34th Soke
- Gyokko ryu Kosshijutsu, 28th Soke
- Kukishinden Daken Happo Bikenjutsu, 28th Soke
- Shindenfudo ryu Dakentaijutsu, 26th Soke
- Gyokushin ryu Ninjutsu, 21th Soke
- Koto ryu Koppojutsu, 18th Soke
- Takagiyoshin ryu Jutaijutsu, 17th Soke
- Gikan ryu Koppojutsu, 15th Soke
- Kumogakure ryu Ninjutsu, 14th Soke
Showa ?? (19??)
Names organization "Bujinkan Dojo" (Divine Warrior Training Hall) in honor of his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu.
Showa 57 (1982)
He first travels to West (to Dayton, Ohio, USA) to teach Budo. First Tai Kai held in Japan.
Showa 61 (1986)
Received the "Best Instructor Award" from the Black Belt Magazine (as voted by the readers). First Bujinkan related video released. First foreign Taikai: USA.
Showa 62 (1987)
First travel to Europe (London, UK) to teach Budo. Taikai in: United Kingdom and USA
Showa 63 (1988)
Acted in Jiraya, a 50 episodes children's adventure series made by Asahi Television. Played the part of "Yamaji Tetsuzan" (Jiraya's father and teacher). Taikai in: USA, UK, and Sweden
Heisei 1 (1989)
Taikai in: USA, UK, Sweden, and Israel
Heisei 2 (1990)
He was the "Chairman of the International Division, Japan Literary Artist's Club" 1990-94. Taikai in: USA, UK, Sweden, and Spain
Heisei 3 (1991)
Received a letter of appreciation from US President George Bush on his 60th birthday. Honorary Member of Texas Rangers. Taikai in: USA, UK, Sweden, Spain, and Germany.
Heisei 4 (1992)
Honorary degree of Ph.D. Natural Science from a U.S. University. Received the Cross Medal and Sun Medal from Juan Carlos, King of Spain. Accepted the position as the Director of the Japan Literary Club, International Section. Taikai in: USA, UK, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Australia, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Israel.
Heisei 5 (1993)
Main Theme this year was Rokushaku Bojutsu & Taijutsu. Taikai in: USA, Spain, Australia, France, and Argentina.
Heisei 6 (1994)
Main Theme this year was Sojutsu (Yari) & Kodachi. Became "Knight" at Frankfurt. Taikai in: UK, Germany, and USA
Heisei 7 (1995)
Main Theme this year was Naginatajutsu & Daisho Sabaki Gata & Taijutsu. Renamed ninjutsu to budo taijutsu to reflect the growth of training available to students. Was awarded the title Todo Hanshi (Master teacher of the way of the sword) by Nakazawa Toshi, President of Zen Nippon Todo Renmei (Sword Federation). Honorary Member of Arizona Rangers. Received Letters of thanks from FBI. Taikai in UK, New Zealand, Spain, and USA
Heisei 8 (1996)
Main Theme this year was Bikenjutsu & Taijutsu. Opened the Bujinden (honbu dojo) September 9th. Taikai in: Holland, Spain, and USA
Heisei 9 (1997)
Main Theme this year was Jojutsu, Tachi and Taijutsu. Taikai in: Spain and USA
Heisei 10 (1998)
Main Theme this year was Shindenfudo-ryu Dakentaijutsu Happo Biken. Taikai in: Italy, Sweden, and USA.
Heisei 11 (1999)
Main Theme this year was Kukishin-ryu Taijutsu Happo Biken. Recieved the Grand Prize from International Cultural Promoting Association, signed by the Japanese Emperor. Taikai in: Germany, UK, and USA.
Heisei 12 (2000) - Year of Tatsu-Kanoe (Dragon-Metal)
Main Theme this year was Koppojutsu. In November, Hatsumi Sensei receives "Cultural Award". Taikai in: Holland and USA.
Heisei 13 (2001)
Main Theme this year was Kosshijutsu. In May, receives Papal recognition. Taikai in: Spain and USA.
Heisei 14 (2002)
Main Theme this year is Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu and the "formal" wear of the year is Hakama. Taikai in: Norway and USA.
Heisei 15 (2003)
Main Theme this year is Juppou-sesshou, Kunai, Ninja-tou, Tessen, Kyoketsushoge. Taikai in England and USA. Officially, this is the final year that Hatsumi Sensei will do Taikai overseas.
Heisei 16 (2004)
Main Theme this year is Roppo Kuji no Biken Budo no Kiso. Special Taikai held in Japan. Emphasis placed on Yûgen no Sekai (world of the unmanifested)
Heisei 17 (2005)
Main Theme this year is Gyokko-ryu Happo Biken, Bo and Ken with an emphasis on Kasumi no Ho (encompassing mist).
Heisei 18 (2006)
Main Theme this year is Shinden Fudo Ryu with an emphasis on --.
Heisei 19 (2007)
Main Theme this year is Kukishin Ryu with an emphasis on Kuki Taisho (nine smiling demons).
Heisei 20 (2008)
Main Theme this year is Togakure-ryu Ninpo Taijutsu with an emphasis on Kieru no Kankaku (feeling of disappearing).
Heisei 21 (2009)
Main Theme this year is Mu (no theme) but later emerged a focus of Sainou (ability), Tamashii (spirit) and Utsuwa (capacity) [which can alternately be pronounced Sainou-Kon-Ki]. Emphasis was placed on nawa no kankaku (the feeling of rope).
Heisei 22 (2010) - Year of the Metal Tiger
Main Theme this year is Rokkon Shoujou (influencing the spirit through laughter) with an emphasis on the Tachi.
Special thanks to the author of this text: Joe Maurantonio
Ed Martin (Papa san) (1934-2017)
A pilot for TWA during the seventies and eighties. Ed was often away from home. Worried about the safety of his wife and three daughters. He looked into various self defense methods. Training himself in several, but found nothing that really fit until discovering Ninjutsu.
Studying under Ninjutsu's only fully accredited practitioner, Masaaki Hatsumi. Ed switched over from karate.
„When our teacher went to this Ninjutsu seminar and showed us what they did, it was SOOO much better what we do”- told me Papasan with a kind big smile on his face when I asked him how did he meet Ninjutsu.
His daughter's followed. Time passed. Ed became one of a handful of 15th degree black belts (or Dan as the title is called in Japan) worldwide. His daughters acquired a reputation for dealing decisively with school yard bullies, rude dates and other annoyances. People began asking for lessons and pointers in the art of Ninjutsu. Ed became a full time instructor. Which made him a very busy guy converting the family barn into a proper training area or Dojo and taking on students.
He returns to Japan each spring for advanced instruction. He is also often asked to officiate in Ninjutsu's growing number of national and international exhibitions. As a teacher of Ninjutsu he was asked to pen a local newspaper's column on self defense. Noted for his prose he was asked to become editor of a community newsletter, The East Penn Commentator.
Finding he still had time on his hands he went on to produce a video tape entitled Self Defense For Everyone. Which earned an award of merit from Masaaki Hatsumi and a suggestion by Ninjutsu's Grand Master to make a sequel.
Ed Martin was the official leader of the Ginrei Arashi Tennin Dojo 2015-2017.
Papasan and David Holt
They met at the Norway Taikai in 2002. They hit it off, in result David invited Papasan to Budapest to hold seminars to the student of the Ginrei Dojo. That was the beginning of a deep friendship, so he came to Hungary numerous times. After Dave’s death the Ginrei Dojo invited Papasan to hold a seminar, the students could take him to his old friend’s grave.