Niten Ichi-ryū

Traditional Japanese martial art
Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū
Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵 1584–1645
Date founded
Early Edo period Founded between 1604–1640
Current headmaster
There are three successors:[1]
*Musashi Chen (Taiwan): 11th generation
*Yoshimoti Kiyoshi: 12th generation (after Kiyonaga Fumiya)
*Kajiya Takanori: 12th generation (after Iwami Toshio Genshin)
Arts taught
Japanese name Description Niten Ichi-ryu designation
Kenjutsu 剣術—odachi, kodachi Sword art—Long and short sword Tachi/Kodachi Seiho
Kenjutsu—odachi, kodachi Sword art—Long and short sword used together Nito Seiho
Aikuchi[2][3] Aikuchi roppo
JuttejutsuJutte[2][3] Truncheon art Jitte to jutsu
Bōjutsu棒術— Staff art Bo jutsu

Niten Ichi-ryū (二天一流), which can be loosely translated as "the school of the strategy of two heavens as one", is a koryū (ancient school), transmitting a style of classical Japanese swordsmanship conceived by the warrior Miyamoto Musashi. Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū is mainly known for the two-swordkatana and wakizashikenjutsu techniques Musashi called Niten Ichi (二天一, "two heavens as one") or Nitō Ichi (二刀一, "two swords as one").


Musashi originally studied Enmei Ryū and Tōri Ryū, which were ryūha founded by his grandfather Miyamoto Musashi no Kami Yoshimoto and his father Miyamoto Muninosuke respectively. Musashi eventually focused in the kenjutsu and nitōken and developed his own style.[4]

Around 1640, Musashi intended to pass on his art to three successors from among his thousand students; specifically, to Terao Magonojo, his younger brother Kyumanosuke and to Furuhashi Sozaemon. He considered Magonojo to excel in technique but to lack in reflection, while Furuhashi excelled at reflection but lacked technique. Magonojo received the treatise, the Go Rin no Sho. Hosokawa Mitsuhisa made two copies—one for Furuhashi and one for himself, which he transmitted under the name of Ihon go rin no sho. The best known edition today is this Hosokawa copy.

Magonojo then yielded the role of successor to his younger brother Kyumanosuke who had received the Hyoho San-jugo from Musashi. It was Kyumanosuke who transmitted this document to his students with seven added instructions called the Hyoho shiji ni kajo.

Shortly before his death, Musashi also wrote the Dokkodo ("Going My Way"). It seems to be a list of rules that one should try to follow in life steeped in Buddhist precepts.


Terao Kyumanosuke (Motomenosuke) had received the complete transmission of the School of Musashi, with certification and Musashi's two swords. He at first refused to teach and sent what he had received to Musashi's adopted son, Iori. Iori refused the succession, since the honor had not been bestowed upon him. With this, Kyumanosuke then agreed to take over as head—both his and Iori's actions were manifestations of their respect for Musashi.

Succession in the Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryū (the name given by Musashi towards the end of his life) does not follow a hereditary pattern. It is attested to by the bestowing of two artifacts: a scroll on which is written the name of the techniques and the approach to them that must be transmitted if the school is to be perpetuated truly,[3] and a wooden sword that Musashi made himself, with which he trained and used as a walking stick during the last years of his life,[3] today in possession of the city of Usa's Shinto Shrine.


The Gosho-ha Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū disputed the lineage claiming that Iwami Toshio Gensho is the sole legal representative of Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū until 2007. Miyagawa Yasutaka established a line of Niten Ichi-ryū that continues to practice and thrive in the Kansai region of Japan. Miyagawa Yasutaka and Kiyonaga Tadanao were both students of Aoki Kikuo during the same period. This "Kansai" line, currently under 10th Headmaster Miyagawa Morito, is an alternate but equal lineage to the main line.


The lineage to date is as follows:

  1. Shinmen Miyamoto Musashi-No-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin 新免宮本武蔵守藤原玄信
  2. Terao Motome-no-suke Nobuyuki 寺尾求馬助信行
  3. Terao Goemon Katsuyuki 寺尾郷右衛門勝行
  4. Yoshida Josetsu Masahiro 吉田如雪正広
  5. Santo Hikozaemon Kyohide 山東彦左衛門清秀
  6. Santo Hanbe Kiyoaki 山東半兵衛清明
  7. Santo Shinjuro Kiyotake 山東新十郎清武
  8. Aoki Kikuo Hisakatsu 青木規矩男久勝
  9. Kiyonaga Tadanao Masami / Miyagawa Yasutaka
  10. Imai Masayuki Nobukatsu / Miyagawa Morito (Current)
  11. Iwami Toshio Gensho/ Kiyonaga Fumiya / Chin Kin (Taiwan)[1]
  12. Kajiya Takanori (successor of Iwami Toshio Gensho) / Yoshimochi Kiyoshi (successor of Kiyonaga Fumiya)[1]

Yoshomochi Kiyoshi died on 4 January 2020 leaving no successor as stated on his own home page. 後継者の指名はなかった。


Today the following sets of techniques and forms are transmitted:

1) Tachi Seiho (太刀勢法) Twelve techniques with long sword:

  1. 指先 Sassen
  2. 八相左 Hasso Hidari
  3. 八相右 Hasso Migi
  4. 受流左 Uke Nagashi Hidari
  5. 受流右 Uke Nagashi Migi
  6. 捩構 Moji Gamae
  7. 張付 Haritsuke
  8. 流打 Nagashi Uchi
  9. 虎振 Tora Buri
  10. 数喜 Kazuki
  11. 合先打留 Aisen Uchidome
  12. 余打 (アマシ打)Amashi Uchi

2) Kodachi Seiho (小太刀勢法) Seven techniques with a short sword:

  1. 指先 Sassen
  2. 中段 Chudan
  3. 受流 Uke Nagashi
  4. 捩構 Moji Gamae
  5. 張付 Haritsuke
  6. 流打 Nagashi Uchi
  7. 合先 Aisen

3) Nito Seiho (二刀勢法) Five techniques with two swords corresponding to the five forms in the Water Scroll:

  1. 中段 Chudan
  2. 上段 Jodan
  3. 下段 Gedan
  4. 左脇構 Hidari Waki Gamae
  5. 右脇構 Migi Waki Gamae

4) Bōjutsu—Twenty techniques with a long staff (including techniques Bō Vs Bō and Bō Vs sword).

5) Aikuchi roppo, both.[2][3]

6) Jitte to jutsu—Five techniques against a sword.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c Ikeda, Kiyonori (September 2007), 武の道 - 歩む歓び [The way of the Warrior—The satisfaction to undergo *Free translation)], Kendo Nippon, pp. 62, 65, archived from the original on 2007-10-29
  2. ^ a b c d Heijoshin Dojo - Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu Dojo affiliated with the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu leader: Kajiya Takanori#1
  3. ^ a b c d e f - Hyoho Niten Ichiryu information-portal run by Hyakutake Colin#2
  4. ^ Serge Mol (2003). Classical Weaponry of Japan: Special Weapons and Tactics of the Martial Arts. Kodansha International.

Further readingEdit

Iwami Toshio Harukatsu soke, 11th successor in Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu:

External linksEdit