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Hinoshita Toride Kaizan Takenouchi-ryū (日下 捕手 開山 竹内流) is one of the oldest jujutsu koryū in Japan. It was founded in 1532, the first year of Tenbun, on the twenty-fourth of the sixth lunar month by Takenouchi Chūnagon Daijō Nakatsukasadaiyū Hisamori, the lord of Ichinose Castle in Sakushū. Although it is famous for its jūjutsu, Takenouchi Ryū is actually a complete system of martial arts including armed grappling (yoroi kumiuchi), staff (bōjutsu), sword (kenjutsu), sword drawing (iaijutsu), glaive (naginatajutsu), iron fan (tessenjutsu), restraining rope (hojōjutsu), and resuscitation techniques (sakkatsuhō). Its jūjutsu techniques have been influential in the founding of many other schools in Japan. Takenouchi Ryū is still actively transmitted today by members of the Takenouchi family, as well as by other groups both within and outside Japan.
|Founder||Takenouchi Nakatsukasadaiyū Hisamori|
|Period founded||late Muromachi period
|Current headmaster||No single headmaster|
|Jujutsu||Grappling art, unarmed or with minor weapons|
|Iaijutsu||Sword drawing art|
|Tessenjutsu||Iron fan art|
|Hojōjutsu||Rope-tying and restraining art|
According to the Takenouchi Keisho Kogo Den, the document recording the establishment and development of the school, Takenouchi Hisamori retired to the mountains near the Sannomiya shrine to train his martial skills. He practiced there for six days and six nights, wielding a bokken (wooden sword) two shaku and four sun in length (about 2 ft. 4 in. or 72 cm), a relatively long weapon for his purportedly short stature. On the sixth night he fell asleep from exhaustion using his bokken as a pillow. He was woken by a mountain priest with white hair and a long beard who seemed so fearsome to Hisamori that he thought it must be an incarnation of the god Atago. Hisamori attacked the stranger, but was defeated. The priest said to him "When you meet the enemy, in that instant, life and death are decided. That is what is called hyōhō (military strategy)." He then took Hisamori's bokken, told him that long weapons were not useful in combat, and broke it into two daggers one shaku and two sun long. The priest told Hisamori to put these in his belt and call them kogusoku, and taught him how to use them in grappling and close combat. These techniques became called koshi no mawari, literally "around the hips". The priest then taught Hisamori how to bind and restrain enemies with rope, using a vine from a tree. Then the priest disappeared mysteriously amidst wind and lightning.
Takenouchi Hisamori's second son Hitachinosuke Hisakatsu became the second head of Takenouchi Ryū after his father formally passed him the tradition at the age of 64. He and his successor and son Kaganosuke Hisayoshi added their own techniques to the curriculum, extending it into a complete sōgō bujutsu system.
Takenouchi Ryū is best known for its jūjutsu, over which it covers an extensive ground. Its unarmed jūjutsu techniques include tehodoki (grip breaking), ukemi (tumbling), nagewaza (throwing), kansetsuwaza (joint dislocation), atemi (striking weak points), shimewaza (choking), newaza (ground techniques), and kappō (resuscitation). These are combined to form kata for the various sections of jūjutsu taught, including toride (capturing and restraining), hade (attacking vital points unarmed), and kumiuchi (grappling). These unarmed kata are the best known of the Takenouchi Ryū jūjutsu, but they are not truly its foundation. As related in the establishment myth of the school, the central forms of jūjutsu in Takenouchi Ryū are the kogusoku koshi no mawari, techniques of armed grappling using the short sword kogusoku against armed opponents. It is upon this foundation that the rest of the jūjutsu techniques were developed by Hisakatsu and Hisayoshi, the second and third heads of the school.
Beyond the core of jūjutsu, many different weapons are taught. These include the sword, the staff, rope tying, the naginata, and more. The sword curriculum is divided into major sections, with kenjutsu covering basic swordsmanship against a similarly armed opponent, saide covering grappling with the sword, and iai covering the techniques of rapid sword drawing and striking. The staff is central to Takenouchi Ryū's study of movement, and as such forms an important part of the curriculum. Staff work addresses various lengths of staff, in particular bōjutsu for the six shaku staff and shinbō for a slightly shorter staff. Other sizes taught include jōjutsu for the common four shaku two sun staff, and hanbō for shorter sticks around three shaku in length. Rope restraints are an important adjunct to the arresting arts of toride, and the techniques of tying up opponents called hojōjutsu or hobaku are taught using the haya nawa which is a two shaku five sun rope, traditionally of a purple color.
Takenouchi Ryū is perhaps lesser known for its other weapons techniques, but as a true sōgō bujutsu it retains a number of weapons for use both on and off the battlefield. The naginata and kusarigama are covered, as well as the jutte truncheon, shuriken throwing darts, and the tessen iron fan. Some kata feature rather peculiar weapons intended to show the use of everyday objects for defense against sword attacks. These include the kasa, a Japanese style umbrella, and the nabebuta, a wooden lid for a cooking pot.
Takenouchi Ryū's influenceEdit
Takenouchi Ryū has exerted a strong influence in the development of jūjutsu. The branches of the Takenouchi Ryū have subsequently have influenced schools directly or indirectly and thus many techniques found in modern jūdō and aikidō can be traced back to their roots in Takenouchi Ryū in one way or another. A number of important jūjutsu koryū were founded by students of the school, such as the Rikishin Ryū, Fusen Ryū, Sōsuishitsu Ryū, Takagi Ryū and its branches (such as Hontai Yōshin Ryū), and Araki Ryū. These ryūha have incorporated many techniques from Takenouchi Ryū either directly from the school or by analyzing the techniques of its exponents.
Takenouchi Ryū has documents by its founder on the use and teaching of rokushakubojutsu [6-foot-long (1.8 m) stick]. This makes it the oldest verifiable school to teach these skills and it is believed to have had a great influence on other arts teaching rokushakubojutsu. Other arts have long histories and claim to have been teaching rokushakubo, but so far no documents from the period have been found. It may be that these other schools added it later on to their teachings.
As with any koryū, the lineage of Takenouchi Ryū is a matter of importance and pride to its members. Since the tradition was maintained in the family a careful account of the successive leaders of the school has been kept over the centuries.
After the 8th headmaster, Takenouchi Tōichirō Hisayoshi, the lineage was split into two branches called the sōke and sōdenke lines. This was done to ensure that the blood line and tradition would be preserved.
Bitchū Den 竹内流 備中伝Edit
As well as the two divisions of the school given above, another lineage exists branching from the third head of the school. This lineage, called the Bitchū Den Takenouchi Ryū, developed through Takeuchi Seidaiyū Masatsugu who moved to Okayama, the capital of Bitchū Province (now western Okayama Prefecture).
The Bitchū Den lineage maintains the same curriculum with the addition of a few more techniques in certain areas. Although being cut off from the mainline for some time, practitioners of both the mainline and Bitchū Den have in recent times compared their techniques and found them to be essentially the same despite many generations of separation. This strongly attests to the successful transmission of this koryu over the years.
Bitchū Den lineage:
- 4. Takeuchi Seidaiyū Masatsugu.
- 5. Yamamoto Kazuemon Hisayoshi.
- 6. Shimizu Kichiuemon Kiyonobu.
- 14. Takeuchi Tsunaichi Masatori. Head of Nisshinkan dōjō.
- 15. Nakayama Kazuo Torimasa. Current head of Nisshinkan dōjō, second head of Okayama Daigaku College Kobudō Section.
- 16. Ono Yotaro Masahito. Head of Chōfūkan dōjō and Dōshisha Daigaku College Kobudō Section.
International branches of Takenouchi-ryu BitchūdenEdit
There are two kinds of authorized training groups: dojo and study circles. Authorized dojo are usually headed by someone ranked Daigeiko or higher, have full teaching authority and limited authority to award rank. Study circles train with the permission of the head of Chōfukan Dojo, have limited teaching authority and no authority to award rank. As of May 2016 there are four international dojo and several study circles.
Shōfukan 松風館, run by Anna Seabourne, located in the United Kingdom (West Yorkshire).
Gyōfukan 暁風館, run by Anthony Abry, located in the United States (Seattle, WA).
Seifukan 正風館, run by Wayne Muromoto, located in Hawaii.
Shōfukan 翔風館, run by Alex Kask, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Ryūfukai 龍風会, run by Andrew Antis, located in Michigan.
Joseph Fichter teaches in southern Oregon.
Graham Pluck teaches in Quito, Ecuador.