History of Togakure Ninjutsu
Togakure Ryu Ninpo
The Hidden Door School
Mount Hei-zan is where
the Enryakuji (headquarters) of Tendai monastery is sited. So-o was a
monk at this place, but left to live for three years in a cave as an
ascetic. It was after a dream that he formed the Tendai Shugendo sect of
Buddhism. These monks today still exist and some are still engaged in
the Kaihogyo (the proper name for the thing which everyone is refering
to as Shugendo). And it was within this sect in a
small village called Togakure (now Togakushi) in the prefecture of
Nagano (close to the Nagano/Gunma-ken border) in Jyoshinsetsu National
Park in approximately 1165 Daisuke Nishina was born, a Samurai.
It is within the Tendai sect that 750 years later the
33rd Soke of the Ryu is supposed to become "an Abbot", on Mount
Hei-zan. Daisuke was on the losing side of a battle in the 1180s and was
forced to flee into Iga. Here he was found by Kain Doshi (possible known
as Kagakure Doshi). He adopted Doshi's warrior teachings to his own
Shugendo and the beginnings of Togakure Ryu where formed.
Togakure Ryu never had a official founding as some
martial arts, just Daisuke and Shima who was also alive at the same time
and worked with Daisuke. Goro Togakure is recognized as being the person
who officially formed the family of Togakure into the Ninjutsu system
that we learn today. Of the first 8 generations, 5 had the name of
Togakure, as with most martial traditions it possibly passed from father
to son. It is said that it continued in this way until the 1600s (?).
When the immediate family died out, the chief branch of the clan Toda
took over leadership. The 33rd Soke Takamatsu, was the last member of
the Toda line.
It was interesting to note that the 11, 12 and 13th
Soke of the Ryu are named after the main town of Iga, Ueno. It was the
tradition in those days to be named after the town or village that one
The 2nd Soke of the Ryu, Shima Kosanta Minamoto No
Kanesada was a Samurai retainer having the rank of Kosho, for one of the
most powerful Samurai generals Kiso Yoshinaka, who was a general in the
The Minamoto where in time (1185) to become the first
hereditary Shoguns. When he was 16, Shima fought against the Tiara
family, the rivals of the Minamoto family. That battle took place at
Awazu, Yoshinaka was on the losing side. It is thought that Shima was
wounded in the battle, and fled to one of the nearby mountainous areas
near to the battle site. Shima only did this at the request of
Kagakure Doshi, a Ninja of the Hakuun Ryu found Shima and
together they fled to Iga. Kagakure was also one of the teachers of
Daisuke Togakure, who later on took Shima into his care.
The Hakuun Ryu of Ninjutsu was founded by Garyu Doji,
but was later completed by Hakuun Doji who later gave the Ryu its name.
32nd Soke of Togakure Ryu, Shinryuken Masamitsu
Toda was also a master in the Bikenshin Ryu and was the sword instructor
for the Tokugawa Shogunate in the mid 19th century. Togakure Ryu Ninpo
includes various punching, throwing and levering techniques. It is known
by low and wide stances and also by very strong punches, which are
mostly directed towards oponent's eyes, ears and diaphragms.
Along with Taijutsu, this school includes the arts of
Ken jutsu (sword), So jutsu (spear), Naginata jutsu (helbard), Bo
jutsu (sticks), Jutte jutsu (multiple bladed dagger), Tessen jutsu
(fan), Ka jutsu (fire),
Sui jutsu (water), Onshin jutsu
(invisibility) and three school secrets, named Sanpo Hiden, which are
Shuko (hand claws), Senban Shuriken (throwing daggers), and Shinodake
(bamboo tube for breathing under water).