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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 came from.
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 Minamoto army.
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 Yoshinaka.
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).

Julius McGee

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Revised Last 1/09/08