Classical Fighting Arts of Japan - A Complete Guide To Koryu Jujutsu

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Author: Serge Mol
Pub: 2001 by Kodansha International Ltd.
Pages: 242
Ranking:Five Star Rating
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This is a very good book! One gets the feeling that the legacy of Donn Draeger is still alive, and guiding others. Very well researched, and with many photos, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who studies a Japanese style.



   Foreword by Grandmaster Tanaka Fumon xi
   Foreword by Grandmaster Nakashima Atsumi xiii

 1 FROM MYTHOLOGICAL GRAPPLING ART                                   5
   The grappling arts 6
   Defining jujutsu 8
        Some popular misconceptions 8
        A more accurate definition 10
        Using jujutsu to defend others 11
  Characteristics of jujutsu techniques 19
        Resuscitation techniques 23
        Tactics emphasized by different systems 24
  Kumiuchi 24
        Senjo kumiuchi (Yoroi kumiuchi/Katchu kumiuchi) 27
            Use of atemi in battlefield grappling 27  Using the weight
            of the armor 29  Neck breaking and suffocation 30
			Delivering the final blow 31  "Sword grappling 31
        Heifuku kumiuchi (Suhada kumiuchi) 33
            Disarming techniques 36  Techniques starting
            from a sitting position 39
            A shift in combative orientation 41
			Commoners' yawara 41
        Yawara, yawaragi, and yawarariki 42
        Wajutsu 44
        Taijutsu 46
        Torite 46
            The art of capturing 47
        Judo 49
        Aikijujutsu (Aiki no jutsu/Aikijutsu) 49
        Hade 51
        Kenpo, shubaku, and hakuda 51
        Goho and koppo 53
        Kowami 54
 3 MINOR WEAPONS                                                    55
   Short swords and daggers 55
        Women's use of short swords and daggers 55
   Staffs and sticks 58
   Small weapons, concealed weapons, secret weapons 59
        Kobuki 60
            Tessen 60
        Kakushibuki and hibuki (Shikomibuki) 62
            Kakute 63  Tenouchi 64  Suntetsu 64
            Ryofundokusari 65  Tekken 66  Kaiken 66
            Kanemuchi 66  Shuriken 67  Shikomibuki 67

 4 THE BUGEI AND THE BUGEI RYUHA                                    69
   Bugei 69
        The warrior's changing curriculum 70
        The martial arts intertwined 71
   Bugei ryuha 73
   Ryugi 76
        Influence of schools on one another
 Beginnings of the bugei ryuha 80
 Creation and perpetuation of a tradition 81
     Divine origins 81
     The ryuso and the denshosha 83
     From kirigami to menkyo kaiden 84
     The densho 86
 Bugei ryuha and martial arts training in feudal domains 88
     Otome ryu 90
 Historical importance of the bugei ryuha 90
 5 THE JUJUTSU RYUHA                                                91
   Categorizing the jujutsu ryuha 91
   Jujutsu in the martial arts chronicles of the Edo period 92
   A selection of schools in chronological order 95
   Surveying the jujutsu ryuha and their branches 95

 6 THE PRIMARY LINEAGES                                             99
 1. The Takenouchi Ryu Lineage 99
     Takenouchi Ryu 99
         Takenouchi Hitachinosuke Hisakatsu 101
         Takenouchi Kaganosuke Hisayoshi 104
         Technical characteristic of the Takenouchi Ryu 104
             Kogusoku koshi no mawari 104  Hade or kenpo
             taijutsu 105  Saide 106
         Structure 106
         Takenouchi Ryu branches, and schools within its influence 110
     Takenouchi Une Ryu 110
     Katayama Hoki Ryu Koshi no Mawari 111
         Katayama Hoki no Kami Hisayasu 111
         Katayama Hoki Ryu Koshi No Mawari 112
               Technical characteristics 113
     Futagami Ryu 116
     Rikishin Ryu 118
     Takenouchi Santo Ryu 118
     Yano Ryu 120
     Nanba Ippo Ryu 120
     Fusen Ryu 120
 2. The Fukuno Ryu Lineage
     Ryoi Shinto Ryu 124
        Fukuno and Chin Genpin 125
     Kasahara Ryu 127
     Kito Ryu 127
     Jikishin Ryu 129
     Kanshin Ryu 130
     Miura Ryu 130
 3. The Yoshin Ryu Lineages 131
     Yoshin Ryu (Miura Yoshin) 132
     Yoshin Ryu (Akiyama) 133
        The Willow Heart 135
        Oe Senbei 135
        Technical characteristics of the Yoshin Ryu 136
     Takemitsu Ryu  138
     Shin no Shindo Ryu 138
     Tenjin Shinyo Ryu 140
     Ryushin Katchu Ryu 144
     Ito-ha Shinyo Ryu  147

 7 OTHER LINEAGES AND SCHOOLS                                      149
   Tsutsumi Hozan Ryu 151
   Bokuden Ryu 153
   Enshin Ryu  155
        Inugami Kyushinsai Nagatomo and the Kyushin Ryu 156
        Inugami Gunbei Nagayasu 157
        Inugami Gunbei Nagayasu and Enshin Ryu through
        the present day 157
        Technical characteristics of Enshin Ryu 159
            Kumiuchi kenden 159  Kumiuchi hyoho 156
            Yawara 162 Hobaku 163
   Nagao Ryu 164
   Araki Ryu 167
   Kashin Ryu 168
   Sanshin Araki Ryu 169
   Asayama Ichiden Ryu 170
        In the feudal era 170
        Okura Naoyuki and later generations 171
   Seigo Ryu 172
        Mizuhaya Chozaemon 173
        Kajiwara Genzaemon Naokage 174
        Yawara Goshinden 174
        The legacy of Mizuhaya Chozaemon Nobumasa 175
   Yagyu Shingan Ryu 176
        Technical characteristics of Yagyu Shingan Ryu 177
            Suburi 177  Torite no jutsu 178  Totte no jutsu 178
            Kogusoku totte 178  Gyoi dori 178
        Weapons 179
   Sekiguchi Ryu 179
        Sekiguchi Yarokuemon Ujimune "Jushin" 179
        Sekiguchi Hachirozaemon Ujinari 183
        Sekiguchi Manemon Ujihide 183
        Sekiguchi Yataro Ujisato 184
        Technical characteristics of Sekiguchi Ryu 184
        Sekiguchi Ryu branches 186
   Shibukawa Ryu  187
   Sekiguchi Shinshin Ryu 189
   Tenjin Myoshin Ryu 190
   Takagi Ryu 194
       Takagi Oriemon Shigetoshi 195
       Takagi Umanosuke Shigesada 196
       The relationship between Takagi Ryu and Kukishin Ryu 199
   Sho Sho Ryu 203
       Technical characteristics of Sho Sho Ryu 205

 8 COMBINED LINEAGES                                               209
   Kiraku Ryu 209
        Iizuka Garyusai Okiyoshi 210
        Kanra Kiraku Ryu 211
        Isezaki Kiraku Ryu 211
        The chigiriki 212
   Shinto Yoshin Ryu 214
   Iga Ryuha Katsushin Ryu 215
   Ise Jitoku Tenshin Ryu 217

      Jujutsu through the end of the feudal era 219
      Jujutsu in the Meiji period 220
      Jujutsu today 224
   Appendix: Selected Genealogies
      Takenouchi Ryu Genealogy 226
      Main Yoshin Ryu Lineages 227
      Genealogy of the Main Tenjin Shinyo Ryu Lines 228
      Genealogy of Bokuden Ryu Jujutsu 229
      Genealogy of the Main Sekiguchi Shinshin Ryu Line 230
      Lineage Chart of Takagi Ryu and Kukishin Ryu (Kakuno Line) 231
   Notes 232
   Bibliography 236
   Index 238



The fierceness of the Japanese warrior and his fighting arts has fascinated Westerners since Europeans first came into contact with Japan more than 450 years ago. Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: The Complete Guide to Koryu Jujutsu is the first comprehensive English-language book on traditional jujutsu.

Author Serge Mol-working almost exclusively from original Japanese source materials-vividly out-lines the history of the close-quarter fighting methods that warriors developed not only to prove themselves on the battlefield and in daily life, but also to be constantly ready to defend their feudal lords.

A great number of jujutsu styles and techniques- armed and unarmed-have existed over the centuries, and many of the classical weapon schools also instructed in the use of jujutsu. The Classical Fighting Arts of Japan expertly guides readers through the rise and development of many of the major schools.

The classical martial arts as practiced in the ancient ryuha were deeply interwoven. For this reason, this definitive guide to koryu jujutsu will not only be invaluable to practioners of traditional and modern jujutsu, but will be of great interest to enthusiasts of modern budo such as judo, aikido, kendo, and iaido.

Mol explores the historical and cultural factors that helped shape jujutsu and the martial arts in general. He offers a detailed look at individual jujtutsu ryuha, giving details on the school's history (where possible including illustrations of their founders and photos of ancient manuscripts).

This book is richly illustrated with numerous photographs of rare documents and with many photos of exponents demonstrating techniques, many of which have never before been shown outside Japan. In addition to his extensive research in original source material, Mol had regular access in conversation, over the course of years, to the insights of the grandmasters of several of the most important jujutsu schools that remain active today.

Classical Fighting Arts of Japan will be a welcome addition to the personal collection of every serious student of Japanese martial arts.



Serge Mol is the first and only non-Japanese to have received the rank of menkyo kaiden in Enshin Ryu Iai, Suemonogiri, or Kenpo, or to have received menkyo in Hoki Ryu Jujutsu. He began training in the martial arts, starting with jujutsu, more than twenty years ago. Before he specialized in classical martial arts, he studied various modern budo, including kendo, iaido, and jodo; he has dan ranking in iaido and jodo. In order to deepen his understanding, Mol lived in Japan for several years, where he was a direct disciple of Grandmaster Tanaka Fumon and Grandmaster Nakashima Atsumi and won awards at various martial arts demonstrations. Mol has an extensive collection of Edo-period manuscripts of martial arts ryuha, and collects Japanese arms and armor. He lives in Belgium, where he teaches classical martial arts, and travels frequently to Japan for additional training and research.



I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Serge Mol on the publication of his book on Japan's ancient koryu jujutsu, which will introduce the soul of samurai culture to people around the world. It goes without saying that koryu jujutsu, the samurai fighting art used by samurai warriors on the battlefield or in individual fighting is the original source of the contemporary Olympic sport of judo, as well as of other modern budo such as aikido and shorinji kenpo, which enthusiasts now study around the world.

Koryu jujutsu is a very old discipline. Its roots can be traced to Japan's ancient myths; in order to express its great age, people sometimes say that its history exceeds "ten thousand years." However, the traditions that are transmitted today started in about the fifteenth century.

During the lengthy Sengoku, or Warring States, period, warriors would go to the battlefield to face enemies clad in armor. Against such enemies, the use of atemi, or body strikes, to the vital points of the body was highly impractical.

Instead warriors needed to use powerful grappling techniques to throw an enemy down; when they had done this they could bring him under control, and then take his head or capture him alive. The grappling techniques used in these fights were known as yoroi kumiuchi. The bushido, or way of the warrior, was established during the Edo period, which was a time of peace rather than of battle, but even at that time, most warriors continued to bear in mind the admonition "During times of peace, do not forget war"; most did not neglect their bujutsu practice. While continuing to practice yoroi kumiuchi, they also practiced and developed suhada jujutsu, a complete fighting system encompassing both defensive and offensive technique and suitable for fighting in ordinary clothes. These techniques included hitting, thrusting, and kicking as well as strangling, immobilizing, and locking. starting as a system for overcoming, empty-handed, an opponent who might be either armed or unarmed, there is evidence that this system also gave birth to techniques using kenjutsu (sword art), sojutsu (spear art), bojutsu (staff art), or weapons such as the tanto (dagger), jutte (truncheon), or even kakushibuki (hidden weapons) that were intended to force an enemy to surrender.

Centuries ago, jujutsu was also called taijutsu (body art) and according to one old proverb, taijutsu was both the mother and father of bujutsu. Jujutsu, the foundation of all samurai martial arts, was finally completed as the ultimate method of self-defense.

Also, according to the samurai code, it would be embarrassing for a high-ranking warrior who faced a warrior opponent who was much lower in rank to use his spear or draw his sword. For a warrior of lower rank it was also of the utmost importance to subdue a nonwarrior opponent without using his sword. This kind of proud bushido spirit and passion is the foundation of all of jujutsu, and this is why jujutsu has been studied by so many people over the centuries, and transmitted to the present day.

The author, Serge Mol, has been my disciple for many years. He started from yoroi kumiuchi and suhada jujutsu and went on to train in iai, suemono-giri, bojutsu, sojutsu, kenjutsu, and other arts. In the sections of iai and yawara he even achieved menkyo kaiden. He continued to increase his level, visiting many of my acquaintances who are koryu bujutsu teachers throughout Japan over the course of his study, in an effort to deepen his knowledge still further. Nowadays, even in Japan there are many imitation koryu bujutsu, but even more than many Japanese people, Serge Mol is able to distinguish the true from the false. He has put his entire heart into this masterpiece, and I believe that this book will be of great value to many people.

Grandmaster Tanaka Fumon
Kobudo hachidan
Koden Enshin Ryu Kumiuchi Kenden, 11th soke
Honmon Enshin Ryu Jai, Suemonogiri, Kenpo, 4th soke
Kukishin Ryu 19th soke
Tenshin Hyoho Soden Kukamishin Ryu 19th soke
Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu, soke dairi
Koto Ryu, soke dairi
Bokuden Ryu, soke dairi
Shindo Tenshin Ryu (Tenshin Koryu), soke dairi
Shindenfudo Ryu, soke dairi
Asayama Ichiden Ryu, soke dairi



First of all, I would like to thank Serge Mol for the way that he devoted the springtime of his life to mastering bujutsu in Japan. I am delighted to see his years of training and research culminate in the publication of this fine book. In Japan we have events called koryu bujutsu enbukai (traditional martial arts demonstration meetings), where various koryu bujutsu schools from all over the country gather to demonstrate their skills. At one such enbukai, I had just finished demonstrating my style, Katayama Hoki Ryu Jujutsu, when a per-son holding a video camera addressed me in grammatically correct and clear Japanese. That person was Serge Mol, a Belgian living in Japan. He asked if it would be possible for him to visit my dojo. As a rule I usually refuse, but from the fire in his eyes I could feel his passion for true koryu jujutsu, unaffected by the currents of history, and this was sufficient for me to immediately allow him to visit my dojo. I say "visit," although the distance from where he lived to my house in Yamaguchi Prefecture is around 400 kilometers. At first he was to come just once to observe, but soon, using the bullet train, he began to visit on a regular basis in order to study.

In Japan, long-standing custom holds that a teacher faced by a musha shugyosha (person making a warrior's pilgrimage) who exhibits this kind of spirit offers the warrior the hospitality of his house and makes his dojo avail-able for the warrior's pursuit of knowledge. So I guided Serge Mol in the Japanese way and, as a result, by the time he was ready to return to Belgium, he had progressed to the level of Katayama Hoki Ryu Jujutsu Menkyo. At that time he appeared on television in a program entitled "Aoi Me no Musha Shugyo" (The Warrior's Pilgrimage of a Blue Eye [i.e., Foreigner]), and his descriptions of his experiences greatly surprised Japanese viewers.

In the modern period, the world has become much smaller, and this has brought numerous benefits, but also fears that many countries will lose their individuality and become homogenous. Since Japan is an island nation that underwent a long period of isolation, it was still an underdeveloped country, when it first began to internationalize some 130 years ago. In order to protect itself from European colonial policies, it was necessary for Japan to adapt and to build its national strength quickly. From that period on, ideas indigenous to European civilization were admired in Japan, and the tendency for Japanese people to devalue their own culture set in. Since at the start of the modern period the bushi, or warrior, class was also abolished, the decline of koryu bujutsu from that point was inevitable.

The forces of decline were furious, and today there are few ryuha that still teach koryu bujutsu. The techniques that were developed and passed on through the ages in Japan have also been affected by societal changes and have gradually been altered in keeping with the currents of the time. For example, in an era when swords were no longer used, there was also no longer a need to fight empty-handed against opponents armed with swords; techniques that had originally been used against someone armed with a sword were adapted for use against opponents attacking with their fists. Also, at the start of the Meiji period in the late nineteenth century, which was a period of chaotic change, there were people who developed new techniques which they quite wrongly called koryu bujutsu, and branches of their schools still exist today. This is by way of saying that in Japan, too, it has been very difficult to discern which are the true classical or traditional styles.

Nowadays Japan is overwhelmed by Western influences, and the Japanese appear to have lost much of their identity. If most people were asked, "What part of you is Japanese?" they would have difficulty answering. On many occasions I have been surprised by Serge Mol's conduct and philosophy, which is often more Japanese than that of many Japanese. I am impressed with the content of this book, its high quality, and the level of understanding it evinces throughout. Classical Fighting Arts of Japan portrays Japanese jujutsu in a correct light, while also introducing Japanese culture to the world, and it is a splendid publication. As a Japanese, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for Serge Mol's efforts.

Grandmaster Nakashima Atsumi
Katayama Hoki Ryu Jujutsu Soke
Fifty-seventh-generation inheritor, Tenjin Myoshin Ryu



The fierceness of the Japanese warrior and his fighting arts have fascinated Westerners since the West first came into contact with Japan more than 450 years ago. Yet not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, could Westerners actually practice any of the Japanese martial arts. Jujutsu was one of the first-perhaps even the very first-of these to be taught in the West. But soon Kano Jigoro's judo began rapidly to gain popularity in Japan. And in the West too a number of jujutsu practitioners, encouraged by their instructors, switched to Kano's judo, which, although based on older jujutsu schools, was considered at the time a more "scientifically structured system." Other Western jujutsu dojo went their own way, even incorporating Western ideas into their systems, thus laying the foundations for some of the modern jujutsu styles. Now Western martial arts enthusiasts can choose from a wide range of Japanese martial arts. Judo, aikido, and karate, as well as kendo, iaido, jodo, and kyudo are some of the more modern martial art forms, known collectively as budo, that can be practiced in the West. These budo forms were, however derived from older systems, which in Japan are presently known as bujutsu (martial arts), or as koryu bujutsu (classical martial arts), terms that emphasize the difference between the old and new systems. Over the years, as budo practitioners have "matured," they have felt the need to explore the origin of their arts. This has led to increased interest in the older martial arts. Aikido enthusiasts have rediscovered aikijujutsu, and some kendoka have felt the need to learn iaido to complete their perspective of the way of the sword. Iaidoka have rediscovered koryu iaijutsu. Modern-day ninjutsu practioners have also been inspired to explore classical jujutsu.

Traditional martial arts, as practiced in the ancient bujutsu ryuha, were interwoven. Precisely because of the close association between jujutsu and other traditional martial arts, this book will be of interest to practitioners not only of jujutsu but also of modern arts such as judo and aikido, and older disciplines including iaijutsu and kenjutsu.

The first Japanese to introduce jujutsu to the West is unlikely to have foreseen the great popularity the art would enjoy there by the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is difficult to calculate just how many people practice jujutsu worldwide, but the number is enormous. Admittedly, it is the modern forms that tend to be organized into federations and therefore are more widely practiced. The traditional systems, by nature, tend to stay more on their own. As is the case with the majority of traditional Japanese martial arts, most of the traditional jujutsu systems cannot be practiced in the West. But remarkably enough, those that can be usually attract more students there than in Japan. Despite the great popularity of jujutsu, little accurate information about its history is available in languages other than Japanese. The main objective of this book is to provide the reader with an insight into the history of jujutsu and of the various jujutsu styles. Using as a point of departure the elements that eventually led to jujutsu's conception, the book traces the different factors that contributed to the art's development.

Japan's transformation from a closed feudal society to the rapidly modernizing and Westernizing society of the Meiji period (1868 -- 1911) brought major social changes, including the abolition of the samurai warrior class. Because the history of Japan's classical martial arts-jujutsu included-was inextricably bound to that of the warrior class, the book's discussion is limited to those jujutsu styles that were founded before the Meiji period, or to those schools that are legitimate continuations of the pre-Meiji schools. Therefore, schools founded after 1868 are not covered, although some of them, technically, are very similar to the jujutsu schools of the Edo period (1603-1867). Likewise, modern styles created in the West are not discussed. I do not wish to denigrate these modern jujutsu styles. My aim is merely to make a clear distinction between "modern jujutsu" and "traditional jujutsu"; in Japan the older jujutsu styles are often referred to as "koryu jujutsu."

In the West jujutsu is often mistakenly thought of as the invention of just one man. However, jujutsu's genesis was in fact the result of many influences. The schools were widely varied, although most are unknown in the West. This volume introduces a significant number of these jujutsu schools and, whenever available, includes authentic illustrations of their founders or photographs of their old manuscripts. Regretfully, the discussion of certain schools is limited to just a few lines, as information available on them was very scarce; not all schools or manuscripts have withstood the test of time equally well.

Historical research is not an exact science, and various sources give different interpretations of the same material. This book is the result of several years of research. It is based mainly on original Japanese source material, including modern Japanese texts, Meiji-period books, and Edo-period manuscripts of the various jujutsu schools. In addition to these written sources, I was very fortunate to have opportunity to speak at length with the present-day grandmasters of some of the more important jujutsu styles.

I would like to thank my publisher and all those who have in various ways contributed to the realization of this work. I am especially indebted to the following individuals:

Tanaka Fumon, present soke of the Enshin Ryu, the Minaki Den Kukishin Ryu, and the Tenshin Hyoho Soden Kukamishin Ryu, for accepting me as his personal student, for his words of advice and encouragement, for the support he mustered from the present heads of other schools, and for providing photographs and other illustrations.

Nakashima Atsumi, present soke of Katayama Hoki Ryu Jujutsu and fifty-seventh-generation inheritor of the Tenjin Myoshin Ryu, for granting me the honor of being the first non-Japanese ever to be initiated into Katayama Hoki Ryu Jujutsu. I am also grateful for his encouragement, for his kind hospitality on more than one occasion when I was undertaking my "musha shugyo," and for generously allowing me to use manuscripts from his personal collection.

Kaminaga Shigemi, present soke of Bokuden Ryu Jujutsu and Asayama Ichiden Ryu, for providing information and illustrations for the sections on Bokuden Ryu and Asayama Ichiden Ryu, and for providing a copy of the secret manuscript Asayama Ichiden Ryu Taijutsu Hidensho, written by the late Ueno Sensei.

Iwai Tsukuo, menkyo kaiden in both Toda Ryu Heiho and Kiraku Ryu Jujutsu, for kindly providing material on Kiraku Ryu and Toda Ryu, and for information on Toda Ryu To no Mono Jutsu (suntetsujutsu, tenouchi-jutsu, fundokusarijutsu).

Sekiguchi Yoshio, present soke of the Sekiguchi Shinshin Ryu, for allowing me to consult and photograph manuscripts preserved by the Sekiguchi family, and for his contribution of photographs.

Takenouchi Tojuro, present sodenke of the Takenouchi Ryu, for his explanations and demonstrations, when I visited the honbu dojo, and for providing additional information on the history of the Takenouchi Ryu.

Kanzaki Masaru, Takenouchi Ryu shihandai, for his detailed explanations of the Takenouchi Ryu and of fighting in armor. I also appreciate his hospitality and kindness.

Kubota Toshihiro, menkyo kaiden of the Tenjin Shinyo Ryu, for his comments on Tenjin Shinyo Ryu.

All the shihan, senpai, and kohai of the Nippon Koden Fushi Muso Kai, for putting up with this "hen na gaijin" (strange foreigner) all these years.

Krims and Krims Photo Studio for kindly allowing me to use the studio to photograph makimono.

My wife Mariko, who never complained when I was away on field trips on the other side of Japan, for her invaluable assistance in translating some of the more complex matter, for helping me with much of the print and copy work, and above all for believing in this project.

My parents, for their support from the home front, and my wife's parents, in Japan, who have become like a second family to me.



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