(1889 – 1972)


According to Soke Toshitsu Takamatsu, the essence & strategies of Ninjutsu – Military Art is self-protection and the prevention of Danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes the fullest concept of self-protection through Martial art training. The Art deals with the protection of not only physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. Ninja Art trains one to endure, survive and prevail over all who would try & destroy him/her. More than merely delivering strikes and slashes, the art is deeper in significance than the simple out-witting of an enemy. The skills of Ninja are the art of Winning. Soke Takamatsu believed that any Combative art should have proper motivation & should be crucial. Without the proper frame of mind, continuous exposure to the fighting techniques can lead one to ruin, instead of self-developing oneself.

At the age of 9yrs, Takamatsu Sensei went to Arate-cho, under the guidance of his mother’s grandfather Masamitsu Shiryuken Toda (the 32nd Grand Master of Togakure Ninjutsu),

who trained him in Shinden Fudo Ryu, Togakure – Ryu, & Koto – Ryu.

At the age of 13yrs, the young Takamatsu Sensei went back to Akashi, where he studied under Yoshitaro Mizuta. He also studied the Fujita line of Takagi Yoshin – Ryu for his Menkyo Kaiden. i.e. (Secret scrolls, License & ranking for teaching). He was known as “Kotora” (Little Tiger). Once, he was challenged by Hititsubashi & Kanzaki, both Taijutsu masters of Mushashi – Ryu School. Kotora accepted the challenge and defeated both, one with a spirited yell & other with a Gyaku Ganseki Otoshi throw. Kotoro defeated both of them at a young age of 15 years only, and won the challenged match at Mushashi- Ryu’s Dojo.

At the age of 17yrs, he met an old master Matsutaro Ishitani (26th Grand Master), who taught him Kuki Shinden Ryu Happo Hiken No Jutsu (The secret Weapon art of Ninjutsu) – a system of NINJUTSU originally founded by Izumo Kanja Yoshteru. He also studied Tagaki Yoshin – Ryu, Gikan Ryu, Kukishin Ryu & Shinden Muso –Ryu & got promoted. ISHITANI Sensei was related to Takamatsu line and was doing security work at the Takamatsu’s family, match company factory in Kobe. Ishitani was a descendent from Chunin, who worked under one of the Ninja Master ( Jonin) Hattori Hanzo in the troops of Iga Ryu Ninjutsu. Ishitani used to refuse to dilute his method to appeal to masses, until he met Takamatsu, for he was all prepared like other Ninja before him, to destroy all secret scrolls and weapons before his death, so that no unqualified imposter would defame the name of his Ryu by posing as Master of Kuki Shinden Ryu. If there was no worthy heir found, the legacy would have gone to the grave with him. Matsutaro Ishitani Sensei founded a true heir in the young Takamatsu the son of the factory owner and developed a special relationship with him. By then, Takamatsu was already a practioners of Kotto Ryu Koppo Jutsu & Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu taught to him by his grandfather. He leaped at the chance of learning the art of Kuki Shinden Ryu. It was a perfect match of student & teacher. Takamatsu trained hard and assimilated the teachings and was eventually granted the scrolls, weapons and the title of 27th Grand Master of Kuki Shinden Ryu tradition.

Matsutaro Iahitani Sensei breathed his last at the age of 64 yrs in Takamatsu’s lap.

The childhood name of Takamatsu Sensei was Jutaro. At the age of 18yrs Jutaro worked in his father’s factory which needed 330 gallons of water a day. Every morning, Jutaro made five rounds to get water from a turtle cave in Masuyama Mountains which was 7 to 8 blocks away from the factory. This was sort of an exercise which strengthened his legs & waist.

One day he overheard a factory worker’s conversation saying that there was somebody practicing Tsujigiri (testing live sword on innocent victims). One night, Jutaro disguised himself and went to Shin Bashi Bridge to encounter this strange man, who blocked his way & started punching and kicking. Jutaro in return gave a loud yell and threw him upside down with a loud Kiai, & he fell on his stomach, stretched like a dead spider. Jutaro at once applied resuscitation and revived him. Jutaro taught him a great lesson.

At age 19yrs, Takamatsu fought for real. He became ineligible for military service because of his ruptured eardrum which he carried as a souvenir of fights during his teenage years. At the age of 21yrs, he left for China as it was considered to be the land of fortune in Japan’s future. He traveled from North to South through the vast country and fought true battles & wars in China, Tensien, Mongolia and Manchuria which he experienced for nearly ten years. In his diary, he has said to have fought 12 Duels to the death and 7 competition matches and soon earned the nick name of “The Mongolian Tiger”. At the age of 25yrs, he started a Japanese Martial Arts Federation and fought matches to decide the leadership with six practioners of Kodokan Judo & Kito Ryu Jujitsu. He won and became the director of 3000 student followers. At the age of 30yrs, he returned to Japan having spent very rough & challenging years in China in the Taisho Era. He came back to recover from an illness known as Beriberi. He stayed, with his grandmother for a little while and than left home into the Mayasan Mountains and journeyed towards Kamenotaki (Turtle caves Falls), with only half gallon of unpolished rice, which he ate without cooking with only sunlight for baking it on stones. In the mountains, he met an old mystical man who helped him cure his Beriberi illness and rejuvenated him. The old man also taught him several skills like, how to see in darkness, how to predict happy & unhappy moments and calamities before they occurred etc. As soon as he recuperated, he began training in Koto & Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu, & practiced Taijutsu on the rocks, kicking with full energy and vitality. He mastered his Ninjutsu & Jutaijutsu techniques & practiced the art of stealth, the way of invisibility, learned the laws of nature and gained enlightenment.

When he came back to civilization, he was known as “YAMATO NO NEKO” (the Japanese Spirit Cat).

Takamatsu Sensei was so strong that if any one grabbed him, he would immediately throw that person flying across the room. He believed that the Art – Ninjutsu & Jujitsu were not for fighting; it was something that one must develop for his life in his lifetime. His Dojo had three rules – “No liquor, No smoking & No fights”.

Takamatsu Sensei’s given name was Hisatsugu, but keeping the same Kanji and using a different reading he took the name Toshitsugu Takamatsu when he became an adult. His martial art name was “Kikaku” (Demon Horn), later he gave that name to his pupil Nobuyashi Takeuchi. He also had two more names “Yukuoh” (Leaping & Running in the sky old man) and the other “Garakutabujin” (Enjoy sketching Martial Arts) which was his pen name.

Masaki Hatsumi began his Martial arts training at the age of seven yrs. He was taught Bokken Jutsu (Wooden sword) by his father who practiced with him regularly. He went on to train in all of the popular Martial arts of the war time era. He eventually earned ranking in Karate, Judo, Aikido and Kobudo. Through his Kobudo (ancient weapons) teacher, Masaaki Hatsumi learned of a teacher Takamatsu of Kashiwabara City to the west of Iga region in Japan.  A last hope of finding someone who could teach a living warrior art & not recreational sports, Hatsumi traveled across Honshu Island to seek the teacher of his life time. It was the year 1955, when Hatsumi was 25 years old & Takamatsu was well into 60’s. Nobody really knew that Takamatsu Sensei was a Ninja, however he was known as the master of many martial arts. Young Hatsumi, eventually became the spiritual heir and the next 34th Grandmaster of Togakure Ninjutsu and inherited the title of the nine warrior traditions carried by his teacher Toshitsu Takamatsu. Takamatsu trained several students in his life time; he died in 1972 at the age of 93 yrs & never stopped training until his death. He was buried in Kashiwara Jingu station in Nara on the burial grounds of Kumewdera Temple.

Takamatsu Sensei talked about “Yojo Shiketsu” (Four points in the preservation of health.)

  1. “Remove anger to preserve personality”. Much effort is required to be patient instead of being angry. So one must foster one’s personality and humility.
  1. “Remove too much thinking to preserve the nerves”. Don’t spend too much time thinking about trivial things because you will become irresolute. So think less and develop strong nerves.
  1. “Remove too much speech to preserve the spirit”. Refrain from chattering too much and instead store up power of your spirit.
  1. “Remove desire to preserve the Heart”. The problems of mind are usually like this. I want this, I want that, I want to be rich; I want name & fame etc. So every effort must be taken to remove these desires and than cultivate a good mind and heart.

The Essay on the Essence of Ninjutsu

by Takamatsu Toshitsugu, 33rd Soke in Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu The essence of all Martial Arts and military strategies is self protection and the prevention of danger. Ninjutsu epitomizes thefullest concept of self-protection through martial training in that the Ninja art deals with the protection of not only the physicalbody, but the mind and spirit as well. The way of the Ninja is the way of enduring, surviving, and prevailing over all that woulddestroy one. More than merely delivering strikes and slashes, and deeper in significanse than the simple out-witting of anenemy; Ninjutsu is the way off attaining that which we need while making the world a better place. The skill of the Ninja is the art of winning. In the beginning study of any combative art, proper motivation is crucial. Without theproper frame of mind, continous exposure to fighting techniques can lead to ruin instead of self-development. But this fact is notdifferent from any other beneficial practice in life carried to extremes.  Medical science is dedicated to the betterment of health and the relief of suffering, and yet the misuse of drugs and theexultation of the physician’s skills can lead people to a state where an individual’s health is no longer within his or her personalcontrol. A nutritious well-balanced diet works to keep a person alive, vital, and healthy, but grossly over-eating, over-drinking,or taking in too many chemicals is a sure way to poison the body.  Governments are established to oversee the harmonious inter-working of all parts of society, but when the rulers becomegreedy, hungry for power, or lacking in wisdom, the country is subjected to needless wars, disorder or civil and economicchaos.  A religion, when based on faith developed through experience, a broad and questing mind, and unflagging pursuit of universalunderstanding, is of inspiration and comfort to people. Once a religion loses its original focus, however, it becomes a deadlything with which to deceive, control and tax the people through the manipulation of their beliefs and fears.  It is the same with the martial arts. The skills of self-protection, which should provide a feeling of inner peace and security forthe martial artist, so often develop without a balance in the personality and lead the lesser martial artist into warped realms ofunceasing conflict and competition which eventually consume him.  If an expert in the fighting arts sincerely pursues the essence of NINJUTSU, devoid of the influence of the ego’s desires, thestudent will progressively come to realize the ultimate secret for becoming invincible – the attainment of the “mind and eyes ofgod”. The combatant who would win must be in harmony with the scheme of totality, and must be guided by an intuitiveknowledge of the playing out of fate. In tune with the providence of heaven and the impartial justice of nature, and following a clear and pure heart full of trust in theinevitable, the NINJA captures the insight that will guide him successfully into battle when he must conquer and conceal himselfprotectively from hostility when he must acquiesce.  The vast universe, beautiful in its coldly impersonal totality, contains all that we call good or bad, all the answers for all theparadoxes we see around us. By opening his eyes and his mind, the Ninja can responsively follow the subtle seasons andreasons of heaven, changing just as change is necessary, adapting always, so that in the end there is no such thing as a surprisefor the Ninja. Contributed by Shidoshi Mats Hjelm, Sweden. E-mail: 100115.2056@compuserve.com . Mats has been practising ninpotaijutsu for the past ten years, has founded several Martial Arts BBSes, and has his own ninpo newsletter. He is accepting

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