Heart of the Willow Tree



        In 1569, during the Yeiroku Era (1568-1579), in the Funagata Yama area of Miyagi, lived a mountain priest from the Abe family called Unryu (Cloud Dragon).  The Bugei Ryu-ha Daijiten gives his name as Sounryu.  He was an expert in shuriken, bojutsu, yari, naginata and taijutsu from the Amatsu Tatara Rinpo Hiden Makimono.  The Amatsu Tatara scroll was kept by the Abe, Nakatomi, Otomo, and Monobe families.  Takamatsu Sensei's family also posessed a copy, through their blood relation with the Kuki family.

        Unryu taught his system to Ito Sukesada, a famous martial artist in his day (1570).  He was a samurai from Katakura Kojuro in the Fukushima Province.  He added hanbo, kenjutsu and kodachi to the teachings of Unryu.  He taught the techniques that would later become Takagi Yoshin Ryu to Takagi Oriuemon Shigenobu, a young samurai from the Tohoku-Shiroishi Han in Oku (a northern part of Japan).  He was born on April 2nd, 1625, and died on October 7th, 1711.   He was given menkyo kaiden when he was just 20 years old.  On the 15th of August, 1695, he was made a shihan of up to six different martial arts of the Imperial bodyguard by the Emperor Higashiyama.

        He revised, improved and expanded the techniques that he learned from Ito, and put them together into what he called Takagi Yoshin Ryu, naming it after himself.  He studied hard to improve himself for the purpose of avenging his father's murder.  His father had gifted him with the teaching "A willow is flexible, but a high tree is breakable".

        The style has been called many things throughout its history, including Jutaijutsu, Jujutsu, and Dakentaijutsu.  It has been heavily influenced by Takenouchi Ryu Jujutsu, and Kukishin Ryu.  In the 17th century, the soke of Takagi Yoshin Ryu, Takagi Gennoshin Hideshige, and the soke of Kukishin Ryu, Ohkuni Kihei Shigenobu, fought a friendly match, and became close friends.  The two systems exchanged information, and even became restructured as a result.  The two systems passed down through history very close to each other.

        The style came to Toshitsugu Takamatsu through Yoshitaro Tadefusa Mizuta in August of 1908, and to Masaaki Hatsumi in May of 1959.


        When applied, the techniques of Takagi Yoshin Ryu go farther than those of Judo or Aikido, making it impossible to roll or breakfall.  The throws are intended to break the shoulder or neck of the opponent.


There are seven levels of Takagi Yoshin Ryu:

            Shoden no Kata- 14 techniques

            Chuden no Sabaki Gata - 10 techniques

            Chuden no Tai no Gata - 15 techniques

            Okuden no Kata - 15 techniques

            Eri Shime Gata - 8 techniques

            Moguri Gata - 11 techniques

            Daisho Sabaki Gata - 14 techniques


Takagi Yoshin Ryu is one of the most extremely well-documented schools of the Bujinkan System.  There is much, much more than you see here, and you can find a far more in-depth look at its history and stories if you CLICK.





Soke of Takagi Yoshin Ryu


    Ito Kii Sukesada

Takagi, Oriuemon Shigenobu  -  b. 1625 - d. 1711

Takagi, Umannosuke Shigesada  -  b. 1655 - d. 1746

Takagi, Gennoshin Hideshige  -  d. 1702

Ohkuni, Kihei Shigenobu  -  Genroku era (1688)

Ohkuni, Yakuburo Nobutoshi

Ohkuni, Tarodayu Tadanobu

Ohkuni, Kihei Yoshisada

Ohkuni, Yozaemon Yoshisada

Nakayama, Jinnai Sadahide

Ohkuni, Takezaemon Hidenobu

Nakayama, Kaemon Sadasaka

Ohkuni, Kamahura Hidetoshi

Yagi, Ikugoro Hisayashi  -   Tempo era (1830-1844)

Fujita, Fujigoro Hisayoshi

Mizuta, Yoshitaro Tadefusa

Takamatsu, Toshitsugu Uoh  -  b. 1887 - d. 1972

Hatsumi, Masaaki   -  b. 1931 -