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  • Gary Arthur

Legacy of the Nine Schools

So we started back training last night and for the first class of 2020 and I thought it would be good to provide an outline to beginners exactly what it is we are studying. We are a martial arts school whose techniques, concepts, strategies and tactics are based on the study of a number of traditional martial arts schools or ryu ha. Some of these schools go back many generations and centuries to the warring states period in Japan (Sengoku Jidai) and some even as early as the 11th century. The methods of these martial arts schools are not for competition but were born out of a need for survival in the very violent world of feudal Japan. Some of you may have read about the schools we study on some of the many websites out there where we see claims that we are studying the 9 schools of the Bujinkan. Its this that i want to turn to now. Within what we study within the Northampton Dojo the schools are "Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu" sometimes referred to as Gyokko Ryu Ninpo or Gyokko Ryu Shitojutsu. Gyokko Ryu means "Jade Tiger School. Jade was often seen as the stone of purity, magic and immortality and may link to the Chinese Taoists (Sennin) that inhabited the mountains of Japan and were believed to have been immortal and are said to have passed on the teachings of Ninjutsu. The kanji for Gyo is the same as that for Ball or sphere and if one understands Gyokko Ryu one can understand the connection. There is also a link to how the kanji is related to the Ten Chi Jin or three levels which are important part of this school. Next we have Koto Ryu or "Tiger Felling School" which is said to come from the teachings of Gyokko Ryu. Stemming from China it can also be called Shinden Koto Ryu Karate Koppojutsu or Divine Transmission Tiger Felling Chinese Hand. note that I have not given a translation for "Koppo". Some have translated this to mean "Bone Breaking" but Koppo can also mean "The knack" or skill of doing something. The kanji (Ko) also relates to Skeleton or bone and (Po) as method, principle or law, so it could interpret as "Bone Method" or method of using the skeleton correctly. Next we have Togakure Ryu or Concealed Door School. Then we have Takagi Yoshin Ryu or Takagis (Family name) Spirit of the Willow school or "Willow Heart school. There are are two lineages here one from Mizuta Sensei and the other from Ishitani Sensei, both of who were teachers of Takamatsu who passed the art onto Hatsumi. So we also have Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu. The schools are similar but different. Next we have Shinden Fudo Ryu (Divine Trainsmission immovable heart School) of which there are two lineages. One is called Shinden Fudo Ryu Taijutsu although originally called Ban Shinden Ryu, Then Seishin Fudo Ryu and possibly even Shinden Munen Ryu and Shoji Fudo Ryu. The other lineage is Shinden Fudo Ryu Dakentaijutsu (Daken: To take a person to the point where they belive they will die) which has connections with the kukishin line. That brings us to Kukishin Ryu. Some translate this to mean "Nine Demon Gods School" but technically should be "Nine Holy Spirit School as the school was originally called Kukamishin Ryu but was changed when there were changes to the Japanese language thus making it Kukishin Ryu. When it comes to the schools there is much misunderstanding regarding this. Basically there are different lineages such as Kukishin Ryu with its off shoot of Kishin Den Chosui No Jutsu and we also have Kukishinden Happo Biken. Both of these we study but they are different lineages and contain different techniques. Sometimes we even hear the words Kukishinden Ryu but as both Ryu and Den mean basically the same thing (Ryu=flow/school) and (Den=Transmission) its like the saying the same thing twice. I have not seen the Japanese use these words together in a kanji sentence next to each other. So that's the schools we practice. Not Gikan Ryu, or Kumogakure Ryu or Gyokushin Ryu that you may have heard of. We have a wealth of material to practice here. See you tomorrow night when we continue our study of these schools.

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