Togakure ryu

By Yossi Sheriff

Togakure Ryu (戸隠流), (טוגקורה ריו), (The hidden entrance school), is a Ninjutsu school that was founded about nine hundred years ago by Daisuke Nishina (Togakure), who learned Shugendo practices as well as Hakuun ryu Ninjutsu from Kagakure Doshi. Daisuke Nishina existence has been verified by Koyama Ryutaro in a period work.

The school contained Yon-po Hiden (Four Secrets): Senban Shuriken (Four pointed throwing star), Shuko and Ashiko . Shinodake (A tube used as a snorkel or blowgun) and Kyoketsu Shoge (A peculiar blade attached to cord which is in turn attached to a heavy ring) and Taijutsu. The Togakure Ryu school contains a unique syllabus of Karuwaza

Different Ryu and schools in Takamazu-den
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In 1182, during the Japanese Genpei War, at the end of the Heian Period, Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a general from the mountainous Nagano region of Japan, captured the capital city of Kyoto. After this victory, he found himself under attack by his cousin Yoshitsune. When Yoshitsune's troops successfully crossed the Uji river, a key strategic defense for the capital, Yoshinaka withdrew, only to be killed as his horse fell through the ice of a frozen rice paddy.

After Yoshinaka's defeat, one of his samurai retainers, Daisuke Nishina of Togakure Village escaped to the mountains of Iga in south central Japan. Nishina's native village of Togakure is now known as Togakushi, Nagano, and was an early center of Shugendo training. It may be that Nishina engaged in such training, but the records of the Togakure ryu do not mention it. The mountains provided an easy place to hide from the enemy troops, who still searched for Yoshinaka's forces. Daisuke Nishina, who subsequently changed his name to Daisuke Togakure, later became known as the first Sōke (family head) of Togakure-ryu ninjutsu.

Ironically, Yoshitsune was later overthrown by his brother Yoritomo. After escaping capture by Yoritomo's forces, he founded the Yoshitsune-ryu of ninjutsu. The Yoshitsune-ryu later died out, along with many other famous ninjutsu ryu.

The ninja families of Iga grew to become a great part of Japan's military history. Lending their support to Tokugawa Ieyasu, they were able to aid in the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate and were recruited to many government posts, including police, bodyguards, and intelligence agents.

The current Sōke of the Togakure-ryu is Masaaki Hatsumi of Noda, Japan.

Togakure ryu techniques on the AKBAN wiki

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Formal Techniques of Togakure ryu - Ninpo

  • Kurai Dori (The postures of Togakure ryu, unarmed or with shuko)
    • Example, Hachimonji no kamae: A posture that has the Ninja prepared to throw blinding powder. ** Ukemi Gata (Falling Techniques)example, Zempo Kaiten: Forward Roll.
  • Shinobi Gaeshi (Includes methods of moving undetected, and methods of escaping in the case of discovery)
    • Example, Shige gaeshi: While lying on top of a van (Could be any horizontal surface that is raised above the ground) the Ninja is spotted, he throws blinding powder and maybe shuriken, then rolls (in a particular way) to the side opposite the enemy and runs off or finds a better hiding place.
  • Santo Tonko no Kata (Vanishing forms, makes use of blinding powder, shuriken etc; these are also used in the case of discovery but this time the opponent attacks)
    • Example, 'Happo kiri gakure gata': The Ninja is surrounded by swordsmen, the Ninja throws shuriken at the front attackers and blinding powder to the rear.
  • Ninja Bikenjutsu (Methods of using the Ninja sword, which was shorter and straighter than the Katana)
  • Kurai Dori (Sword 'postures', there are also five methods of attaching the sword to the body.)
    • Example, Totoku hyoshi: A posture for deflecting projectiles
  • Iaijutsu (Sword drawing)
    • Example, Katate nuki: Drawing the sword with one hand in a particular way.
  • Biken Kata (Sword forms, the Ninja method of using the sword is unusual.)
    • Example, Itto ryu dan: The sword is thrown at the enemy/enemies, the Ninja would either retrieve the sword or just run off.
  • Sakkijutsu.
  • The Kyoketsu Shoge had no formal techniques.

Togakure-ryu is taught only in Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan and AKBAN, but those schools also contain other samurai arts that they tend to focus on.

Video of a sabaki technique from Togakure ryu