top of page

Hatsumi Masaaki Soke

Ryūha Traditions

Takamatsu Sensei and Hatsumi Sensei_edited.jpg

Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi was born on December 2, 1931 in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Hatsumi Sensei inherited nine ancient martial arts traditions (koryū 古流 or kobujutsu 古武術) assuming the title of Soke (head of the family) that were transferred to him in the middle of the 20th Century by his teacher Takamatsu Toshitsugu.

Hatsumi Sensei retired from active instruction since 2020.


Togakure Ryū​


The "Concealing Door" ninjutsu school. It is the second oldest of the nine traditions, this ryū forms much of the basis for the Ninjutsu techniques taught in the Bujinkan. This system is famous for its use of weapons such as shuko and shuriken. It was founded by Daisuke Togakure in the late 1100s and is part of the oral traditions from the famous Iga region that ends in the village of Togakure today's known as Togakushi (Nagano prefecture).​

At North Jersey Bujinkan the training program emphasize in the study of the Togakure Ryū Ninpō tradition (戸隠流忍法).

Manji No Togakushi - gold.png

Gyokushin Ryū

The "Jeweled Heart School", second Ninjutsu ryū in the Bujinkan system was founded by Sasaki Goemon Teruyoshi in the mid 1500s. Not much is known of this ryū except that it is an Iga ninja school and concentrated more on the espionage side of ninjutsu, rather than the fighting side. It is also known for its use of sutemi (sacrifice) throws.

Kumogakure Ryū


The "Hidden School", third of the Ninjutsu ryū, it uses similar taijutsu as Togakure ryū, and is also known for double blocks and strikes; This ryū originated with Einaizaemon Ienaga Iga in the mid 1500s.

Hatsumi Sensei

ninja grappling hook.png

Takagi Yoshin Ryū


The "High Tree, Raised Heart School", this system specializes in Jujutsu (grappling and throwing techniques) similar to aikido and judo. However, unlike judo and aikido, this style makes it difficult for the opponent to use ukemi to fall or roll safely. This ryū is known as the “bodyguard school”, and was founded by Takagi Oriuemon Shigenobu around 1650.


Kukishinden Ryū


The "Nine Demons School",  this ryū is a battlefield style whose specialty is the use of many different weapons including spears, swords, hanbos, etc., and in Daken Taijutsu. Many of the weapon techniques (hanbo, bo, yari, naginata, etc.) in Bujinkan come from this school. Kukishinden ryū was founded by Izuma Kanja Yoshiteru in the mid 1100s.

Hatsumi Sensei.jpeg

Shinden Fudo Ryū

The "Immovable Heart School", this system specializes in Dakentaijutsu (striking techniques), and jutaijutsu (hard grappling techniques). This was the first ryū that Takamatsu Sensei learned from his grandfather. This ryū was also founded by Izuma Kanja Yoshiteru in the mid 1100 who also learned Chinese kenpo.

Gyokko Ryū


The "Jeweled Tiger School", oldest of the nine traditions, this style is heavily influenced by Chinese kenpo and is known for its koshijutsu attacks to muscles and soft organs, also using fingers and thumbs for ripping and tearing. Gyokko Ryū was originally founded by Cho Gyokko who was said to have fled China during the Tang Dynasty around 900 AD. This ryū forms much of the basis for the Bujinkan system including the kihon happo.


Koto Ryū


The "Tiger Knocking Down School"​, this style specializes in koppojutsu or bone-breaking techniques and is very linear in motion. Koto Ryū was originally organized into a ryū by Sakagami Kunishige in the mid 1500s. The name of the school means to knock the tiger down with the tips of the fingers and historically, training started with striking sand and gravel, then larger stones for conditioning.​

Gikan Ryū

The "Truth, Loyalty and Justice School", this ryū was originally founded by Uryu Hangan Gikanbo in the mid 1500s and specializes in koppojutsu or bone-breaking techniques. This style is known for its low stances, with much of the footwork within the Bujinkan system coming from this ryū.

The new Grandmasters of the traditions

In accordance to the tradition, Hatsumi Soke has selected and transferred the traditions to the new head masters.

Grandmasters after Hatsumi Sensei.jpeg

Hatsumi Masaaki- Soke seated.
Standing (Rt to Lt): Ishizuka Tetsuji (Gyokko Ryu; 玉虎流), Noguchi Yukio (Koto Ryu; 虎倒流), Nagato Toshiro (Shinden Fudo Ryu; 神傳不動流), Kan Junichi (Gyokushin Ryu; 玉心流), Furuta Koji (Kumogakure Ryu; 雲隠流), Sakasai Norio (Takagi Yoshin Ryu; 高木揚心流 & Gikan Ryu; 義鑑流), Iwata Yoshio (Kukishin Ryu; 九鬼神流), Takumi Tsutsui (Togakure Ryu; 戸隠流).

Photo courtesy of Paul Masse

bottom of page