Kageshin Dojo Newsletter: January 2009

Genbukan Systems

Genbukan Ninpo

The art of the Ninja, the legendary shadow warriors of Japan , is the primary focus of the International Genbukan Ninpo Bugei organization headed by Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura of Matsubishi Japan . In the interests of maintaining the integrity of the ancient Ninja tradition, Grandmaster Tanemura founded the Genbukan in November of 1984. The Genbukan is dedicated to the factual portrayal and teaching of the Ninja arts in the traditional Japanese manner. The curriculum in the Genbukan is centered on the teaching of the Ninpo Sanjurokkei (36 areas of training) that consists of 18 forms of traditional Japanese martial arts (Bugei Juhappan) in combination with the 18 forms of Ninpo (Ninja Juhakei).

The Name "Genbukan"
Genbukan means the place that nutures the martial art professionals; the place radiating an exquisite martial art. Gen also means black - a place of practice for techniques which are mysterious, strange and marvelous. The significance being that one who masters the Ninpo Bugei gives light to the (outer) world of darkness.

The Name "Ninpo Bugei"
Ninpo Bugei is not limited to any one style or school (Ryu-Ha). Instead, what has been included to build this art must be further developed. There are no limits imposed on this original Japanese art of perseverance (Shinobi).

Ninjutsu is best described as the collection of skills utilized by the Ninja while Ninpo, often referred to as "the higher order of Ninjutsu," implies a philosophy for living based on the principles of Nin. Nin translates into patience, but can also imply perseverance, or stealth. The Japanese character for Nin consists of two parts or radicals. The upper radical is called yaiba which refers to the cutting edge of a blade. The lower radical can be read either as kokoro or shin, both of which mean heart.

The character po, which implies natural law, is used rather than do (i.e.. judo, kendo, aikido,etc). Referring to our art as Ninpo rather than Ninjutsu stresses training which is concerned with the internal development of the individual's character along with the technical skills of martial training. It isn't enough just to know techniques, it is where your heart and spirit are as a person that is important. For this reason, Ninpo stresses philosophic and spiritual training in conjunction with the physical training. This refinement of one's spirit is known in Japanese as seishinteki kyoyo.

Ninpo is concerned with the defense of the whole self, and recognizes that defense against a life-threat is dealt with by the spirit as much as with physical technique

Ninjutsu is best described as the collection of skills utilized by the Ninja while Ninpo, often referred to as "the higher order of Ninjutsu," implies a philosophy for living based on the principles of Nin.

Nin translates into patience, but can also imply perseverance, or stealth. The Japanese character for Nin consists of two parts or radicals. The upper radical is called yaiba which refers to the cutting edge of a blade. The lower radical can be read either as kokoro or shin, both of which mean heart.

The character po, which implies natural law, is used rather than do (i.e.. judo, kendo, aikido,etc). Referring to our art as Ninpo rather than Ninjutsu stresses training which is concerned with the internal development of the individual's character along with the technical skills of martial training. It isn't enough just to know techniques, it is where your heart and spirit are as a person that is important. For this reason, Ninpo stresses philosophic and spiritual training in conjunction with the physical training. This refinement of one's spirit is known in Japanese as seishinteki kyoyo.

Ninpo is concerned with the defense of the whole self, and recognizes that defense against a life-threat is dealt with by the spirit as much as with physical technique.


Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei

Associated with the Genbukan is the Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei (KJJR). The KJJR was established by Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura in 1991 for the preservation and transmission of authentic Japanese Jujutsu. Unfortunately, today very few jujutsu schools outside of Japan practice what could be considered authentic jujutsu. Having lost the connection with their Japanese roots, they have evolved into eclectic arts. The purpose of the KJJR is to make available training to those who seek traditional jujutsu.

The KJJR follows a standard kyu/dan system. After 3rd dan, the student may specialize in one of the ryu ha's which Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura is the Soke of, and may receive scrolls up to Menkyo Kaiden level. The KJJR is world wide in scope and encourages the participation of experienced martial artists who exhibit the potential to learn the KJJR system. Here are the systems in the Jujutsu.



  • Hontai Takagi Yoshin ryu
  • Kukishin ryu
  • Asayama Ichiden ryu
  • Tatara Shinden ryu
  • Bokuden ryu
  • Yagyu Shingan ryu
  • Tenshin ryu
  • Araki Shin ryu
  • Itten Chukai Ryushin Ryu
  • Tenshin Kyohyo Kukishin Ryu
  • Daito Ryu



Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu History

There was one mountain priest in the Funakata mountain of Miyagi Area in 1569. His name was Unryu. He was from the Abe Family line and was a expert in Taijutsu, Bojutsu and Shuriken of the Amatsu Tatara Rinpo Hiden. Amatsu Tatara secret scrolls are the highest traditional teaching scrolls for control to the martial art gate and religion gate. These scrolls remained to the Nakatomi family. Ohtomo family, Mononobe family and Abe family. Abe family called the scrolls "Amatsu Tatara Rinpo Hiden" and taught for the next generations. The famous martial artist Ito Ki-i No Kami Suketada was taught by Unryu. Suketada made up a new Ryu-Ha, Kenko Ryu. He was very famous as a Sojutsu (spear techniques) expert.

In 1645, Takagi Oriemon Shigenobu was taught by Ito Suketada from the age of 16. Oriemon was a Samurai of Katakura Kojuro in Fukushima Area. He got a Menkyo Kaiden (the highest rank and next generation) from Ito when he was 20 years old. Oriemon systemized a new Ryu-Ha "Takagi Yoshin Ryu Taijutsu". Oriemon was born on the 2nd of April 1625 and died on the 7th October 1711, but this is not clear.

In 1671, Takagi Umanosuke Shigesada had studied from the age of 16 under Oriemon and received Menkyo Kaiden. He taught this for his students as "Takagi Yoshin Ryu Daken Taijutsu, Bojutsu, Sojutsu, Naginatajutsu and Senban Nage".

In 1695, Umanosuke was recognized as a high class martial artist by the Emperorís government. He died on the 26th of April 1746. Gennoshin Hideshige was a son of Umanosuke. Gennoshin was very skillful and strong with Dakentaijutsu and he changed the name to "Takagi Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu". He taught in Hyogo Prefecture and died on the 2nd of October 1702. Ohkuni Onihei Shigenobu was an expert of Kukishin Ryu. He stayed in Gennoshinís Dojo as a special guest and taught Kukishin Ryu for Gennoshinís students. Gennoshin was heavy with sickness, so that he asked for Onihei to keep the next generation of Takagi Yoshin Ryu and died. Another story, Onihei and Gennoshin taught to decide which was the best Ryu-Ha for Jujutsu and Bojutsu. As a result, Oniheiís Bojutsu (Kukishin Ryu) was better and Gennoshinís Jujutsu (Takagi Yoshin Ryu) was better than the latter. So that, Jujutsu remained as Takagi Yoshin Ryu and Bojutsu remained as Kukishin Ryu with Naginatajutsu and Sojutsu. Anyhow Ohkuni Onihei was the fourth generation Grandmaster of both Ryu-Ha and he called these Ryu-Ha "Hontai Takagi Yoshin Ryu" and "Hontai Kukishin Ryu".

In October 1841, the 13th generation Grandmaster Yagi Ikugoro Hisayoshi, a retired Samurai from Akoh Castle ( Hyogo Prefecture ), opened a Dojo of Takagi Yoshin Ryu in Akashi of Hyogo. He gave Menkyo Kaiden to three masters Fujita, Ishibashi and Ishitani Takeo Masatsugu. Fujitaís next generation was Mizuta Yoshitaro Tadafusa. Ishibashi had no students. Ishitaniís next generation was his son Ishitani Matsutaro Takakage. Matsutaro was taught and received Menkyo Kaiden for Kukishin Ryu and Shinden Tatara Ryu from Akiyama Yotaro too.

About from 1903 to 1911, Takamatsu Toshitsugu Yokuoh was taught and got the next generation from both Ishitani Matsutaro and Mizuta Yoshitaro. In June of 1952, Sato Kinbei Kiyoaki was taught by Takamatsu as the 17th generation of Ishitaniís line Takagi Yoshin Ryu and Kukishin Ryu too.

In November 1989, Tanemura Tsunehisa Minamoto No Shoto, was taught and given the 18th generation Grandmaster (Soke) of both Ryu-Ha from Sato Kinbie.


Ko Ryu Karate

Koryu Karate

Among all the schools of jujutsu and taijutsu, Kijin Chosui Ryu (also called Kukishin Ryu) focuses on techniques which bring certain victory. There are very few people who have mastered this ryuha because traditionally only one person can inherit the true spirit and skills. This is the Dakenjutsu Kaiden method, as described in the initiation instructions contained in the Amatsu Tatara Tora no Maki (Tiger Scroll).

Grandmaster Tanemura learned directly from Kobayashi Masao Sensei, Kimura Sensei and other grandmaster level students of Takamatsu Sensei. Training in these traditional martial arts for nearly 50 years, Tanemura Sensei received the highest "Dragon" and "Tiger" scrolls from this most ancient and unbroken line of Grandmasters. Creating a systematic structure and teaching this devastating art to the public was a long-term goal of Takamatsu Sensei - one which he would not have time to fulfill. After twenty years of bringing true Kobudo to the public, Grandmaster Tanemura has decided that it is finally time to complete Takamatsu Sensei's mission and share this once-secret art. Grandmaster Tanemura refers to the art as Koryu (classical or literally "old school") Karate (literally "China hand", not the "empty hand" as in Okinawan Karate-do) and what he teaches comes from the techniques of Kijin Chosui Ryu Dakenjutsu (striking hand technique) and Tenshin Koryu Kenpo (fist method).

Grandmaster Tanemura has developed a step-by-step system of Kyu levels (below black belt) and Dan levels (black belt) to help students absorb these advanced techniques. As of 2003, Tanemura Sensei is allowing Genbukan and KJJR students to learn and test for rank in this once secret art. The Koryu Karate is a very up close system of defense and Martial Arts. The strikes are hard and follow with a cover to prevent another strike. The movements are forward and fast. With a formality that makes the kataís seem very real and mentally prepare you to stand and fight. Koryu means old school, Karate means China hand (although it can also be read as empty hand but this is the case for Karate schools from kinawa). The Koryu Karate system is mainly focused on Kijin Chosui Ryu Dakenjutsu and Tenshin Ryu Kenpo techniques which can be traced back to the Amatsu Tatara scrolls Tora no Maki and Ryu no Maki (Tiger and Dragon scrolls). It was the original intention of Grandmaster Takamatsu Toshitsugu Sensei to teach this system to the public (as Dankojutsu) which he could unfortunately not fulfill due to lack of time. Grandmaster Tanemura Tsunehisa Shoto Sensei learned those Ryu-Ha from Grandmaster Kobayashi Masao (Hosho) Sensei and from Grandmaster Kimura Masaharu (Masaji) Sensei and also added Shizen Ryu Karate/Chinese Karate (from Grandmaster Sato Kinbei Sensei) to it. Those Grandmasters received the teachings from Grandmaster Takamatsu Toshitsugu Sensei and from Grandmaster Ueno Takashi Sensei.


Chinese Arts


Chugoku Kenpo (Chinese, Fist Methods)

Chugoku Kenpo comprises yet another section of the Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei curriculum. Why are Chinese martial arts being included in a Japanese system? Because many Japanese martial arts have roots in Chinese systems, and even Takamatsu Sensei trained widely to fully understand their connections and benefits. After Takamatsu Sensei earned respect as a true practitioner of Kobudo (traditional martial arts), he was able to befriend and learn from masters from other Asian countries. Master Cho Su Long (original Shaolin Kung Fu) and Master Kim (old-style Korean eighteen martial arts) were just two of the amazing teachers that added to the depth and diversity of Takamatsu Sensei's martial knowledge.

Similarly, Sato Kinbei Sensei spent many years in China and Taiwan . Unfortunately, because of the political tension of the time (1940's), things were a little different than when Takamatsu Sensei was there and in some cases, were very difficult. Sato Sensei had to endure many tests to convince the great Chinese masters that his interests were sincere. He was sincere, and in the end, was allowed to receive the highest teachings.

Sato Sensei's dedication was so great that after returning to Japan , he maintained contact and even brought his Chugoku Kenpo masters to Japan on several occasions. Li Zu Ming Sensei and Wang Shu Jin Sensei were both brought over to teach in the "land of the rising sun." Master Wang actually stayed for several years. Because of his unwavering dedication, Sato Kinbei Sensei was eventually awarded the next generation grandmastership (the first non-Chinese person to do so).

After training for many years, Tanemura Sensei received the 5th generation grandmastership directly from both Sato Denjin (headmaster) and Li Zu Ming. Tanemura Sensei has been teaching the art's various exercises and forms since 1991 and has finally organized a step-by-step curriculum for students of all skill levels. Tanemura Sensei's teaching include: Hakkesho (Ba Gua), Kiko (Imperial Qi Gong), Kinnajutsu (Chin-na), as well as many other internal martial art secrets from both Chinese and Japanese traditions.

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Genbukan World Ninpo Bugei Federation 


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