Gyokko Ryû Koshijutsu “School of the Jewel Tiger”
Dr. Hatsumi is the 28th Soke. It is the oldest of the Bujinkan schools.
The Nine Rules of the Gyokko Ryu
1. The character NIN means to guard the nation even with one's life.
2. Forget self, be patient, fear not dying.
3. In danger say or show nothing.
4. As a strong enemy comes at you, keep indomitable.
5. Serve and protect the master, as you must your parents.
6. Vices dissipate your proficiency.
7. Being drunk affects your judgment.
8. Destroy the enemy’s power but leave his life.
9. To others teach not without the master's permission.
The school specializes in Kosshijutsu (attacks against muscles) and Shitojutsu (use of thumbs and fingers) using circular and fast movements based on the attack to the opponent's vital points, Koshijutsu Atemi Waza. Although Kosshijutsu means to be able to knock down an enemy with a finger, it is considered that it rather denotes “the backbone” (koshi) of martial arts. It is a complete fighting method that combines techniques of unarmed combat with all kinds of weapons, such as sword, spear and other long weapons. Powerful blocks and balance taking are typical of the school. They preferred to block by striking with the knuckles to the muscle areas. The Muto Dori, or evasion techniques, of the school are the Ge Ryaku no Maki, which involve techniques against swords and spears. These are the most difficult and advanced within the school. Sanshin no Kata, Kihon Happo and Muto Taihenjutsu come from this school.
Gyokko Ryu was developed in China during the T’ang Dynasty. It is believed that a person of small stature created this system and that it was developed based on Chinese Kempo. Some claim it was the Chinese Princess of the time or maybe a smaller guard at the palace. It’s uncertain by whom these techniques were introduced to Japan. According to Dr. Hatsumi that person could also be somebody from a foreign country. Some say it was a Chinese priest called Cho Gyokko, others that it was a Chinese named Ibou in the 8th century. This Ryu later became the basis for various martial arts in the Iga region of Japan. Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu is a distant branch of the Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu. The first Soke was Tozawa Hakuunsai in 1156, but the first to organize it as a Ryu was Sakagami Tari Kunishuge. He developed and used it between 1532 and 1555. The school was then given to Momochi Sandayu, a very famous ninja of his time. The Momochi family passed it to the Toda family. Toda Shinryuken Masamitsu gave it to his grandson Toshitsugu Takamatsu, and he, in turn, gave it to his student Masaaki Hatsumi.
"Bushigokorro wo motte totosho no nasu" - 'the warriors heart is precious, and essential'
The History of Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu
Gyokko Ryu Koshijutsu is the oldest of the nine martial art traditions that make up the Bujinkan System, and it is safe to say that it is the core style of the majority of our arts. Hatsumi Sensei has stated that the koshijutsu forms the basis of the following systems: Togakure, Koto, Gikan, Shinden Fudo, Gyokushin, and Kumogakure. The name "Gyokko" means Jeweled Tiger, or Tiger Jewel, and may refer to the eye of the tiger. The method of movement and basic principles were developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It is thought to be developed by either a smaller man or a woman, based on the movement. It is known that there was a woman in the court of Chan'an (the capitol of the Tang Dynasty) very well known for her martial arts abilities. When the Tang Dynasty fell in 907, many of the Chinese nobility escaped into Japan. The names Yo Gyokko (Yao Yu Hu) and Cho Gyokko are associated with the art leaving China and arriving in Japan. (They possibly were the same person). General Ikai (or Ibou) is also associated with the origin of Gyokko Ryu. According to Hatsumi Sensei that person could also be somebody (bou) from foreign (I) country.
The first actual Soke of what we would call ?official Gyokko Ryu? was Tozawa Hakuunsai. His name suggests a connection with Hakuun Ryu Ninjutsu, which no longer exists. This was in the Hogen Era (1156-1159), which makes Gyokko Ryu one of the oldest documented martial art systems in Japan. Hatsumi Sensei has said in fact that koshijutsu is the basis of martial arts in Japan, and that it forms the backbone (koshi) of the fighting systems in the Iga Region (I?m assuming he?s referring to all ninjutsu clans). The Bugei Ryu-ha Daijiten refers to the Gyokko Ryu as "Kosshijutsu, Shitojutsu, Ninpo". Koshijutsu means "to knock down an enemy with one finger." Therefore, intense striking training was involved, mostly to the fingers, toes and knuckles, but also with all parts of the body. The style is characterized by powerful blocks with the knuckles that destroy the muscles of the opponent, ripping, piercing and tearing techniques with the fingers and toes, powerful stomping kicks, and close grappling with locks and throws. It was taught in the Gyokko Ryu to only use as much strength as needed to defeat the opponent. They were also known for their skill with the sword, 6-foot staff and knife.
Headmasters of Gyokko Ryu
Suzuki, Saburo Shigeyoshi
Suzuki, Kojiro Mitsu
Tozawa, Nyudo Geneai
Kato, Ryu Hakuun
Sakagami, Goro Katsushige
Sakagami, Taro Kunishige
Sakagami, Kotaro Masahide
Sougyoko, Kan Ritsushi
Toda, Sakyo Ishinsai
Momochi, Sandayu 1
Momochi, Sandayu 2
Momochi, Tanba Yasumitsu
Momochi, Taro Saemon
Toda, Seiryu Nobutsuna
Toda, Fudo Nobuchika
Toda, Kangoro Nobuyasu
Toda, Eisaburo Nobumasa
Toda, Shinbei Masachika
Toda, Shingoro Masayoshi
Toda, Daigoro Chikashige
Toda, Daisaburo Chikashige
Toda, Shinryuken Masamitsu