Kuroda Ryu Ninjutsu

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Botta Dritta, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Anyone on this board ever heard of Kuroda Ninjutsu?

    Im my intermittent delving into old martial arts documents that get loaded from time to time unto google books I came across a curious reference to ‘Kuroda Ninjitsu’, after playing about with the spelling and time period settings (‘Ninjitsu’ rather than the ‘Ninjutsu’ was a common spelling post war)

    In the May 1964 issue of Blakbelt magazine (p.33) smack in the middle of the japan ninja boom and predating the appearance of Yoshiaki (Masaaki) Hatsumi’s appearance in blackbelt we have the curious reference of Kuroda Ninjitsu:

    Black Belt

    Cummings studies have opened the door to a vast knowledge of Kobudo methods. He is familiar with a few Kobudo arts designated intangible cultural properties by the Japanse government e.g. Kuroda ninjitsu (an art of invisibility using camouflage techniques), Kusarigama (A sickle and chain weapon), and Yagyu ryu Tessenjutsu (The art of using an iron fan and developed by a family of kendo instructors to the Tokugawa shoguns)

    Joseph Cummins seems to be one of the post war foreign martial arts practitioners that popularised the contact with japan.

    Serving in the US 549th Anti-Aircraft Artillery during WWII. He first learned western fencing under an Italian artillery Captain in 1947, and then took further Sabre lessons after returning to Italy under Maestro Atos Perone from 1953 till 1956. He then travelled to Japan in 1960 and studied under Kobudo Master Kempu Matsuo of the Shinken Kai in Yokohama, learning Muso-Ryu Jojutsu and then iaido, having reached 6th Dan by 1964 on account on his previous skill with the blade, as well as being introduced to the above mentioned techniques.

    Regardless of his background the mention of Kuroda Ryu is curious because it is:

    Not one of schools associated with the post war Ninjutsu expert claimants (Hatsumi, Takamatsu, Nawa, Iga-Hakuyusai, Seiko and Nina Consueto-Epsom’s own mysterious instructor)
    Not one of the ninjutsu ryu’s associated with the traditional family names from Iga and Koga (though I have not cross referenced against the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten )

    Anyone ever heard of this Nijutsu Ryu before? Is it an Ninjutsu auxiliary art attached to a Koryu school like Katori Shinto Ryu? Anyone know what happened to Joseph Cummings?
  2. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Scratch that Map's got ahead of me already:

    Kuroda Ryu Ninjutsu?

    From a post: Kogusoku 2008

    "Kuroda-ryu was a system from the Kuroda-han (The feudal domain where modern Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures are now situated.) The last headmaster of this school was a man named Matsuo Hiroshi (He was also called by his Bugo, Kenpu 剣風 ) Matsuo Kenpu is better known as one of Nakayama Hakudo's original students. He was also a member of Shinto Muso-ryu under Shiraishi Tokugoro and was the soke of Araki-ryu Gunyo Kogusoku.

    Matsuo Kenpu was my teacher's teacher. At the Shinkenkai dojo in Yokohama, we learned most of the disciplines he taught, except for Kuroda-ryu. Noone was ever given access to that apparently. The Kenshinkai taught Muso Shinden-ryu iai, Araki-ryu Gunyo Kogusoku, Shinto Muso-ryu jo, Yamanouchi-ryu shurikenjutsu and a Yagyu-ryu tessenjutsu (An offshoot of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu by way of Kubei Hirauchi Heibei.)

    Takada Gakudo san teaches mainly Muso Shinden-ryu under the auspecies of the Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei these days. As far as I know, he does not teach the other disciplines he learned from Matsuo. He has a couple of Shibu Dojo in Finland and other places in Europe the last I heard.

    and then

    "Kuroda-ryu was small and obscure, the ryuha never made it past 1986, because probably the last menkyo kaiden, Matsuo (Kenpu) Hiroshi passed away in that year.

    If you do a little research in the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten, you shall find Kuroda-ryu. You'll find very little information, but you will find Matsuo's name there.

    There were some eye-witness accounts of Kuroda-ryu being demonstrated, The public demos were very much Shaolin type parlour tricks that you see when the monks and their troupe do a tour - Having someone cut at the demonstrator's arm with a shinken, after doing tameshigiri with the same blade. A kendo rokudan (Prewar kendoka under the Dai Nihon Butokukai did a lot of tameshigiri and knew how to cut very well.) apparently did so at one demonstration and was counfounded why the blade did not even penetrate the first layer of skin.

    Outward appearances via embu seem to show the school as a bit of an odd school, but in the dojo, it was much a different thing according to the seniors. There was a lot about landscape reading, mathematical study for guaging distance and other factors, scouting methods on open ground, etc. Some things were taught to the seniors, but noone ever got to learn the whole ryuha per se.

    There is one of the ryuha's weapons still at the Shinkenkai dojo, which is one of the strangest types of weapons I have seen; A tetsubo with a spirit level inside for measuring distances. It didn't make much sense until one of the dojo seniors explained it's function.

    Sounds like a genuine Shinobi lineage to me: "landscape reading, mathematical study for gaging distance and other factors, scouting methods on open ground" plus the spirit level thing I think appears in a historical ninjutsu manual, I'll have to check.

    So the only question remaining is.. what happened to Joseph Cummins and was he shown any/and or pass on any Kuroda Ryu Ninjutsu knowledge?
  3. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    UPDATE as he was born in 1924 I'm not holding out much hope that the old dragon is still alive...perhaps some of his students though...

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