Succession of the Schools

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by JibranK, May 15, 2020.

  1. JibranK

    JibranK Valued Member

    I haven't been on MAP, or in this world really, for ages, but I stumbled across the news recently of the succession to the ryu-ha, and I thought it merited a post.

    This past autumn and winter, Hatsumi Sensei passed down several of the schools. The new Sōke are as follows (please correct me if any of these are incorrect):

    Koto Ryu: Noguchi Yukio
    Gyokko Ryu: Ishizuka Tetsuji
    Togakure Ryu: Tsutsui Takumi
    Gyokushin Ryu: Kan Jun'ichi
    Kumogakure Ryu: Furuta Koji
    Gikan Ryu: Sakasai Norio
    Shinden Fudo Ryu: Nagato Toshiro
    Takagi Yoshin Ryu: Sakasai Norio

    As far as I've read, Kukishin ryu has not been passed down.

    I find this particularly humorous in light of the fact that in the early 2000s, people were claiming that one of these individuals had been given hamon, and anyone who studied with him was informed online that he or she was in fact a traitor of sorts.
  2. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Yup this is the approach he's taken
    As always it's interesting to note who is and who isn't included on that list as well as which ryu-ha went to whom
    People used to gossip about how Ishizuka-sensei, both in terms of how he was excommunicated or how he was Hatsumi-sensei's only successor. Clearly this shows that that kind of speculation is best ignored as most likely it's only serving the agenda of the person doing the gossiping
    I had to cancel my trip to Japan this year (first time since 1993 I've not been which is heartbreaking), but I hear that nothing has changed much in terms of people continuing to train in the same way under Hatsumi-sensei
    Who knows what he'll do in terms of the Bujinkan and Kukishinden...
    Both pretty major things to hold up his sleeve
    JibranK likes this.
  3. JibranK

    JibranK Valued Member

    Spot on, although I do think the latter rumour came about as a sort of comeback to the (rampant on Kutaki, MAP, and other places) claim that Ishizuka sensei had received hamon, and that training with him was akin to joining Genbukan/Jinenkan.

    What's also interesting is that at least some of these schools mostly exist as oral teachings, don't they? So we can perhaps also look at how they're grouped. (Above our pay grade but interesting with regard to the history of ryu-ha.)
  4. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Yeah I noticed this recently. What does this mean for the Bujinkan as a whole? Does it stay as a single overarching curriculum of sorts?, or will the new Headmasters teach their respective lineages separately as part of a greater whole. I mean you can't really learn Togakure ryu without having a grounding in Gyokko Ryu so will they share duties?
    Furthermore Kumogakure Ryu and Gyokushin Ryu have been passed on: Are we going to finally see more firm details about those two lineages?
  5. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Who knows?

    My read (& it's only speculation on my part) is that things will stay as they are for the time being - while Soke is still actively engaged in training etc
    I think Hatsumi-sensei has given these guys a licence to do what they feel is best. If they want to expand the curriculum of their ryu-ha then that's their call

    The formal curriculum in some of these ryu is quite small, so in practice the people training under those sokes will have to include material from elsewhere. So perhaps many of these ryu-ha will look a lot like the flavours of the Bujinkan that the gentlemen currently teach
    For the more substantial ryu it's possible that their new soke will focus just on the material from the ryu of course, but we'll have to wait and see
    I'm sure that there will be many tempting "secrets" come to light over the coming years....

    There is a separate question about what happens to the Bujinkan as an organisation. Dunno about that, but I suspect there will be a lot of freedom for everyone to do what they feel is right (as there is today). The quality people will thrive and the other people will be happy in their ignorance
    Botta Dritta likes this.
  6. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Considering the Kihon Happo looms so large in the training of so many Bujinkan dojo’s is it safe to speculate that Ishizuka Tetsuji being the head of Gyokko Ryu will *first amongst equals*?, that responsibility will fall by default more heavily on his shoulders?
  7. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I think that’s a bit of a stretch argument
    But I am in no way suggesting that all the new sokes are equal in skill/experience/stature etc
  8. JibranK

    JibranK Valued Member

    My somewhat-outsider read (which I don't think is particularly controversial) of the Bujinkan schools has for a long time been that not all of the ryu-ha are extant as individual entities rather some are sublimated schools within others. Gyokko/Koto/Togakure etc being a sort of meta-ryu (in the way that the 'Yagyu Seigo ryu' iaijutsu in Yagyu Shinkage Ryu is Seigo ryu, not originally part of Shinkage ryu itself, and so on).

    So given that some of the people who have received succession of a school have menkyo kaiden in related schools, it could perhaps also be feasible that they would teach them in such a way.
    Dunc likes this.
  9. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Congratulations JibranK! I've just put the term Meta-ryu through google and I think that you have actually invented a new term! (At least related to martial arts)

    MAP: Churning out new martial terminology since early 00's

    Now we can have blazing argument's over an increasingly bloated thread over the exact dictionary definition of a Meta-Ryu!

    Cue Threats. Ad Hominen Attacks. Frodolicious' Ban Hammers flying.... Hannibal roars into battle....
    Thomas and Dunc like this.
  10. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I think that the schools have always evolved to be a combination of their historical lessons and their current headmaster's experience/curriculum
    Of course some ryu stopped doing this at a certain point in history and focused on preserving things unchanged from that point on, but I feel that's a contradiction to their core purpose which is to continue to improve and be relevant for the practitioners of the day
  11. JibranK

    JibranK Valued Member

    Yesterday I was reminded of the all-time best post on this forum, which I'll quote for everyone's entertainment.
    Bonus, in the same post, Chris Carbonaro, who had a "Kuden Home Study Course" was put forward as an example of what one ought to aspire to.
  12. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    :) perhaps an axe to grind

    Yeah there was a lot of gossip and rivalry between the groups training under some of the senior Japanese
    I never saw any of this from Seno-Sensei or Oguri-Sensei, but it's natural that when people align into a group/team/tribe some of them will attack the other groups

    For what it's worth the source of this kind of confusion was that for about 15 years Ishizuka-sensei did not attend Soke's classes and during that time Soke told everyone not to train with people who no longer trained with him. Soke was probably meaning folk like Manaka-sensei, Hayes etc, but people read into these things what they want to see

    Ishizuka-sensei started training regularly at Soke's classes after he retired so it became clear that this guidance do not apply to him. Either way we now know exactly who Soke thinks we should train with

    I feel that Kacem, as Ishizuka-Sensei's most visible student, added a lot of fuel to the fire with his strong assertion over many years that there can be only "one true successor". Kacem's followers have a tendency to see him as the "One" which irritates everyone else who trains I think

    So at the end of the day it's all just people vying for status and position...
    My hope is that enough people learnt from Soke how to see through this kind of BS so that the important elements of his teaching continue and thrive, but my guess is that the majority of people will blindly stagger in the footsteps of self-interested idiots who peddle a fantasy version of what he's been teaching
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
    JibranK likes this.
  13. Dreamstrike

    Dreamstrike New Member

    The factionalism is cancer and has the potential to fragment something so beautiful it genuinely saddens me:(.

    This is nothing new to be fair and has been a around since Hayes went full fool in the 1980s. IMHO the clowns are like flames for moths attracting like to like, but my concern is that there is so much nonsense (even among the Japanese now that Soke has taken a back seat) those who do train in the way Soke intended are really fed up with the endless foolishness and may be less likely to want to continue to engage with it which is a real shame for people who are simply interested in training and perhaps don't know. On the plus side- and it's a potentially huge plus - the classes should be significantly reduced in numbers which will be glorious.:)

    The bottom line I guess is we have Soke as a template and can use that as our barometer.
    Dunc likes this.
  14. JibranK

    JibranK Valued Member

    The news got me looking back at old discussions, and I found the one in which a fanboy on MAP was insisting that this guy was more skilled than Ishizuka.

  15. Dreamstrike

    Dreamstrike New Member

    Who said what about whom is a waste of time and perpetuates the nonsense. It has no impact on our training and only serves as a distraction. It should be beneath us.
    Dunc likes this.
  16. JibranK

    JibranK Valued Member

    Come on, the subforum is largely dormant and we can have a laugh thinking about old times, especially those of us who've embarrassingly enough spent nearly 20 years here.
    hatsie, bassai and Dead_pool like this.
  17. Crucio

    Crucio Valued Member

    I think is says a lot more that people realize.
  18. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    But kihon happo is also part of Togakure Ryu so would that apply to Tsutsui-sensei also?
    I really wish people would stop trying to find a first/best/chosen-one and instead be good with the direction they’ve chosen to take and respect that there are other approaches & teachers that are equally valid
    JibranK likes this.
  19. IronMaiden1991

    IronMaiden1991 Active Member

    I only just found out about this after getting the spur of the moment idea to google some of my old Bujinkan buddies who now teach. This looks like it could be a road for ninjutsu to fracture into camps. More so than I remember.
    Well, at least this gives me an idea who to google search if I want to see what Kumogakure-ryu looks like as I never witnessed any of it in my 7 years in the art.
  20. hatsie

    hatsie Active Member Supporter

    How are you jibran? Long time!

    Hope life is treating you well! You were about 14-15 way back when eh? I Ben anything you’re a successful mid 30’s businessman now?

    you still martial art or not?

    I sporadically checked in over the years here and it was tumbleweed city! Seems to have picked up! Which is good! Do Please reality and Greg Chapman still post?
    Hey dunc!!
    Dunc likes this.

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