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History of the Togakure Ryū

Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu is the senior style of nine martial arts schools for which Ninja GrandMaster Masaaki Hatsumi holds the secret scrolls (makimono). The keeper of the makimono is recognized as Soke - the leader of that particular martial art. Although historical records are incomplete and imprecise, it is believed that Togakure ryu Ninjutsu was founded by Daisuke Nishina in the 1100s. Daisuke, himself, was exposed to Shugendo training as a young man in the Togakure (now Togakushi) region in Japan. Daisuke's martial arts training went through it's ultimate test in 1181, when he joined with a local leader named Kiso Yoshinaka to battle troops sent to the area to subdue the local population. After three years of fighting, the local resistance movement was defeated and Daisuke was forced to flee for his life.

He wandered south and took refuge in the Iga region, located outside Kyoto. It was there that Daisuke met Kain Doshi, a yamabushi warrior monk, who taught him about spirituality, which Daisuke incorporated into his martial arts. Daisuke, in celebration of the birth of his ultimate power as a warrior, changed his name after the name of his homeland. From then on he was known as Daisuke Togakure; and his descendants are known as Togakure ryu Ninja. The ryu flourished for several centuries and experienced its greatest time of power in the 1500s before the rise of Shogun Iyeyasu Tokugawa.

The Tokugawa Shogunate brought to Japan peace and tranquility. The life-or-death environment under which the Ninja families had operated for many years was no more. Most warrior training was done away with; and many warrior traditions simply died out for reasons of disuse or lack of interest. Still, a number of these Ninja systems remained alive, passed on through the centuries by a few special persons who knew that these methods should never be totally forgotten.

There are Ninja still today. Surprisingly, there are more active practitioners, worldwide, than there have ever been in history. Dr. Hatsumi feels a responsibility to make the methods of Ninjutsu available to others, all over the world. He has spoken of a feeling that his teacher, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, still speaks to him from the grave, instructing him to carry on the Ninja traditions.

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