(1) Kano’s first teachers were Ryuji Karagiri and, separately, Heinosuke Yagi. While their schools are unknown, Yagi may be Yagyu, which would likely place him in the Yagyu Ryu, 柳生流. Kano also studied Seigo Ryu under a teacher whose name is not given.

Yagyu Ryu

(Photo courtesy of Fighting Arts.com)

Video on Yagyu Ryu from YouTube  

 Video on Yagyu Ryu from YouTube

(2) Yoshin Ryu. 楊心流Kano’s closest student (uchideshi), assistant, and demonstration partner was Yoshiaki Yamashita, who was a master of the Yoshin Ryu and the Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu. It was Yamashita, Yokoyama, and Nagaoka who put together the first Kodokan syllabus of instruction.

Yoshin Ryu

(Photo courtesy of “Wado Historical Timeline”)

Yoshin-Ryu Jujutsu (Yo, meaning “willow,” and Shin, meaning “heart or spirit”) was devised by a doctor from Nagasaki named Shirobei Yoshitoki Akiyama. Akiyama studied battlefield and healing arts (they are the same) in Japan and is thought to have been accomplished in Jujutsu and the ancient Koppo-jutsu and other arts. Wishing to extend his knowledge, Akiyama went to China to study in the 1600s. There he studied medicine, katsu, various martial arts, especially striking arts, and their use as applied to vital areas (Kyusho-jutsu). He also studied Taoism, Taoist healing martial arts, and acupuncture. The centerpiece of the art he created by incorporating his training in China with Japanese methods was a syllabus of 300 techniques.

Video of Yoshin Ryu from YouTube

Video of Yoshin Ryu from YouTube

(3) Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu天神真楊流. It is well known that Kano studied with Hachinosuke Fukuda and Masatomo Iso. Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu Jujutsu includes four major classifications of techniques. The first of these is the Go Waza (Hard Techniques) which includes striking, kicking, throwing, holding, choking, and escaping. The second is Ju Waza (Soft Techniques), which includes joint locks and Aiki movements. The third is Katsu or Healing Arts. Thus, students’ training was balanced, and they could exercise sakatsu jizai (the freedom to kill and the freedom to restore life). Finally, the training includes Bugei Ju-Happan, extensive training with eighteen battlefield weapons.

Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu

(Photo courtesy of “Makotokan Budo”)

To understand what skills and knowledge Kano took from the Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu school, it is helpful to understand that the Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu is a fusion of Yoshin-Ryu and Shin No Shindo Ryu Jujutsu.

We have already discussed the origins of the Yoshin Ryu. The other “half” of the Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu school is Shin No Shindo Ryu Jujutsu. Shin No Shindo Ryu is a derivative of the Takeuchi Ryu and was created by an Osaka Policeman named Tamizaemon Yamamoto who specialized in striking techniques and in techniques that involved “immobilizing or paralyzing with a grip or hold” (for obvious reasons). Shin No Shindo Ryu is also the school of Otsuka, later of the Wado Ryu karate-do fame. Otsuka met Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Japanese Shotokan Karate, when Otsuka gave a Jujutsu exhibition in his presence. Reportedly, Funakoshi ran out onto the floor saying, “Surely you have studied Tode (karate) in Okinawa!”

These two lines were married to form the Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu by Master Sekisai Minamoto Masatari Yanagi, later called Mataemon Iso. Yanagi studied Yoshin Ryu, Miura Ryu, and Ryoi Shinto Ryu before opening his school in Edo (old Tokyo). This legendary figure has many stories told about him. One involves him and his best student defeating a large band of outlaws who were terrorizing Edo in a battle that is always referred to as “savage” and “bloody.”

Video of Tenshin Shin Yo Ryu from YouTube

 (4) Kito Ryu. 起倒流17th century Tokyo-to Kano studied the system of ran of Kito Ryu under Tsunetoshi Iikubo. Hidekazu Nagaoka gained full entry into the Kodokan after mastering Kito Ryu, and later became one of the only three men to gain Judan (10th dan) under Kano. Kito Ryu emphasizes many esoteric elements, including aiki. Aiki is the joining of internal or life energies. Kito teaches that there are three types of energy:

a. Riki, Ryoku, or Chikara: physical force, power, strength

b. Ki: internal energy

c. Shin: intention or will; basic life force.

The ki in aiki refers to the second of these. Kito teaches that “When two minds are united, the stronger controls the weaker…”

Kito is also based upon the principles of wa (harmony, accord, fluidity) and ju (suppleness, softness, gentleness). In application on the battlefield, the system incorporates a complex amalgam of strategies, many calling back to the Chinese master strategist Sun Tzu. Kito addresses the pursuit of loftier ideals, including spiritual and self-actualization interests, in a similar way, teaching that one should harmonize the Self with the Universe. It is so complex in terms of its theory as to be nearly impenetrable to analysis from the “outside.” Chinese Taoist elements have been imported wholesale. This should not be surprising given the origins of the art. The pivotal point in the formalization of Kito Ryu is the arrival of an almost legendary Chinese figure, Master Chen Yuan-Ping (also known variously as Chen Tsu U, Gin Chin Pin, and Gempin by the Japanese). Master Chen came to Japan first in 1621 and returned to stay in 1638. He was a scholar who had apparently held some positions in the Chinese court. He taught Taoism’s Lao Tzu and T’ung K’ao, and Chinese martial art based upon ju. Three wandering, masterless samurai (ronin) found him at Kokusei Monastery, where he taught them “secret arts.” The names of these samurai were Fukuno, Isogai, and Miura. Fukuno, after going on to master Yagyu Shingan Ryu, met a samurai named Terada. Fukuno and Terada founded Kito Ryu and passed the art on to Yoshimura and Takenada.

Kito Ryu-Kobushi Nagashi (Fist Flowing)

(Photo courtesy of Kito Ryu Nakae-Ha Jujutsu)

Video of Kito Ryu from YouTube

The techniques of Kito Ryu are fast, fluid, subtle, and direct. They exploit centered action and the projection of internal energies. Kito emphasizes projective throwing methods and kokyu (kuki) techniques and is considered a form of aiki-jujutsu.

(5) Takenouchi Ryu. 竹内流 Takano, Yano, Kotaro Imei, and Hikasuburo Ohshima were all close colleagues of Kano, and participated in constructing the Kodokan syllabus and kata. Takenouchi Ryu is a comprehensive combat art but is particularly well-known for bokken (wooden sword), jo (staff), and osae (immobilization) techniques.

Throwing techniques in Takeuchi Ryu

(Photo courtesy of Fighting Arts)

Video of Takenouchi Ryu from YouTube

Video of Takenouchi Ryu from YouTube

The school derives from the Daito Ryu line and was founded in June of 1532. Chumutaki Hisamori Daisuke Takeuchi was a prince who lived in Okayama and studied Daito-Ryu. He met an ancient warrior named Takagi (in a dream) who emphasized certain principles that were to underlie Takeuchi-Ryu. The school became known as the “Hinoshito Torido Kaizan Ryu,” or “school of the supreme and unsurpassed art of combat.”

The techniques of Takeuchi Ryu are divided into five kyo (teachings or principles), related to Takeda’s Five Principles-ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, and gokyo.

(6) Sosuishi Ryu. 双水執流 Aoyagi was involved in the construction of the Kodokan syllabus and kata.

Sosuishi Ryu

(Photo courtesy of Sosuishi Ryu.jp)

Video of Sosuishi Ryu from YouTube

Video of Sosuishi Ryu from YouTube

(7) Yoshin Ryu. Yoshiaki Yamashita and Isogai (later 10th dans) were also masters of Yoshin and Ten Shin Shin Yo, I am told. Katsuta Hiratsuka, Hidemi Totsuka, and Takayoshi Katayama even participated in the construction of the Kodokan kata and syllabus. Totsuka (Totsuka-ha Yoshin) is of the school that the Kodokan defeated in the 1886 match.