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Masaaki Hatsumi - 34th Soke (Grandmaster) Togakure-ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken

Hatsumi Yoshiaki was born on December 2nd, 1931 in Noda (just north of Tokyo), Japan, he later changed his first given name to Masaaki.

His father introduced him to Kendo when he was seven years old. He also studied Judo and Karate. In Junior High School he was a gymnast, boxer and the Captain in the Junior High School soccer team. He also studied social dancing which he believes helped him with the footwork in his Budo training. In his college years he continued to practice Boxing and Judo, he belonged to the Judo and Drama clubs and studied Theatre Arts. During his studies in Medical School, he received 4th Dan in Judo.

He was asked to teach Judo to the American soldiers at the Yokota Army Base, which he accepted. He was in his early 20's and found that the big Americans seemed to have size and natural ability and Hatsumi found that they were learning in months what took the typical Japanese years. He began to question his training... What good is a martial art if a bigger or stronger person could easily defeat you? Hatsumi began searching for a true warrior tradition.

When he was 26 years old, he met Takamatsu Toshitsugu in Kashiwabara City west of the Iga region in Japan. He travelled across the Honshu islands every weekend for fifteen years to study with his teacher. The train ride took him over a half day from his home in Noda to Takamatsu's home in Kashiwabara.

Masaaki Hatsumi (left) with his instructor Takamatsu Toshitsugu (right),
the 33rd Soke of the Togakure Ryu.

After 15 years of studying, Takamatsu Toshitsugu died 83 years old in his home in Nara (just East of Osaka) April 2nd, 1972. A few years earlier Takamatsu had already decided that Hatsumi would be the next sole inheritor and "Soke" (family head) of...

  • Togakure-ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken, 34th Soke
  • Gyokko-ryu Kosshijutsu Happo Hiken, 28th Soke
  • Kukishin-ryu Taijutsu Happo Hiken, 28th Soke
  • Shindenfudo-ryuDakentaijutsu Happo Hiken, 26th Soke
  • Gyokushin-ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken, 21th Soke
  • Koto-ryu Koppojutsu Happo Hiken, 18th Soke
  • Takagiyoshin-ryu Jutaijutsu Happo Hiken, 17th Soke
  • Gikan-ryu Gikan Koppojutsu Happo Hiken, 15th Soke
  • Kumogakure-ryu Ninpo Happo Hiken, 14th Soke
Since then he has received numerous awards and recognitions from all over the world. His organization is called "Bujinkan Dojo" (The Divine Warrior God's Place for Training). And the name of our style is generally called "Budo Taijutsu".


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